Saturday, May 11, 2019

So much for my new goal of posting!

It is now May 11, and I am finally posting again. Oh well. I do THINK about it. But then never remember when I'm sitting at my computer.

It's been a busy few months. After Gasparilla, I ran the Starkey Half, #89, on March 9th. It was a tough trail race for me. I made a wrong turn on the second loop, which didn't help with my overall feeling. I pushed through to finish. It was a nice course, just a hot day and lot's of sugar sand. That's a one and done race for me.

On March 31st I ran my 90th half marathon. The Iron Girl half in Clearwater. I haven't run this race in a few years. Its a beautiful course, it's just hilly, with 4 big bridge crossings. And, it's usually pretty hot, which it was this year. I felt great for the first half, keeping my pace at around a 9 min mile, but then the heat started to get to me and I slowed down a lot. Finished in 2:06:53
This was on the second loop. Same view as next photo, but not as high up the mountain.

The following weekend,, April 6th, I was in California for my brother's wedding. I found a local trail race, that was the morning after the wedding and thought, why not?! The Angel Island 15 miler, also had a 5 and a 10 mile run. I should have signed up for one of the shorter distances. We took a ferry boat over to the island, which was in the San Francisco bay. We had to go over pretty early, so I had over an hour to wait before the start of my event. The first loop was going to be the easiest as it was around the lowest part of the island. The second loop went around the middle and the third climbed up to the very top. I had seen the elevation chart but if didn't really hit me until I was there and running. The first loop was a challenge!

When I was struggling through the second loop, I seriously considered not continuing for the final loop, knowing it was going to be even harder. I got to the end of the second loop and after refilling my water bottles, decided to just try the last loop. It was very hard. I walked most of the way up to the top. Many times I just wanted to sit and rest because walking and catching my breath was a struggle! On the way down, I had hoped to run a bit more, but I was feeling dizzy, so I ran as much as I could, before walking a bit. I finally finished and I wasn't the last! :D I felt pretty yucky for a few hours after. Once I was on the airplane the next day, I started throwing up. A lot throughout the entire day. I must have been coming down with something during the race and that's why the run was so tough for me. I was sick for 5 days with a stomach bug.
At the top!!

Two weeks later, I was back on the trails. This time for the Moon River half marathon (#92 as Angel Island counts as #91). Bonnie and I ran this half last year. I really liked the course so I was back again this year. Siri was my running buddy this time. The race is an evening run, starting at 6:30, so we have a good 1:30 of time in the light. I felt pretty good for most of the race. It wasn't speedy, but I felt comfortable. But, just after mile 12, I twisted my ankle. HARD. I hobbled into the finish. It was bothering me for almost a week! Even weeks later, the top/side of my foot is a little tender. This race always has good post race food. Siri and I had a good dinner before the long drive back to Sarasota.

Next up: The Spring Fling Sprint Triathlon

Friday, March 1, 2019

It's a new year, time for new goals?

Well, it's the first day of March, 2019. And I am finally making a post. I think my goal for this year would be to post more. :)

I've had a busy first two months of the year. I ran my first 30K distance trail run on January 13th. It was a tough one for me. A very hot day, with little shade. I struggled. I walked a good chunk of the second half.

On January 19th, I attended the annual Manasota Track Club Banquet. I was surprised and delighted to receive the Volunteer of the Year award for 2018! I've been a MTC member for many years. On the Board for a few years now. I love this club and all that it does for the community.

On January 26th, I ran the Achieva 5K. Not a great time, but I feel like I'm getting my speed back a little. The next day, I was set to run the Chilly Willy 5K (just for fun), but the weather conditions forced the RD to change it to a 2 mile run. It was a small event. I still managed to come in 2nd overall! :D This weekend was the start of 7 weeks in a row of running a race!

Around mile 7 of the Music Half.
February 3rd was the Sarasota Music Half marathon (#87). Finally, I was able to run this local half. And, I was disappointed in it. There were only a few bands on the course. Not as many people out cheering as I thought there would be. The best part, was seeing a bunch of friends on the out and back sections. The food was not so great at the finish. I didn't stay long. Happy with my time 2:04:19. I pushed the pace, but still had more in me, to push harder.

