Winter Run for Regis 50K was my first 50K ever in 2008. That year I ran it with ESpeed and Solar Squirrel and we hung together for the majority of it and I was hooked on trails! Year one gave me a time of 5:37 with some pretty nice trail conditions on the old course.
In 2009, I returned to do the 50k again and was feeling pretty darn good. Young R gave me a run for my money that year and we went back and forth before I threw the hammer down after 28.5 miles to start to try to drop her and she answered back and gapped me the last half mile of the race to take first woman finisher. Oh did I hurt after that race! That year the trails had deep snow to work with, I had some bad blood blisters from all the sliding and who starts to race at that point in the race....OUCH! Yet, I was walked away from the race content with the performance and glad young R was there to push me harder. Huge props to her on her performance that day. That year Garmin showed 29.79 miles, 6:01 total time and boy did I work harder for that time vs the 5:37 from the previous year. Had the race conditions been like the previous year I am certain my time would have likely been sub 5:30 given the effort but race conditions have an incredible time impact sometimes!
In 2010, I was signed up for Run for Regis only to get a tibia stress fracture and sat that year out. I signed up for the 50K in 2011, but I still felt residual tenderness in the tibia area and decided to play it safe and run the half marathon option. 2011 was another deep snow year and my first time on the new course which started in 2010. This course is clearly longer and has more elevation than the old course. It was another slow day on the trails with the snow and I ran hard finishing 12th person in the half and first female in for the half. Total time 2:24.
Now there are a lot of reasons that I sign up for this race every year including-
1. The race organizers are the best! Tanya, the RD pours her heart into this race and has good supporters like Nick, Roy and Vince who really lend a helping hand. There are a million volunteers every year that help setup and tear down and stand out in the freezing cold for hours to provide runners high quality aid stations.
2. The course is always well marked and offers runners some of the most scenic sites of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Each trail had tons of streamers, flags, plates and even home signs which were such a welcome site!
3. Each year with every entry runners always get something awesome like a jacket, running shirt and this year I got the ladies fit Brooks neon yellow vest which I love!
4. The finish is always enjoyable with warm chili and fireplaces to warm up!
5. IMO this race has a very laid back hometown feel with lots of local runners that are always fun to see throughout the day on this loop course.
6. BUT, my main reason I sign up is to give myself motivation to get out there on Ohio's cold snowy days, build a solid training base and really get in some good trail miles.
So as we rolled into November I started getting out on Sunday trail runs. Mainly I ran each week with Ashley and Guy. Ashley grew up in my hometown and it was obvious that while she had not yet run a 50k, she was a naturally strong trail runner who attacked the uphills as if they were not even there. I think ESpeed said it best when she said Guy was a monster on the trails. Guy just flew down the hills and would effortlessly run those trail miles chatting away clearly in his element. It seemed each week, I would run on Sunday after logging a pretty huge week and keeping up with the two of them was often more than I could muster and I got my butt handed to me!
I ended up taking Friday and Saturday completely off from training which I think had me feeling a bit fresher on Sunday. My plan was to hang with Ashley as long as I could and hopefully just make it though the race (I am forever careful to make sure I never push that tibia/tibial nerve too much as it would not be worth the setback so I was prepared to call it a day early if it started to trouble me).
I was trying to channel my inner Emily (as I was running waaay later than I wanted to that morning and was trying to not freak out about it!) but I made it there in plenty of time to get my stuff hit the bathroom twice and listen to Tanya's spunky pre-race message. I lined up with Ashley and away we went. We just chatted like a normal Sunday run and the miles just clicked on by. As usual Ashley crushed the uphills and slowed up as I tried to reel her back in after I caught my breath.
We both stooped at different times to hit the RR. I hit it the RR after 13 and told her to feel free to head on but she seemed resolved to stick together. I would say overall, while we were working, it was a pretty laid back run as we indulged in Oreos. I did take in some water, heed and First Endurance Liquid Shots over the course of the morning. I enjoyed seeing the many trail running friends and CTC peeps out running on that crisp morning. (Way to go Jen, Sara, Brandy, Eric and everyone else on those awesome half performances!!!)
We did 3 loops of Happy Days /Boston (~5 miles) and 2 loops of Salt Run (~8mi). Let me say I was happy when I was done with that second Salt Run loop as those last 2 climbs past the lake are just mean when you are getting tired! On the final 5 mi loop, we were both ready to be done and I was so excited to finish the last stupid climb before the Happy days Parking lot (which Ashley still effortlessly ascended).
As we rolled into the finish we just finished together as we ran as the first females in for the 50K. Clearly I feel like if it would have been a race between us, Ashley would have easily taken me. However running the race alongside a friend and training partner makes for easily one of the most enjoyable races I have ever done. And while I was tired, nothing specific was really hurting me and I could remember many of the training runs which had me hurting waaaaay worse!
It seems hard to believe that 31.55 miles with a whole lot of climbing in 5 hours, 21 minutes seemed to just click by so easily. It gives me more hope that maybe my leg is stronger than I have given it credit for and that this solid base of running miles will pay dividends as I build towards triathlon season.
So in summary just want to express my gratitude to my gal, Ashley for the super fun run yesterday, Guy for all the training runs and all the people like Tanya and the volunteers for making this an awesome experience which I will always treasure!
+ 2819 ft of climbing
Total Miles: 31.55
Avg HR: 160 - seems a little high for such a long event!
Avg pace: 9:59
Untitled by beelz2009 at Garmin Connect - Splits