I really didn't want to do this race. My training has been great, I have been feeling great, everything is, well...great. :) But, my mind...not so much. I just didn't have it in me. I knew this ahead of time, and add to this my youngest was telling me not to go as I am in the driveway ready to leave, and my daughter calling me that night to tell me things were 'terrible and she missed me very much and wanted me to come home'...yeah. No excitement there. Normally I am really excited before a race, and even nervous...as these distances are not for the faint hearted. You never know what can happen come race day, and no matter how much you train and prepare there are always things outside your control that can happen. I think that is part of the lure for me, the adventure. Or, your brain can just say 'yeah...no.'
I got to VT around 2pm, checked in and headed to the campground. I sleep in my car so there was no set up needed. I ate my lunch/dinner and I decided to try and nap since I knew I wouldn't sleep well that night. Plus, I had some time before my friend Steve would arrive. Once he got there we hung out and chatted for a while which actually lifted my spirits a bit...he even tried to build us a fire...which failed miserably, lol. Not for lack of trying, he got some bad wood and with how wet it had been in VT the last week, there was no way he could have gotten it going without girl-scout juice and a torch! Went to bed around 9pm and set my alarm...which is so funny as I always am awake before it rings. :)
I was up and ready by 4:30 as was Steve so we headed up to the race knowing parking would be unreal...with 500 mountain bikers and 300 runners and their cars, it can get a bit hairy. We hung out and did the pre-race thing, met up with other runners, etc...its so funny that I travel almost 2 hours away and will see runners that live in my town or the next town over whom I NEVER see locally, lol.
It was VERY humid, and though it wasn't overly warm at that point, the humidity was definitely going to be a factor. I knew that there had been some changes to the course as it changes a little bit each year, but there were extra changes this year due to the hurricane. The start of the race was different, and I thought I was going to have 4m of easy road running to get into my groove and bank some time...which did not happen. I started slow, which was ok, but never was able to find a groove where I could pick up the pace, which got me in the end as I never got faster, only slower.
During the first miles I had sort of contemplated doing the 50k, as I knew(or thought, anyways) that we had the option of turning off somewhere in the 7-8m range to follow the 50k course. I *thought* I knew where the spot was but when we passed it there was not marked turn-off...so by mile 10 I figured I was stuck in the 50m. My plan then was to simply run until I timed out...whenever that was. I was trying to do the math in my head but...I suck at math. :)
I passed through the 12.5m aid station and saw Leah, aka part of Team Roberts. She was doing the relay and came out of the aid station close behind me so I waited and we ran together. Well, ran until The Hill. Holy hills! That is one long stretch of hill out of that aid station! The view was wonderful but WOW. It was this hill that was my mental undoing. I *would* have liked to run that hill, as insane as it was, but I just didn't have it. We walked and talked and it was great, but inside I was junk. By the time we got to the climbing to the 19/20m aid station I was pretty much toast. The rest of Team Roberts caught up with us, as well as Steve but I had nothing left to even try to keep up. I wish I had tried though, as I may have been closer to the cutoffs and possibly done the whole 50...or not...
Coming down off that hill was misery. There is NO lack of hills in VT. I had underestimated the amount of hills, or forgotten, or due to re-routing there was more...reguardless, I was expecting to be able to run more flats to even out the damage, but really you were either hiking up a hill or running down which totally trashes your quads.(and knees, oy)I didn't have any motrin until my drop bag at mile 31, which was proving to be a mistake. Somewhere in the next mile or 2 I had decided that I was going to run to 31 and call it a 50k and be done. I knew Leah was tagging her Dad there for the relay so I could bum a ride off her and not have to wait for the van. Once I made that decision(and got some mortin at the next aid station) I started to actually enjoy myself. I was back enough in the pack that I was alone for most of the time, sans meeting some other local runners(local as in MA...SO funny! Very nice gals doing their first 50m races, and both finished!) I plugged along and actually did a fair amount of running in this next 10 miles or so. As I approached the 31mile mark, I did contemplate continuing...but knowing that it wasn't going to get easier, the climbs were going to get downright brutal, coupled with the fact that I had VERY little cushion at this point meant I would be chasing the clock which is a sucky feeling...I was ok with my decision to be done. I felt ok, (though I was juuuust shy of the quease setting in...) I *could* have gone on, but I didn't.
It wasn't a horrible day. It was a good training run, good hours on the feet and legs, and once the sun came out it was SO beautiful! I very much enjoyed the leaves and colors, all the farms, mountains and views... fall in New England! (well, maybe with a little less heat...)
I feel like I did well hydration wise, I never felt overly thirsty and I never got *sloshy* though I did lose WAY more wt. than I am comfortable with. I did not feel like I had, but EEEP! It was close to 10lbs. I did not eat much at all during the race itself, knowing that with the humidity I would undoubtedly be super nauseous if I ate, so I stuck to fruit, and coke, figuring I was getting fluids as well. I drank about 2 20oz bottles every 60-90mins but I was indeed DRENCHED most of the day. I never felt dehydrated though...I may just need to accept this as how my body deals with running Ultras. Since I don't really have any plans of doing a 100 in the near future, I don't have to worry about the weigh-ins just yet :).
Once I finished and got back to the start I showered and headed back to the race to watch people finish. It was great to see some of these people, the *back-of-the-pack* runners who were really gutting it out to get done, I was getting very emotional for some! Seeing parents come in with their kids waiting for them put me right at the edge a few times...missing my kids and family. I realized JUST how much I did miss them and wish they could be there too...
Got to see Steve and Josh finish(Team Roberts) as well as the two local gals I met up with along the way. It was great to see them finish! Said my goodbyes and hit the road...and was home to kiss my kids goodnight :) AND sleep in my own bed, which was especially nice, though my legs kept thinking I was still running and tripping over things, lol.
So...it was what it was. I had deticated my race to my friend Emily, who is going through a major health challenge right now, and I thought about her often. Said quite a few prayers for her and knowing how strong she is, helped me get as far as I did when really, I was ready to be done about 5 miles in. So, thanks Em :)
I am thinking alot about these races I do, and where I want to go with running in the future. The more races I do, the more I realize I just like to RUN. Far. I don't care about my time, I never have. Just the fact I can do this, is pretty awesome to me. I will say these big races have lost all appeal to me. Yes, its cool to get the tshirts and the aid stations are huge and there are always people around but...I am very much leaning towards simpy sticking to the small, local stuff...the TARC races, Stone Cat, Peak(though not local, it is one of my favorites and I hope to bring the whole family next year) I actually LIKE being alone during the race, getting in or out of my own head. Yes it is nice to run with people and chat sometimes, but when there are THAT many people in a race, there isn't much opportunity for alone time :)
I realize after going to most of my races alone this year how much I miss not having my family there. Its one thing when I go for the day and am leaving my house and coming back to it that night, its another thing to be gone for the weekend. So, I am very much hoping that Hubby can come to Stone Cat with the kids. I think it would make a world of difference :) I also think that is part of why next year I may stick to the local races, where I can leave and come home all in one day. They are smaller, cheaper, and the family COULD come out if they wanted to. I know it isn't real exciting, but the kids love to work at the aid stations and its nice to look forward to seeing them. I think in a longer race, if that day ever comes that may be a disadvantage but for 50's its just fine :)
I was supposed to do a BDay run but...I am thinking I am going to bail on my own run. I just can't get it together between now and then. So, I am hoping to jump in with someone doing the RANH, and let that be my 40 for 40 run :) Then I will gear up for SC, hopefully ending the season with a bang!
For now...I am going to go sit on my porch and watch my chickens with my feet up. Seems I now have snauseges for toes... :)