February 10th, I ran the new St Pete Distance Classic half (#88). I enjoyed the course, which was a little different from the other half marathons I've run in St Pete. Not much by way of crowd support, but I think that will change as the race grows.  Awesome medal, but post race food was only good for those who could eat pasta. I had a banana, then went to Starbucks.

February 16th was the Super Hero 5K at Benderson Park. I was there for the cause, which helps support foster children. I was not planning to "race" this event. I ran 7.25 miles before the race. The race was huge! Over 1000 participants. At this large of a number, the race should have been put on in an area that could handle that many people. The run was crowded the entire time. And, when the lead runners where coming back, they had to fight for space on the sidewalk with the people still heading out.

Top 10% mug for the 5K
February 23-24, Gasparilla weekend races celebrating Gina and Wendy's birthday! Most of us ran the 15K and 5K on Saturday, plus the 8K on Sunday. Carolyn was a rock star, running all 4 races this year. It was HOT!! I did decent for the 15K. A little better then last year. Granted last year, I was recovering from an injury. But this year, it was much hotter. The 5K was nothing special, but, Gina and I were both fast enough to finish top 10% in our age group! We had some fun at the after party. Then got showered and changed, before heading out to see Hamilton. What a great show!. Dinner, then early to bed. Sunday was even hotter. The 8K started at 9:15. So late in the morning! Lots of sun and humid conditions made it a tough race for me. I started out OK, but when I hit the turn around, the heat hit me hard. I thought I was going to throw up! I had to walk a bit. This hit me a couple more times on the way to the finish. I slowed my pace down, but still ended up walking a couple more times, before finally crossing the finish line. Once again, the conditions seemed to slow most everyone down. Gina and I finished top 10% for the 8K!

Up next: the Shark's Tooth 10K, Carolyn's birthday race!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Race recaps

St Pete Run Fest 5K and Half marathon, November 17-18, 2018

What a fun weekend! Since I was still in recovery mode from the 100K, I went into these events with no time expectations. I just wanted to have fun! Bonnie, Wendy, Gina and I headed up to St Pete early Saturday morning. We got our packets, then had a long wait for the run. It was a cool morning, which was great for once! I hung with Gina for the first half, then she took off. I felt OK and was very happy with my 27:19 finish time.
Before the start of the half on Sunday.

Bonnie and I hung out at the after party event for a while. Mostly because it took so long for my name to move up the list for a massage. Then we met a big group of SRQ peeps for brunch and then a walk around the farmers market. We then got a tour of Jennifer's boat before taking it easy for the rest of the day.

Sunday morning, half marathon. It had warmed up a bit. Once again, Gina and I started out together. We had Jennifer with us, too. We were trying to hold pace to finish around 2:15. I felt good for the first 8 miles, then, my legs started to tighten up. First Gina pulled ahead, and then, Jennifer pulled ahead at around mile 11. I had to stop and stretch. But, I managed to finish in 2:15 on the dot! I was happy with that.
Endurance House Hunnies.

Ragnar Alafia, December 7, 2018
Running the Green Loop
Ragnar was a lot of fun! This was my first time running in this location. The endurance house team was looking for a female runner, so a week out, I volunteered to fill the spot. I could only run 2 of the 3 legs. I was already committed to volunteering the following morning at the Sandy Claws 5K on Siesta.
The drive to Lithia took just over an hour. The location is far east of Tampa. I arrived just after 8 am. All I had to bring with me was my backback, with a change of clothes and running gear, a chair and my cooler. everything was already set up at the camp site. I like this way of participating in Ragnar! :) Our team, one of 4, started at 11 am. I was runner one. I ran the green, 5.4 mile loop, first. It had some small hills, grass running and narrow single track trails. Oh, and a long stretch of deep sugar sand! Yuck. Finished in 58 minutes. I then got to hang out in the camp for the rest of the day. I got a fantastic 10 minute massage, from a group out of Tampa. I wish they were in Sarasota. That guy knew what he was doing! My shoulder felt so much better. My second run, on the red trail, started a little after 7 pm. It was very dark. This is the hardest trail on the course. I had heard it was hard, but I still was surprised at the crazy, steep little hills out there. I had a head light and I was holding a flash light. I'm glad I had all that light. I'm clumsy, so I wanted to make sure I could see as much as possible. Once I got out of the hilly section, I was able to speed it up again. Still, my overall time was slow. Finished in 1:17:41. We were given a food ticket for a free dinner from any of the 6 food trucks. I had a yummy chicken and rice bowl, then changed my clothes and headed on home. I got home and was in bed by 11 pm. What a long day!

