HERE or just check out the event facebook page: Wildcat 50k for lots of other info on the race. I tend to stress the type of course that this event is run on because it's not easy & very challenging. I'm fairly certain that I could run a flat course in a much faster time. However between my lack of training on trails (a gravel country road is about as trail-ish as I ever get) and trails with this type of elevation and incline, not to mention stairs thrown in there mid course, it really impacts my performance. On one hand it's nice to challenge myself and change things up, even if for 1 or 2 races a year.
So going into this race time was not a goal or issue. Mostly because I just wanted to run and also because I can't expect a good finishing time (at least not compared to my best known paces which are often completed on flat courses). Run & have fun...I can do that. The weather was absolutely wonderful that day. It did start out chilly. I was prepared with plenty of keep me warm layers. In fact, even though I knew I'd warm up once I got running I had a hard time taking off those extra layers in the beginning. In a effort to embrace comfort and not take myself too seriously I left the layers on to start with even though after 3ish miles I had the first one taken off. As the weather warmed that morning so did I & I eventually ended in a tank top & my capri/skirt bottom. Wonderful November weather!
Prior to the race I had told several people that I was hoping to complete the whole distance which includes 5 laps of the course. I was actually pretty skeptical if I would run it all simply because my legs tend to have funky days and just don't cooperate like they should. So should this be a funky leg day I knew that not finishing was going to be ok. I'm all for pushing myself, but at some point I do stop & say ENOUGH. However race day ended up NOT being one of the days and as I completed my loops my legs felt really good & strong.
I think having run my previous 2 - 20 milers had really helped my legs to prepare for this 50k. Thankfully, unlike those long runs the weeks before, my legs held up the entire time. Previously at about 15-18 miles my legs started to really give me problems & hurt. While I certainly began to have some aches & pains they were more indicative of having run 20+ miles and yet the pain was never so bad that I wanted to stop or not finish or even walk. I would think in all normalcy what I felt was completely expected.
When I came back from each loop I made a note of what time the clock said. Here is what I had written down:
Loop 1: 1:09:30
Loop 2: 2:17:17 (1:07:49)
Loop 3: 3:26:50 (1:09:33)
Loop 4: 4:40 (1:14:10)
Loop 5: 5:52:50 (1:12:50)
The above times are not only reflective of my running time, but also the time I took a break in between each loop. Kind of like my transition times. I also made mental, yet vague notes of how long I had taken a break in between each loop. Each break was a little longer than the previous. At first, just grabbing some hydration, then hydration plus fuel. The next loop I know my break was several minutes longer due to the needing all the previous stuff, plus to get some
Ok, enough analyzing. You can tell I don't get to talk running too much because here I just run my mouth non stop, even if you just don't care. It's my blog, right. Anyway, I know when I started my last loop I was super motivated to just get it done. The faster I finish, the faster I can stop and take a break for good! This was probably my shortest break as I grabbed some fuel and hydration and consumed it on the go. (I'm telling you I can eat & drink just about anything on the go!)
I forgot to look at the clock when I headed out, but remember what the time said when I came in (4:40). While I couldn't recall my Wildcat time from last year, I knew my 50k PR is 6:09. Doing some quick math I knew if I ran this last lap in less than 1:29 that I'd have a new PR. More motivation to not slow down and stay consistently on pace. The thing about me & my pace is that I tend to run solely based on feel. I run with the Nike+ GPS on my phone, but once it's on it's in my belt & I don't look at my stats. The tricky thing about doing this on longer runs is that my sense of pace can be funky. Sometimes I feel like my pace hasn't changed at all, but in fact it has. While it's greatly improved, it's not perfected. Mentally (a lot of it does seem to be this) I worked to stay focused, on task and keep moving at a good & manageable pace. It was tempting to check my phone there toward the end to see if I needed to push myself harder, but I resisted. I came out of the loop and when I saw the clock I let out a big whoop & hollered, adding in some leaping and jumping, taking note of my finished time: 5:52:50.
I was on the verge of tears because I was so proud of myself. Ok, a new PR is freaking awesome, but I pushed myself and kept focused and had such a great run. Every bad run I've had recently (which is a lot mind you, for a lot of different reasons), every day that I have to work SO. HARD. to continue my streak, every mile I've had to push myself to keep working at my 2013 goal, it all paid off right then and there. Such an awesome feeling!!
Ok, I know.....shut me up. Let me share some pictures from that day.
The crowd that showed up to run. Doesn't matter if they ran 1 loop or all 5 (actually there was a handful of people who ran 50 miles that day!) they are all one great group of runners!!
Just getting started
I was saying "I'm eating trail mix on the trail"!
Apparently I like to show off my tough muscles.
A very special to Larry Sandhass for putting together one of the best 50ks in our area. Special thanks as well to Larry, Mark Stegmaier Photography & Phil Pancrazio for taking pictures through out the day & posting them free of charge for our enjoyment. Everything about this race is top notch and wonderful ! I could write a whole other post about the many other details & happenings of this day, but I'll spare you. If you ever get the chance, come on out & run the Wildcat 50k!