I was going to write my race report for Run Rabbit Run 100 last night. But after having been up for over 36hrs (and running for about 23 of those hrs), I was a bit afraid of what I’d go on record as saying to the world and went to bed instead. Now my thoughts and emotions have shifted. Kinda wishing I had written last night.
This 100mile race was, by far, the most awful thing I have ever done. And I’m meaning the course, not my performance. This course is amazing and awful. So crazy to me. When I signed up the week before the race I knew I wasn’t really trained for a 100 mile race. Thing is, I’m fixing to shift a lot of life focus and energy into work (YOGA!!!!!). Being I was in stelar shape, feeling better then I had in years, running faster in my workouts and recovering quick, I wanted to race something before this shift. I spent 2 weeks running mountains around Leadville Colorado in August, so I knew what my body was likely to do in a mountain race. And I liked that!! The only draw back was my long run training. 28miles is the farthest I’ve run since very early March. I spent all of April and May in the pool with a bad foot injury (soft tissue damage and a bone bruise) and ran my first land mile in June. I really had no clue what my body would think of racing even 100k…not comforting facts when looking to race a mountain 100 miler. I battled myself over this and decided I’d rather go to Run Rabbit 100 under ready and see what happens then always wonder if I could have done well. I knew I could finish (Baring injury. And I FINALLY was not injured going into a race!), I knew I could totally fall to pieces in the end due to training, and I wanted to go race anyways.
I got back to Colorado the Sunday before the race. Camped two nights in the mountains, spent 2 nights at a friends house in Leadville, and then headed to Steameboat Springs for the race briefing (and check out the rainbow from when I got there!!) and a good nights sleep in my own hotel room. I feel lucky to have friends and family who help me out with trip costs. You guys know who you are, and I thank you greatly for the room and board!!
Race night, a few Texas runners went to dinner. I never know what to eat the night before a long long race. Pretty much, I order whatever I want and aim for high calorie/low volume, as this had always worked for me. That night, the bacon artichoke dip barely beat the double bacon cheese burger built between grilled-cheese sandwicheS. I was afraid the burger might be too much volume pre-race. ;) The dip came in a bread bowl, was covered in cheeses and had a good amount of veggies on the side. To drink: a yummy nitro milk stout and water.
I had planed to stay up late Thursday night because of the noon start of Run Rabbit Run 100. But after dinner, I totally crashed. Slept from 9:30pm to almost 9am. Got up, ate breakfast (Yay bananas and Greek yogurt), showered (conditioned my face. Guess I was nervous.) , packed out of the hotel room and headed to the start.
After checking in, I noticed an adorable little girl in a purple butterfly T-shirt and Vibrams hula-hooping outside. Hula-hooping looked like a better way to wait for the race start then sitting inside getting nervous, so I joined her. Turns out, this little girl is Salynda Fleury’s daughter and it was her 5th birthday. Fun little gal! Her mom is pretty staler too.
Finally, it was time to start!
The first 2.2ish miles are up, up up! My only goal here was to get to the top of the gondola feeling ready to run. 42 mins later, this goal was accomplished. Now time for more up, but at a less steep grade. I had 2 goals for the first 17 miles of this race.
1) Run My Own Engaged and Comfortable Pace.2) Enjoy running with other runners.
Number one was super easy. Places like Steamboat Springs were made to hike, run and enjoy. Number two has posed me problems in the past. I like to zone out and talk to God when I run. Having other people pull me out of my thoughts has been a struggle for me before, but on this day it was easy. Of course, it helped that I was running with amazing ladies. I enjoyed the conversations and was a bit awed to be running with one of my two favorite athletes in the world.
By the time I reached the 3rd aid-station, I was feeling amazing. Happy and fresh and ready to run. The only mishap I had was missing a turn coming down the technical Fish Creek trail. This is my problem on trails. I get happy and start to feel good and zone out and get lost. Will I ever learn to pay more attention to directions? Lucky for me, Becky saw me hiking around in the bushes and yelled to me that the turn was up there. Back up I went.
After a quick shoe change, I was heading down the road to Olympian. I still have not decided if I ran this section too hard. It felt good, but I had two 7:01 miles on this road, and my slowest mile was under 7:30. I’ll need to think about this more. But I didn’t feel like I was pushing it.
At Olympian, I ate, grabbed my pack and was off for the Lane of Pain, headed towards Cow Creek aid-station. The hills on this section where enjoyable. Lots of up and then up and down, followed by a nice twisty single track of down into Cow Creek (mile 31ish). Unfortunately for me, I started to feel pretty bad shortly before reaching Cow Creek.
At Cow Creek I ate and left. Sure I felt bad, but I was hoping it would pass soon. Pam Smith caught up to me maybe 2miles or less after Cow Creek. I told here to go ahead and pass me. She said she would, if she was really feeling it. For me, the trip back to Olympian was back at an enjoyable, relaxed pace. I didn’t push it at all. Pam decided to run the jeep road in (about 4 miles fr Olympian) and invited me to go with her. I let her get out of sight, and then picked up the pace. With maybe 2 miles to go on this jeep road, I flipped my light on and…oh no…a gate. Bummer! I ran down a steep steep hill that I shouldn’t have. Nothing to do but go back up. So up I went. At the top of the hill, a tortoise angel yelled at me to head down to my (now) left. I did, and soon reached Olympian for the 2nd time.