Before the start, with Carolyn.
Florida West Coast Half marathon, December 9, 2018
Two days after Ragnar, I headed over to Benderson Park for the start of the West Coast half marathon. It was going to be an interesting morning. I was feeling alright, but wouldn't really know how good I was, until I started running. The weather was horrible. Humid, windy and cloudy. The cloudy part was fine. It would keep the sun off of us. We just had to worry about the incoming storms. The announcer let us know that the race could be cut short at a variety of times, and if it was cut short, to follow directions to the finish line. The course was a strange one. Lots of out and backs. Carolyn and I parted ways pretty quick, after we left the start line. She had a plan to follow, while I was going to go out and try to do better then I did at the st pete half. We headed off the island, turning right, heading south. The wind was coming from the south. This first bit was hard, but not as windy as it was going to get soon. We ran down to the south end of the lake, right turn and then right turn again, along the bottom path, next to the lake. We ran down to the north end of the lake, turning left, then running south again on the main road. This took us out of the park, heading west. We passed by 3 water stops by this point. Each time, I noticed that none of the high school kids were wearing gloves. gross! Only one of the water stops had an actual bathroom, with running water for hand washing. Most of them held the water cups with their fingers inside the cup. yuck. Thankfully, I had two small bottles of tailwind with me. I did want water every once in a while though. For that, I just grabbed one from the table.

Making that right turn at the lake. Into a strong wind.

The last "floating" mile.

Once we left Benderson, we turned right on Honore. I was very familiar with this loop, as I'd run it many times during Ultra training. They had more teenagers at the neighborhood exits, to warn off cars from running us down. I was still feeling pretty good, but I knew once I hit Benderson again, that would be the real test. We took the right turn, then right again, towards the north end of the lake. Once we hit the open of the lake and turned south, we had the full force of that strong wind. I stopped to take a few pictures, then tied to find people to draft off of. It wasn't easy. This was a small event. Everyone was spread out. That mile stretch took forever! My pace really slowed down. I was so happy to reach the southern end. we turned left and then left again, on the east side of the lake. We had just under a mile to run north, before we would head south again for the last time. I tried to pick up the pace while running north. Once made the uturn to head south again, my pace slowed to a crawl. I did get to see Carolyn, Melissa and Jennifer. Finally, we reached the south end for the last time, turned right and then right again onto the down ramp. We would run the final mile on the floating sidewalk, down the middle of the lake. It was on this last mile, that I felt the rain finally start. I tried to pick up the speed a little, but my legs were feeling super tight. Very happy to see the finish line and finish in 2:10. 5 minutes faster then in St. Pete! Within minutes, the rain started to fall hard. I had just made it in time!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Save the Daylight Ultra

November 2-3, 2018
24 hour event

Race morning! Finally here! I'd been getting more and more nervous as the day got closer. I took off Thursday to get everything in order. I got my bottles of caffieneted Tailwind mixed and two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made. I got everything but the cooler packed in the car. Friday morning, I got up around 5:45, had a cup of coffee, got my son out of bed, then got myself ready. Aidan headed off to school and I headed out to Walgreens for ice and then Starbucks for my free venti iced coconut milk latte, which I was going to save in my cooler for later. As I made my way from Walgreens to Starbucks, I realized I had left my sandwiches in the fridge! :( It was already after 7am. I didn't want to drive the 3 miles back home, with the early morning traffic. And, once I left Starbucks, the interstate entrance was backed up, so I had to drive through town to get to the next entrance, south. Once I got to my River Road exit, i got stuck behind a bunch of cars heading my way. At this point, I was happy I hadn't gone back home for the Sandwiches. I wanted to be at the race venue an hour early to get checked in and set up. I would text Kevin later, to bring my food. Once I finally got to Anne Dever park, I got checked in, then went to work putting up my tailgate tent, setting out my table and getting the rest of my gear set up. About 5 minutes before the race start, I headed over to the pavillion. Everyone else was signed up and running the 48 hour event. Justin announced my birthday and let everyone know I "may" join them for the full 48 hours, if I felt up to it the next day. :) At 9 am, we were off!

