I didn't sleep very well the night before, but I got up, finished packing, layered up a ton, then picked up my friends Annie and Jose, who were joining me on this crazy journey. We drove the hour to the race start, checked-in, picked up our bibs, and tried to not freak out about the race and temperatures. At the start at 9:15 am, the temperature was 3 degrees. After a short race briefing, we were off!
|Annie, Jose, and me at the start!|
We got to the first aid station at around mile 6.5 and it felt almost like a fun party. Slews of runners, going crazy for chips, Double Stuff Oreos, Gatorade, and more, laughing the whole time. I saw a box that had contained beer and made a comment about how great a sip of beer would be. Another runner said they didn't have beer, but they did have whiskey and she was taking a swig. I'm not even a huge fan of whiskey, but when there's whiskey at an aid station, you drink it. It gave me a pep in my step and meant that I couldn't take myself or the race too seriously.
|Photographic proof our our Oreos and whiskey|
After finishing the loop, we were plugging along when another runner asked if we had seen a course marking in the last little bit. We realized that we hadn't. We had done a decent job of looking for them, but we clearly missed something. We got to the end of the path we were on, at a fork on the path, with no clear way to go. We tried to see if either of those ways was correct, but no markings could be found. We tried to go back to where we saw the last course marking, where we found a slew of more lost runners. We couldn't figure it out, so we ended up deciding to find the road along the course near us that would lead us back to the trail, meaning we ended up cutting part of the route. I hated knowing we were cutting because I felt like a cheater, but I didn't have any other choice.
We found our way back to the course markings a few miles up, then continued along. I started to panic about how few miles we had run and how freaking long we had been on the trails, which was demoralizing for me. I started to worry that we wouldn't make the 23 mile cutoff, so we pushed our pace as much as we could. We got to the aid station with about 10 minutes to spare, filled up on food, and agreed to keep going (a few people dropped there).
|Annie at some point along the course. At least we had a pretty place to run!|
When I finished, I felt so mixed. I was beyond happy to be done because it had been a long, frustrating day. I loved running with my friends, but I was upset with how short of the 50k we were and how long we had been out there. I know the distance isn't something to be upset about because it was a tough day and we still did a ton, but I still feel slightly like we failed. Pretty silly, I know, but I didn't achieve the goal that I wanted to.
This morning, I have some minimal soreness in my one foot and one ankle, but other than that, I feel pretty darn good. Just makes me eager to push my training and get ready for my 8 hour race in early February!