Race Summary - Short Version
What went well
1. More speed than I knew I had. 2nd female overall! That was SO unexpected.
2. Stomach/nutrition good. Aid stations and volunteers were excellent.
3. Amazing weather and an interesting course - perfect day. Cloudy and temps in low 70s.
4. Only 2 small blisters / feet did well on a rocky course. My Hyner Smart wool ankle socks seem to do the trick for me. I do want to try my Injinji socks again.
5. Did well on down hills / let go of fear (mostly) and was aggressive.
6. Did well with 1 headphone in last 14 miles. I haven't used them in trail race before because I'm usually with my friend Michelle. It was a treat and if someone started talking to me I just turned them off.
7. I met a runner who lives near me who has done a couple 100s and am hoping to stay in touch.
What went not so well
1. Forgot my Tailwind - luckily had Nuun and 33Shake with me. I was very hungry by end of race. Luckily this was the only thing I forgot since I wasn't well prepared and need to prep father ahead (per coach Ann's instructions).
2. There was allot more running and less hiking than I expected! Only 2 climbs in 1st loop and then some big ones at end. I'm accustomed to hiking allot more so was pretty tired in last 6 miles. I learned during this race that I like more mountains.
3. I missed my friend Michelle. I think I've gotten so used to running with her that I've become somewhat dependent. At around mile 14 I had some mental bumps, but my headphones helped allot.
4. My right leg is sore - kinda the usual. I took one stumble early on around mile 5 that was kinda jarred my whole body. One fall isn't bad though.
5. I kept thinking - how will I ever do 100? It got in my head and I think it's because I was running faster than normal for that distance.
6. I need new shoes. I like the stability and handling in my Saucony Peregrine, but I have 2 complaints - the laces always untie at some point (regardless of dbl knot) and they are tight by the end of the race. Maybe I will try Altra or Innov8 again.
7. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but I definitely didn't follow my race plan to start more conservatively. I think that for longer distances with more elevation I will need to take pacing more seriously.
Race Report - Long VersionThere were a couple reasons I signed up for the Boulder Field 50k:
Pre-raceNot gonna lie - I almost bailed on this race last week. The kids starting school and me starting a new job had the majority of my attention and energy. I was logistically and mentally under prepared, but I knew I was in good physical shape. My new boss and husband Mike encouraged me to go spend some time alone in the woods - I won't read into that too much! Part of the benefit of having a coach is that Ann sends me a note and asks me for a race plan and goals. So, at a minimum I had thought the basics through. Here was my race plan:
|Great moon to light up the arrival of the Boulder Field 50k at 6:15am|
|Amanda and me uncharacteristically cool and collected at the race start|
|Starting line - no one lined up yet 5 mins before the start - gotta love trail runners|
|Sunrise at Sand Spring Lake|
There were less than 200 people running so it didn't feel congested at the start. Amanda and I went off together comfortably down the road before we hit single track and got conga lined for the next mile or so and got separated. I was trying to remind myself that it was a long race and it was A-OK to be hiking, but admittedly the start and stopping had me antsy and as soon as I could comfortably pass I did.
|The course map and pace/elevation chart from Sunnto.|
I ran pretty fast (for me) for miles 2 through 10 and I felt really solid. Mile 3 was my 2nd fastest mile of the race! I took one spill taking in the view around mile 6.5 and tripping over a rock, which jarred my body. Luckily I fell to the side since the alternative forward was a decent ledge. I was nervous standing up to see what was going to happen, but all was good!
I spent much less time than normal at aid stations, but grabbed water refills, gummi bears, and bacon. The salt was so good! I talked to a couple guys and only passed one woman, which I found a little odd at this point, but didn't think too much about it. I was more worried that I was going too fast and I was going to bonk. But, those thoughts didn't change my effort.....
Around mile 9.5 we re-crossed a small footbridge and then started a 2 mile gradual climb back to the starting line. There were great views along the way including a cool waterfall. During this 2 miles I passed the last woman I would see until the finish.
Back at the starting line I took a little bit longer of a break at the aid station to enjoy some amazing PBJs. Why does PBJ taste so good during races? I have a mental block with loops and going through the starting line. But, I quieted my mind, looked at my watch and noticed I was a little over 2 hours into the race, and got back out there.
The next section of the course was tough for me for me. I felt like it was the slightest of uphills - not enough to warrant hiking and enough to make running a big effort. I decided that my "reward" at the 15.5 mile aid station would be use one headphone and listen to some music. My normal running partner Michelle wasn't with me and I didn't have that ray of sunshine that I was accustomed to. I've never used headphones during a trail race and admittedly kinda turned my nose up at those who did. It worked out great for me- my mood lifted and I found that when I wanted to talk to someone I just turned them off for a bit.
| The boulder field was created about 20,000 years ago|
during the most recent glacial period
At the end of the field a woman told me I was the 2nd woman she saw and the 1st woman wasn't too far ahead (turned out she was quite a bit ahead)! I was so surprised. That was the boost I needed to keep pushing on hard rather than slowing down to something closer to my comfort zone.
After the Boulder Field aid station I was very focused on moving strong and steady to the final aid station. After looking at the course data I see I was running downhill which definitely was a big part in why I felt like I was flying!
|Cool/creepy tunnel. |
The last aid station showed mile marker 24.5 on my watch and the guys said they thought we were at mile 26. I knew I was tired based on the mental annoyance I had at the discrepancy. I got over it. Those last miles were tough. There was a little bit more down after the aid station, but after that it was climbing for the next 3 plus miles. There were a couple sections where I would spot a tree and set that as my goal. I just made manageable chunks of landmarks so that I could have mini mental celebrations.
I caught up with a runner named Tom that I had been leapfrogging with and we chatted a bit about his 100 mile races experiences. Part of why I love trail races is how generous runners are with their advice and encouragement. I did my best to keep up with Tom the last mile and it was my fastest of the race!
I ended up being the 2nd female overall and finished in 5:27:24. My watch read 29.5 miles, which is a bit short of 50k, but I wasn't complaining. It was cool to run faster than I expected, see some new trails, and make new friends - a success for the day!