The mud made it interesting. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn't know how to have fun.
I signed up for Finger Lakes Fifties because it's my friend Mary's 50 mile birthday party. Normally, I'd taper a bit more (maybe just do a 50k) two weeks before a 100 miler, but I really greatly prefer 50 milers to 50ks. So I ran the 50 miler.
The course is a 16.5 mile loop you do three times if you're running the 50miler, plus a "baby loop" of a half mile that of course felt like MUCH longer when you were doing it. The course was mostly runnable, with some hills that I ran a little bit too hard, but whatevs. Not exceptionally gorgeous, but pretty.
The course was not marked very well. Most trail runners know that you can easily zone out, and although I was paying very close attention, I panicked completely in one section b/c there was a long section with absolutely no ribbons or arrows, and I was convinced I was lost and was on the verge of hysterics when I finally saw an arrow. I also got lost and ran an extra mile or more, and I did it with a guy who finished third at Barkley last year. The only person to have ever finished Barkley third. And my friend Tara was behind me and made the same mistake. And one of my teammates got lost in the 25k and did it three times. ARGH.
The aid stations were quite basic - nothing special, and ran out of things by my third loop. (I heard reports of volunteers not wanting to open new soda bottles for runners wanting Coke in later loops bc the race was "almost" over. Sad.) I'm of course spoiled by races like Vermont 50 and Vermont 100 and of course Burning Man 50k where people go out of their way to make exceptional aid stations.
I got lost early on and I was so pissed. I was racing hard, hoping to have a decent race. I didn't know the course but my main goal was to race a solid race, ideally under 10 hours. It kind of killed to run 10:02.
I ran the first loop in 3 hours, not bad considering I spent a mile or more getting lost. The second loop I slowed down a tad, but ended up running 3:13ish. I came through the second woman - well, the first 50k woman won, and now I was the second woman through. If I stopped, I could've been automatically second woman (age group award) but I wanted to run the 50 miler. So I kept going.I was first for 50 miler. And it kicked me in the ass when I was passed at 44miles. ARGH. But second place isn't too bad...it's actually quite nice.
The last loop went to hell. The mud had dried up a bit, but the bugs were WORSE. I was covered with mud, and my eyes were apparently a destination vacation for the bugs of the Finger Lakes. It was awful. Wayne was pacing me and we kept stopping for him to squirt water in my eyes or trying to get a bug out. UGH. I didn't even look at my legs but when I stopped at the end, I noticed a big bug dance party on my muddy legs. Basically, I was absolutely sexy and should have scored a giant modeling contract post-race.
My caloric intake was a little low; I only had a few gels (Strawberry Banana Gu and Apple Cinnamon Hammer Gel), some of the Clif Shot blocks (Tropical Punch) and ginger ale, when they had it. My tummy felt a little weird and perhaps I bonked due to calories?
The funnest part of the race was camping before and after. Well, honestly, if I ever did a race like this, I would be sure to have a real shower after (kind of gross to not....baby wipes and water only do so much). But it was nice to drink some yummy black cherry cider w some good friends, relax, hang out by our campsites.
I'm not sure I'd be back....
Next up, Vermont 100 miler!