An orange Amp and back up the road. I was feeling tired, but really good for having run over 40 miles in the mountains. Still, no 7 min miles this time.
At Fish Creek, I ate a LOT, put on my little iPod and was ready to climb! The climb up was super great. I enjoyed the music and cool (yet not cold) air. My legs felt good again, and I ran as soon as I could. I ran right into a thick, cold mud puddle that sucked one shoe off. I tried to catch my balance by sticking my other foot into the puddle, but it was too late. I went down with a splash. My first thoughts were of blisters and numb feet. But before I could panic, I was laughing. Hard. I am grateful my personality is such that I laugh out loud when I fall on my @$$ in the cold mud. This year, I packed drop bags for Long and Summit Lake, so I knew I could get dry socks and shoes, even shorts if I needed to. As it turned out, my feet felt better cold and wet (no numbing, but the foot pain was less) then they had dry. I kept my wet shoes and socks on and continued to splash in random mud puddles.
At Long Lake (2nd time there), I drunk some coke, grabbed food, took off my wet shirt, put on my wind/rain jacket and left for Summit Lake. It was a walk/ jog for me, but I was feeling good mentally and happy to be out there. When I reached summit Lake, Pam was leaving. She told me she was done. But I new better. Pam isn’t the pack it in type. I saw how bad she felt at Western in 2012 and she still finished. This lady is tough. I told her I knew she would feel better soon as I passed her. About 7 miles later, she passed me back for the last pass of the race.
Somewhere in this section of the run (on the way to Dry Creek), I lost my mental game. I’m not sure exactly what happened. I think the biggest was me thinking Dry Creek was 5 miles from the last aid station (Wrong! Over7…bad planing on my part). Another mistake I made was not turning my iPod back on when the play list ended. Not sure why I waited to restart it, other then it was raining a lot on this stretch and I though the aid was closer. I also had to stop and pee for the 3rd time since mile 40, which is annoying. These are all small things, and the fact that these (along with a couple other little things, like my headlamp dying) knocked me out of race mode shows my naive, weak, brain and preparation. I kept thinking I’d get it back. But my brain wouldn’t get ramped up again. I was in no way close to dropping, but my mental race game was over. It really sucked. I saw how hard those other girls were working and I’d think to myself, “You can work harder, come on and go!” But then I found myself walking just seconds later. It was frustrating. I was so tired (more so mentally, then in the legs). It was like I was missing the “GO!” piece of me. But I knew I was finishing this thing!!
When I got back to Dry Creek, my GPS said 77.1 miles. Darn to me for being so good at getting off course! I knew my GPS would die soon, and I had no back up watch. I ate, drank, and left for the long climb back to Summit Lake. This section wasn’t too bad. I mostly walked it and enjoyed my music. When my GPS died, I tried to count songs to measure time. That didn’t work. I tried to just go and not think about time. This did not work for me. This sucked. I went back to counting songs, but kept losing track. Then the sun came up, and I was happy to turn off my lights.
Leaving my lights and GPS in my drop bag at Summit Lake, I grabbed pancakes and bacon, along with a Coke, and walked on. Mostly I walked. Some I jogged. Lots I splashed, on purpose, in the mud puddles. That part was still fun.
When I reached Long Lake for the 3rd time, the 50 mile runners where coming thru. I took off my rain jacket, put my cap-sleeves on and asked the time. 8:30 they said. And 6 miles to the next (and last!!) aid. OK, I am almost done!! I started crying and walked on.
Here is where I almost went insane. I am not sure how many times it happened, but I was hallucinating aid-stations. I would think I was seeing a tent up ahead thru the trees, but it was rocks and tress…no tent. Over and over again. I was out of food and water. I was hungry and tired. And I had no clue how long it had been since I left the last aid-station. The course, thankfully, was well marked, because I thought many times I must be lost. I was not lost. I was just mentally gone. Never again will I do that to myself. I will always put watches in my drop bags so that I can look and see the time when I’m running for a day.
Finally, I got to the last aid-station!! WOOHOO!!!! I ate TONS, drank broth, refilled my bottle and asked the time. 10:15 they said. Ok!! I think I can break 24hrs I told them. A big thank you, and it’s down the mountain for the last 6 miles to the finish. It was steep, slippery and painful, but I was too close to the finish line to walk. I ran and ran and ran and wished I knew how long I’d been running and then, finally, it was over. Finally. I finished in 23:12:35, 6th female, 14th finisher and I was happy. I didn’t have any expectations going into this race. I mean, I know I am fast, but I know I am also inexperienced. I know I am, indeed, a very good athlete (if NOTHING like Nikki !!!), but so where a lot of other gals there. I feel like I ran very well, yet I know I ran well below my potential. I want so bad to learn to run with a bigger drive then I did at Run Rabbit. I have so much to learn, and I hope that someday I can run a 100 and feel like I really ran with all I have. For me, that is much easier to do in a 100k. But I’m not quitting yet.