Things have finally calmed down for a bit so that I can actually write about the race I ran on April 22nd. My big race of the spring is D3 24 hour race on May 13th where I plan to try to PR my 100 mile distance. I usually try to do some kind of lesser distance ultra during my training cycle for a 100 miler but this time around I had nothing. Things have just been SO hectic with preparing to move across the country, Emir working in Colorado alot and the kids having one million things going on. Who gives 4 year olds a book report and projects?! Anyway I just didn't have time to put thought into it and I certainly didn't have time or money to travel anywhere. One day something popped up in my FB about the Schuylkill River Trail 50K relay. I was curious so I clicked on it. Turns out aside from the relay there is a 50K solo option which is an out and back on the SRT. It was really perfect. It was to take place 3 weeks before D3 which is peak mileage week, it's on a mostly flat trail (D3 is on a track) and the start/finish is only 25 minutes from my house. Oh and most importantly it's sponsored by Sly Fox Brewery, SOLD!
I really didn't think about this race much once I registered. It was to be my last big training run for D3 and I had some big things coming up the week before the race. Emir was in Colorado the entire two weeks before the race. He left on a Sunday, we joined him Wednesday and came home Tuesday and he stayed until that Friday night, the night before the race. It was a crazy time to say the least. The couple days before we left on our trip was me running at the crack of dawn, getting the kids to school and me working all day to race around picking them up and racing to whatever sport was that night. We had the best time on our trip. We did so much yet I felt so relaxed and so at home there. I made a running friend there already and we all love our new neighborhood. None of us wanted to come back.
|Running in Heaven|
|Aubrey! can't wait to run more with this lady!|
|Rocky Mountain National Park|
|one of my stressors although I'm damn proud of it! Earth day project|
The weather forecast changed somewhat last minute and they were calling for rain. The temps were going to be 50s-60s so I still went with shorts and a singlet but brought my Altra pullover. The start of the race was interesting as it was a solid half mile from the pavilion area where all the race stuff was. I was walking for a bit and couldn't even see it in sight and was wondering if I was even going the right place but some other runners were headed that way too. Eventually we got there. The RD explained how they could only send 8 people off at a time so even though there was a larger group of us with a 10:15 start time, he could only start 8 every couple minutes. Didn't matter since we had chip timing in our bibs.
My goal for this race was just to run easy and fuel well. I had prepared myself while waiting to start that it didn't matter what people were doing around me. It would be hard to know who was running a relay and who was solo so there would definitely be people sprinting their 4-5 mile segments and I couldn't let that affect how I was running. I also had to keep in mind that people were starting at all different times from 9-11:30 so no way of knowing what time people started either. And also it shouldn't matter to me anyway since I just needed to run my own training run.
I felt like overall I did a really good job of this. I stayed very relaxed and honestly didn't care at all about what anyone else was doing. The staggered start times really helped with that so we were all spread out everywhere and having relay people all mixed in, I just always assumed people blowing by were relay people. I fueled early and often. I had everything I needed in my pack since I wasn't sure what to expect as far as aid. There were 3 transition points (technically 5 since you hit two of them twice on the out and back) for the relays. The race info indicated there would be water and maybe some bananas but I didn't want to rely on that since it was a relatively smaller group of us doing the ultra solo. I was pleasantly surprised however at the goodies they had for us. I didn't stop at all until I got to the halfway transition at Conshohocken Brewery. I filled up my water and a volunteer offered me all kinds of snacks and even coke. It was great, definitely a pick me up after slogging 15 miles in the pouring rain. I really had to pee and she said we could use the bathroom inside. I ran in but there was a huge line, lots of people enjoying some beer on the rainy day. Even though it was a training run, things had been going well the first half and at that point I was on pace for a good time so I didn't want to stand in line. I knew eventually I would find some secluded area on the trail which I did.
I had started to lag a bit the last couple miles before halfway but probably the coke, the brief stop and a couple snacks picked me back up. I started really cruising again. I had thought going into it that 5:15 would be a good time. It technically would be a 50K PR for me. I think my fastest stand alone 50K is 6:20 but I definitely ran a low 5 something at C &O canal 100 so then again technically not really a PR but still 5:15 would be a very solid time for me and a great training run going into D3. With about 7 miles left I checked my time and did a little math, kind of hard not to when you are running solo for 31 miles. I started to realize that even if I couldn't maintain below 10 minute pace for the last 7, even if I went 10:30s I could still finish sub 5 which would be a big PR for me. So while I wanted this race to be easy pace, I did push myself that last part a bit because now that I knew it was within reach, I wanted that sub 5. I was able to maintain under 10minute miles until mile 28 but I was only slightly over and still had a cushion. I reached the part of the course back near where we started but there was nothing there and it was quite clear that was not the finish. I was right around 31 miles and would hit 50K at 4:52 which HUGE PR but crap I wasn't finished the race. Even though I knew the finish line must be back over where the pavilion was and that it was a solid .5miles away, I was determined that my race time would be under 5 hours. Adrenaline just took over because the way I felt those last few miles I never would have imagined I could have picked up the pace and run sub 9 pace at that point but I did and I finished in 4:56. People were cheering for my finish and I was pumped. There were several groups of relay teams that congratulated me and said they watched me all day because they saw me come through all the transition points. I received lots of compliments about how strong I looked and many questions about ultra running in general.
I quickly went about finding my finishers beer and award. I wanted to watch my friend and teammate Kristen finish so I sat around stalking the finish line. I was getting chilly now that I was done since I was soaked so I ran to the car to grab my sweatshirt. Somehow I must have missed her :-( But I saw some other people finish and listened to the band. It was a shame it was so miserable out because it was a fun after party.
|Beer can trophy, yes!|
Now back to me. I'm definitely feeling more confident about how D3 will go now that I ran this and just felt so good. I'm hoping not to feel like I did at NJ one day. My legs were hating me at like mile 20. I'm also just so glad to not feel like I'm struggling to finish long runs anymore. Jan, feb and march were ROUGH as far as my long runs. I just think I wasn't quite recovered from NJ one day plus I was trying to work on speed which I hadn't done in forever. And yes coach I know it takes time, blah blah blah but to put it bluntly, I felt like shit and now I don't so I'm happy. A little less than 2 weeks to go, time to put on my hundo pants!!!
|trail runnin in the Wiss this weekend|