Got my car and small aid station set up. Ready to get started!

First loop, I ran with a guy who has run many long ultras and who hadn't trained much for this event, but was using his girlfriends race entry. It was nice to have someone to chat with for the first loop. He told me some stories about his ultras, keeping my mind off of the growing temperature. When we got to the bridge (which I planned to walk each time) he went ahead. The first 4 miles were great. Kept the pace in the low to mid 11:00 min mile range. During mile 8, I had a refill stop at the main aid station and a quick drink of my iced coffee at my tent. This was my first longer mile (15:02).

As the heat rose, my pace slowed to the 13 min mile range. I was walking more as I was feeling overheated. I would walk a song, then run a song. This seemed to work well. Walking a little longer helped me feel like I had "cooled" down a bit. Mile 17 was another longer one (22:12). A runner had told me there was a turtle on the trail near the mile 3 marker. Sure enough, the little guy was there. When I got to my tent, I grabbed my phone from the car, then headed back out. When I got the the turtle (he was still there!) I tried to get a photo but discovered my phone had shut down! Must have gotten hot in the car. So, I stood there waiting for it to re start. I had all day and night, after all. :) The turtle hung out, too. Only moving a foot or so, until I was able to get a photo of him. He was not shy, so I got  a little closer for a selfie.

Another long stop at the aid station during mile 24, and then the discovery of my tail gate blown over and upside down, made for a 31 minute mile. It was hard to turn that thing over by myself, but I managed it. Then lowered the top, in hopes it wouldn't blow over again. The frame was a little damaged, but it would do the job of providing some shade when I needed it. I also decided to sit for a few minutes and enjoy a few sips of my iced coffee. I also sent a text to my husband, asking him to bring my sandwiches and a few other things. He sent me a text back saying they had left already. :( Just after mile 27, I stopped at my car again, to change out my top. I also noticed my Garmin battery getting low. I really wanted it to last for a couple more hours! Just after mile 30, when I was coming back into the main loop, I saw my husband and Aidan waiting for me. I stopped to get a hug, then told them I would meet them at my car, after I checked in. Just as I got to the car, it started to rain. They tried to help me fix my tent, but as they worked on it, the rain started coming down hard. They had said they would walk a loop with me, so we headed out. About a half mile down the path, I told them to go ahead and go back to the car and take off. They were soaked and didn't look very happy. Plus, I just wanted to run and get through the loop faster! By the first mile of this rainy loop, the trail was flooded and my shoes and socks were soaked. I got to the water stop mid way, to fill up my bottle, then decided to hang a bit, when the rain started down even harder. Finally, I just left the tent, not wanting to stand there if it was only going to get worse. As I came in from this lap, I stopped at the aid station, where I waited fro them to make me a sandwich, took a long time! Then, when I got to my car, I climbed into the front seat to get out of the rain a bit and hook up my garmin to charge. I had brought my extra, older Garmin to wear, while my main one was charging. When I pulled the older one out, I discovered that one strap was broken off! WTH! So, I sat in the car for a while, checking to see how fast the Garmin was charging. Finally, I just decided to head out with the old one, and just hold it for a lap or two. There was just a sprinkle now. I wanted to take advantage of the cooler temps. Details from first batch on Garmin- 33.09 miles, moving time:7:49, total time: 9:04

