Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ultracentric - Ultra Amazing

Ultracentric 12-Hour Endurance Run
November 19, 2011
54 miles, 11:37:54
3rd Female, 5th Overall

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I was going to perform as well as I did yesterday. Here I am a week after my first ultra, Rockledge Rumble 50K, and I'm running the longest I ever have in my life. Twice as long as Rockledge, as a matter of fact. I have never run this distance before and quite honestly didn't have a clue as to how my body would handle it.

For those not familiar with Ultracentric, it's a 2-mile course. Your object is to run as many loops as you can in your time. There is a 6-, 12-, 24- and 48-hour option. I had no expectations going in, but I thought I could run about 50 miles. I figured I would hold a 10:30 pace as long as I could and then see what happens. If I need to cut out early, so what, I won't run the full 12 hours.

It was a little warmer and way more humid than I would have liked, but the overcast was a Godsend. I was feeling really good despite the fact I ran 32 miles a week ago.

At 9 a.m. Ninja and TriGolfer and I toed the line for our little adventure. Ninja was also in for the 12 and TriGolfer for the 24.

Many of you who follow my blog can recall that fueling and hydration has been a big issue for me this year. Last weekend, I used only water and Salt Stick Caps for my electrolytes. I fueled with a gel every hour for the first 3 hours and then switched to solid foods...fruit and potato chips and Coke.

This race was a completely different animal. How am I going to fuel for 50+ miles?!?! Well, I did the same thing, except I cut out the gels and decided to use them at the end if my stomach wasn't tolerating solids.

I took 2 salt stick caps every hour and fueled about ever hour on fruit and potato chips. Later in the night, I took a couple quarters of ham and cheese sandwiches. And I was taking a swig of Coke about every loop. I tried to keep my calories about 150-200 an hour. I was probably much less than that for the first 40 miles.

My buddy Triboomer came out to see the start and hung out for quite some time taking pictures. It was so nice to have a little cheering section for a bit. He said goodbye to me right about my 12-mile mark and said he would be back.

A few minutes later, Beans arrived. He brought me some Body Glide and walked a half loop with me. And crewed me a little by filling up my water bottle and getting me some of my favorite Gingerbread Cookies!

Off I went for some more loops. Around mile 27, My friend Greg stopped by and ran a few loops with me. Left and then came back with a huge Coke from Sonic. It was EXACTLY what I needed. In the words of The Oatmeal, it tasted like unicorn tears.

Around mile 40, my feet are feeling the pounding of this darn cement. I told TriGolfer I had felt some blisters going on. He suggested I swap out into my other pair of shoes. Changed out my socks and shoes and decided it was time to put on my Salomon compression 3/4 tights. Wow! What a difference. My legs felt so much better!

My knee started acting up about this time too. I felt very still. So at this point, took a pretty good walk 2 miles. I also grabbed some Advil. Not sure if I should, Ninja and TriGolfer said to go ahead and take it but keep hydrating.

I grabbed my phone and updated my FB status since I knew people were wondering where I was. I also texted a few friends to keep me company for the next loop. Everyone was so encouraging!

Next loop, I was feeling pretty good so I began running again. I told someone that if my knee was really bad, I was calling it a day at 50. I hit my goal of 50 at 10:35. I was feeling ok so I made the decision to keep going. This was a walk/run for the next 4 miles.

And there it was. My finish line! 54 miles. And then it hit me! Holy crap! I just ran 54 freaking miles? Me? Did I do that? Yeah I did. I have the blisters to prove it. What was more amazing, I came in 3rd female and 4th or 5th overall. There was another guy who also ran 54 miles, but I'm not sure how the RD is going to slot that. Regardless, TOP 5?!?!?! After running my first ultra last weekend? I'm stunned, really.

I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people! Thank you to Triboomer, Beans and Greg for coming out to see me! Your friendship is amazing!

Thank you to all the volunteers at Ultracentric. YOU ARE AMAZING!

Congratulations to all the runners who did something epic yesterday!

Some of the 12-hour Ultracentric girls and one of the boys. Of the top 5, 3 were women! Girl power!

And my Ribsy wrote a blog for the Dallas Morning News. Read it here.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Rockledge Rumble 50K
Nov. 12, 2011
6:39:48, 12th female, 38th overall
First 50K

"Its a brand new day
I'm still alive
What can I say?
The road was mighty hard
But its okay
I did my pride
Just one more mile"
Just One More Mile, Paper Tongues

I did it. I ran a big race EXACTLY how I wanted it. No regrets. I trusted my pace. I trusted my body and I did it. It went exactly as planned.

This was the most calm I have ever been coming into a race. I had no expectations other than to finish. I had a goal in mind, but it was a loose goal. I had never covered this distance before so I didn't know how I was going to feel.

