Rocky Raccoon 100 was a ton of fun. I can hardly believe it, but I ENJOYED that 100 mile trail race! I immensely enjoyed that trail race…almost every singe mile, on up to 100. This was way more fun then the last two 100s I did, and if my body would let me, I’d want to run another 100 miler next weekend. As it is, my left IT band is no bueno and I do not think I will be running even 10 miles next weekend.
When I dropped Bandera at 42ish miles a few weeks back, I wanted to find another race to run soon. After talking it through with Joe P, I was 90% sure I would go ahead and run RR 100. Only 90% sure. Here is where you get the warning I put in some of my posts. I’m going to write very honestly about how I had to mentally prepare for this race and the thoughts that went into deciding to run the RR100 this year.
First, I already hit on the fact that I am not confident in my 100 mile abilities. I have so much to learn here, and before running Rocky this year I felt like I was a poor 100 mile runner. Mainly because I hated the previous experience. This was actually a reason to go and run! If I want to get better at running 100s, I need to run more 100s.
Post Bandera, I hit a hard spot emotionally and personally. I didn’t run much and didn’t want to run much. I just ate junk and (no joke!) put on 6 pounds of fat. In 3 weeks. Darn fast food Mexican temptations in SA. At *almost* 5’5″, I felt like I was dragging to run with the extra pounds. I also went and bought bigger run cloths because my too tight gear was causing chaffing. :O Yucko feeling going into a big race. (Side note: I still know I am healthy! Big for me, as an athlete. But I will be the first to say I run better a bit big then too thin. I have been both.) I jokingly told friends I needed to go run 100 miles to burn off some fat. And I not so jokingly told myself I need to go run 100 miles to snap myself out of the bad funk and back into my real runner self, with a strong mind.
But the biggest reason I was wavering with the decision to run this race? The date. I am a healthy female Lady and as such there are a few unideal days every month to be out on the trails for many many hours. I knew RR 100 would fall on a bad day for me, and I had to seriously think of how to handle this, both emotionally and in the real physical sense. I know myself, and I know how much I hurt on certain days. How bad my back aches just lying down. How blown up my tummy feels and how nauseated I get even when NOT running. I knew running 100 miles like this would not feel good, from before mile 1.
I goggled and read articles about other women who had to deal with something like this. While I didn’t find anything to really sway my choice in either direction, I did feel like I could handle this 100 no mater what day it was. A few cool facts (I’d site them all, but you can use goggle to check it out. Books too.).
1. Women tend to have a lower core temperature starting even the day BEFORE their day one and going all the way until ovulation. While there isn’t enough research to support this as something that boasts performance, it sure could!
2. Hormone levels are at an optimal level for performance for most females by their day 3. And racing post ovulation *could* be much harder for a lady then during the front end of her cycle due to hormones.
3. If about to start menstruation and during, women athletes need much more sodium then they do during the rest of the month.
The interesting facts go on, but there are a few highlights.
So I decided to run RR 100, no matter the day. The worst part for me was planing the logistics of bathroom needs during a race. My crew totally rocked with helping me here. I had to write things down by hours, not knowing where I would be but knowing by what hour I would need to stop and what all I would need to handle that in a sanitary way on a trail. NOT fun. But it was done. I have to say, I feel very blessed to have a guy in my life willing to help and encourage me through these type of sucky things. I also want to say I loved the fact that RR has a couple bathrooms with sinks just off the course. Made me feel better for sure!
So I showed up to the starting line, day 2 for me, back hurting, head throbbing, tummy nauseous, feeling like the size of a pregnant cow….and it was time to start running 100 miles. Honestly, my thoughts went like this, “Man, this is a crappy day. I ache and hurt and yuck! Might as well run 100 miles, because I’ll be feeling like this no matter what I do.” I told myself this several times that day. “My back hurts so bad! Guess I’ll just keep running. I’d feel about like this lying on the couch. I want that 100 mile finish instead!” It worked well for my brain, to have that internal dialect going with the discomfort.
All told, I really had a good day. I felt bad from the start, had a few high points in the middle, felll off at the end. But learned a ton and truly had fun. My crew was the best. Supported me all day long and gave me encouraging words. The biggest kink in the race was when my headlamp died at night. Luckily, I was less then 1/2 a mile out of the first aid-station (on lap 5) because I couldn’t even see the trail!!! My crew had a headlamp on and gave me a handheld, then spontaneously became my pacer. A pacer in cargo shorts for the last 17 miles. I loved that. 🙂 At DamNation, I had a drop bag with extra lights for us both. Unfortunately, the lights were sucky ones and we really couldn’t see well. The headlamp I had that died was the rockin’ light. But those things happen. And I think I liked the excuse to slow down and enjoy my company.
For my next 100, I will focus on keeping some intensaty in my running the last 30 miles. I just sorta got tired and let myself slow. I know I can push harder and I know harder will be just that. Harder. But I am going to go for that. Harder push, better finish. Sounds like crazy fun to me. Going faster next time. Run crazy and have fun everyone!!!