My first ultra marathon is over and done with, and what an amazing experience. This race is by far the absolute BEST race I have ever run in. The race was so well organized, and registration fee was so low. In my goodie bag: An extremely comfy La Sportiva shirt sporting the YUTC logo, Hammer gel (which I may give a shot, but am extremely uneasy about after my first and last gel experience), Five hour energy drink (YAY!), Ivy block, Dirty girl gaiters, and a copy of Trail Runner magazine (which I am almost done reading!). I was anxious to meet all my new running friends there, and the first person I ran into was Mark Anson. He quickly designated me the new fb administrator of the NERC page. (Ah hem....runners go check it out and become a fan!!!) Upon returning to the parking lot I ran into Daniel Bellinger and chatted with him for a bit. Headed back down the hill, ran into ultra marathon vet Nick Billock, and before the start Brian Musick.
My dad, son, and husband all arrived with me to see me off. (My brother was supposed to come on his bike, but due to a bit of a mishap at fire training school yesterday did not have the energy. He came later with my mom.) As we got settled we saw Crystal and Chris Basich, my son's old running coaches from the Y last year. Crystal just finished the Leadville 100 in Colorado (AMAZING!) and was volunteering. Chris was running the 50k. Great people who if you ever get a chance to talk to you must! My son was happy to get to see them again. I was happy to see them and hear Crystal's Leadville stories!
Soon the call came to line up. After taking a few quick puffs of my inhaler and a stealing a few kisses from the family I lined up. Then the start. I was told this was going to happen: Everyone started out all gung ho, running and excited - and then we came to a stand-still all waiting to walk up the steps of the bridge on the outskirts of the park. I laughed, made my way up the steps and then we were really off! It was now or never, and I was pretty pumped. Somehow I got to the point where I was the third female. The first 2 were 25k'ers. I stuck with the second one, Sabine for a very long time. (I have no idea how far ahead the first one was!) We chatted for a good long while, rolled over the "love log" together and laughed with her simply stating "Just wait until you have to do that the third time!" After a few trips (no falls yet) I threw the question out there. "Have you ever fallen while trail running?" She said no, she never had - and I stated that I had not fallen on any trails yet, either. I completely jinxed the both of us. Not too soon after, she fell. I stopped, helped her gather her things and we were on our way. Then it was my turn. She stated I fell "gracefully". It sure didn't feel graceful! Then: BOOM! She fell again. I started to feel pretty bad about saying what I said. It was my fault! But, paybacks as I then fell one more time! GRRRR!!!!! Then Sabine stated "No more of this! No more games, No more laughing, No more falling!" And well, she didn't fall again (but I sure did, not until after she was finished with her 25k though!). We separated after my last fall, but caught up with each other in the bathroom surprisingly with I don't know, maybe 1 1/2 miles to go? (I could be way off on that guesstimate) I walked into the bathroom and jumped when I saw her, I didn't think I would've caught up! We did our thing and she did leave before me. I did see her down at the 25k finish and congratulated her while I was drinking up.
The first thing I drank was some HEED. I have no idea what that is, never heard of it before - but it was not bad. I did think I was getting water when I picked it up, so it kind of shocked me at first. But I did continue drinking it at the rest stops the rest of the race. Heed/Water combo is what I stuck to. Along with my energy jelly beans and the power bar that I was carrying with me in my spi belt.
Carry my own water. I wasted a lot of time at the aid stations. I mean A LOT of time. I just chilled, talked, took my time. It was nice talking to every one - I really enjoyed it, but I did lose a lot of time. So while I do have a Nathan fuel belt - it does not do me well. I need to find one that works and just run with it. Since I loved the 50k and will do more I seriously need to look into this.
I was alone:
After the 25k mark, I was alone for a long time. I was the first female for the 50k at that point (lol which means I started way to fast, and sticking with Sabine for the length of time that I did was probably not smart). I was fearful I would get lost. It was just complete silence for so long. At certain points I had to stop and get my bearings just to make sure I was going in the right direction. The course was well marked, but I am directionally challenged without my mapquest! There were a couple times when some men ran by and I had to ask if I was going the right way. Then more solitude.
