Never again…famous last words.
This is my 1st post race report/blog so bear with me…
I was told I should write a post-race report as that’s what all the cool people do 😉 I’ll give it a shot as I have a memory as sloppy as the trail but this is an experience I NEVER want to forget so jotting it down seemed like a great idea.
Never in my life could have I have envisioned myself running 50k much less on terrain so insanely difficult. I like to consider myself a pretty tough cookie who can handle most things thrown at me but 3 miles in I questioned how the hell I would complete 31 miles. What started as at least 6 inches of mud (best described as mash potato consistency) just continued to get worse throughout the entire course.
Eventually that “mud” turned into mini ponds with trail slop knee deep (no lie). But hey who doesn’t want a lil mud spa treatment during a race? My legs were burning, my legs were aching, calves feeling like they were going to burst and the nagging pain I’ve been dealing with in my inner hammy/groin area decided it would be a good time to show its ugly face again. Between climbing rocks and dodging roots and balancing to stay on the boardwalks I felt like a linebacker doing tire training.
What goes up must come down sure sure sure….the decline at times was more difficult than the incline due to the rapid decline. Beating up my quads and ankles as they tried to hold me back from face planting. Speaking of face planting I biffed hard 2x not a clue what happened the 1st time guessing I slide on a rock. I laid on the trail wondering WTH just happened with blood running down my knee, elbow, and was pretty sure my face while wondering if I broke my thumb on the fall. Looked around nobody there to whitness an epic biff. I didn’t want to move after that moment and I was only 1/2 way up Carlton. I literally had to tell myself to get my ass up and keep going. The 2nd fall Im blaming on my calf which locked up literally dropping me to my knees.
Thank you to the bearded runner (lots of beards out there) who stopped to see if I was ok while we watched my calf muscle compress and decompress until it decided to work with me I told myself to TTFU and off I went. Shortly after ran into a guy on the side of the trail. Stopped to see if he needed help he promptly responded “YES” saying he thought he was malnourished. I gave him my electrolyte drink, honey wafers from my pack and sat with him about 5 minutes until he snapped out of it.
Made it to the top of Carlton which was the 1/2 way point with an amazing view. I was greeted by Chuck who is apparently an amazing runner dressed in costume with with an ice cold beer in hand.
Not typically a beer drinker just give me my coffee… but lets just say it tasted ahhhhhmazing! Oh and who can forget the yellow lab at the top. If you know me you know I love love love dogs and that sweet girl gave me a few kisses and I was on my way down. Shortly after the descend I dawned on me ohhhhh shit Im only half way there. Not sure if it was the dog or beer but I got a sudden burst of energy and literally felt like I was sprinting into the next aid station. Mind you a few miles back I had myself convinced this was worse pain than child labor!
Let’s talk aid stations….these people are phenomenal! They make you feel like you are the most important person in the world at that moment when you need them most. I needed them and have never been soooo happy to see a person in my life. One guy saved my fingers which were the size of sausages by providing me salt tablets. Minutes later relief. Even though I lubed up good with Vaseline pre race I had some MAJOR chafing going on. Aid station to the rescue…vaniply cream was provided and BOOM pain gone. You can become so disoriented at times and as much as you know you need to eat the thought of ingesting anything seems virtually impossible. These volunteers know there shit and literally at one point I was” ‘fed” Swedish candy fish to get something in me. Chewing and swallowing was difficult but I kept telling myself to shove it my pie hole and go! I won’t bore you with all the details mile per mile but I will tell you I’ve never been so pumped to hit pavement in my life as I knew I was almost finished. As I rolled around the final corner I couldn’t help but choke up a bit as I DID IT! Croseed the finished while the sweetest medal ever was placed over my neck #success.
All the good FAR outweighs the bad. THE PEOPLE THE PEOPLE THE PEOPLE…. are simply amazing. The trail running community is like no other. One big happy family best describes it. THE VOLUNTEERS ….simply amazing, THE VIEWS…. incredible.
MY TRAIL FRIENDS…. a weekend with some of the greatest people I know who all inspire me in different ways will be a memory I will never forget. Sabrina- you have been my running rock and are the most selfless person I’ve ever met. Andy thank you for the trail miles during the race and advice you shared pre race, Brian- what can I say you were not there but if it were not for you pretty certain I wouldn’t have been either, Shawn- your badass and inspiring, Dan- you have a heart of gold and legs like a cheetah, Jolene-soooo great to meet you hope we share more experiences together. Conrad-Thanks for attempting to scare me shitless pre-race you’re the old fart but dang inspiring! AND BRETT….if it were not for you and your dedication to ROUS I would not have met ANY of you. Your determination to finish this race as shitty as you felt was a true testimony of your character. Thank you for all you do!
THE HUMAN BODY… Never in a million years would I have envisioned myself completing something like this. My body & brain told me multiple times to quite but I ran with my heart and looked down at my Team Hoyt Dog Tag I tied to my shoes multiple times that reads “YES YOU CAN”. Also Brysen made me a good luck bracelet that I couldn’t help but look at and wanted to make my family proud and let him know you can do anything you set your mind to. The PASSION FOR THE ENVIROMENT…how many other races at the pre-race briefing request you pick up any trash you see along the course? I’m a tree hugger also been described as a granola girl (meant in a negative connotation at times but I take it as a compliment) who is very passionate about the environment so that meant a lot to me. THE RACE DIRECTOR…I didn’t get to personally meet John Storkamp but to be able to pull an epic race like this off has to take sooooo much planning, prep and passion. I have mad respect for that man and his team! THE CHALLENGE..the easy road is not always the best road even when it comes to running.
As I sit here with post races blues I can’t help but think about my husband. IF it were not for him this race would not have been an option. Waking up at 4:30 am to get my training runs in left me one crabby camper some nights. My long runs on the weekends meant early mornings for him with the kids. Fortunate to have a husband who although doesn’t run just “gets it”. He knows I need this to keep sane, it’s my addiction, it’s my therapy and when I become a royal bit%* he tells me to “go for a run”.
As I sit here feeling like I got hit by a truck I ask myself what’s next? First off a much weekend with the hubby in San Diego this weekend!!! Not a ton set in stone for races ther than Twin Cities Marathon in the fall AND Superior Fall Trail Race this Sept which I’m doing the 50 miler…call me crazy, call me nuts, or call me someone who really wants to challenge herself to the core.
Do yourself a favor. Believe in yourself, don’t give up, follow your heart and great things will come. Whether it be in running or in life.