Monday, 30 May 2016

Out of the freezer, into the fire

Race day started out less than spectacularly, as I made my coffee all wrong and had to make an emergency Tim's run at 4 am in PJ's, I nearly put the weak-ass SPF 15 sunscreen on my face, and worst of all, I tripped on my shoelaces and did a full face plant walking through the parking lot from the car to the drop bag tent.

Things could only get better from there, right?

The forecast for race day could only be described as "hotter than hell" - even hotter than Chicago Marathon in 2011.  I can't believe that I've run 2 races with an 80 degree differential in temperature in the same calendar year! I wanted to use the lighter Salomon hydration pack, but figured I really needed 2L of water on me in such hot weather.

Made my spam musubi and mashed potato cakes, and added an extra pinch of Himalayan sea salt to the potatoes, figured I could use it.

Drop bag: shoes, socks, anti chafe, peppermint oil spray, sunscreen, bug spray, extra food, a change of clothes, iced magical Mexican shit, frozen Skratch, a tupperware of ice cubes in the cooler.

Loop 1

The race started when I was still a little shaken up from my parking lot tumble and still spitting out dirt. I ran behind two ladies, Rhonda and Karen, who were doing the 100 and running at a perfect pace, they promptly nicknamed me Pinky. We ran together for most of the loop, and caught up again later, they were running with Robin and came up behind me.  I still haven't recovered from the shock of Robin running behind me in a race!  The sun was just coming up so it wasn't too hot yet.  Saw a whole bunch of people in the span of about 5 minutes going up Headwaters for the first time - Steph, Agnes, Anna, Emma, Sam, and Nicole.

Loop 2

Headed out on loop two at 2:55 clock time, I thought that every loop would take a minimum of 3:15.  Starting to get hot, but it was only really awful in the open sections, on Monarch Trail and the open fields after climbing the Three Bitches.  I caught my toe on a root on that single tiny technical section connecting Monarch to Sulphur Creek and I would rather not think about what would have happened if I had fallen - I would have likely fallen into the deep valley. Refilled my bladder and changed shoes before loop 3 - the plastic "bead" on the lace was digging painfully into the top of my foot, and I was starting to get some hot spots on my toes.

Loop 3

Started loop 3 at 6:20 clock time, still well within my secret goal of sub 15 hours.  I knew that the 3rd quarter of every race, regardless of distance, is the one that sucks the most for me, and I wished I had company for this loop, with the sun being overhead.  I walked a lot of this loop, but ran steadily on the downhill part of Headwaters.  I knew there were 2 people behind me, and some of the ultra speedsters had lapped me.

Loop 4

Pulled into the start area to change my socks, Lori was nowhere to be found.  I changed my socks (feet were already a blistered mess) and had unlocked my phone and was about to call Lori and yell, "WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU?!" when she came running into the tent, she was there waiting but due to a bunch of things happening all at once wasn't at the start when I came in.  There were a LOT fewer people on the course during loop 3, I figured there were a ton of DNF's.  My feet hurt so I told Lori that we were going for an easy 20K stroll, I'd run if I felt like it, but no pressure at all.  There was about 8 hours until the cutoff, I knew I'd finish if I was smart about it.  Refilled bladder again and replenished the food - the extra pinch of salt in the potato cakes rendered them inedibly salty.  I had taken a salt pill every hour and my hands were swollen, but nothing worse than a normal long run.  

Top of Headwaters.  Photo by Lori.
I wasn't going to let Greg miss me finishing this year, so Lori called him, and he met us with about 3K left.  The last of the sun was disappearing behind the trees but could still see pretty well without a headlamp.  By some miracle, I only got 1 small mosquito bite.

Of course I ran the chute to the finish!

THANK YOU Lori for pacing me and THANK YOU Agnes for sticking around to see me finish!
Celebratory chugging of Spumante Bambino straight from the bottle, like the classy lady I am.

So I think everyone wants to know...will there be a 100 miler in my future? I won't say never (because you know what tends to happen when I say never) but I will say that staying up all night to run doesn't sound terribly appealing.  Will there be another 50 miler? Absolutely, yes.  I would love to run another in more ideal conditions and see what I can do!

For now, I'm just going to relax, Eat All The Things, and get ready for my 5th NFWHM next Sunday...gotta keep the streak alive!


  1. Congratulations again! Hope your feet heal up for next weekend! You're amazing.

  2. Oh my gosh...we made your blog..

  3. Congrats! I can't imagine running in that heat--let alone an ultra! Impressive job:)

  4. Congrats Patty you did it. If you csn do it in those conditions you can handle anything! What a day.

  5. big congrats again, Patty on accomplishing what you worked so very hard for. I can totally hear you making that call to Lori too - your voice and all. Too funny! Great job out there. it took us 3hrs to finish the 25k and that was enough for the day for us. Way to ensure Greg was there for the finish as well.

  6. Hahaha, you know I didn't actually call her but you could hear me if I had! ☺️