29 September 2008

full report: VT50 miler!

VT 50 mile overall result: 11 hours 06 minutes 33 seconds!

i was super excited for this race--my friend mason told me it was an amazing race, and reading postings on sherpa john's blog really excited me. so i decided to do it, and my fabulous friend crista decided to do it with me. yay!

i got up at ten of five, ate a bagel with pb&j, and got ready in our hotel room that was literally, right next door to the race start. we headed out the door in time for the 5:45a.m. race meeting. we all focused on success in the port-a-potties (which we all had, yay!), stretching, and getting nervous. i finally met sherpa john, and wished our good lucks to each other.

the race started at 6:45, and we started slowly and easily. crista and i started the race chatting, asking each for advice and admiring the beauty of the course. the first few miles were relatively easy, and we walked or ran slowly the hills and inclines.

we skipped the first aid station, filled up on water and ate very little at the second. at the third aid station, we saw our good friend shawn, who was there with cookies, cheer, and our drop bags. i replaced two gels that i had already eaten, and shawn told us how strong and great we looked.

we left shawn and proceeded down the road. crista was not feeling so great -- her fingers were swelling a TON and her wrist started swelling and she felt dizzy. i was asking fellow runners, and we thought it had to do with salt. i asked at the next aid station -- they had no clue. i encouraged her to eat more salt, and she tried to ignore the discomfort.

i was slightly ahead of crista at the aid station around mile 25. i ate some cake (coffee cake, yum!) and other random foods, and was taking my endurolytes every hour, at a minimum. i also peed, which was good, showing that i was drinking enough. i lost crista behind me a little.

there were a LOT of downhills between 25 and 30.2 i really hammered those hills, running fast, feeling strong. the other runners were super encouraging: "wow, you got it! you are looking strong!" i felt great.

at 30.2, i saw shawn again. i pulled some gels and gummy bears and pretzels from my drop bag, replenishing what i ate. shawn gave me some m&ms, and i ate a big handful. and i was off. shawn said i looked strong, and i felt great.

several miles later, my stomach felt a wreck. "maybe too many m&ms?" i wondered. i persevered...until i had to stop to go to the bathroom behind a bush. and again. and again. and again.

runners i had passed a while back passed me, and i struggled to keep up with them. a friendly runner saw me coming from behind a tree, and i asked her if she had anything. she sympathized, and checked but didn't have anything. i made it to the next aid station, where the volunteers didn't have anything. (note to self: always carry immodium on long runs!!!) but drank ginger ale. i never drank ginger ale in my life, but slowly sipped a can while running slowly with this other woman. "my stomach is a wreck, i can't eat anything. i'm only drinking coke!" she was awesome. i let her go ahead as i had to head behind a tree again. ugh.

i mostly ran, though found myself reduced to walking on some uphills i normally would have been able to run on without any problems. at the next aid station, i drank more ginger-ale, and took a bunch of peppermints, which slightly helped. my stomach issues continued, and i was so upset at how i felt, but knew there was nothing i could do. duck behind a tree, go, and head back out and persevere.

i saw shawn again at mile 40. despite earlier threats, crista did not drop out, and he said she wasn't so far behind me at mile 30. i was relieved, and drank more ginger ale and grabbed another large fistful of peppermints. i ran on to the next aid station -- that's how i ran this race, thinking in terms of the next aid station (especially the next ginger ale). it felt like forever. lots of ups and downs and switchbacks, and i ran alone much of the time. my stomach sent me off the trail once more, but i felt very weak. i tried to eat some pretzels and continued to take endurolytes, but felt like hell.

when i finally arrived at the final aid station, i was so drained. i drank more ginger ale and ate two large fistfuls of animal crackers, which were great. i'm going to run with them at all the ultras i do!

it began raining as i started my final section, and certain parts were incredibly muddy and so slippery. since the path was at the edge of a drop-off, i worried i'd fall off, and ran when i could, but ended up walking, as most others were doing.

seeing the 1 mile sign got me extremely emotional, and i had tears in my eyes. i tried to run as hard as i could, but felt delusional and weak. i finished strong, running down the hill, with my arms in the air. i was SO happy!

the course was absolutely beautiful. i wish i had ran with a camera. the trees were absolutely beautiful, changing. because it was a misty day, the view was gorgeous and peaks were covered with this lovely mist at the top. the weather was mid 50s-high 60s -- perfect, although it was a tad humid at times (and overwhelming almost).

i'm sore today, but okay. i think i would be worse if i had run hard during those tummy trouble miles. i also think i probably could have run 30 minutes faster if i didn't have those problems, but either way, i'm really pleased with my time of 11 hours.

the verdict? i'm an addict. i definitely want to do this race again next year. it was extremely well-organized, i had SO much fun, the bikers were super nice and added an interesting element, and i really like running for LONG periods of time.

next up: i want to find a good 100k, run some more 50 miler races. and i think a 100 miler may be in my future. i'm not sure which one, but sometime in the next year or two, i'll be looking towards a 100 miler!

*note: pictures to come! once shawn sends me photos, i'll post them*


"Sherpa" John Lacroix said...

YEAH! So proud of you. 11 hours on that course is an exceptional first time! You did amazing!

I'm also glad you got a dose of just HOW different things are in these things past the 50K mark... it may not seem like much further but as you discovered.. it totally is.

And just as 50 was different... so will be 100K and 100M. You'll LOVE IT

I'm here if you need help.


Maximus said...

totally cool, sorry about your tummy troubles but it's all part of running. glad you guys finished strong!