i ran the watchung 50k today on a snowy, cold day. this "50k" was three loops on trails on a reservation in new jersey. the first loop was slightly longer than all of the others, which were supposed to be 10 miles, but others wearing gps watches (p.s. my amazing parents got me a garmin 405 for xmas! i haven't even read the manual or figured it out, so i didn't wear mine, but yay mom and dad!) said it was longer -- some said it was 10.6 miles per regular loop, others said longer. either way, it definetly wasn't a true 50k....especially since i got lost three times (once each loop, each time in a different spot....typical cherie style).
the temperature was 25 for the start and finish, and the snow started before 9 a.m. it snowed on and off, and at some points, it was quite in-your-face. the last loop was the worst b/c the snow was covering the ground, including several dangerous icy patches, and i witnessed a lot of people falling. i fell twice, once on each knee, but not on ice. (that would make sense.)
the race was tough. it was tough in the way that ultras are tough mentally. i felt good the first loop, and for half of the second loop, i felt great. towards the end of the second loop, i started feeling a little lightheaded. i tried to eat more (my nutrition for this race included 5 gels, pretzels, and 4 fun-sized snickers bars...i never eat them, but they TOTALLY helped during my race!). part of the problem probably was in the fact that my straw to my nathan fuelvest totally froze and i had no water my first loop (over 11 miles!). this nice guy i was running with who was talking about wanting to qualify for the olympic trials in the marathon in 2012 gave me a little gatorade. dehydration really affects you.
my final loop was SO hard. my knee started really bothering me, and i felt defeated. i almost started crying on more than one occasion, and wanted to badly to quit. "maybe i'll downgrade to just the marathon today," i thought. i kept going.
i pushed myself. i ended up running with this super nice guy, hiroshi, chatting, exchanging life stories. that's why i love ultras -- there's SUCH a human connection that isn't always found in other areas of running.
i finished in over 7 hours, including getting lost three times. i was so relieved to finish. scott drove me to the train, and i hopped on a train back to nyc. i came home, ate amazing cardomom-flavored rice with cauliflower in tomato curry leftovers (that i made, yummers!), some hot cocoa with homemade whipped cream, and now am relaxing while cleaning my apt. i'm drinking some good gewurtraminer. it's been a long, tough day, and i'll be heading to bed soon as the snow gently falls outside my window, and my muscles will finally relax.