A flash of red:
She blew by me looking so, so strong. The woman who would eventually take first place. "WOW" Is all I could simply think. She does not even look the least bit tired. It was amazing. I was just simply in awe of this runner and her red compression leg sleeves! She was Michelle Ellery, from PA and finished in 5 hours and 28 minutes.
Along the way somewhere I fell a third time. I forget where, I forget if anyone was even around but yeah I did it. I started to get ticked off at myself, and in my (once again) solitude some not too nice language would coming spewing from my mouth (good thing I was alone) every time I would trip. SHAPE UP! I thought. Get those legs up! But man were they so tired! The trails on this race were so different from the trails I was training on. Much more technical, way more roots. There is no comparison. Also, some of the hills at this run were so steep. Monkey hills, is what I believed Mr. Billock called them. The first go around they weren't so bad, but the second and third time around, WOOO WEEEE! MY GOD! You practically crawled up them! It's such an amazing feeling when you got to the top though. A feeling of accomplishment. Forget the rest of the race - you just conquered that hill! And there was the "Love log" Sabine had joked about earlier. Yeah I just rolled over that thing. Nothing more I could do except just....roll. Roll and keep on runnin'.
The final miles:
My husband, son, mother, father, and brother all decided to head towards the covered bridge rest stop and meet me there while I chugged on water. This was a pretty cool surprise! I probably spent the greatest length of time at this particular stop. I was pumped they were there, and pretty much chilled for a couple minutes, taking my good old time.
Covered bridge rest stop
After a few minutes of fartin' around I saw her out of the corner of my eye. UH OH! I thought! She was looking strong and fast, and I started running. While I was running - I heard someone mention she was carrying her water with her. DANG IT! I have since heard that because of that - of course, she did not stop. I kept on truckin'. She soon caught up with me. We talked for awhile. Kim Boner was her name, and she landed the #2 spot with a time of 5 hours 44 minutes and 15 seconds. She had done 7 ultras this year. (This is the number I believe she said as I was struggling to keep up with her!) And then it happened. Fall #4. Kim turned around, stopped and asked if I was alright. I said yes, and thought to myself: Just go. Just keep on running. This one's gonna take me awhile. She kept going, and I shakingly got up. That one hurt. Every time I fell during this race, my whole body cramped up, but this one was particularly bad. Shaking, I pushed on. Started running again. It was not until I crossed a certain point on the road, going from one trail to another did I perk up. I ran into the family driving back to the finish! My dad was beeping, and my brother had his siren on his car going. I could not believe they were there! It was the funniest thing to me - especially the siren and my husband yelling, woo woo!!!! I continued on with a big goofy grin on my face.
I could here the crowd from a certain point in the trail. I was almost done! I saw the lake and couldn't believe it! The first voice I heard was Crystal cheering for me, and then I saw the family. Running through the finish line I was pumped! My time, 5 hours 46 minutes and 23 seconds. Third place female! I was quickly handed my trophy - which is my favorite one. It is a log with YUTC on it, says third place female. This trophy is for me! The typical medals and trophies with little runner people on them are so boring. This one is the coolest!
Me with my husband, son, and my third place trophy!
Kim came up to me and congratulated me, asked me how I was after that fall. Took some pictures, and talked with some runners and volunteers. Brian had said something like "Beer cures everything" but I could barely eat at that point! I think I would've got sick! I had one piece of pizza and just couldn't have anything else. There was good food there too! Darn it! However later in the day while my husband, son, and dad were golfing I did place a call to have them pick me up some Bailey's on the way home!
Ok all. My training is done. My race is over. This is the last chance to donate to UNICEF, and I am asking for donations no matter how big. Every dollar helps. Whether it is one dollar or a hundred, every one counts - so please take the time to donate today. Donating is easy, just click on the link at the side of this page. I want to thank everyone who has donated this far. I appreciate it so much, and I am sure the kids that you are helping appreciate it as well! Thank you everyone for your continued support! Everyone has been amazing throughout this whole experience, and I am so glad that I did it.