As I headed out, I realized quickly that I forgot to put my visor back on, which also had my music. And, I didn't have a wash cloth. When I got to the bridge, I looked at the watch, noticing the numbers looked odd. It was set to swim mode! I decided to just turn it off. So, no garmin record of this loop. Though, it was probably one of my faster for the day because as I realized soon, it was getting dark and I didn't have my light either! What a lap of mistakes. I hustled through the lap. Darkness was apon us fast. About a quarter of a mile from the end of the loop, I came up to a couple of runners, who did have lights. They were walking, so I walked behind them, taking advantage of the lighted path. As I got back to my car, Wendy was there to run with me! Miles: 3.3, no time record

Before leaving the car with Wendy, I put on my recharged Garmin, changed my skirt, to a dry one, got my head light and grabbed one of the garbage bags she had brought for me, tying it onto my water belt. It was great having Wendy out there with me. We chatted most of the way. Still a lot of walking, but some good running in there, also. The trail had already started to drain. Only a few bigger puddles left, that we easily got around. When we got back to the car, I decided to change my shoes and socks. That was enough running in wet socks! After our 3rd loop, we stopped at the main aid stop to get sandwiches. I was hungry again. Granted, it had been a few hours since my last sandwich. They were making grilled cheese, so I requested one on gluten free bread. After sitting for a while, I looked over at the grill and noticed only one sandwich on the grill. Not sure if it was because mine was gluten free, but I couldn't understand why they didn't make Wendy's at the same time! So, we were there for a while. Finally we got our sandwiches, then headed out for our last lap together. We finished 4 laps together, just before midnight. I was tired, deciding it was a good time to take a break. I thanked Wendy for coming out and keeping me company. It was wonderful to have her there. I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to hit my goal of 100K before midnight, but I did finish just under 50 miles before midnight. A huge milestone for me! Miles: 13.27. Time: 3:54. Moving time: 3:21

Once Wendy left, I got my little back of the car bed ready, then climbed in. It took a few tries getting myself up and in there! It felt wonderful to stretch out my legs. I set my alarm, then put on my eye mask and ear plugs. It wasn't a very restful sleep. My mind was still working like crazy, but, I was able to rest my body, which was a big help. I probably dozed here and there, finally getting up just before the alarm went off at 3:15. I had to walk to the bathroom, which was on the other side of the loop from me. Added distance that didn't count! It needed to be done. Speaking of the bathroom. I only used it twice yesterday! Not sure that's a good thing. Probably was a bit dehydrated. Once I got back to the car, I grabbed all my gear. My plan was to walk a loop or two, to ease back into it. I had just 4 loops left, to get to my goal. I decided to listen to a couple of Run This World podcasts, while walking.

Since it was only around 4am, it was still very dark. I saw a couple of other runner/walkers out there, but otherwise it was very quiet. Half way through the loop, I realized my head light was not very bright, when I got back from that loop, I stopped to change the batteries. Not sure what happened to the light, but new batteries didn't help. So, I got out my extra lights, which clip to my shoes. I ended up holding one, and saving one in my pocket, just in case the battery wasn't charged enough. Another slow loop and podcast down. As I came in from this loop, a volunteer was making eggs, bacon and potatoes. I could go for that! So, once again, I sat there waiting for some food. After a few minutes, the potatoes came out. Mixed with peppers. Yuck! I said I would wait on the eggs. I munched on a couple of slices of bacon while I waited. The guy assured me they would be ready in a couple of minutes. 5 minutes later, I look over and they are still clear and uncooked! I told him I needed to get going and would check after the next loop. Sigh. With just two loops left, I decided to get music and then try and run again. The first steps where hard! But, once I got moving, I felt alright. I did feel that blisters were forming on my feet. I had a very raw spot on my right pinky toe and I could feel another raw spot on the ball of my left foot. On my last loop, I was able to put away the lights. I got to chat with Kathleen, who has run the Keys 100 a few times. She is amazing! Then, I saw Juan heading towards me, about half a mile from the finish. He turned around and kept me company for my little bit, taking some photos too. As soon as I saw the finish line, I was so happy! I crossed the finish, with a little over an hour left in the 24 hour event. I had decided hours ago that I would not continue on, to try and make a hundred miles. There was no way I had another 30 plus miles in me. Maybe if the blisters had not formed and I had made my 100K before midnight goal. Miles: 13.12. Time:4:19. Moving time:3:52

Heading to the finish mat.

