I've never done a timed race before, but GLIRC was organizing a 6 hour run - that Ray K was running (Yay, I'd get to see/hang out with Ray K!), fit into my schedule perfectly, and wasn't that far. I figured I'd torture myself, I mean, train for my next 100 miler, December's Cajun Coyote 100 Miler.
The course was in Sunken Meadow State Park, where I spent every Saturday of my high school cross-country career racing. The first race I ever did, I hated every step of it and promised myself I'd quit cross-country after I finished. But then after my race, we roasted marshmallows and went swimming in The Long Island Sound and it was SO fun that I forgot how much it sucked until next week. The same thing happened. Repeat. And now I'm hooked.
However, this course was a little different - we skipped out on the awful Cardiac and Snake Hills, had a little bit of pavement, a lot of sand (and stupid Cherie forgot her gaiters!), some hills (that Ray and I were calling mountains at the end), and a lot of fun. Each loop was 2.1 miles with a smaller .36 mile loop you did at the very end.
I ate little, other than two gels and two packs of Honey Stinger Energy Chews. I drank a cup of water every loop, opting to not carry water but instead grab a cup every 2.1 mile loop.
The course was pretty, with some flat sections, a few uphills, and really, not enough downhills. It was fun because there were a few spots where you could see people running at a different point than you. Of course, we got lapped but that was fine.
I went out easy with Mary and we talked about slutty pumpkins and donuts. By loop four, I was feeling strong and Mary, who ran Portland the week before and had been sick all week, didn't feel like charging up the hills with me, I ran alone. I pushed it hard. My Garmin tells me my pace was low 9/high 8 minute miles. Woohooo!
Then I hit a hard loop and it was a struggle to keep the pace under ten. Still, I was mostly successful. As I ran into the start/finish/aid station, I saw Wayne standing there, waiting for me. He was only going to run 21 miles and do it as a training run, but he wanted to run the last two loops with me. He was hurting a bit, and we both slowed down further. I laughed aloud when I read the numbers on my Garmin 210.
It's always fun running with a good friend or love, and Wayne is both to me, so it was a total blast. I was sad when the two laps ended, as Wayne was heading back to Greenpoint (and oh, how tempting it was to leave!) but I wasn't sad for long - Ray K had slowed down and wanted to run with me. So we did.
The next few hours were fun - Ray is a legendary and brilliant ultrarunner, full of great stories and songs. He'd sing songs, or change the words. I'd tell him, "Ray, can you sing a song to the tune of Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby/whatever I wanted to hear?" and he'd sing a hilarious song. Like about the ultramarathon we were in the midst of.
We finished our last final loop, and we were booth hurting bad. We joked the mini hills that I charged up at the beginning were mountains. "I need crampons!" "Throw me some rope!" "Is there ice at the top?" "I'm getting altitude sickness."
Then we had our mini loops. Though less than 20 minutes to go, my bladder refused to wait that long. So I peed and then slogged through the rest of the race.
I felt sluggish and achey and tired - BUT my time was good enough for 7th woman (out of 61) and 29th overall (out of 159). I felt pretty good, especially as it was "just a training run."
I'm glad I threw a lot of fast parts in there, and am excited to experiment a little more with faster paces in training for Cajun.
Dear Current PR,
Oh, how I'd love to smash you.
Yours (but not for long),