Lean Horse 50 mile race

Saturday morning I woke up ready to run. My tummy didn’t feel great and I hadn’t slept well, but I’ve raced enough now to know how to let things like that go. The positive: having woken up every hour straight, up to the alarm, needing to pee- and drinking water, I knew I was hydrated!

I put on my favorite running gear (all the things Champion sent me early this past summer) and headed over for the continental breakfast in the hotel. Waffles!! YAY!

By 5:15, I was at the civic center in Hot Springs, South Dakota, feeling ready for the bus ride to the start. Right about 5:20, the RD said the buses must not be coming and asked us to all carpool to the start. This race started and ended in a different spot. Then, just after all but 2 cars of runners left for the start, the bus showed up. Wouldn’t you know it? The last two cars unloaded and rode a bus.

At the start line, there was only one potty for all 200 runners. Lots of us chose the field over the line!! I am going to go off story a bit here. I do not know what has been up with my tummy the last few months. But for some reason, I have had to make potty stops 2 or more times on 30 mile runs. Very uncool of my body, I say. Today was no exception! By mile 5 I REALLY had to go. Only this race is exposed. No trees…luckily, I made it to the port-o-potty at mile 8.9. But by mile 15 I had to go again! BOOOO to my tummy for that. Lucky for me, after my mile 26 potty stop, my tummy stopped the meanness!!

The race started at 6am, in the light. The course was mostly bike trails and jeep road (no cement, but really really easy footing). I worked my way up to the front of the pack just in time for the count down to go. About .1 miles into the race, I asked if any of the runners where from Littleton, CO. It was so cool to me to see the entrants list on Ultra SignUp, along with races the other entrants had run. I noticed when I signed up that a guy named Michael who lived not far from me was running Lean Horse 50. I also noticed that he had beat me by a few minutes in a 50k earlier this year. I hoped we could run together for a lot of the race and save our brains a little mental energy. Mental energy is valuable in ultra running! Michael turned out to be great company for 21 miles. I love all the amazing people there are in this sport of ultra running.   And Micheal’s crew helped me out at mile 26, when I needed Advil I had not put in my drop bag. Thank you to Rachael!!

The first 21 miles are mostly a gradual up. My plan was to run comfortably until comfortable got hard. When comfortable got hard, I planned on pushing. Based on my training, I figured I’d be running low eight minute miles for most of the race. My nutrition plan was to take in about 24ozs of water an hour, 2 electrolytes and 3oo calories an hour. For the most part, all of my plans unfolded as expected. Early on, I felt bad (tummy!), and was disappointed with not feeling like I could go any faster than I did those first 20miles. But by mile 30, I was wishing I had run the first 20 a tad faster! When I doubled my time for 25 miles, I got 6:52:00. At 4 hours, I had run exactly 29 miles.  And I ended up running the second 25miles 28 seconds faster overall than my first 25 miles.  I followed my nutrition perfectly, except from mile 33.4-39.4 and 39.4-45.9, where I had planned poorly and didn’t have enough water on me. I carried 1 12oz bottle for the whole race. From miles 16.3-26, I also wore a waist pack w/ a 20oz bottle in it. When I finished just before 1pm, I was told it was already 95 degrees. That sounds about right for how it felt!! Hot.

As far as the racing goes, the race was easy. No pressure and lots of fun. During the last 12 miles, I kept thinking, “If I was racing, this would really hurt. Oh wait! I am racing! Faster, Anie, faster!” When the lead guy came into sight about mile 40, pushing got easier. I did push hard, running the only hills in the race which were all in the last 16 miles. This was the first ultra I didn’t walk any hills on. Ha! My reward was a new course record for females and an outright win. I gotta say, chicking the field was fun. 🙂 But the truth is, I didn’t push into that AHHHHHHH zone I would have pushed into if I had another gal there with me. I just can’t do that on my own! Which leads me to…..

Vermont 50 mile race September 25th!! I am SOOO EXCITED! I know it will hurt, but it will be a pain I earn. My goal is to get top 2 so I can train for and race Western States 100 next year. If I don’t come in top 2, it won’t be for lack of trying. I feel ready to really race a 50 now. This one is sure to do. 🙂  Can Not Wait!!!!!!