Monday, April 8, 2013

50k Croom I'm not a fool" run

Brooksville, FL
April 6, 2013

After running the Dances with Dirt marathon last month, I wasn't sure I was going to be up to running this 50k. But, I had plenty of rest days over the last couple of weeks, so I figured why not just go for it.

First part of the trail.

I drove up to Brooksville Friday evening. I got a late start because I needed to take my son to his drama class before I could head out. Pulled into the hotel lot a little after 8 pm. Brenda arrived soon after and then we settled in for the night. We were up at 5:30 the next morning, which was like sleeping in compared to the last race we did together, Disney princess. :) We headed out at 6am. I'm glad Brenda had driven out to the race site the day before, because I would have felt like I was lost if I didn't have her to follow. It was a very long drive out to the start! She pulled over at one point, to show me where I could leave my drop bag, then we were on our way again. About 10 mins later, we pulled into a parking spot. We hit the bathrooms, before getting our gear and heading to the start area. We chatted with Chris and then Rita. I tried to take a few photos with my little camera, but the battery was dead! So I ran back to the car to drop it off. No point carrying the extra weight. Got back in time for another photo before we heard the blast of the horn and we were off!

The less shady areas of the trail.
I had received no pre-race instruction, so I asked a few runners what color flags we were following. Apparently many people were not listening, because they weren't sure! A few people said they thought it was the orange markers, and after running a while, it became clear that it was the orange markers. :) I started off with an easy pace. I didn't want to push it today. After a minute or two, I said goodbye to Brenda and pulled ahead. I ran with Chris for a little bit. He was running his first 50k as well. We were on the main road for a short while, before we turned onto what looked like a fire road. We ran on that for a bit, before turning onto the trail. We were now on single track and it would be this way for most of the race. I tucked in behind a few runners for a while, before passing them eventually. I loved the tail so far. Perfect for running on. So different from the Dances with Dirt race. This terrain was easier to run on for me, but the hills were killer. I had not really trained for that! I hit the first water stop, topped off my bottles and ate one of my little, sample size Lara Bars. Just before mile 9, we hit the second aid station, which was also the location of the bag drop. I lost a few minutes here because I stopped to use the porta pottie. A mile or so later we hit 2 crazy steep down hills, that followed quickly with an up hill. Just beyond that was the third water station. I refilled my bottles again, ate half a banana and then headed out. Lots of thin pine trees for the next few miles. And lots of hills! The final mile of this first lap was a crazy up hill that was very steep and had tons of roots. I headed into the finish area to see I had run the first 16 miles in 3:03. I was pretty happy with that. My legs were feeling a little sore from the hills, but overall, I was feeling much better today than I during the trail marathon at this same stage.

One of the steep climbs.
I stayed at the aid station for a while, eating a big slice of an orange, part of a banana and refilled my water bottles, before heading out with Chris. There was a long down hill that was similar terrain to the previous uphill. I took it easy going down this section. My recent core work came into play, when I caught my foot on a root. I felt myself going down, but used my core to pull myself upright! I was pretty pleased with myself. :) I soon lost Chris, who pulled ahead of me again. A couple of miles later, I ran up to the next water stop. I spent a lot of time there again. They had some pink Peeps out, so I ate one of those, and grabbed a handful of gummy bears, because I wasn't sure I had enough Power Bar gel chews left to last me until the next stop 6 or so miles ahead. I stuffed those into my waist pack and was off again. Now that it was just the 50k and 50 mile runners out on the course, the runners were really spread out. I was on my own for long stretches of time. It wasn't so bad though. I never felt confused about the course. It was very well marked and thankfully, I never got lost! I was definatly running slower now. I was passing areas that I remembered from the first time through. I had passed lots of runners that time, now I was getting passed! But even though I was getting slower, I wasn't beating myself up about it like I did during the trail race last month. I just kept running at the fastest pace that I could. I walked most of the uphills and enjoyed the speedier pace of the downhills.

I was really happy to hit the next aid station, as I was out of water. I had 3 pieces of cold watermelon, YUM!, took a potassium pill, refilled my bottles before heading over to my bag. I pulled out a dry washcloth and grabbed my baggie of honey stingers, before heading out. That was my longest stop yet! The mile came out to be a 20 minute mile! Oops. :) A couple of miles later, we hit the last aid station. I made sure my bottles were full before heading out. It was getting pretty warm now. Not as much shade for the next few miles. Lots of thin pine trees around us again. And of course, lots of up hills! I just kept doing my best and covering the distance. As soon as we hit the trails with more tree coverage and more roots, I knew the finish line wasn't to much further. Rita passed me here and then another guy. He said we had less than a quarter of a mile to go, even though I thought it might still be a couple of miles, because my garmin showed 29 miles. I was so happy to see that my garmin was wrong! I finished that last up hill, ran across the road and to the finish! Rita and Brenda were there cheering me on. It was so wonderful to finish! I feel so happy to have finished my first ultra. And, with this race, I now have 2 stars with Marathon Maniacs. :)

Finish - 6:51:28
7 out of 10 in age group

Overall, this was a great race. I plan on going back next year. But this time, I will train for the hills!

Me and Brenda after the race.

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