I did it! 100K!!

Total miles: 62.7
Justin asked me if I was happy with this. If I was satisfied. Yes, I wish I could have gone for a 100. I just didn't have it in me on this day. I WAS happy with finishing 100K. It's amazing to me that I was able to cover twice the distance I have ever run before. Do I have regrets about how the day panned out, yes. But, I reached the goal that I gave myself back in January. I'm proud of myself. :)

If I do another (which I am already thinking about!) these are things I would do differently:
1. Bring a lot of my own food. Sandwiches, bananas, pickles, lara bars.
2. Make my way through the aid station faster, which wouldn't be a problem if I have my own nutrition.
3. More walking in training. My feet hurt the most, when I was walking. Instead of back to back long run days, I'd mostly walk on the second day, since I'd be walking a lot during the event.
4. Be better prepared for the weather. I knew it was going to rain. I brought extra shoes, socks clothing. But I didn't bring a poncho! That would have been of great use.

Friday, October 26, 2018

One week until The Big Ultra!

I can't believe the ultra, that I've been training for all year, is one week from today!

The last two weeks of taper, have been going well. It was nice having an easy two days of running last weekend. Last Saturday, I ran 7 miles, before walking 3 during the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Sunday, I got out early (5 am) with Bonnie, for 11 miles. We were done so early, I was home before 7:30. I felt like going back to bed!

My upper back has been giving me some problems, every so often. Swimming has seemed to help. Now that the water in the pool is cooler, it's refreshing, since the temperatures are still getting pretty high during the day. And, the cool water seems to help my arthritis a bit. I am worried about having a flare up during the Ultra. I'm just going to go into the event with a positive attitude!

This last weekend, I have 10 miles on Saturday and Bill's Beer Run 5 Miler on Sunday. I plan to take it easy on Sunday and not "race". It should be one of my slowest BBR events! Always a great after party.

Thinking of next weekend, has me wondering if I could possibly get in 100 miles, if I change to a 48 hour ultra. My main goal is 100K during the first 15 hours, which is on my birthday. 9 am to midnight. Once I hit that goal, I plan on trying to sleep in the back of my car for a couple of hours, before getting up and going out for more miles. I guess I'll decide on adding extra hours, when I find out how I feel that morning. I'm retiring from Ultra events after this, so I want to take advantage of the training. My back can not handle this continued pounding. I hope to get in another few marathons, but that's after taking a long break from the long distance. No running over 15 miles for me for a while!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

John Holmes 50K

Saturday, October 6, 2018
Brooksville, Fl

Why did I decide to train for a 24 hour running event, again? This summer heat has been beating me down. And for the last few weeks, I've been having pre menopausal hot flashes. Which makes my body feel like I am on fire! Even with these conditions, I've been getting in most of my training miles. My mid week runs have been shorter. I just don't have the desire to get up earlier then 4 am to run 10 to 12 miles by myself! I decided a few weeks ago to put this 50K in my training schedule. I was hoping the weather would be a little cooler, since it's now October. Well, the week leading up to this run, it wasn't really any better.

Race morning: Bonnie picked me up at 4:15 am. She offered to drive, which was really nice of her. She was running the 9 mile distance, so she would have a very long wait for me, once she was done. It took us just under two hours to reach the race venue. We got our t-shirt and race bib, hit the restroom, then I got all my gear in order. As we waited for my run to start (her run started an hour later), I decided I would try to use the restroom one more time. When I got there, three other people were waiting in line. By the time I got in, I had a minute left before 7 am! I got in and out of there as fast as I could, but was still a ways away from the start, when the horn sounded.

I quickly caught up to the group then hung out in the middle of the pack. A little more then half a mile down the paved road, we turned left, on a dirt road. About a quarter of a mile on this, before turning left again, on to the trail, that was part of the big loop we would run 4 times. I didn't get a chance to see the map, before the run, so I was very confused as to where we were on the trail. I knew it was a different course from previous races I've run out here.

