The “Before” and “After” video’s I made can be seen here, but let’s get back to old school blogging: words and photos y’all
Officially, I DNF’d the Horseshoe Lake 50k this past weekend, my first time not finishing the distance I signed up for. Unofficially, I ran a marathon on a trail in rather warm conditions, undertrained and did it injury free. Like that spin? But honestly, I knew going in that it was going to be rough and that my training up to race day was nowhere near 50k ready. I didn’t event think I would be 26.2 ready, but being stubborn, I went out and started. Later this week I will break out the “excuse machine,” but today, let’s take a quick look at some of the race day sights and a recap.
Coastal Trail Runs puts on a pretty good event. It was exactly what I expected it to be having done PCTR races back when the current owner of Coastal was a part of the team. Low key, but supply everything you need to run a successful trail race… as long as you train for it. But that is just a minor detail.
I planned for warm conditions, running with my lightweight InkNBurn shirt, sunglasses and a hat. The were several distance options and the course was a just 6.5 mile out and back. Half Marathoners did it once. Full Marathoners and Ultra Marathoners did it twice. To get the extra 5 miles for the 50k-ers, you had to pass the finish line and run up a mountain for 2.5 miles and back to give you the 5 extra miles. This would be a HUGE factor in the four of us not finishing the race. More on that later.
The course was mostly single track, all trails. It was a 50/50 split on shade and open areas, but where it was open, it was HOT! I ran with 3 other runners, one of which was running his first 50k. The other 2 are experienced ultra runners, but none of us were “fully” trained to take this on. We were all capable of finishing, which is why we were out there, but it we would lean more on our mental endurance to get there.
The heat and challenging course got to out first time 50k-er around mile 16. He was starting to show the initial signs of being dehydrated. He decided to stop around 18 at an aid station and wait for a ride back to the start, which was estimated to be an hour or so wait. The remaining three of us decided to make our way back to the start and re-evaluate the situation at that point. That would put us at the 26.2 distance. We were already pretty tired at this point, but decided to push on just continue to take it nice and slow.
I would say that by mile 22, we pretty much knew that stopping at the marathon distance (when we had to cross the finish line before running another 5) would be our move. We knew that we could probably push it to finish the 50k, but with one man already down, all of us being exhausted from the heat and the course being a challenging one, we would be “smart” and call it a day. I think had we not had to cross the finish line and it was a 10 mile straight shot to the 50k finish, we would have done it. Weird, but just that option of having a stopping point stocked with food and water right next to our cars was enough to urge us in that direction (Damnit, sorry, the excuse machine is for a post later in the week — back to the recap).
When we got to the finish line we asked around to see if our first timer had made it back… little did we know that after resting and re-hydrating, he decided to make a go for it. He crossed the finish line not too long after we did. This might not have been the best choice, but we runners are stubborn and he is one STRONG runner. But at that point, it was official, we were all done and glad to no longer be running.
My legs felt pretty good all things considered. My last long run was a marathon at the end of March and apart from a Half in April and a 19 mile run, none of my distances had been more than 15. See? Undertrained. My legs were starting to tighten up after mile 22 and they even “seized” a couple times with cramps that lasted no more than a couple steps. I expected my IT to jump out and scream, thankfully it didn’t, which is another reason I’m glad we stopped.
I’ve received a lot of support on twitter and facebook sending positive thoughts and reassurance that “listening to my body” was the right thing to do. Although I knew a DNF was one day in my future, I was never really ready for it.