Vermont 50 mile run

Good golly that hurt! The only other times I’ve hurt like that were my 1st and 2end ultras, and I thought that was because I didn’t know what electrolytes were back then. The pain of running over 20miles on trashed legs is intense!

I got into Boston, MA at 5pm last night- the night before the race. After picking my rental car up and getting lost a bit, I realized I would likely miss packet pick up.Ā  Being there is no race day pick up, I phoned my friend Diona (who is from the Boston area) to see where she was. Lucky for me, Diona was at packet pick up and able to pick my packet up for me. Good thing too, because by the time I got into Brownsville it was after 8pm.

Oh! My rental car. šŸ™‚ A super cute yellow Fiat 500. Drives like crap, but I like it. šŸ™‚ Getting to drive that cute little car *almost* made all the getting lost I did ok with me. Finding Carol’s Hilltop Bed & Breakfast in the dark wasn’t too hard (finding Brownsville, harder). I’d say it wouldn’t have been hard at all if my car lights were high enough to reach the street sighs. But nope. I had to hop out of my car and walk around looking for the right angle to read the signs. Took awhile to find the turns.

When I got to my room, Diona was already there. Yay! Nothing like a fun friend to help lower the stresses of a hard week and long trip. Thank you D. šŸ™‚

At 4:40 the next morning, I got out of bed, showered, ate a Greek yogurt and 1.5 English muffins, got dressed (in my blue C9 skirt, matching sports bra and bright yellow Champion running tank. I picked the outfit based on the mud.I wanted to look muddy!) grabbed my Java Monster from the fridge and my bottles and Diona drove me to the start.

At 6:35, the race began. I ran to the first aid station with Vermont’s Aliza Laprie. Aliza is an amazing runner and super sweet gal. I was looking forward to running/ racing with her today.Unfortunately, Aliza ended up dropping the race. She had been sick earlier in the week and decide to call it a day before 50 miles. I don’t know Aliza super well, but from all I do know, she must have felt pretty bad to have dropped. What a bummer. Feel better soon Aliza!

When we got to the 1st aid station, I stopped to get my hand helds refilled but Aliza kept on going (wearing her Salomon pack). Somewhere around mile 13, I ran with Aliza again. She looked strong and I enjoyed getting to chat with her a bit more before she dropped back.

I began playing back and forth with lots of mountain bikers right after leaving the 1st aid station. At first, I was thinking this wouldn’t work well. Muddy ups and downs with runners and bikers. I thought it would suck. But I was wrong! All the bikers were so nice and encouraging. Not once was there any meanness AT ALL. In fact, it was kinda fun not ever running alone, due to the high number of bikers around. My favorite were the tandem guys. Number 2 favorite goes to the biker who said, “There she goes. Dancing up the trail. She dances, not runs. Light and graceful.” He would get first, but I’m not sure it was truth. Still felt nice to have had him say it!

Boy was there mud! And giant puddles and monster hills. LOTS of climbs- over 9,000 feet of climbs this year. At first, I was loving it! Who doesn’t love running hills in the mud? The first time I had a shoe sucked off, I walked back into the mud in one shoe and one sock, retrieved my shoe and did my darnedest to get it back on. Hard with all the mud on my sock. I got an abdominal charlie horse from trying to balance on one foot on a hill in the mud while shoving my foot back into my tied shoe. But I did it. 1oish miles later when I lost the other shoe in the mud, I laughed so hard my abs were cramping before I could yank my shoe out of the mud and repeate the shoe back on process from the 1st time.

By mile 30, my legs were 100% trashed. Maybe it was the high humidity. Maybe it was under hill training, as I have focused more on fast road stuff for the last year. Maybe it was under fueling. I did carry 2 12ozs bottles. I know I was drinking well and taking in electrolytes as I planed. But I had only put 3 gels on me. I had planed to grab gel at the aid stations to take between aid stations. Only the gel was in Dixie cups. So carrying gel from aid stations on the run was a no go. I TRIED to eat more at each station to make up for it. But bottom line is I felt like I was short on calories by 24 miles. Next time, I will plan calories different, just in case!

