So starting from the beginning, I felt like I had prepared pretty well for the race and have been feeling better running than I had in a long time. Then mother nature dumped a ton of snow on northeast Ohio so I was not sure what to expect as far as trail conditions.
I had a decent taper and took it pretty easy over the last several days and pasta preloaded both Friday and Saturday night!
Sunday I woke up ready to go after a decent nights sleep and got into my car early. The roads were awful. They must have had 3 inches of snow on them for the first 17 miles or so and it was one of those days where I knew driving in these conditions was a little stupid. But darn it, I had places to be! Fortunately when I got onto the turnpike, all was good and the roads were in much better shape!
I arrived early and got my stuff ready. It was a balmy 26 degrees so I opted to remove a layer up top and go with just my under armor shirt and then my asics coat with pockets and only 1 pair of tights. I had two pairs of socks, one being the my wicking running socks and the other being my sweet new smart wool socks. (My feet were my only problem area feeling cold and numb for much of the run.)
After hanging out for awhile in the garage and catching up with friends, it was time for the fun to begin.
Me, TriSara, and TriEric
I headed out behind a group of guys trying who were blazing a path through the snow. Single file was pretty much the rule of the day. The packs started to quickly separate and while I ran up the majority of the hills, I know I walked some of steps at the top which were pretty vertical. Perhaps one of the hardest parts of the day was when other runners were coming in the opposite direction and you had to move out of the way into the really deep snow. It often totally messed up your momentum and often resulted in almost going down.
I had started running with Todd for awhile on the way back to Boston store (where I had some water) and he followed me out to Pine Lane. I fell down somehow on this section but thankfully it doesn't hurt in the snow! Not even 6 miles into the race and I had already started complaining to him that the caluses on the inside balls of my feet were killing me on account of everytime I set them down, they would slide out to the sides. It was pretty evident very early on that this event was really going to be tough on the body in these conditions as my muscles and feet were already getting worked over.
By the time I hit the Pine Lane station I was ready for my first gel and some water. Oh and to back up I had a coffee, some water and a banana pre-race. We had a little group which had gotten together, so it was nice to hear the boys talking about some 7.5 mile Potomac River swim (WOW!) coming up and some other events. R, a local 14 yr old studdette, who I had seen running trails a few times was now with us and she was looking strong. The snow continued to fall and sometimes the wind picked up which was not making things any more comfortable.
Miles clicked off and back to Boston store where I had some more water and back out to Brandywine. R and I stuck together make some talk and it was a good laugh when the passing guys would say nice job girls which would result in the guy behind us repeating over and over that he was not a girl. It is really the little things sometimes on the trail that make you smile! Had a gel out at Brandwine and my muscle soreness from the trails was really setting in. The only thing that made me feel better was it seemed that everyone around me also felt the same way.
At Boston store (18 miles in), KM helped me out getting me some pain reliever which helped some. TG!! I think that was one of the low points knowing I still had another 13 and was sooo sore. We made the slow journey up the first two long climbs and started counting down the miles looking forward to each aide station. The big hill down after about 3 miles was so sketchy, it really felt like you were just skiing down it. Then it was a game to keep my feet dry at the water crossing (even though I am certain they had been soaking wet for many miles). It was impossible to get decent footing and even the small stretch of towpath seemed like some of the worst footing. However we kept plugging along very steadily, sometimes Rachel leading, sometimes me. I was relieved to hit Pine Lane and start heading back after a yummy Tropical Blast Hammer gel, some water and some coke! I did hit my inhaler a few times out there thoughout the course during some of the big climbs and I am not sure if it was more mental or more that I actually needed it, but it seemed to help!
Back at Boston store I took a quick swig of my Fruit Punch Rockstar which tasted divine and I was off. I was hoping to pick it up the last loop and get the win. The way back out to Brandwine was painful up the hills but I pushed along, relieved to be on the final loop. I thought about not stopping at the aide station but I was tired and thought another gel and some coke may be worth the extra time. R was hot on my heels. On the return trip I flew down the first big down hill and walked the steps of the final climb while running the last half of the hill to the top. I was trying to drop the pace but R was sticking tight and it was obvious she wanted 1st as badly as I did. My calfs were screaming as I pushed on, afraid they may just fully seize at any minute as it felt like my legs were just cramping. We made the turn onto the towpath and I was hurting and pushing it in as best I could. With about 1/3 mile to go, R surged and passed. I had nothing left to answer back and trotted in for the 2nd place finish with a time of 6:09 behind her.
It is all good though. She really pushed me to work hard out there on the course and just finishing that race in those conditions! My body was pretty fatigued after the race and I am sure I was pretty dehydrated as I did not go to the bathroom the whole time (even though I thought I had to right at the start!).
The times on a whole were so much slower this year. Last yr, DP who placed 3rd ran a 4:47. This year he won it with a time of 5:35 (I think). Last year I ran a 5:37 compared to my 6:09 this year which felt like so much more work! From what I heard (which I could be wrong as I am not sure) only 55 people finished of the 100+ that had signed up for the 50K. It was one tough day out there for all!
Here are the garmin stats-
29.79 total miles-6:01.08 total time, 12.07 avg pace,6707 ft climb, mile paces-
Afterwards, I hit Winking Lizard with a bunch of other hard core runners and I ate and drank whatever I wanted to the rest of the day!
Nice job to all the other racers out there who braved those conditions! Even those who may not have attained their goal, all worked hard out there. Thanks to the awesome volunteers for helping us out in the cold weather. I really appreciated everything they all did whether it was getting me some coke or opening a gel that I just could not seem to handle doing on my own as the day wore on! Oh and thanks to VR and TC for a great race and the awesome jacket!!!
Now it is time to recover well!!!