What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Have I Gotten Myself Into??

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So, about this 50K... Like I said in my last post, I waited to officially sign up for this race until I knew how well the groin would hold up. Training on hilly trails sounded like the last thing I should be doing, so I didn't really hit them until I felt good after TCM. Two weeks ago, I bought my new shiny blue trail shoes and hit up some single track by our house.

Yesterday I used my day off to check out the Murphy Henrehan park reserve, where the race will be held on the 31st. The plan was to do the 15.6 mile loop and tack on a couple of other jaunts to add a few miles. I brought the map with me. Thank God I did.

The race is offering four different distances - a 25K, a marathon, a 50K, and a 50 mile. All of the races incorporate the 15.6 mile loop, but the marathon and 50 mile tack on a little extra. I'll be doing 2 loops.

The loop is described as rolling hills for the first 6 miles with rocks and roots, flat and runnable for the next 6 miles, single track for 0.5 miles around mile 12 and then back to rolling hills. Since this is all new territory for me, I really had no idea what to expect. Turns out that "rolling hills" are some serious grade changes that I've really never experienced before. I'm sure these pale in comparison to some trail races out there, but yikes! I'm going to have to take it REALLY easy for those first few miles, both for footing's sake and to preserve some energy. I really didn't' know what "very runnable" meant in reference to the 6-12 mile mark, but it turns out that this is a good description. There are significantly fewer rocks and roots, and it's relatively flat. By the time I got to this part, I was already getting tired. It was cooling off, and I had put my long sleeves back on. I was starting to wonder if I'd ever get back to my car! On the way back, I was walking off and on and feeling a little disoriented. I wondered if it was the cold air, me being tired, or the fact that so much of the terrain looks the same. By the time I hit my car, I was more tired and sore than I anticipated I'd be. Today my thighs feel like they're going to fall off.

A couple of things to ponder:

* On my run, I met Les, the race director. He was the first person I'd seen in nearly 2 hours, so I was a bit startled at first. He asked if I was racing next weekend then introduced himself. Small world!

* I emailed a new friend to ask a few more questions about running a race this distance. It's great to know a few people who have done this distance (and much further) before. The race website says that they will have "the usual ultra foods" I wondered what that meant. Guy replied, "Foods are water, electrolyte drink,Coke, Sprite, ginger ale, Hammer gels or similar, fruit, cookies, cakes,brownies, pb&j sammies, candies (gummi bears, m&ms, etc), and my personal favorite, canned boiled potatoes that you dip in a dish of coarse salt. (try it!) The volunteers are almost always fellow runners, so you'll also see specialty treats like homemade jerky, banana bread, grilled cheese sandwiches,and in the summer; fresh strawberries on ice!!!" Holy cow you may not be able to peel me away from the aid stations!

* I did get lost a few times out there. Well technically, I wasn't lost. I had just taken the wrong turn. I ended up backtracking plenty of times. When Guy emailed me, he told me, "You'll be surprised how stupid you become after running through the woods for a few hours." OK. This makes me feel a little better both on the lost front and the slightly disoriented front.

If nothing else, this should be quite an adventure!

8 comments:

amybee

Sounds like it will be an exciting day out there for you, Pharmie.

Not sure about the potato and salt thing, though...

Colleen

You are going to do great...

Now if I were running it, I would probably eat more calories than I burned... sounds like an awesome spread! :)

Just have fun with it!

Colleen

Oh... and I like the new blog layout too! :)

Regina

ok, what rock have I been living under. I have been reading your husband's blog for some time and didn't even know you had one too!

I always wondered about these really long trail races..do you run the entire thing? is there some running and walking involved? It sounds like something I would love to do one day soon, but don't know enough about it. will look forward to reading your race report. Good luck!!

Sue

Pharmie,
you'll be fine. I just recently finished my first 50K trail race. My goal was to just finish within the allotted time (and I did!) Be sure to walk where needed and enjoy the moment. Trail running is WAY different than road running. You will have a great time! Can't wait to read all about it.
Sue
PS your husband makes me laugh. I can only imagine what it must be like to live with him :-)

Steve Stenzel

Good luck today!! I'll see you at mile 21!! I love you!!

Jim Smith II

Good luck Pharmie - I know you rocked that course!!

DaisyDuc

Congratulations and welcome to the club! Ultra runners really are such an incredibly friendly community and offer such a nice laid back vibe with great scenery!