Sunday, November 25, 2012

TTR Redington 50k

This is the 3rd time that I have attempted the entire 50k. 2 years ago, I got lost near Bellota Ranch with Alli and Glenn, but last year, I ran really well and finished in 7:13. That didn't happen this year.

The run starts from Prison Camp off of Catalina Highway. It runs on the Bellota trail (which is Arizona trail) through Molino Basin and over a ridge towards Redington Rd. There is a lot of up and down, but it is fairly runnable. It is an out and back, about 15.5 miles each way.

Getting it together!

The masses gathering...

I started out slow, and kept it steady all the way to the aid station, which is at Redington Rd (about 13.5 miles in). I got to run quite a bit with Chia-Chi and Steve-O, but they turned around after 10 miles and headed back. 

I dropped off a few things in my drop bag, but didn't reload, as there is about 2 more miles out towards an AZ trail sign and then back to the aid station. I would then reload gels/bars and fill my pack with Hammer Endurolytes Fizz tablets and cold water. I also had some Perpetuem that I knew would revive me. 

As soon as I got back to the aid station, manned by Pete, he told me, "I hope you didn't need your drop bag; I sent it back to the finish with Ross." I freaked out (and later apologized profusely). I had none of the stuff that works for me! Julie was there and offered me a few peanut butter Gu gels (which I wasn't fond of, but I was grateful) and some tablets that she said were like alfalfa with electrolytes. I was worried that I wouldn't have any electrolytes for the way back - it was going to be hot as usual on that exposed trail. I grabbed 4 fig newtons and was on my way. 

It burst my bubble. I tried to get beyond it, but I was pretty mad. Why would they take my drop bag back before I had a chance to use it? I think they thought I had already gotten what I needed out of it, I guess. Pete later admitted it was a mistake.

I did think a lot about the kindness of Pete, Julie and Tonja. They were trying to offer me various things (salt and PB and crackers, for example) but I tried to take what I thought would work for me. Julie giving me those gels and tablets - how nice that was.

My energy started to wane on the way back - I wasn't eating enough and those electrolyte pills didn't help at all. I finally ran into Christie at about mile 23 or so? We ran together for a few miles - she wasn't feeling good. I told her my tale of woe and she gave me a few peppermint gels. They were pretty good! She had also stashed an ice cold bottle of Nuun flavored water at the tank (around mile 25?) and shared it with me! So kind! 

Right before the Nuun, I fell pretty good, wiping out my knee and hands. Ouch! I used my white hankerchief and mopped up the knee until it quit bleeding so much. My legs were also pretty scratched up from catclaw. What a sight.

Christie noticed Dallas on the ridge and I slowly caught up to him, with Christie dropping back a bit. Dallas had a variety of aches and pains and wasn't feeling very good either. We hiked like crazy up the ridge and after getting to the top, we started doing a little running. It was super hot, though! I think around 82 degrees, but at 4,500 feet elevation, it really was a scorcher. This run is all exposed.

We walked/ran the last 2+ miles between Molino Basin and Prison Camp. I was pretty tired. Dallas was trying to get me to head on a few times, but I kept waiting for him. We were going to run this in together! And we did.

At the finish. So glad to be done in this Fall heat!

Total time: 7:32
Total distance: 31.4 miles
Total elevation gain: 4,635 feet

Not as fast as last year, but I got 'er done. The lesson from today? If the game changes, I can still survive. Being thrown off course with no drop bag, I got to experience kindness from Julie, Pete, Tonja, Christie and Dallas. I got to finish with Dallas, too! Sometimes you just don't know what is in store for you - you have to be open to what the universe throws at you.

Another 50k in two weeks on 12/8.

McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50

Sunday, November 18, 2012

TTR Mt. Lemmon Ascent

This TTR run is always held the same weekend every year. Some years, the turnout has been small (under 10 people). This year, we had around 25 people do the whole enchilada!

We run from Sabino Canyon, up the tram road, and take the connector to Sabino trail. After hitting the basin, we run out on West Fork trail, past the Cathedral Rock and Romero Pools trail intersections, and then straight up the mountain on Lemmon trail. The run is a son of a biscuit eater, for sure.

After hitting West Fork, I started feeling lousy. Dallas was running with me and we had a few people around us, but we were in the back of the pack (not for long - a lot of runners missed the trail and ended up bouldering somewhere around Hutch's Pools). 

My gut was in a knot and cramping and my energy was gone. I had hiked Tumamoc Hill the day before (only 3 miles, 700 feet elevation gain), so I assumed my tiredness was from that. I had eaten an expired gel (discounted from The Running Shop), which had never bothered me before, but I likewise assumed that was why my stomach was in so much pain.

I concluded the next day that I had some sort of stomach bug. It has been going around. (I probably won't eat the rest of those expired gels, though, just in case!)

Needless to say, I stopped numerous times to double over in pain. I had a hard time eating, which wasn't helping my energy. I thought at one point that I wouldn't be able to go on.

I persevered. I always do. And Dallas was there to help. 

This is one of our hardest runs. It climbs about 2,300 feet in the first 10 miles. The last 9 miles is about 5,000 feet of elevation gain and is very steep and difficult. Looking out East from West Fork as we started climbing was beautiful, though.

I felt better for a little bit as we got closer to the top, but it was pretty hard to keep it together. My stomach was in full revolt. Thank goodness for the pretty landscape to look at. This run is so freaking steep!

We ran into Gene and Ross near the top. Dallas stopped and chatted for a minute or so; I was on a roll, so I kept going!

Before we finished, we were passed by a lot of the runners that had gotten off course. Dallas kept pushing me so we would get done in under 6 hours, which was my goal. Previously, I had only done this run once, in 2009, and it took me 6:01. 

We did it!

Total distance: 18.78 miles
Total elevation gain: 7,287 feet
Total time: 5:53

Old Pueblo 50 mile and Zane Grey 50 mile training has begun. The TTR Redington 50k is next week!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Everyone Runs Half Marathon

This ultrarunner is really getting too old for half marathons on pavement! I haven't been doing any speedwork, so it ended up being a difficult run. I ran as fast as I could, but hit a wall at 10 miles and slowed down a bit. It was really cold at the start, and I ended up overdressing and became fairly warm halfway through the race.

Total distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 1:55:02 

I finished 5th in my new age group (45-49). I missed 3rd place by one minute and 7 seconds. I'll take it!

It was 3 weeks after Grand Canyon R2R2R, but I think I recovered well. Wasn't my fastest time, but given that I've been training for massive uphills and not fast and flat running, I was happy with it. Not sure if I'll ever do another one (I think I may be done with pavement forever), but Everyone Runs has the best races. A long sleeve shirt that actually fits my small frame, a great breakfast, and a good course.

Back to the long, long runs with lots of uphill starting next week!