Today I am well into recovery, I make it up and down stairs without too much pain and my back and shoulders are talking to each other again. I’m enjoying a day off from work and all I have to do is get my braces tightened (ew) and see clients at the clinic. Hopefully they all show up this week!
I’d say my journey for the race began Friday. I spent the morning relaxing at Mr B’s. He left P90x stretch DVD in the player for me, so the cats and I wiggled around. Then I spoke to Pati and had to steal paper for her address hahaha. Which I felt like a creeper going into the computer drawer, but I remembered I needed paper last time I stayed over and he said he didn’t care. I left him a nice card and stole a string cheese and was out the door. A quick lunch at Wendy’s where I only ate my piece of grilled chicken and stored my potatoe and I was headed home. Once home I ran around like a crazy person trying to pack anything and everything. I started out the door, thinking I was done and realized I did not pack underwear. Seriously. So back into the house and revising my packing list to make sure I DID have everything.
Finally out the door a lil late and on the road. Arrived at Pati’s and back onto the highway and on our way to Titusville!
Arrived at the Middle school a liiiiitle late. Gale was nice enough to get our bags for us and we made a bee line for the food. A bit of pasta and some salad and we listened to the meeting. Afterward we chatted with a few friends and got ready to turn in for the night in the gym. Not many people opted to sleep in the gym, which I thought was odd. A few tents were pitched outside even. I placed my mat and sleeping bag and wandered out into the cafeteria to finally eat my potatoe from like 10 hours earlier. I sat at a table and chatted with Nick B. It was great to get to talk with him…met him at one of the training runs and I really admire him as a runner. He’s in with all the “cool kids” and I always feel like I’m not good enough to mingle with the elites. But, he was very nice and helpful and even convinced me to sign up for Regis run this January.
Suddenly, 9 PM lights were out and it was bed time! Curled up on the floor and went to sleep. I wasn’t sure how long I’d sleep, so I set an “emergency” alarm for 545. Lights up at 4 AM for the 100 milers. I groaned and crawled deep inside my sleeping bag. Next thing I knew…alarm was going off. Yikes. Seriously? EVERYONE else was awake and moving. I stumbled into the locker room to change and a woman I did not know says “Well, hello there sleepy head”. Yea I was being made fun of all morning…last runner up! And I slept through 3 waves of nosie.
I managed to get it in gear and before I knew it we were all gathered outside under the finish banner…to start. I hoped I’d see the sign again while on my feet and the horn sounded. We all started jogging toward the road and bike path and trail. I didn’t want to run too quickly, and worried if I made a HUGE mistake in not eating breakfast. Also bothering me was how cold it was and my hands were numb and I left my gloves in the gym.
Before I knew it we were on the bike path and into the woods. Pati and I chatted and enjoyed the first section. Along the bike path we saw a guy duck into the woods to pee, the funny thing is…I found out later on FB, this guy proposed to his GF at the finish line. How romantic is that? According to the website it’s a 7.1 mile journey to aid station #1. I did not have Garmin on since batteries only last 10 hours and I planed to take longer and I wanted it for the end of the race. Aid station #1 won as the best last year, so we were anxious to see what they had to offer. The terrain wasn’t anything too intense. General trail hiking with a few hills and rocks here and there. The theme for #1 was Christmas. There were lights and I think music? And “presents” on the ground where you could leave trash. I enjoyed a treat of M&Ms, goldfish, hot chocolate and a banana. Went to the bathroom and saw Ed, who has just seen Gale about 30 minutes before. We adjusted our gear and went off up the switchback you might recall from my training run posts. As we climbed the hill I thought about how we’ve already done over a 10K, a major race for some people! And we were not even 25% finished.
At the top of the switchback I took a picture and then took another of my feet with the view. I was happy to be on a part of the trail I knew and we talked and walked for a while. It was nice to be comfortable and we paused for pics of old buildings and other sites. When we reached aid #2 I was floored at how strong I felt at the half way point. Mind you “hiking” over running was probably making the BIGGEST difference. Not to mention, the company, the thrill of racing, and actually drinking water as I should. I felt great at the half way point and was really thinking this was going to happen!
We saw American flags as we ran along the road and started signing. “Coming to America” “Born in the USA” “ROCK in the USA” and finally just saying the pledge. We’re silliy but hey it was OUR race!
Saw Nick and asked him about those important oranges he told me about! Saw Amy and Jamey and Rajan. I cracked my back on the table, put more Triglide on my feet and grabbed extra socks in case I wanted “gloves” later that night. It was only noon, but I had to consider it may get cold in the woods before we finished. Snacked on heed and sandwhiches and used the bathroom. My hands were so swollen it hurt to have anything touch them! We didn’t hang out too long…and were off into section 3! There was a possibility we could do this in 10.5 to 11 hours.
