I hadn’t run a trail 50K since last fall so I was a little nervous and very excited. I knew I could finish, I trained a ton over the winter. What I didn’t know is whether I’d really gotten faster and if I had, then how much? Then also a lot of my friends were running one of the two distances which for me is a feel good thing. I ran the first half with a couple other runners and between chatting, feeling really good and trying not to trip and fall I paid a lot less attention to my pace than I usually do, so when I looked up at the clock for my split I was shocked. I’ve never run a 25K that fast let alone any half of a 50K. Good or not good?
I held onto the pace until mile 20 or so and then it started to slip but I still ran 30 minutes faster than I’ve ever run a trail 50K before so that made me pretty happy. Shaun Pope won the men’s and Sandi Nypaver, who I ran with for the first half, was strong enough to hold a little closer to the pace than I could and won the women’s. I was happy with 2nd place, although I of course plan to try to get faster. It was pretty amazing to watch her pull away running up hills late in the race looking so strong. She promises me the hills started to hurt and slow down some in the last 3 miles out on the salt run loop but I several minutes behind by then and didn’t get to see it. I’ve already mentioned this before but it bears mentioning again; I have met so many really wonderful people trail running and racing!
Three of my fellow Grunt Girls ran in the 25K. Tonya Yanok set a new PR and didn’t even look tired by the time I got to the finish line. Kim Zepp ran a great race, covering more miles of trail than she ever has before. Anastasia Birosh finished over an hour faster than she’d told me she would while we were all huddled together for warmth before the start. Yeah, that’s a lot faster! Gabe Bures, one of our Grunt Guys also ran a PR, although this was actually his first 25K. A crowd of our fellow Grunt Girls drove over from their morning training run to watch us finish and it was a life-saver hearing all that screaming and cheering fighting my way to that uphill finish.
So what else should I talk about? It was in the low 20s when we started at 7:30 but rose to just above freezing and sunny by the finish, turning the trails into mud sometime around 11 and slowing progress for already tired runners. The sun was so great to see and feel that I’m not sure I minded. I continued my strategy of alternating protein gels with Hammer gels early in the race, switching to Hammer gels alone in the second half and I still think it makes me a heck of a lot less sore the next day to put in those 10-20 grams of protein. I think I’ll send Hammer Nutrition an email and ask them to make protein gels. Total gel count? I think 3 Accel gels (if you try them don’t complain to me about the taste, it sort of grows on you) and 10 Hammer gels. Yeah, it’s a lot but I would start to feel like my legs really hurt and eat one and then a little while later my legs would hurt less again. Higher blood sugar=happy brain and a happy brain will tell you your body hurts less. Low blood sugar=unhappy brain which will play tricks on you to try to get you to stop running. ‘Lies’ I tell it, ‘all lies’. Possibly I should have put in even 3 more gels than I did.
Ice bath after? Yep, after a large glass of wine. Stairs this morning? Not too bad. Even just right after I get out of the ice bath I can feel the difference in how my legs respond-well, after they warm up again. I’m sore but I’m not limping around. Did I scream and carry on for the first couple minutes? Oh, did I ever. That will probably never go away. After I was done screaming I called my friend Stacy Rhea, the woman who put the idea in my head in the first place, and she kept me calm enough and distracted enough to stay in the tub for about 18 minutes. Thank you Stacy! That’s enough blog for today I think Thanks Lloyd Thomas for having a great and well marked race for us to run and have a wonderful day out there everyone.