Well, it was cold, longer than previous years and fun. This race challenged my “fight game”. I was pretty wiped out emotionally and mentally from the week leading up to the race.
In 5 days. . .
- 3 evening, school performances
- 1 uncharacteristically horrible fight with my husband
- 1 intense (to say the least) personal study session, Broken and Beloved, where I sat in some uncomfortable moments, regarding fear, loneliness, love, my inner critic.
- 1 emotional and sad car ride to a therapy appointment
- My 46th birthday!
- 3 am wake up call on race morning.
I was looking forward to the time away. I was looking forward to the physical challenge. I was looking forward to an escape. . . AT LEAST 10 1/2 hours in the woods and then, a 2 1/2 hour drive home <sigh>.
It was freezing, but I was convinced that the day would warm up, it never did. I wore gloves, two shirts, shorts and tall socks all day long.
What’s new? I love to try new things at every race. This is the first 50-miler that I ran with only one handheld. I liked it. I was able to carry a bar and gel, in case I needed it. I ate at every aid station. I drank SPRING energy drink all day.
Miles 0-18.4 I think this section of the course is the most runnable. This year, I covered 18.4 miles in about 3.5 hours. It is mostly downhill, with the exception of a 3-ish mile climb up to Covenant College where the start/finish is located. The course was in great shape this year. Last year, it was wet, so running down to Craven’s was a bit sketchy. This year, it was cold and there were small random spots of ice, but I did not slip or fall. This year, they moved the second aid station from the area near the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve that used to be around mile 14-ish to “Blue Beaver” around mile 13.
Miles 18.4-27.2 This section too is downhill for the most part. I am not sure why, but this is where I struggled the most. Just had a hard time getting into my rhythm. I had to go to the bathroom a few times, my foot hurt, my back hurt. . . wah, wah, wah, waah <sad trombone playing>. I got over it, but it was a struggle to stop thinking like a whiner. It was STILL cold. I kept my gloves and buff on.
Miles 27.2-36.4 This section took me from Lula Lake (27.2) miles to Long Branch II (36.4) Just a few changes to note here. Side note: I LOVE the sweet road section right before you get to Long Branch. 🙂 Okay. . . few changes. The aid station at Long Branch used to be located in the little parking lot, right before you begin the loop. NOW, the aid station is at a beautiful barn about a mile from the little parking lot. That was a small downer, when I arrived. They served grilled cheese and hot soup and brown sugar bacon. Oh my word!!!!! I had all three. I prob had about 4 pieces of bacon. YUM!! Again, I was a bit “woe is me here”. I did not cry at all, just struggled to get myself running consistently here and in the previous section. I had the legs and the stomach and the fitness, but I did not have the drive.
Miles 36.4-50+ I looped back to Long Branch and grabbed more SPRING and grilled cheese. I can taste that grilled cheese, now. It was so, so good. It was still cold. I put my gloves back on and went to the bathroom. I started on my way and realized that I forgot my headlamp. I quickly ran back and put that on! My goal now was to make it back to the road, after the Lula section BEFORE the sun went down. This was a good motivator. And, I DID make it to the road. The last 4 or so miles of this race always seem long. There are many twisting and turning sections. <groan>. To my surprise I was running well, here. This is the first year out of three that I ran most of the last section. Crossed the line!!!
CLOSED the door on my 2017 racing, with a bang! It was not the finish time I was shooting for but I ran better than I had in the past. Next year, I will do better at “mentally tapering”. I think the week leading up to the race really had an effect on my racing. I am happy with my stats and I will probably run this race again in 2018!
Your 50 MILER time was 11:40:47
Your pace was 14:01/M
You were number 81 of 148 overall
You were number 3 of 5 in your age group 45-49