Monday, January 7, 2013
This race was the best way for me to kick of 2013!!
I honestly have been going through yet another transition in my personal life, and I needed some zone out me time. Thankfully I have an awesome partner who watched Peanut for me so I could sneak out early Saturday morning and meet up with some amazing trail runners for the GAC Fatass 50K in Toppsfield.
I love these Fatass races. The whole idea behind them is to be free, only cost is to bring some food for the fuel table, and FUN. Did I mention they are super laid back and held by warm friendly runner people? I mean what more can you ask for?!? (not much). SO I brought some boiled red potatoes and hard boiled eggs and headed up to run on some new to me trails. Everyone was very nice there and all we had to do was check in and each time we completed one of the 10k loops check in again. That is the nice thing, there is no pressure to run x amount of miles in x amount of time. Many people were out running a marathon, some a loop or 2, others the whole 50k. The beauty of it was: we were all out there having fun running on some beautiful trails.
I was geared up for the snow and cold because I anticipated being out for about 5.5-6 hours. I knew I just wanted to take my time and have fun, I knew this was my first long run of 2013, and I also know my goal is the 100 miler in June. So this means, slow and steady running easy on the legs, little risk of injury :) That is hard for the speed demon hidden in me, but this was on snow packed trails so it being icy and trails in general helped to slow me down.
I headed out with the group and was just jamming away to my DMB tunes. Those first few miles I immediatly regretted not taking a rest day on Friday. My legs felt heavy and tired. Eh live and learn, I knew if I pushed past that mental block after a few miles I would settle into a rhythm and feel better.
Luckily I was right and by mile 4 I felt better. I had more energy and I was buzzing along. The trails were very well marked and there were quite a few runners around me so I was not worried about getting lost. It was pavement for the last half mile as we circled back to the check in spot and aid table, this was actually helpful for me to mentalize each loop and work through it. I knew once I hit the pavement I was done another lap and could use the bathroom if needed.
The first 2 laps went by fairly easily and as I was going out for the 3rd lap I stopped to use the bathroom. I was carrying Cytomax in my CamelBak and gels, vegan protein bars, and salt shot blocks so I never stopped to eat at the aid table. With my food allergies and restrictions I have really come to adore that CamelBak, I need to post a review on it soon. It allowed me to keep drinking all day to stay hydrated and eat when I felt I needed it. I forced myself to take in something every 3 miles, I did not want to repeat my Stonecat error.
When I am running and feeling great I tend to forget to eat for 4-5 miles, then I hit a wall and struggle. This happened to me at Stonecat, so today I made it easy by making myself stop and eat. I actually liked the way the course was laid out, around mile 3 there was some steeper climbs so I used that as my time to take in a gel. In the beginning of the course instead of hanging out at the aid table I would just check in and head strait back into the woods and eat once I was moving along well.
I found this strategy to work better for me. I have a hard time stopping at the aid table and hanging out, mentally it is harder for me to keep going after that. So I carried all of my fuel and just plugged away at the loops all day. Then came lap 4....
I got lost! I am so not a good navigator, and once again I was lost. It really was my own fault, I was feeling great and we got to about a mile into the loop and I missed my turn at the field and kept going through the field. I was jamming away to my music so I did not even notice! Once I realized it I was back at the start of the loop and I had run an extra 2 miles. Right then in there I got really frustrated. 2 miles is not a lot I know, but when you are already planning to run 31, 33 sounds daunting especially around mile 20. I was mad at myself for not paying attention and I started to think I would just end the loop and not go back out.
I kept plugging away and once I finished the 4th loop I knew I had to go right back out to finish the 5th one. If there is one thing about me, it is that I am stubborn. I put it in my mind that I would be running a 50K that day and I knew I was not going to quit not when I was so close to being done! That last loop was probably my most cautious because I did not want to miss any turns again ;)
As I hit the pavement for one last time I felt good. I was glad to have been able to run that day, I needed it. Mentally I felt so much stronger than I did earlier in the week and I felt at peace with everything. They say you can go out for a long run and when you come back everything seems different, that the run changes you. For me this was never more true than it was Saturday afternoon. Yes my problems are still there, yes they did not disappear in 5 and a half hours while I was running, BUT I felt stronger and more able to tackle them head on.
So thanks to the GAC running club that put on a great race!!! And thanks to all the awesome runners and trail animals I got to meet with on Saturday, it was fun running with you all and I am looking forward to the next race on Feb 2 in Hyannis at the Cape Cod Frozen Fatass :)