Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nashville Ultra 60k Race Report

Be prepared - there are a lot of pictures in this post! They are mostly for me to enjoy when I look back at my post later, but hopefully, someone else enjoys them, too.

This is what I was greeted with on the chalkboard when I woke up on race morning:

Don't I have a fabulous family? My sister in law Carol wrote that - she is always thinking of others.

I stayed at my brother Ken's house in Nashville. My sister Theresa lives there, too, and then my sister Andrea moved there 2 weeks ago, and my other 2 sisters, Jennifer and Lisa, and their families and my Mom traveled up for the weekend. An ultra created a family reunion.

My brother got up early with me and drove me to the race. Thank you, Ken! We had a nice talk on the way, which got me in a good mood for the race.

Well, here is how it all went down:
Distance: 60k (37.2 miles)
Time: 6:27:43
Pace: 10:25 min/mile. I was averaging about 9:30 to 10:00min/mile pace until about mile 26 and then the wheels came off. I had to do a walk/run combo that last 10 or so miles.

I came in 2nd out of a total of 12 finishers in the 60k! They only gave awards to 1st place men and women in each distance (a really cool sweatshirt), but all finishers got imprinted glass mugs (and t-shirts of course), which was nice.

There were other distances you could choose to do - 50k, 70k and 50 miles. I knew I could do 31 miles, since I've done it several times before, but I wanted to see how I would do with a little more distance, which is why I chose the 60k.

It was 100% pavement, with a great deal of concrete in the downtown Nashville area. Painful. I never take NSAIDs during races because of the risk of renal failure when runners get dehydrated, but I was in so much pain at mile 19 that I relented. I just made sure I drank a ton of water.

The leaves were falling and since there was a good breeze, it was raining leaves on me at times which lifted my spirits.

It was fairly hilly at the beginning, with lots of green grass and pedestrian bridges and water. There were definitely a lot of bridges on this course.

Downtown Nashville and Titans stadium:

It was COLD. The high was only 49, which wouldn't have been bad, except for the breeze. I wore sleeves and a tank underneath my long sleeve shirt, and gloves. I would take my gloves off and then put them back on periodically. I never took off my sleeves or long sleeve shirt during the race. Every time I got warm, the breeze would blow and I would be cold again. It was also fairly gloomy during the race; no sun to be seen, which made it hard to stay upbeat.

The mental element was huge in this race. I talked to myself a lot to try and get my positive energy up. I prayed a lot. I sang to myself at times. The runners were pretty spread out, and although I passed quite a few in the end, I never really ran with anyone. The miles really clicked by until....the last 10 miles. I had to dig deep and push through.

The aid stations were about 6 miles apart, which was perfect. I was pretty good about fueling - a gel every 30 minutes. I wish the aid stations had potatoes, because I was really craving some real food after 4 or so hours. The last 6 miles I went without any water or gels, but by then, I was pretty hydrated. I knew when I stopped at the last aid station that I was out of water in my pack, but I was so tired I didn't want to be bothered with refilling it! So, I just swigged a bunch of water at the aid station and off I went. I get like that at the end of a big race. I don't like dealing with anything that is a hassle. I just get focused on the finish line.

My family was there to watch me come in, which was so wonderful. The pics of me coming in and after the race with my family just say it all:

Needless to say, they all think I'm crazy. My Mom said that she was surprised that I didn't have 'noodle' legs afterwards. I think that might be why I was laughing.
I was so greatful that they had pizza at the finish. I was seriously hungry. 

Check out the guy behind me in this one. I think he is trying to eat pizza and run at the same time!

So, we had a house full of people that night after the race for our big spaghetti dinner (a family favorite). My 4 sisters, brother, Mom, spouses/boyfriend, nieces and nephews - I think there were 20 of us altogether.

My sister Lisa caught of a pic of me finally experiencing the post-race tiredness that evening.

Lisa's birthday is Sunday and mine is on Tuesday (and Carol's was last Tuesday), so Carol picked up a cake and we all celebrated our birthdays after spaghetti. What a fun evening. You can really do a lot in a day!

I'm just really proud of myself and so thankful for family. What a blessing to be able to run ultras and what a greater blessing to be surrounded by people I love and who love me. Doesn't get much better than that.


Anonymous said...

Amen to and the ability to run combined with the love of family! We're so proud of you.
Aunt Kathie

HappyTrails said...

Awesome job, Renee!!! Awesome, too, having family cheering their hearts out for you - what a memorable and blessed day! Loved all the great pics - thanks for sharing. I did notice you forsook your skirt, AGAIN!!! My, my . . . :-)