Yes, that’s 50 kilometers (over 30 miles) of (mostly) trail running (and walking).
The race started just before dawn this morning from Maumelle Park near Little Rock, AR. The first three miles or so were on the road, so there was just enough light to see the trail once we got there. I had to exercise a lot of self control on that part- there were a few hills, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t make the same mistake that I’d made in my first 50k a few years ago when I ran uphill for several miles while my legs were fresh, but then nearly died towards the end of the race! Within the first 5 miles, we crossed Pinnacle Mountain. This part of the race was my absolute favorite, and it almost didn’t happen because of the rain forecast. However, we lucked out and the rain passed by to the south overnight, and the crossing was able to go on. The awesome thing about the mountain is that the last 400 yards or so is nearly straight up a boulder garden. I used my crazy spiderwoman skillz to scale the rocks and my mountain goat descending skillz to (unknowingly) put a giant gap between me & the 2nd place woman.
When I made it down the trail to the next aid station, someone let me know that I was in first place. WHAT?!?! I seriously was just trying to plod my way along- I had no intentions of trying to be competitive! So, I did just that- plodded along with my usual strategy- walk up hills, jog the flat spots, and run down hills. Doing this, I held on to first until just before the next aid station. The woman who would go on to run caught up to me and left the aid station first, and I didn’t see her again until the turnaround. Honestly, I didn’t care at all.
The next 22 miles or so went on pretty uneventfully- I ate a lot of gel, turned my ankles a few times, drank some pickle juice at an aid station (that one had beer! I can’t say I wasn’t tempted…),Ã‚ almost got lost once or twice, and wished that it would pour down rain so I wouldn’t have to stop when I had to pee. You know- the usual trail racing stuff…
I ended up finishing in 6 hours and 15 minutes- about 10 minutes back from a woman who, from what I heard from aid station staff, was being a real beotch because she’d missed a turn and didn’t like that the course description hadn’t mentioned that the trail was rocky and technical. I was like, SRSLY?!?! Maybe she should stick to road racing. The next gal back came in about 15 minutes after me. She’d caught up to me as I was leaving the turnaround aid station, but she looked pretty tired, and I happened to get a nice little energy burst after I left, so I never saw her again.
I’m not gonna lie to you- I’m in some pain right now like you wouldn’t believe (unless, of course, you run Ultras, too), but I had an outstanding race! I’ve never felt so good for so long during a run of that length! I’m usually dragging pretty hard by about mile 25, though today I kept a good plod going the entire way.I was surprised because I knew I hadn’t really trained that much…
I went back and looked- Since before X-mas,Ã‚ when I was doing some short runs for x-training, my first run to prepare for this race was exactly 1 month ago today. Whoa.
So the epic Summer of 2009 begins.