Partly into section 3…my fave and one I knew the best….I wanted some of my supplies. Only I found out my pocket was stuck! This panicked me and no matter what I said or did I was hung up on not having some of my stuff. We asked some aid workers to help at the half way point, but they couldn’t get it. We tried to run parts of it too….but by the time we made it to Miller Farm we had lost SERIOUS time! I was angry with myself, there was no excuse to faulter where I should have been strongest!
Aid station #3, I snacked on more of what had been working all day and went to the bathroom. The aid workers were probably the most interactive and helpful of the whole day. I also opted for pop over a coffee chew and went on up the hill and into the cemetery area. Small issue….pop did NOT sit in my stomach very well. I was already upset about the pocket, and I was MORE upset about my time, and all of this combined with stomach issues and I was crying and in pain. I tried to listen to my IPOD but I was getting worse and worse, trailing more and more behind Pati. We were only a few miles into this last section and I finally accepted that I was going to have to drop. I could barely walk I was feeling SO SICK. Other runners were stopping to ask if I was OK as they approached. I felt like I was a baby and needed someone to pat my back and burp me. Or just needed to puke. But I never puke so I just can’t do it on command.
I tried to burp or whatever and nothing was helping. It was breaking my heart as the sun was going down and my feet weren’t moving. I tired to tell myself there was a 17 hour limit and if I sat down and slept or rested I could finish…but I knew once I stopped moving, I would cramp up and be done. Somehow I found myself doing some verion of praying or meditating or something. And I said “I can’t do this, it’s not that I don’t want to, or I’m complaining, or it’s hard…I CAN’T do it anymore. I know I should find it within myself, but I am DONE and I need something to happen here.” The next thing I knew we came up on a hill and at the top of the hill was Rajan, Amy and Jamey.
Pati caught up to them first, and I dunno if it was the shock of seeing other people or just timing in general…I found myself suddenly able to burp. And all the pressure came flying up out of my stomach and it was HEAVENLY. I secretly called the girls my guardian angels and later told them this. The bells on their packs made me smile and think of Emme at home playing . All I could do was focus on following on their heels and getting out of the woods. Having other people was great and even with Rajan running ahead into the distance, the 4 of us travelled over the rocks and ledges until the slow trip down onto the street.
A sign warned “Runners in the road” as we made our way to Drake Well Museum. Jamey and Amy chanted “We’re runners in the road” and we all jogged or some version of jogging down onto the grass and around the museum. After the mile loop we found our group back on the road and the bike path and into the darkness. There was a comfort to the darkness and when we crossed the bridge toward the school Amy and I were powerwalking together. She said “Let’s do this” and we started to run for the finish. We heard cheering and she sped off in front of me and I tried to hold back from crying too terribly hard (tears of joy). I had missed my goal, but not by much and really my only goal was to finish.
As I ran under the sign I knew I was crying. Race director Tom hugged me which really brought on the tears because I kept telling Pati how badly I wanted to have someone hug me. An aid worker even since I wouldn’t have anyone at the finish. That hug felt amazing. I paced around in a circle as I always do after a race…and tried not to have an asthma attack or pass out. Eventually I stumbled into the gym and took off my extra junk. Saw a sign for “free massages” and told them never thought I’d see something I liked more than the finish line.
A night of texting and talking and showering and enjoying everyone’s company. Everyone I had met made their goal of distances and I was so happy. A long drive later I was crawling into bed between 1:30 and 2:00 am.
And I’m happy to say, I’m happy with how I did. I still like running, I still like the race and I don’t wanna die and hide or hate myself. Unlike the marathon, I don’t feel like the world is a disaster or that I’m falling into a deep depression. In fact, I look forward to my other 2 runs this month and as mentioned earlier, signed up for the Winter Regis Run in Jan. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience for a 50K and I don’t regret a moment.
I have decided though, no more distances above the half until my business card reads “Julie LPC CDCA. Which is going to be May darn-it!”
Here are the split breakdowns according to the Website. Then my Garmin information from Aid #1 to the finish.
Aid station # 1 – Wolfkill Run – WK
Loop 1 – WK1 = 7.1 miles / 11.4 K
Aid station # 2 – Petroleum Center – PC
Loop 1 – PC1 = 13.9 miles / 22.4 K
Aid station # 3 – Miller Farm – MF
Loop 1 – MF1 = 22.7 miles / 36.4 K
FINISH – Titusville Middle School – TMS = 31.1 miles / 50 K