I have not had time to sit and write this since the race, but also I mean how do you put into words what I was able to experience on Saturday?
The day started early, 4:30am to be exact. I never sleep past my alarm on race day but I set a few just encase. I woke up and took a shower to try to relax. I was so jittery the days leading up to this, just because of the distance and all the unknown. I mean how do you wrap your head around running 50 miles without getting nervous? LOL
So I got dressed and got ready. The race started at 6:15am in the woods, which means only one thing:
The course was a 12.5 mile loop. There were some steep uphills, track trails and windy woods part for the first 3 miles. Then it broke out onto a dirt road for a bit before it hit more trails in the woods. That first loop felt great. Almost too great... I think (no I know) I did not fuel enough because I felt too good. I took my honey bear out with me but I kept forgetting to use some. I did drink plenty which is a first for me, I stayed hydrated.
I came in from that first loop right at the 2 hour marker. I felt amazing. I began to think I would really hit my time goal of under 11 hours. I went pee quickly and got another Luna bar and switched out my fluids and headed back out for my second loop. I still felt good. I got to the first aid station in 4.2 miles and got some water. There was an aid station at mile 4.2 and 7.5. I must say, they saved me. I looked forward to seeing those happy people every single time I was going around a loop. There was a guy dressed as a clown and he made me laugh. Even when I was hurting I cracked a smile.
Running an ultra through the woods is quite an experience. I got in from my second lap in around 2 hours and 10ish minutes and still felt good. I thought wow ok, we are already half way through!!!! I got some fluids and another bar and headed out for loop 3.
Loop 3 killed me. I hit a huge wall around mile 30 after the tough part of the trails on my 3rd lap. I fell 4 times I saw stars one time when I fell. It took me a good 3 minutes to get going again. At the aid station on the loop one of the women was concerned. She had me eat some red potatoes and dip them in salt. I have not had a white potato in over a year but it tasted so good. Clearly I needed to eat more. I drank more water and ate my Luna bar. This was the first time during my race that I thought about quitting, it was after that aid station around mile 34 that I fell again. I felt like shit.
Your mind plays tricks with you when you are running alone in the woods for hours and hours. I started thinking about why I was even doing this. I thought about getting through that 3rd loop and just stopping. I knew that everyone would understand. I had made it longer than I had ever run before and that in itself was an accomplishment. What more did I need to prove?
I think mentally the last loop was by far easier, I knew it was the last time I would see those hills and woods that day. Each time I came to a steep incline where I had to hike I smiled and kissed it goodbye. I started playing more power songs too. I felt better. I think my nutrition finally caught back up to me and I began to feel stronger. I was running more than I was able to during that 3rd loop and I was able to stay on my feet no falls! I felt great and kept running. I could not believe it. I knew that by the time I got to the first aid station that I would finish that 50 miler no matter what.
I told myself even if I had to crawl I would finish. I stayed up. I stayed strong. I fought through the self doubt and I kept going. I sang out loud when I felt lonely. I think the runners around me must have thought I was crazy!! But I could not help it, music keeps me going and I had been running for 9 hours alone, I needed to shout to keep from going nuts.
As I came into the finish line I fought back the tears. I could not believe how amazing it felt, I was crossing the finish line of my very first 50 mile race, 50 miles. Who does that? I felt so empowered at that point. I could not stop smiling.
I will compare it to the feeling I had back in Hyannis when I qualified for Boston. I felt unstoppable and accomplished. I just was so happy to have come so far and once again accomplish another goal I had set for myself. 9 hours and 27 minutes. I could not believe it. I got my qualifying time I wanted to be able to enter the lottery for the Western States 100 Miler too!!! Woot woot. I am super excited.
Of course my car is now adorned with the appropriate sticker too!
There is so much more to say, I am sure I will blog more soon!!!