For fun 50k races are my favorite! “For fun” means it doesn’t involve tapering, planning or training like a “Race” would. A for fun race is a training run that’s a race.. All Fun!!!! 🙂 And 50k’s are short enough to be much easier then 50milers. This adds to the fun for me big time. 😉
Nueces this year was freezing cold. It was 28* and drizzly at the start and the temps stayed under 30* until after 9am. The 50 milers started at 5am, 50k at 6 am, 25k at 7am and 10k at 7:30am. The start times were different this year (earlier) then in years passed and certainly added an element of hard, especially with the cold temps. Slippery, frozen rocks and more dark running. Yikkes!
After the tummy troubles I had running in the cold at Bandera, I was super excited to try racing in similar conditions to improve and learn more about racing in wet cold. And boy did I learn a lot! It feels so good to be gaining knowledge and confidence with myself as an athlete. I’ve never been a big racer, and I am happy that I am learning how. I want to race more and learn more and race more and…yeah. I have a lot to learn. Here is a list of things I learned racing the 50k yesterday.
But first, the race results! So often I forget to put those in my reports. I came in second female AND second overall. Two girls chicked the field! Pretty fun. 😉 I believe she ran a 4:32 and I ran a 4:49. Given the bad weather and the fact that this was a just for fun race for me, I think I did great!!! And the gal who won it did super great! We both came in under the previous course record, even given the ice. I fell hard on an iced over bridge the first loop and scooted myself across, clinching the ice handrail, moon-walk style both times to keep from falling again. It took me about 1minute to cross the little bridge hanging high over a river…I do not regret the time lost to safety and staying out of the river! Scary.
Now the lessons:
1. Running in capris rocks!
No leggings for me, unless I’m actually running in snow or sub 18*. I don’t like to be hot when I run AT ALL!! At Bandera, the leggings were a big mistake. I didn’t make that one at Nueces, and I am so glad! Even though it was colder at Nueces, the capris rocked.
2. Sugar is needed, along with the slow burn carbs for me to run hard efforts.
At Rocky Raccoon 100, I didn’t eat a lot of sugar. I mostly ate Hammer gels. I ate like 30 something gels (in 16 hours!) at RR 100 and that worked well. I never felt like I had a sugar low and I felt like I got calories in consistently and easily. But I bonked a bit at Nueces. I didn’t take in any sugar the fist 25k, only gels and water and I felt it in my brain before half way. Once I got a little sugar in me, I felt better fast!!! Back to being able to focus well and try to race. I think I only need sugars when I push the pace a bit. Probably anything fast…like a road 100k even.
3. I have a giant handicap when running in wet cold. And that is that!
My hands go numb way easy. They were so numb by the 25k that I couldn’t tell if I was holding my water bottle or not. Today, my forearms are sore and I am sure it is from me clinching my fists so much, trying to get blood in my hands. I had hand warmers in my gloves and everything, but because of the misty rain, my hands wouldn’t warm up. At the half way, I stopped for 5mins, with the goal of warming my hands. I put on dry gloves, moved the hand warms from on top of my hands to the palm area and switched to a dry handheld. All with the help of my friends because I couldn’t do it myself. An hour later, I could feel my hands! Numb hands = huge handicap for me to race with! First, I couldn’t get to my sugar when I needed to. I had candy in my pocket from the start, but I couldn’t get my hand to go into my pocket. So no sugar until after half way. 😦 I also spilt a ton of water onto my hand at the aid stations, leading to colder hands, because I had a hard time getting the lid of my bottle back on after refilling it with numb hands. Pretty much, my hands were not functioning. This also causes me mental stress and some huge physical discomfort. I like my hands and want them to work. It’s scary when they go as numb as they did yesterday. Now I at least know where to stick the hand warmers to work better next time!
4.Learn to focus
I tend to just run, having fun and enjoying. Thing is, this will never get me to be my best. I need to set goals for focus when I race (not necessarily all races, but the big ones). I need to write down my plan and then execute as best I can instead of just going to run. Of course, I won’t run that way all the time! I need fun runs, like this one, too.
Whats next for me? No clue! I’m thinking that through. But for now, a picture of my frozen pigtails at the finish line. A few folks commented on my frozen pigtails during the race, but until I saw them I didn’t get it. I had icicles in my hair!! HA!!!