The weather was not cooperating; it was unseasonably warm in Henderson, Nevada. Heat is my Achilles heel. I knew after the first hour of running that I wouldn't make it to 50 miles. Once I came to terms with that, I was free to just relax and enjoy the run for the new experience that it was.
The course for the race was a 2.38 mile loop around a little lake. Apparently, it's also a bird sanctuary, so there was some wildlife to enjoy during the long hours of running in circles.
|I did all those things and more.|
I wondered if I would get tired of the loop, but I didn't! With the whole course being visible, it was fun to see all the runners. Everyone was so supportive and friendly. There were many high fives and words of encouragement as we passed by each other time and time again. I also enjoyed being able to pass by my own aid tent about halfway through each loop.
|An oasis in the desert heat.|
We had a cooler full of ice, which I took full advantage of throughout the day. I also organized my gear into some boxes, so I could find things easily. This paid off when runner brain hit and I couldn't think clearly. All the non-food things were in one box, iPod, Trail Toes, Ruby's Lube, the Fixing your Feet book, my flashlight and headlamp, etc. And the other box had my bags of Tailwind, gels, chews, electrolyte tabs, etc. People passing through thought my box idea was brilliant.
The aid station that the race provided had a dunking cooler so we could soak our hats and bandannas in ice water to keep cool. I loved that feature. I also loved loved loved the watermelon. I think I almost ate an entire watermelon over the course of the race. Another thing I really liked eating were the bean burritos. Those things were AH-MAZE-ING. As the day progressed and the sun went down, they started bringing out the brownies, cheesecake, burgers, and hot dogs. I just couldn't bring myself to eat anything that heavy or rich though. I did have my very first ever Cup of Noodles. I was just looking for some broth, since the sun had gone down and I wanted something warm and salty. It was the giant industrial size too, I only managed to eat a third of it and then I just drank all the broth. I felt pretty good after that.
|One of the feeling good moments.|
I had so many periods of feeling good, then bad, then good again. The first downturn I took was about 3 hours in. I felt a hot spot under my big toe on my left foot. I never get hot spots or blisters, so I knew I needed to take care of it, ASAP. I got to my tent, took of my shoes and the left sock, and examined the area. There was no blister yet; I had caught it before it turned into anything serious. I slathered some Trail Toes (it's great stuff) over the area and put my sock back on. Then I changed into my other pair of shoes (I was running in Hokas, the Bondi and Tarmac models) and I felt brand new after that.
I enjoyed about an hour of feeling renewed, then I tanked pretty hard around 4 hours. My stomach was not feeling very good. I had to take a few minutes to just sit very still in the shade of my tent. But I made myself get up and keep going. At about five and a half hours, my stomach was feeling much better and I perked up substantially. At this point, I also allowed myself to listen to my iPod. I wanted to make it to around 6 hours without any music, that way it was like a little reward. I cranked up my jams and I was on my way. Hours 6 and 7 were fantastic. Shuffle mode knew I needed some fun music, and songs by Flight of the Conchords kept coming on (I'm the hiphopopotamus, my lyrics are bottomless). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfqiC92INO4 I was cruising around the course, the sun was finally going down, cool air was coming in, and a gorgeous sunset was brewing.
Another downturn hit around 8 hours and that's when I really started wondering if I had another 4 hours in me. I did a fair bit of moping and face pulling, but I got back out there and just kept plodding along. At just after 9 hours in, I decided that it was dark enough and cool enough to change into a long sleeved shirt and I exchanged my visor for a buff. Putting on a clean shirt after you've been sweating in the same one for 9+ hours is a little slice of heaven, let me tell you,
The last hour was the most difficult. I firmly believe this is because my brain knew it was the last hour. The closer it got to the 12 hour mark, the more things starting hurting, the more aches and pains popped up, the more my motivation waned. But my youngest brother was there to help me through my second to last lap. He offered to pace me, which blew my mind, since he doesn't run. AT ALL. He saw how slow I was moving though, and he knew he could just power walk me through the lap. And that's what he did. That lap seemed to go by very quickly. I was grateful to have that support when I needed it most.
|It's a running joke now that my mom always has to take a picture of me stopping my watch.|
I decided to stop at 11:46:55, since I knew I couldn't get another full lap in before the 12 hour mark. My mileage total was 42.84, a new distance PR. And that was totally fine by me. My brain just wasn't having it anymore. My body could have kept plodding along for who knows how long, but the mental part was toast. So I got my medal and hobbled my way back to our tent.
|A little grainy, a little bit of a crazed look in my eyes. Whee!|
After I got over to our tent, I tried to just sit down, but that still put some pressure on my feet. So I ended up just lying on the ground, which turned into pathetic shivering on the ground. The nice man who had set up next to us brought me over a Muscle Milk shake. That helped more than he knew. I didn't think to bring anything for afterwards, we just had snack type food, and I was done with that. We got everything packed up and I bid my fellow runners adieu. There were still so many out there, tackling the 24 hour and 100 mile events. I did not envy them then.
After I got back to the hotel, had a hot shower, and a bit of real food, I was feeling pretty decent. My legs weren't burning up like they were after my first 50K, I actually slept a bit better too. Sleeping after a tough effort is always difficult for me, but it wasn't too bad this time. And when I got up Sunday morning, I was feeling basically normal, like I should go out and get some more miles! Weird. My recovery through this whole week has been going very well and the run I did last night felt super duper. I must be getting better at this whole thing.
And since I've been feeling so stellar, I decided to sign up for the race again for next year! After I signed up, I sent a text to my mom telling her that I had signed up and paid for next year's race. Her response: "Of course you did.". What I didn't tell her was that I signed up for their new 48 hour event. If you're reading this now, mom, surprise! Your daughter has lost her mind! I'm thinking that 150 miles sounds like a doable distance in that amount of time. And just reading over that sentence makes me question my sanity. Oh well! It's going to be a blast. And a trial. And a party. I even peer pressured my running friend, Jamie, into the 12 hour event. I know she's going to love/hate it as much as all of us out there did.
Until next time, happy running!