OR, 'How to sort out your life in 31 miles'.
31 miles is a long time to ponder your life. No, I didn't figure it all out. :) Guess I'll have to go run some more. After I can walk right again (3 or 4 days?) I may attempt running, but not any time soon.
My lofty goal time: 5:15 (although I hesitantly thought it was 'okay' if I got 5:30).
Actual finish time: 5:15:30 WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Because I chose to actually race the distance, I didn't take many pictures.
You know, 31 miles is just a long way to run. The race is 2 loops of about 15.5 miles each of the Pemberton trail in McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills, AZ. I arrived about 6am, after getting up at 4am (fitful sleep, of course) and leaving my sister's house in Phoenix a little after 5am. It was pretty cold at the start, and I overdressed a little (tank, pink Moeben arm warmers and long-sleeve top with skirt) but was able to ditch the long-sleeve after the first loop. The weather was perfect during the race, and even still a little cool right at the end.
I ran with David R. from Sierra Vista (he is doing OP 50 miler in 3 weeks) for the first mile or so (he then took off), and then I ran alone until mile 11 when I saw David R. again. Here is David R. trucking along in front of me for quite a few miles:We ran together until about mile 16 and he dropped behind. I came upon TTR members Wayne C. and Bob B. (that's what I'm talking 'bout! Git 'er done! Bob always says that, so I came up behind him roaring those statements) around mile 18 and passed them.
I really had a tough time between miles 20 - 26 (long wall that I hit) and found some acceptance of the situation and started passing a few people here and there. I passed one gal in the last 1/2 mile and finished in such a daze that the guy at the finish line said 'okay, now go get something to drink and eat' like I was 2 years old (hey, I needed practical advice!) David M. came over to congratulate me and announced surprise at my finish time. I think he was impressed with my time, as I was, too! Having trained with me, he saw that I really struggled on some of the long training runs, but I guess I had it in me on race day. I think I did a good job of fueling and hydration today and don't think that there was anything I could have done better, except more training (isn't that always the case?)
Average race pace: about 10:11 min/mile (well, if it is 31 miles - my Garmin calculated 30.79 miles - I'm going to call it 31 anyway so I can say I did a '50k', plus these things are not 100% accurate.)
Fastest mile: 9:04 (mile 12)
Slowest mile: 11:48 (mile 16)
Cumulative elevation gain: 3,061
Cumulative elevation loss: 3,026
The loop is about 8 or so miles uphill and then about 7 or so mostly downhill miles (all undulating - right David R.?). My per mile pace was all over the map, but it is safe to say that the second time around the loop, my pace slowed way down on the uphill. I tried like heck to run fast at the end of the race, but I had pretty much used all the gas in the tank. This was my fastest 50k out of the three I have done. After this, I feel fairly confident I can do well at the Bataan Memorial Death March marathon in White Sands, NM. on March 29th. I'll be signing up for that right away, seeing as how I can still walk and all (albeit not very well).
Some funny stuff:
Daryll (Missy's husband) said hello to me around mile 3 - 'Hey Renee!' and promptly proceeded to trip and launch his water bottle down the trail. Okay, not funny for him, but he did say he wasn't saying hello to me again. When I ran into him again on the second loop, he acknowledged me, but didn't take his eyes off the trail that time! He had quite a scrape on his shin - poor guy!
I finished 50th out of 147 finishers. I'm pretty proud of myself considering having to come back after the wrist fracture that happened on October 4th. I didn't start running again until October 31st, so I pulled together the training pretty quickly.
Congratulations to all of my trail running friends (some new), some from the TTR group, who finished! Here they are in order of finish time:
Paul V. 4:26
David M. 4:49
Adrian K. 5:00 (nice to finally meet you!)
Wayne C. 5:24
Bob B. 5:28
Darryl B. 5:30
David R. 5:49
Missy B. 6:05
Joyce V. 6:35 (her first ultra! Yay Joyce!)
Patricia W. 7:02
As is after each marathon/ultramarathon I have done, I had a pretty rough night sleeping with a lot of leg pain (it is like a serious case of restless legs). I'm pretty tired today, but I took it easy and didn't do too much (a little house cleaning, some grocery shopping, etc.) I'm still walking funny, and stepping up and down or bending down is pretty painful and a sight to watch. It was so worth it. Oh - I've also eaten quite a bit since - love that part.
I'm hoping to be back in commission by Wednesday, when I'll try a short run and if all goes well, I'll be resuming training for Bataan.
I never thought I could run 31 miles (especially for the 3rd time!) Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family for continuing to believe in me and being proud of me.