I woke up at 4:30am, scared that I might have missed the alarm. Nope, but there was no way I would be going back to sleep. Only 3 hours of sleep. Good thing it’s 2 nights before the race that you should get your sleep. Good thing it’s 2 nights before the race that you should get your best sleep. I went into this race with the goal of finishing in 8 hours and 30 minutes. I didn’t want to exactly write it in stone on DM (dailymile), so I only told a select few (the hubby and my friend, Maribel). Sorry guys, but I know how disappointed I get in myself when I don’t accomplish exactly what I set out for. I know you know the feeling.
The race started at 7am, I told the hubby I’d like to be done at 3:30, so the family stayed at the hotel room while my friend, Maribel and I, headed to the lobby. My friend Jose, and his wife Morima, would be giving us a ride to the race. This was Morima’s first ultra and Jose’s second. He asked me if there was any advice I could give her. So, I tell her, “Eat when you’re hungry and drink when you’re thirsty.” How is that for some sound advice :)?
They arrived at 6:30am at the hotel. We arrived at the race star at 6:51. My heart was pounding, because I still needed to go to the bathroom. I find my race number, head to the bathroom and vaguely hear the tail end of the announcements about where to pee and poop and where not to. My heart is still pounding because the 50 mile start is .40 miles from the start so I’m running to catch up with them. I stood at the start, listening to people talk about the weather last year and looked around for any familiar faces. I remembered a few folks from last year’s race. Most of them dropped down to the 50k last year, because of the crazy weather. The weather is perfect on this particular day. Probably in the 50’s and sunny, so different from last year.
Gary Griffin, the race director, gave us the signal to begin. The course was a 10k loop (6.2 miles). The first 3 laps, I was doing a nice 8 min. mile place. I was feeling great. Of course, by the end of lap 4 I was feeling the pain in my knees, I took a couple of aspirins downed a GU and went on my way. During that aspirin lap, I felt I was sleep running. I was feeling so goooooood!
I do have to tell you that the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bananas at the aid stations were heaven sent. I dropped down to a 9 min. mile pace for the next couple of laps. At one turn around, I asked how many laps I had done, my lap counter says, “3.” I said, “What?!” When I saw her the next time, she says, “This is your 7th.” I told her I figured as much and kept going. Man, there was going to be some very bad words said if my laps were miscounted.
The last 2 laps were an absolute struggle, by then most of the 50k participants were out of there. Believe me, I was jealous. When I was approaching the end of my 44th mile, another guy was finishing his 50k. I asked him if this was his last lap, eh said it was and I could only say, “Oh.” He says to me, “With higher calorie intake, you could come out strong next year.” I knew that he was thinking I was doing the 50k as well. So, I shot back, “I’m doing the 50 miler.” All he could manage was an “Oh.” that time.
I was probably doing a 11 minute mile pace. I figured as long as I plodded along and didn’t walk I might have a chance at making my time. Of course, then again, I was also thinking, at least I won’t DNF. With only 2 laps to go, the pain in my right knee just kept getting worse and worse. The only thing I could tell myself was a line from Steel Magnolias. Except I was putting , Brody’s name in as well as my mother’s (2 days prior to the race she called to tell me she has breast cancer). Here’s what I kept telling myself, “I’M FINE! I can run all the way to Texas and back, but Brody and my mom can’t!” Which brings me to my own saying, “Running is the easy part. Life is soo much harder.”
Maribel ran with me the last 3 miles. She’s not a runner…yet :), but it’s in her blood (her father was a runner). It was so great to be able to share this moment with one of my closest friends. She kept my spirits up. She did a great job talking about anything, but the task at hand. My family was there close to the finish, waving their signs and clapping. My husband said, “Des, you’re going to do it! You’re going to make your goal time!” I had my doubts and since I didn’t realize that my watch was a few minutes off, I figured I had missed it, but I saw the clock as I rounded the corner and picked up legs to cross the finish. Official time: 8:30:53. I did it! I came in 9th place (3rd woman to finish). 15 people finished. There were a few that DNF’d, but I had no clue how many. Another great race! The volunteers were awesome!
The funny thing is, after this race, all I could think about was taking a shower, eating a bowl of broccoli and getting ready for my next 50. I’m planning on running my next 50 mile race on June 4, 2011, R2R. Maribel will be running in a relay team at that race and also Melissa (Brody’s mom). Still working on the rest of my WA friends :).