So life happened, as you've all read about in the blogs since May, and to make a long story short, we weren't quite ready to tackle 30ish miles through the desert. A couple of weeks before the race, I had attempted to do a back to back long run weekend with 10 miles on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. The 10 went fine, the 20 imploded just before 11 miles and I made Scott come pick me up and take me home. Then we had a 15 miler the week before the race where my body betrayed me and I had to spend an embarrassingly long time in a gas station bathroom. I wasn't feeling terribly optimistic about the 50K after all that.
We made it down to Moab and arrived at packet pick up with 5 minutes to spare before it ended for the night. They did have packet pick up available race morning, but I always feel better if I have my stuff the night before. After we checked into the hotel, we met up with Jamie for dinner at Zax. We had talked Jamie and our other friend, Polli, into running the 50K as well.
We arrived to a chilly start line, but there was a variety of hot beverages to be had while we waited for the starting gun.
|It's c-c-c-cold. But gorgeous. Photo courtesy of Jamie Eckles.|
|Making my way up, slowly. Very slowly. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.|
|Feeling good now that the trail is flatter and the sun is warming us up. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.|
|Back on track, enjoying nature's wonders. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.|
|There was a man taking pictures. Thank you, man taking pictures.|
|Scott (my Scott, not Jurek) running along like it's no big deal.|
I wolfed down quesadillas and potato chips with wonton abandon. I was still having difficulty with eating the bars I had brought, but the real food at the aid stations was going down fine. We headed back up the trail, slowly winding our way gradually up to the middle aid station. It was over 7 miles from the last aid station and I was starting to curse the distance. Aid stations are wonderful little oases and I always find myself wishing there were more of them in ultras.
We finally reached the aid station that marked the halfway point. We refilled our packs, applied more sunscreen, drank copious amounts of Coke, munched down more potato chips, and headed back out. We knew that we'd be going mostly downhill until the end, with the exception of a little steep uphill around mile 28. So we tried to take advantage of gravity helping us out, and we did pretty well, for a while.
|Trail running heaven. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.|
|After a while, the slick rock makes you want to die. Photo credit Scott M. Stringham.|
Slick rock is fun to run on, for a bit. But after, say 20 or so miles, it starts to make your feet and knees wish that you weren't running on slick rock. We were starting to long for the double track dirt road again. When we finally made it back to the road, we let out actual cheers of joy. We hit the last aid station and knew there was only 4.5 miles to go. Unfortunately, more of it was uphill than we had realized it was going to be, so it was slow going those last miles. We were both pretty wiped out at that point (probably from that whole lack of training thing). But we slogged along and eventually made it to the finish line.
|And we weren't even last. Photo courtesy of Jamie Eckles.|
|Cautionary swag, from my 5th 50K.|
If that's not cautionary enough, you can now imagine running a half marathon 4 days after a 50K that you weren't ready for. I'll give you a little insight on how that goes.
I run the Thankful 13 every year on Thanksgiving. I find it's a nice way to start the holiday and give me an excuse to eat ALL the food at Thanksgiving dinner. Because I always think I am going to be ready for the things that I sign up for, I didn't think much of it being a mere 4 days after my 50K. I should have really put more thought into this whole thing...
Scott was signed up for the 5K, so he could run really fast and win awards and stuff, which he did, placing third in his age group. Meanwhile, I was out trudging through 13.1 miles of cold, sore miles. It was pretty, though.
|It was worth taking my gloves off once, to get this shot.|
|Half marathon #85, wrapped up.|
Until then, happy running!