Ah, yes. The Race Around the Lake. Did I mention I never wanted to do this race again after my innagural time? No? Gee, it must have slipped my mind...
I was certianly well trained heading in, and I even *gasp* tapered...sorta. But when the race began, it all went to shit.
My eldest boy-child came along to be my crew, and we left early to avoid all the predicted traffic. We avoided it, thankfully and got a prime parking spot on the water at the start/finish. My *neighbor* was an ultra-dude there with his daughter so our kids became buddies for the duration. He was there to attempt the 24hr, having done many a 100 miler. The kids went off to volunteer, and we did our pre-race thing.
I had been hydrating, had a snack,changed and waited for the race to begin. It was pretty humid, but I was hopeful as there was plenty of cloud coverage. It never did more than sprinkle pre race, and I wasn't really worried about the rain, more the humidity.
We had our pre-race meeting where the possibility of having to stop the race due to lightning was discussed...seriously? It was bc of the silly marathoners, I am sure. When have you ever known an Ultra to be stopped due to to ANY sort of weather unless it is catastrophic? What's a little lightning? The one and only Wapak I ever did started with lightning striking all around us...talk about unsettling...but I digress. Wait, one more thing...Marathoners. A very different breed from Ultrarunners. I am generalizing but MOST marathoners are awfully...well, they aren't like ultrarunners. The liter on the course? ALL came during the marathon. The ultra group put their cups AND trash in the MANY trash cans around the course. The Marathoners put their gu and cup trash, oh, wherever. Really? Because the extra drag from carrying that gu rapper to the nearest can would totally kill your PR...Ugh.
OK, moving on. The 3 races all start together and we do this little jaunt out-and-back to get our marathon piece in as we all get a marathon split. I had intended on doing one of 3 things: beating the record of 61 miles(which this year would have been 62m) winning the woman's race, and/or beating my last time on the course which was 53 miles in 11:30. This is the ONLY ultra I ever have a shot at placing in, so I try to :) As soon as we started running, I thought I may have to re-evaluate as it was farking HUMID as hell.
During my first lap, I tripped and fell on a dirt path section, skidding to a stop and tearing up my knee, leg and 2 fingers. Srsly? If this is any indication of things to come, I thought, I am screwed. As I ran to the aid station, gushing blood from my knee, I thought gee...can't imagine what people must be thinking of my sad state...
My first split was a bit sower than I anticipated and honestly I did not feel great. However, I didn't think much of it as I know it takes me a bit to warm up. Except by mile 18, I was ready to quit. This sucked. I was sweating SO profusely, it was making me nervous. I was drinking a bottle every lap AND drinking water at each aid station, taking salt every hour, and after 3 hours I could no longer eat, and I hadn't eaten much thus far. I started to walk. I was not pleased. I think I would have walked off the course at this point if my friend and fellow TUGger wasn't coming out at midnight to run with me. So, I kept plugging along. I decided to try a 5 hour energy drink and a sock and shoe change as at this point I had been running in the rain as well as my crazy-ass sweating. I was having some concerns, as I flashed back to the debacle of VT100 last year, as my sweating/lack of eating was eerily familiar. I was NOT going to do anything stupid. I knew I was overheating big time and I couldn't figure out why. So I would run a bit, and walk until I cooled off.
The race course was a sad state of things. LOTS of walking MUCH earlier than I would have expected, and had seen previously when I did this race. Lots of puking as well. That is NEVER a good sign. People were really suffering in the heat. Stomach issues in varying degrees were the norm and I handed out quite a bit of ginger as well as taking it myself. Go figure...they had HEED as the alternate drink to water...Someday RD's will get that there aren't many people that can drink that stuff. I heard quite a few people saying they were fine until they drank the Heed...Hmmm...
Right on time, my friend Bill showed up and I told him my tale of woe. I apoligized that we wouldn't be doing much, and he was a gentleman about it. I figured I would get in 50k and quit. That was a good training run and I would be ok with that. I was not down with suffering all night. Then, they put up a leaderboard. After a few laps, my name appeared on it in second place. I told Bill now I HAD to keep running! There was enough of a buffer between the 3 places that as long as I kept moving, I figured I could at least stay in second pace. So, off we went.
I was drinking water, Coke and taking salt and ginger. That was all I could get in. I just hoped it was enough. We ran most of every lap, sans a few that I had to wait for my stomach to not completely revolt. Bill was an AWESOME walker, and did not let me dip below 15min/miles when we walked and when we ran he went out ahead so I had to chase him a bit which was perfect. We chatted and I got more miles in with him than alone and he is the sole reason I not only finished but got second place.
When I hit my 15th lap, I knew it would be my last. I probably could have gone out for one more, but I was D.O.N.E. and I knew that the 3rd place gal could not catch up no matter what. My feet were complete prunes from being wet for 11 hours, I was chaffed EVERYWHERE from being wet for so long and my stomach had done enough sloshing, thanks. I got changed and tried to drink...not the best idea. The nausea did not leave me for a very long time...ugh.
The RD handed out our awards, a cool plaque and a North Face gift card for $50! :) The 3rd place girl was someone I wanted to smack, as she was all butt-hurt when we finished bc she thought she didn't place. She was bitching about it and generally being very unsportsmanly. I had congratulated her TWICE on her mileage (41 miles, which is pretty darn good!) she ignored me. I thought in my head, if you are pissed you didn't place, you should have run faster and done more laps. Regardless, she was 2 laps behind me and 4 laps behind the winner and based on previous yearsfinishing times and miles, she wouldn't have even been in the top ten. THEN, she ended up getting 3rd anyways! AND she told the RD, when he gave her her award, that she was pissed and wasn't going to do the race again until she found out she placed. REALLY???? Wow. I guess I simply have a different mindset. Unless you are in that SMALL minority of elite ultra-runners, you aren't going to place. Its just not going to happen. So...why not simply run for the fun of it, try to improve for yourself and be happy with your accomplishments? 41 miles is a distance most people can't run, don't want to run and she did. Be happy about that! Oy. The thing that made this incident less annoying to me was the fact that the winning 12hr male was SUPER nice, very cool, and just a generally awesome guy. He was one of my ginger recipiants and thanked me after the race as it really helped him to keep going, which I was so glad about as he won :) He is a newer up-and-coming local ultra runner so I was glad to meet him and see that he was as cool as he was :)...especially after pouty woman was all, well, pouty.
So, NOW I am saying NO EFFING WAY to this race ever again. I really am not a fan of loop courses with loops that short. The lack of any sort of elevation stinks, and it just isn't for me despite the fact I don't mind running on the roads. I do think its a great run for someone trying an ultra for the first time as it is definitely very do-able and a good confidence builder. There were at least 2 people there who had done their first ultras and it was awesome to see them finish! :)
I said good-bye to my neighbor and wished him well as he had 11 more hours to go. We headed home and I proceeded to be a sloth for the rest of the day. I tried to start eating and drinking by the afternoon and it was going well so I figured whatever was up with my stomach had righted itself. My weight was pretty good despite my profuse sweating, which was awesome! I was definitely concerned about it, but even though I felt like crap, the salt/fluids I was taking in was enough to keep my weight from dropping outside of an acceptable range. Its good to be getting a handle on this whole hydrating thing FINALLY! :)
Today, I agreed to move furniture. Uh...yeah. What was I thinking? After which, I will begin the process of eating everything that isn't nailed down, my usual post-ultra tradition :) Then hopefully tonight I will be taking a long, hot bath. Or not...chaffing + water = screaming. ;)