I wish I would have brought my go pro or phone, because the sun rise was beautiful. It was also very hilly. Long, gentle climbs, for the most part. I was able to run up most of them, this first loop, but knew I would be walking them for the next 3 loops. About 3 miles in, starting down a hill, I was telling myself to slow down and be careful. And as I was thinking this, I twisted my left ankle pretty good! Thankfully, I was able to shake it off and after a few minutes, it wasn't hurting any longer. It helps that I wear compression socks and sleeves, to keep down any potential swelling!

Even though I had 2 big bottles of Tailwind with me, I was eager to get to the first aid station. Finally got to it around 4 miles in. They were just setting up, so I just got a cup of water, then continued on. As I was running down one hill, I notice the big pine cone peace art work on the ground to my left. I've only ever seen it from the opposite direction! It was great to have a general idea of where I was. Around mile 8, we got to the second aid station. This is were our drop bags were placed, so after filling up one of my empty bottles with water, I went to my drop bag to get a fresh washcloth and and iced bandana. My iced coffee had spilled a little in the cooler during the transport, so I got to smell coffee on my bandanna for the next few miles!
This elevation chart looks crazy! That is feet, on the left side. It was not really as bad as this looks. :)

Heading out of the aid station, I made note of what mile I was at, so I could then know how many miles in between aid stations. I had an idea of between 3 and 4 miles, but it's nice to know for sure. It gives me something to look forward to. :) A bit over half a mile from the aid station, we make a right turn. There had been just one person there the first time, directing us to the right. This time, there were a bunch a people hanging out and one person keeping track of our bib numbers and which loop we were on. After 4 loops, I would turn left here, heading to the finish! On this second loop, I had someone in front of me for a bit, but he pulled ahead on an uphill. Then, it was just me by myself until I got to the aid station 3.25 miles later. I had to really pay attention, so I wouldn't miss a turn. The course was very well marked though. There was only once, when I was walking and super tired, that I wondered if I had missed a turn. Thankfully, I had not!

About a mile before getting done with my second loop, I came up to some runners who were in the 14 mile event. It was good to see people again! For the next 2 loops, I was on my own, only seeing one or two other runners, when I got to an aid station. It was pretty lonely! It helped to have the aid stations every 3 ish miles, as it gave me something to look forward to that wasn't super far away. Thankfully there were a lot of trees. They were the thin pine trees, so sun did get through, but there was just enough shade, that I didn't feel like the sun was beating down on me. When I did get into a wide open spot, It was very hot! So over this heat already!

As I came to the aid station for the last time, I asked if there had been anyone there recently. The woman said 2 people had left not long before I got there. That gave me some motivation to stop walking so much and to try and run in most of the 1.5 miles left. At the intersection, where I got to finally turn left, 2 runners were talking to the volunteers. I got by them, then picked up the pace, trying to keep ahead. I wasn't sure how far back in the group of runners I was, but I didn't want to be last. The last bit of the run, was up hill and very technical. I had to walk some, but then we got to the main road. I saw the finish and ran it in.

I did it! We got this cool 50 ounce stainless steel mug.
Finish: 7:20

I'm so happy that my body has allowed me to run my 4th 50K! I was having some upper back pain during most of the run. These little flair ups happen every once in a while even though I've been taking Enbrel for months, which has help a great deal. I just tried to keep my mind off of it, stretch my shoulders back and forth and focus on the trail ahead of me. I am a bit nervous to think about running for 24ish hours in a month, but, I'll just take it one step at a time. :)

Monday, August 27, 2018

8 Hours of Hell

August 18, 2018
Ann Dever Park, Englewood, FL
10 am to 6 pm

Wendy, Bonnie and me ready to get started.
What gave me the bright idea to run for 8 hours, in the summer, during the hottest part of the day? This was one of the toughest events I've ever done! The heat was just crazy!

