Monday, March 12, 2012

Land Between the Lakes 50

So….I did my first 50 miler on Saturday in Grand Rivers, KY at Land Between the Lakes. Actually, my first Ultra ever! And I was incredibly nervous. I knew I had put in the training, but life threw me a couple curve balls (like pneumonia and 12 hour work days) in the weeks prior so I was kinda scared.

I was standing at the start line with fellow Cincinnatian, David Riddle,who went on to set a new course record in 5:53, chatting it up and kinda asking advice. It was a four loop course, so he told me to do the first lap easier than an easy run, the second like an easy run, the third, start working and the fourth, race!

I went out SLOW! Partly because the single track trail was so crowded. There was also a 23k, a marathon and a 60k. It thinned out the second loop, so I picked it up (prob a little too much) to recover some ground. I had gels for the first two laps, 3 gels each loop. But I was just drinking water and by the time I was half way through the second loop, my fingers were swelling. I knew I needed salt but they didn’t have any except at the main drop-bag aid station. I started getting a little nauseous, so I just drank coke at every station and tried to shovel down some potato chips.

At the end of loop one, I was sitting in 6th or 7th place. At the end of the second, I had moved up to or 4th. I put in my ipod at the beginning of the 3rd loop, around mile 25 and struggled mentally for a few miles. Then, around mile 27.5, I caught another girl. Then about a mile later, I caught another who told me the defending champ was just ahead. I caught and passed her. And I never looked back. She had been walking and the girl behind her told me she’d gone out too fast so she wasn’t going to be a threat. I got s-caps starting the 4th loop… and was still smiling and laughing, making comments as I passed people. I did, however hit a point around mile 37 when I saw three men ahead of me and I was ready to pass them, but I was low on sugar, anxiously awaiting the next aid station for some coke. And BAM! I went down, hard!! The guy directly ahead heard me and turned around and asked if I was ok and I moaned and told him to go on. It hurt so bad and I was bleeding from my hand and knee. I just had to sit there for a minute. But I got up and went on to pass them all quickly. One foot in front of the other.

After exiting the trail the fourth time, they sent us out on this CRUEL out and back (about a mile each way) that was a huge hill on the road. The advantage was that I could see whether there was anyone on my tail. And then they sent us back into downtown Grand Rivers to finish. I found it hurt more to walk or stop, so I just kept running.

I finished first female in 8:11.20. Only 9 men beat me. I’m still in disbelief, really. What an incredible experience! I can't wait to go do another! But i have some recovery to accomplish first.