I'll get to that though.
First off, we went up thursday to try and make a family vacation out of it, as we hadn't been camping for a while. It was beautiful, in typical VT fall style. THe air was clean, and it was quite chilly! We were enjoying this weather knowing there was rain predicted for Sunday...
I was not sleeping well as I typically don't in the camper, but I was making sure to eat and drink enough in preparation for Sunday. Saturday night I was up for the most part, planning my race, thinking about splits, what to wear, etc. We also had the ever-so-lovely Trail Pixie camping with us for the night, which the kids loved :)
Sunday morning I was up at 4:30 am for breakfast, etc which did not go down as my stomach was in knots. I was nervous! Well, nervous and excited. :)
Trail Pixie, who was doing the relay, generously drove me down to the start around 5:15am giving my hubby and kids a few more hours sleep. We met up with some fellow relay-ers, other running friends, etc. I looked for a few kickrunners and 2 other online runners I know but could not find them. We finally headed out into the rain for the start.
It was misting at the start, which doesn't bother me. I really don't mind running in the rain. I was concerned about the trails, as being a back-of-the-pack runner, I get to them after 75% of the runners...and at this race, about 90% of the Mt. Bikers.
Took off and felt great! I went out faster than I knew I should but I was feeling good and figured I would re-evaluate my pace at the first aid station once I got warmed up. I got to the first station(4.2m) in about 45 mins which was a FAST trail pace for me. Felt good and kept going at that pace and hit the next aid station(8.5m). Decided I should probably slow it down a bit as I hit some of the hills and though I know I am a good power-hiker, I didn't want to run out of gas and miss any aid stations. The next station was a crew station(12.3m) and I got to see Dave and the kids. They gave me my green smoothie, and refilled my camelbak. A bunch of I-love-yous and off I went. I was having a blast! I felt great, I was power-hiking up the hills and running down and flats which kept me right on pace. I figured I could easily keep the pace I was at, and get in under the 12 hour cut-off.
The hills...oh, the hills. I love hills, but some were never ending! The farms along the roads were just beautiful, and the leaves looked awesome because they were all wet. I chatted with people along the way, making jokes about the sun, and trying to be supportive. 50 miles is a long way, no matter how you look at it. Even the relay peeps were going at least 12 miles. Got to be supportive :)
Next aid station was the best (19.3m) because for some reason I thought it was only 17 miles! Still feeling good, still coming in with a comfortable leeway for the cut-offs. Somewhere in here I think I wiped my nose on my arm and shut off my Garmin so I really had no way to track where I was at, which sort of sucked...but I'll get to that.
Next 2 aid stations came and went (23.2m and 27.6m) within the cut-offs. It was definitely getting muckier out on the trails, and I was seeing alot of bikers drop out and head back. I was starting to struggle with the mud a little, but still going strong. I am sure I was running faster than I clocked at as for every step forward I took, I ws slipping sideways as well, lol :)
Next station was (31.9m) and my last chance to see my *crew* until the finish. I came in with only 10 mins to spare, and knew I was going to have to work to make the next cut-off. Got another smoothie, a fleece hat, my jacket and took off. The next cut-off seemed to be the tightest one of the race, and would have been fine had I not had the mud to battle. This 5 miles was almost entirely on the trails which was fabulous...except they were single track and switch-backs which meant everyone had gone in the same place an there was no way to get out of the mud. It was VERY slow going, the downhills were crazy, the uphills were 2 steps forward, one step back. I knew this was going to be tough to get to but i just pushed along as hard as I could but I also knew I was going way too slow. The mud was just slowing me down too much, I was falling alot, sliding off the trail and spending a wrong amount of time on my ass... ;0
I heard the horn...but pretended I didn't. I didn't know how far I had to go to the aid station as my Garmin was off...I got to the last hill and the land owner said 'Ya better heurry it up 'cause they're sutting down the aid station' Shit. I went up that mess of rocks and mud as fast as I could, but I knew it was too late. I got there 15 minutes too late. (I miscalculated before, I thought it was 9 mins...)I was SO upset. Even worse, I KNEW I could have made the last 2 stations within the cut-off. Even if I missed the 12 hour finish, I could have FINISHED. Balls.
Had to wait for this VERY nice girl to come pick me and another DNF biker . We got back to the lodge and the family was nowhere to be found as they did not expect me yet. I finally found them and as soon as I saw Dave, I started crying like a girl. I was so disappointed. Course Dave, being the rockstar he is, said to me 'You are a winner in *my* book'. Love.This.Man.
Came back to the campsite and took the longest hot shower I could. Then I got under some blankets and ATE! Spent a quiet evening with the best crew ever.
This morning I feel pretty good. My feet hurt the most, they are swollen and OUCH! :) My quads, etc feel pretty darn good considering.
What I learned:
-warm coke/gingerale, though not raw and probably not vegan is AWESOME with bananas.
-I am faster than I think I am :)
-Even if it rains, I will do fine at JFK in Nov. :)
-I really, really REALLY love running.
-I need to learn how to run in the mud. There must be a method. Anyone care to share? ;)
I still feel sad this morning, but overall the race was AWESOME and I will definitely be back.
Next up....Maybe the Stone Cat 50? I have a couple short races on the horizon, then there is the JFK50!
For now, I need to go help pack up so we can go home. I feel a long, hot bath calling my name!!!