Being I got into Vermont so late, I was unable to have a drop bag at any of the aid stations. Big huge bummer!! When I came into mile 31, I would have payed handsomely for a dry, mud-free pair of NB 101’s in my size. And 3 Advil. I tried to “act as if” my feet felt ok and my shoes didn’t feel like 2 pounds of mud were IN them. But man almighty it sucked seeing all those bags on the side and feeling my feet like they were.

Pacers were allowed from 40 miles to the finish, so at 40 miles Diona joined me. Let me just say. That lady has some energy! She pep-talked me into ignoring my legs and running w my arms. I tried to tell her, my legs were trash and my arms useless, but she would have none of that. We whooped some together and she even sang me a song! Thanks again D!!

I finished in 7:43:45, 1st female. Western States 2012 training begins in 2 weeks, I’d say. Yes!!!!Ā  I don’t know how many guys were ahead of me. I do know that a few of the guys around me came out to run faster this year then they did last year and ran slower. I think they have Irene to thank for that.

This race was a blast! Fun course and great folks. Aside from the Western States slot, I won a cool light and big jar of maple syrup that says Vermont 50 on it. On my way back to my room with my syrup, I dropped and broke my jar. šŸ˜¦ But the Race Director in his amazing awesome niceness gave me a replacement. Giant thank you to Mike Silverman for that!! I was so bummed and then so happy. Nice people rock. Fun races rock. Playing in the mud rocks. Running, rocks. Now, sleeping will rock. šŸ™‚

Only! I forgot!! After the race, I walked over to this pretty table covered with cupcakes and was ohhing at them, wishing I had money in my bra, and this nice guy BOUGHT me a cupcake! Then Diona comes over and starts bragging on me and the Cupcake Queens GAVE me another! Oh yum. šŸ™‚ And then, I got yummy Harpoon IPA. I asked for a sample, due to the no money in the bra thing. I got a 16ozs sample. Nice guys!!

But who was I competing with?

I am competitive. No doubt about it. Most of the time I do a great job of channeling my competitive energy into training- resting when I should, going easy when I should, and giving it all I can when I should- so that I feel ready for racing when race day comes. Most of the time, I stick HARD to my training plan (thanks to my coach, Joe, for giving me great training plans!) and do my best to keep all my runs in check- no skipping miles when I’m healthy, no extra miles on easy days, no racing guys in the park on recovery runs (even if beating them would be close to easy…). But today, I think I messed up. I went to a park I have never been to before for my easy run- Deer Creek Canyon. The park was quite crowded, probably because it’s Labor Day. I started running up a trail called “Plymouth Creek Trail”. After about .3 miles, several hikers asked if I was running all the way up. “Yes”, I told them. “Wow.” They said. Here is where I should have thought things thru. EASY run, UP. I do not like backing out of things. Knowing this about myself, I should have said, “Not sure”, to the hikers. When I said “yes”, I felt committed. Why? I do not know! Pride, stubbornness, integrity…not sure. But once I said “yes”, IĀ  planed on following thru. A mile later, I began passing mountain bikers on a steep technical section. A little piece of my brain said, “turn around Anie. This isn’t easy run terrain.” But nope. I said “yes” to complete strangers who probably didn’t care what I did…I granny jogged on. About 1.70 miles into this up, my legs were burning and I was breathing harder then I should on an easy run. I thought about turning around, but I knew I wouldn’t be going down until I hit the top. Why? I still am not clear on the why. At about 2 miles, I passed a guy sitting on the side of the trail. He said “This is a hard run” I said, “Yah. Darn!” and ran on up.

All told, I had a blast. This was my first run on any technical terrain in months and I LOVED it. I LOVED it! I would call Deer Creek Canyon mildly technical. Parts are super easy, nontechnical. Parts are a little hard and a little technical. A nice mix for me right now. šŸ™‚ I did keep the effort easy the WHOLE time, but the trails are not easy enough for me to feel like that was a truly easy run! Even though it wasn’t a hard effort. As far as smart training goes, I shouldn’t have run my easy 7 there today. I should have turned around after .6 miles, when I could tell this trail was harder then I wanted for today’s run. But I just had to finish the run up once I started. Darn! What is in me that just hates to back down from a challenge? And this challenge was against no one…on my easy run. I guess I will see how this effects my long tempos tomorrow. Silly runner me!