Saturday morning, we got to sleep in a little bit, since the start time of the event was at 10 am. I met Bonnie and Sandi at the Denny's parking lot, where we left Bonnie's car, before heading down to Englewood. We got there by 8:30, a little earlier then we had planned. We got our tailgate tent set up, along with all our gear and multiple coolers. My plan was to carry one 20 ounce bottle of Tailwind and one bottle of water in my hydration pack. I had extra tailwind in the cooler, plus, there was some in the giant jug up at the check in pavilion. We took it easy while all the other runners arrived. Sandi was there to be our sherpa. She kept busy getting everything ready, while we sat and kept our feet up. Just before 10 am. we got our pre race photo, then walked over to the pavilion to hear race details before heading out. Justin, the race director, gave some instructions, and then we were off!

There were about 50 runners this morning. 34 in the 8 hour event and 15 in the 4 Hours of Fun. We headed out on the trail, spreading out pretty quickly. Bonnie and I stayed together through the first loop, which was 3.05 miles. As we came into the check in and to our tent, she noticed her Tailwind, in one of her bottles was empty. She had a leak. So, she stopped at the tent and then planned on heading to the bathroom. I decided to keep going. During mile 7, my stomach started to bother me. I REALLY needed to go to the bathroom. Every time I tried to run, I thought I might poop my skirt! So, I walked a lot of that third lap. I got back to the pavilion, checked in, then headed to the bathroom. I came back to the tent to see we had more people hanging out there. Cindi, Cat and Jane had showed up. Everyone helped to get me what I needed, before I headed out for lap 4. I felt better, but was slowing down my run pace. It was blazing hot. I tried to run as much of the shady sections as possible and walked a lot of the full sun sections, including the little hill and bridge. Loop 1, 2 and 3: 33:08, 39:44, 42:36

Our little hill on the course. :)
As the day continued, I kept up my running through the shade and walking through most of the full sun spots. I hit the water/ice station each lap as well as my tailgate tent each lap, to get refills of ice for my neck bandanna and ice for chewing on. My longest miles where those with the check in and stop at the tent. My fastest miles were the ones after the bridge, heading back to the check in. When running, I was moving slowly, but I felt pretty decent. My legs were not feeling stiff or hurting at all. For the most part, I was running by myself. Every once in a while, I would pass by someone or others would run by me. It was a bit lonely, but thankfully, I had my music and I do fine running on my own. Cindi, Jane and Cat had left after a couple of hours, but then Gina showed up just after 1 pm. It was great to have her there to see and help at the end of each loop. Loops 4, 5 and 6: 45:18, 46:25, 50:42

Towards the end of lap 7, I passed by one woman, then another and then a group of 4! One ended up passing me again on the next loop, but when I came in after loop 8, I saw my name up on the top 5 score board! wow! What I find really interesting is how I got faster as the day went on! I mean not super fast, but my average pace was a little better later in the day. Looking at my mile splits, I did better for the last 10-12 miles then I did earlier in the day. It didn't get any cooler or any shadier. I just got into a grove when I was out there running. I was in a zone and when I came in from lap 9, I thought maybe I could get in 11 laps. I had 1:20 to get in 6 miles. Normally, that would be a huge amount of time to run 6 miles, but I knew my average pace wasn't so great. So, heading out on Loop 10, I got Gina to pace me. 2 of those miles with her were my fastest since the start of the run! I really wished I had time to head out for the 11th lap, but when I got in, it was 7:25 pm. There was no way I was going to be able to run 3.05 miles in 35ish minutes. I needed at least 40-45 minutes to have a chance. So, I ran in for the last check in, then headed back out to finish 31 miles and get that 50K distance. :) I had just a few minutes to wait for Bonnie. It was great being able to see her finish her first ultra race. Like me, she headed back out to finish off the 50K distance. We celebrated with mimosas. But only for a short time. A storm was heading in. The clouds I had been hoping for all day, were finally moving in. But also, lightning was heading our way. We finished just in time! Loops 7, 8, 9 and 10: 46:54, 45:28, 43:43, 45:17 and last mile 13:04

The water, Tailwind and ice station located just after mile 1. I stopped at this each time.

Some time around the 7th or 8th loop.
I walked the bridge normally but had to run for the photo.

I finished as one of the top 5 women! Very impressed with those top 3 women who ran 3-6 more miles then me.
Cheers to finishing 8 Hours of Hell!