February 2014, Huntsville Texas, 2014
#1 – finish under 13 hours
#2 – don’t get injured, lots of racing ahead
Strategy agreed with coach – go out easy for 25 miles, test nutrition plan & enjoy the race! Pick up the last ½ if feeling good.
Early start! Remembering the traffic backup for last weekend’s Rocky Raccoon 100 (I did race support) – arrived at park at 4:30. Not much traffic, time for short nap in car * theoretically* but waaayyy too nervous. Just fidgeted & got out to pee 6 times.
Dropped off my bin with nutrition, extra clothes, batteries, etc. Plan was to use Infinit for all-liquid nutrition (worked great for Ironman) & gels. Solid food not a workable option for me as I tend to see it again (ewww…).
6 a.m. start! so very dark with misty fog, bits of sleet & snow. Glad for layers. Ran soooo carefully – I’m a chicken in the dark! Ridiculously slow pace using handheld flashlight to see the roots & rocks (see “don’t get hurt” goal above.) Tried to appreciate the coolness of all the runners moving out in the dark – while being terrified of tripping, ankle-twisting fall.
1st loop – came in at 16.8 miles feeling good! Looking forward to music & hitting my stride. Picked up nutrition, encouragement (awesome coach & crew!), my iPod & headed back out. Turned on music… & iPod flipped out, bouncing between songs, cutting out, gahh!! Futzed with it for a bit & gave up. Too pissed. Checked my Suunto for average speed to find that it, too had quit – time still running, but no longer recording mileage. Sunspots?? Meteor shower?? Argghh!! Gave up & turned off my watch – even knowing I was moving forward, seeing it stuck on 19 miles was completely disheartening. Put it behind me (mental test!) and found I liked the freedom of running electronics-free just fine.
2nd loop – feeling stronger at 30 miles than I did at 6, yay! Sun was up but not too warm. Beautiful. Started feeling a bit like too few calories – tried Ramen noodles from aid station. Nope, didn’t sit well. Decided to stick w Infinit, gels, &Coke.
3rd loop – getting done! Elated to be on the last loop. Steady forward progress. Had not mastered the “fast-hike” – so stuck with slow jog, Ironman-shuffle pace. & then, surprisingly, it got easier – feeling better to run faster than slower. Even with nasty blister I could feel forming on my left foot, even with low-on-calories, no music, no watch — & I’m zooming for the last miles. At least, it felt like zooming.
Finish time =12:23, 50-mile PR by 1 hour, 27 minutes! & over 2 hours for this course. Sore, tired & very happy.
Next up: Prairie Spirit 100, March 29-30th, Ottawa Kansas