This can’t work like a normal, blow-by-blow race report like I’ve written in the past; it was just too long, and too much went on to try to tell the story from beginning to end. I was so exhausted by the end of it that the details were fleeting even then, so I’ll try to capture as many of them as possible, as well as impressions.
The short of it is, I finished in 6 hours, 47 minutes, which was apparently good enough for 2nd place in my age group and 12th woman overall. The award for placing in my age group?
- Got there about 45 minutes early; got thoroughly intimidated by the parking area full of cars that had plenty of magnets, but nothing less than “50” on them. (One said, “You ran a marathon? That’s cute.” 🙄 ) Rachel didn’t roll in until 5:20 (start was at 5:30), so I had plenty of time to fret and feel out of place. Just before the start, I heard my name, and Brian was right behind us! That was cool.
- First leg was going to be the toughest, from my study of the course, and my fretting made it worse; my stomach clenched, I thought I would puke, and I entertained doubts about even finishing. Rough getting started. Running down the ski slope was massively hard, especially due to it having been turned into a mud slide by faster runners.
- The uphills were killer, but we decided to stick quite a bit to a 4″/1″ run-walk strategy whenever we could. It helped break things up a bit.
- I fell hard three times – once just after 7 miles, again near the same spot on the way back at the end, and again not long after that. I was covered in mud and grime, and I was pessimistically convinced I’d killed my phone with at least one of those falls, but it turned out just fine.
- Stone stairs = whoa. That was incredibly intense, and it seemed to go on forever. (I cracked jokes that, geometrically speaking, I’d always thought of “up” as a limited thing, not a line without an end point.) No way to run that – at least, not at my skill level.
- In leg 5, what the packet described as “off trail section of about half a mile through the woods with bad footing”? HA-HA-HA! Nothing but slippery, mossy rocks, which you had to scale by gripping the trees around them.
- Long legs are invaluable in climbing up and down ledges. Rachel has ’em. I don’t. Had to use my hands and arms to help climb more than once.
- Both IT bands took turns alternating with the pain. Oh, well; at least there was variety.
- By the end, Rachel and I were alone quite a bit, and I was whipped. We got to the final turn and saw the finish line, and Rachel yelled, “Go!” I said, “I’m in ‘go.’ This is ‘go.’ YOU go!” and she took off like a killer was chasing her. 😆
So, Rachel took second in her age group, too, and 11th female. It was massively difficult; other runners with whom we chatted afterward said it was one of the gnarliest 50Ks they’d done. For a long time, I thought that we were the last two women off the course, but just as I told Rachel that, another 50Ker crossed the line, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see when the final results get posted.
Verdict: fun. But mostly in hindsight. 😉 Will I do it again? Well, it’s kind of like childbirth, in this case, I think. Ask me when my wounds have healed! 😆