Wildcat 50k was on Sunday, which also happened to be Veteran's Day. I am happy and proud to have served my country and I'm honored to know so many others who either have or continue to do so as well. I will admit that I was pretty distracted by my race that day to really think about & enjoy the holiday. I made sure though (as you will see) to dress accordingly.
I ran the WC50k last year (click on that link to see a slideshow of pictures I took last year) so I knew exactly what to expect in terms of course and terrain. It is a very tough, hilly and challenging course. You run the same loop 5 times, which is good and bad. Good because you know what to expect, bad because there become certain spots that you begin to dread because they are so tough. The first loop or two you are bounding up the hills and stairs no problem. Yeah, you slow down a little, but come on....it's just a hill, get over it (hahahahaha). By loop 3 your legs see those hills and they are beginning to tremble a little, you give in to walking a little, but it's still a fast walk. Loop 4 & 5 are honestly pure torture. You are grunting and groaning just to get up them. You've ran so many hills at this point that the big ones seem even bigger and steeper than before and what seemed like little before now required you to walk a little. Still, the course it sprawling and spread out. The "little" rolling hills are actually a relief and you fly up and down those no problem going along at a easy clip. For the time being & on the flip side of things if I see any hill anytime soon I'm likely to go bonkers and just break down crying in fear. I'm looking forward to my flat streets and slight inclines where I live for awhile.
The weather started out very nice and pleasant. Upper 50's made for a very comfortable start with a skirt (shorts underneath) and sleeveless shirt. Actually, I also started with a light vest, only because it matched my outfit, but had to ditch it because it was just too warm to have on a second layer. I knew that the forecast called for rain and dropping temperatures to hit at some point, but it looked for the first few hours that maybe the weather man was just plain wrong. First it started with just a few sprinkles, nothing serious or even threatning. Ooooo, I was shaking in my boots Mr. 100% chance of weather. Eventually it did pick up to a more steady rain and finally it became a complete downpour along with the dropping tempatures. It's pretty fair to say I was kinda miserable the last 10 miles or so of the race. There is really only one thing to do in this scenerio: just keep running!
I know, it makes no sense. People don't understand why I even want to run 31 miles to begin with. Throw in the trail, hills, terrain with the mix of ok mr. weatherman you were right and even I'm not 100% sure why I kept going. Trust me, mentally I go there. I tell myself that I just can't keep going. Another step is impossible. Of course, by then I'm pretty sure my legs are on complete autopilot. They just propel me forward without even thinking about it. Several times I kept telling myself that I would just finish to this part then be done. Part way through loop 4 I told myself that I should just finish the loop and then call it a day. The rain was making the trail pretty wet, muddy & slippery. Nobody was going to give me grief if I "only" did 4 laps/24 miles. Yet when I came to the end of loop 4 I turned around and went back out. I was aware the my pace had slowed considerably, but that is one of the great things about ultras. Most often the focus is not on speed, but just getting the course/distance done. Runners don't judge you for putting out a 12 minute pace, they are in complete awe that you ran for SEVERAL hours and ran for SEVERAL miles.
Only once did I honestly have to call it quits. There is one hill that is a doozy. Even in good weather it's hard to get up at any kind of a good pace. Before I even got to that hill on lap 5 I was aware that I was slipping and sliding in some places. I came to that hill, tried to get up it and about half way up I slid down. My hands and knees were covered with mud. If I couldn't get up that hill I would have to turn around and head to the finish. I had to find a large stick, something big and strong and about as big me. It worked! Even though I still slipping and sliding, with the help of the stick I was able to get to the top of the hill. I wasn't 100% sure I had made the right decision, but I kept going. Getting to the turn around point was my next goal and I wasn't even sure I could do that. The trails were pretty bad. Part of the problem was my shoes. While they are good and fit me well, they are road shoes, not trail ones. I kept slip sliding along the way, some places I had no choice but to shuffle along or walk because if I didn't I was going to end up flat on my back in the mud. I kept telling myself that if I can just make it to the turn around I would cut back to the finish line on the paved road and not the trail. Again I came right up to the turn around and headed back onto the trail. Who runs 28 miles then just calls it quits. Not me! Sure it was a gamble that I would not get hurt in this process, I still came across many trouble spots that caused me to hang on for dear life. But I did it! I finished!!!!
My finish time was 6:15:15. I've done analyzed and studied my miles and pace, etc. I slowed with each lap that I did. I don't like that and am a little disappointed that I can't seem to keep a consistent pace. Sure the weather and trail conditions should/would have slowed me a bit, but I should still have done better. Yes, I am my own worst critic. I do know though that I don't have trail/terrain like this to train on where I live. The new overpass right by my house is the biggest exciting hill I have to choose from. I also didn't even try and train for this race. I haven't ran anything over 13 miles in 3-4 months. So, of course, if I don't put in serious training I can't expect serious results. Despite my lack of training I am very happy with what I did over all. I don't know exact numbers yet, but I'm pretty sure I finished in the top 20 (because I was awarded a WC50K skullcap) and I think I was 4th woman overall.
Can you image what I'm capable of if I really buckled down and got serious about diet and training. Wowza! But in the mean time, meh.....ha-ha. Everyone says I'm so disciplined and I'm like, no....I'm really not. God has given me this wonderful capable body, He gets the true glory!!!!
Within all reason, I will be back again for WC50K next year. This is a top notch race run by great people and volunteers. Even better though, it's low key. Not a lot of frills, doesn't cost a lot of money (there is not set price, they ask for a donation), but I guarantee that if you ever come to this event, you'll want to come back again and again. Good job Larry and everyone who helped put on this race!