Monday, February 10, 2014

ICY-8 Race Report

For not racing for 6 months of 2013, I really am making up for it with all of the racing I've been doing since October. I actually won entry into this race forever ago through a charity raffle, so it's been on my race calendar for nearly a year! I had a friend run it before and he said good things, so I was really excited for some time on the trails!

After training Friday night from Philly to my mom's house in MD, eating a late dinner, and crashing, I woke up at 4:30 AM, got ready, and hopped in the car with my saint of a mother, who was going to drive me the 2 hours there and back, as well as be my cheering section. When we arrived at Lake Anna in Spotsylvania, VA, I rushed to use the bathroom, get my bib, and head to the race meeting. I loved how the RD, Alex, ran the meeting as he asked any other RDs to share their races (and I got to talk about the Rocky 50k. Eek!). He also had ultra newbies stand in a group so they could get the awesome spotlight and asked us ultra vets to provide any advice and encouragement. Soon enough, the race began!
Right before the start. Note the hat! :D
The race was an 8 hour race and runners had the option to either run an 8 mile loop or a 4.7 mile loop. I signed up for the Groundhog Day division, which meant I agreed to run only one loop in one direction (I chose the 4.7 mile loop) the entire race. Call me crazy, but I knew I'd prefer a shorter loop to a longer one, so why not just sign up for the special division? I was not alone, either!

My original goal was to run 9 laps, but after I started the first lap, I realized I had underestimated the course and slightly overestimated my trail running abilities (which are quite low haha). The course was open to horseback riders, and for the first few laps, you could tell that they had been on the course as the mud at parts was choppy and rock solid. It was definitely an easy course to roll an ankle in spots if you weren't paying attention!
Me finishing my 3rd lap
I had a weird emotional cycle during this race as every other loop, I would go from happy, confident, and excited to lonely, tired, and frustrated. My first lap felt tough as I was just doing the lap for the first time, but right when my second lap started, I was super pumped and loving the course! The third lap, I was back to being down in the dumps, especially since I realized I would probably only get in 8 laps as opposed to my original goal of 9. My fourth lap was a good one as I knew I was going to be halfway done by the time I finished it.
My favorite part of the course. It was so pretty!
I bargained with myself to not listen to my iPhone (music or podcasts) until I was done 4 loops and I'm glad that I did. I was able to socialize with the runners early on and when we all spread out quickly on my earlier loops, I was able to focus on the trails and work on some mental toughness. The last 4 laps, I slowed down considerably due to the course warming up and getting super muddy, but I enjoyed the trails and the NPR podcasts that I listened to.
5 laps in. Mom: How are you feeling? Me: Tired.
This shit's long.
The last two laps were nerve-wracking because I wasn't sure if I'd finish my 8th lap in time, so I spent less than 30 seconds at the start/finish area after my 7th lap before heading back on the course (I even missed my mom, but I had to get out there) and I pushed so hard the last lap. Thankfully, I finished with about 7.5 minutes to go and I was really happy with how I did with the 8 laps. According to the official results, I finished 37.6 miles in 7 hours and 53 minutes, but my GPS clocked me at 39.31 miles. I'm going to believe my watch. :D
Finally done!
In the end, I didn't hit my first goal, but I quickly realized how unrealistic it was. I also ran nearly all of the course, only waking the first .25 miles of the last 4 laps as it was uphill and only in super slick muddy areas. I would say that I walked only about 1.25 miles of the course and for being a road runner, I'm super proud of that.  I also finished 3rd female in the Groundhog Day division, but am slightly bummed because if I hadn't signed up for it and still run my same distance, I would have been 2nd overall female. It's really not a big deal (or so I tell my ego), but it would have been fun to have placed that way.

Overall, I had a great time, I got to spend a lot of time working on my trail running, and I had my awesome mom to support me. It was a great day for sure!


  1. See! you and your short loops. Could have been on a podium! Just kidding. Great effort. Glad you had a nice day too!

    1. I told you that I love small loops! How 4.7 miles is short is beyond me, though! :P