This is the weekend I've been waiting for/dreading for a while. My second 50K run. I did not get in the training that I should have. My longest run was a road marathon in January. I'd only got out on the local trails a few times, the longest distance was 12 miles! Plus, a couple of people had told me it was a hilly race. I did 6-8 hill repeats out at celery fields a couple of times, but that was not even close to what was going to be out there on the trail for this race.
I drove up to The Inverness area Saturday afternoon. After driving out to the race area to pick up my shirt and race bib, I stopped at the local Publix, to pick up dinner, then headed to my hotel. There were few hotel options just off the interstate, so I went with the one that looked the best online, a Days Inn. My room seemed clean at first glance, but then I noticed the stains on the beadspread, floor and sofa. Yuck. I kept my flip flops on and tried not to put much on the bed itself. After eating and watching some TV, I turned in for the night, taking that nasty beadspread off completely and making due with sheets. I didn't sleep very well. I kept dreaming that I was late for the race! Finally, at 5:30, I got up, got dressed, packed up everything, filled my little cooler with Ice and then headed out. A quick stop across the street to the big gas station mart for coffee and I was on my way. I big, full moon helped to light my way to the race venue. I am glad I went out the day before, so I knew where to look for the turn off the main road. I had to make a few stops at the porta pottie, (note to self, do not eat baked lays the night before a race. They do a number on the stomach!) before heading back to the car to finish getting everything ready. I took my drop bag over to the bin and then listened to the race instructions given by Kip. We all gathered at the start line and then we were off!
|First loop is the yellow path.|
We headed down the dirt road, following Kip on his bike. We turned left and then a bit further down the road we took a right onto the trail. We are all pretty close for the next few miles. I had my music going, but decided to turn it off, save the battery, and just enjoy the company of runners while I had it. We pass the "Smile Zone" where there is a photographer set up and then we are on to the first aid station. I had water with me, so I ran past without stopping. Now, the hills start. We go up and down a few times before we cross State Road 44. Just before the crossing, I see the bones of a large animal. A fully intact rib cage, plus lots of various bones. Yuck! I've seen a couple of runners heading back already, but as we get closer to the aid station, more and more pass. As I get to the aid station, I grab a water, and head out quickly. By my count, I am 5th female runner, with number 6, pretty close behind. That's pretty cool, but I'm not to concerned with where I'm placed. Runners are spreading out a bit more now. The guy I had been running behind for a couple of miles, dropped back at one point, so I was on my own for a little. I got up to the main junction, where there were a ton of signs, (thanks Kip!) and turned right. I am now on the main circle of the course.
|First time running by the photographer.|
The next miles are hilly. Well, the whole rest of the course is very hilly, with minor sections of flat parts. But, the trail itself, is nicely packed down, with little to no roots. The kind of trail I love to run on! We did have some great shade early on. The first couple of hours were cool with temps (probably) still in the low 60s. I was happy to see aid station B, as I was pretty close to being out of water. One water bottle has been leaking the entire time, making the left side of my skirt very wet! I re-filled my bottles, deciding to hold the leaky one for a while. It seemed to hold the water better when it wasn't in the waist belt. I pass one woman and then another during this section. Now, by my calculations, I am third female! This feels pretty cool, and motivates me a lot. I figure I have a chance at an age group award. In these type of races, it's a 10 year age group, with just first place getting an award.
|The second loop is much longer.|
|Still feeling good at aid station C!|
|Aid station C at around mile 19|
|Mile 26.2. This is the last person I see until mile 30.|
|Finishing my second 50K with a smile and a PR!|
A couple of days later, I find out that I came in second overall female runner! The woman who passed me with less than a mile to go, won! I guess that there had only been two women ahead of me (like I thought) and both pulled out of the race. If I had know I was in first, I would have pushed harder! I guess I should always push harder and try my best. :) Very happy with my 2nd place and 1st place age group. :)