Additionally, after the stomach issues I had in Long Beach, I was trying a new fueling plan and I really had no clue how that was going to work. Instead of Gatoraid or any other electrolyte drink, I took the advice of Jeremy and Josh to go with just water and Salt Stick Caps. I also took Troy's advice and took along papaya enzyme for any tummy issues. Good thing I did because they started up around mile 20. But that stuff is a miracle and calmed my stomach right away.

Coming into the race, Chris and I talked the week before about running together. We stuck together the entire race and I can honestly say that if it wasn't for her, I would not have done as well as I had. I didn't want to disappoint her, so I ran every step of that race. We took time at the aid stations, but other than that, we were running. For the most part we kept an even pace, right where I thought we would be.

I felt pretty darn strong up until 20. It was getting tougher, but I was able to maintain my pace. When we got to 27 and our last aid station stop, I just wanted to be done. It was getting warmer and I was ready to get done. My stomach started acting up after we left that last aid station and I just decided I only had 5 miles left and to stop drinking water.

I remember a biker behind us wanting to pass. I was grumpy at this point and didn't want to stop for fear of not starting back up again. I reluctantly moved over to the side and tried to keep running on the side.

With an mile to go, I stubbed my toe. The one that's already black from my Dash Point experience. I was convinced it was gone. The only thing that helped keep my mind off the throbbing pain was to say the "F" word repeatedly. Sorry, Chris.

On our final stretch to the pavillion, we came off the trail and that stupid grass was like running through water. I felt so slow. And the wind was gusting like a darn hurricane!

The best part of this race, you get to finish up a darn stair case! Lovely, just what I want after 32 miles.

I gave it my all out on that course. I don't really care what my time was. What I care about was the fact that I didn't let my head get the best of me. I was confident of my ability and did what I thought I could do. And with that, who cares what my time is? It was a personal best in race strategy and psychology. Something that means more to me than what the clock says.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Crewing the Cactus Rose 100M

Cactus Rose 100M Endurance Trail Run
Bandera, Texas
October 29, 2011

I honestly have to say that I have met the most amazing people through running. There is an unwritten rule that runners help other runners. You don't think twice about it, you just do it because you want to. It's who we are in the running community.

I have been running with Jeremy for the past few years. A little group of us would get up before the roosters and start running in Grapevine before the sun came up. Our goal, get as many miles in before that giant fireball in the sky zaps the life out of us.

Last year, I had a disaster marathon in Chicago. I plotted my revenge marathon as I always do. Jeremy told me he was going to run it with me. He knew how upset I was after Chicago and he wanted to help me achieve a goal that was important to me. He didn't need to run a marathon. He just wanted to help me.

When Jeremy said he was going to make Cactus Rose 100 his first 100 mile race, I immediately jumped at the chance to help out in anyway I could.

According to the race director, Cactus Rose is no joke...."No whiners, wimps, or wuses: A nast rugged trail run. Bonus points for blood, cuts, scrapes and puke." He means every word of that. Unlike most 100s, this race is UNAIDED. This means, there is water and ice at the aid stations. You want anything else, you figure out how to get it there. My job was to ensure Jeremy has his food, electorlytes, whatever else he needed at every aid station.

First of all, I love crewing. I really do. There is something amazing about helping someone do something epic--being part of that magic. And selfishly, I wanted to see what this trail is all about because I am considering Bandera 100K.

You learn a lot when you are crewing -- how to fuel, how to run certain sections, what do you do if you are feeling sick. If you are considering an ultra, the best way to prepare is to go out and crew and pace someone.

I also had the opporutnity to help other runners at the aid stations while waiting for Jeremy. From giving someone advil, to asking them if they are ok, to getting them water, or just offering them some words of encouragment.

Another friend of mine, Reece was also running his first 100 mile race at CR. I mentioned to Reece on a trail run the weekend before that he should try to run with Jeremy for the first 50. They are about the same pace. They chattted and agreed they would try, but they are running their own race and if they split, no hard feelings.

Well, a lot happens out there on the course. When 50 miles rolled around, I kept hearing these exchanges between them at the aid stations, "hey wait up", "just need a few more seconds." At 65, I joined the boys to pace on the toughest section of the trail. They were asking each other for damage reports, telling each other to walk or run. I said something about going forward since they each had pacers now. Reece said, "Oh no. We are sticking together for the entire 100 miles." I was a little suprised. They had made a promise to each other to cross that finish line together. So at this point, us pacers were really there for comedic relief and to keep them on the trail!

I guess my point in all this is that the running community is full of amazing people. The ultra running community is full of really freaking amazing people....whether it's "hey do you have any body glide", to giving someone encouraging words to get them through that next mile, from random strangers who agree to pace you.

Reece and Jeremy ended up pulling together to help each other get that belt buckle. And honestly, this is so true of their personalities. Either one of these guys would drop anything to help another runner out.

Crewing and pacing Jeremy was my small way of saying thanks for his years of friendship, stupid crazy early morning runs that required him listening to my whinning, complaining, bad jokes and singing before the sun comes up. But also, I guess I'm paying it forward because I know when I do something epic, I can count on him.

My Ribsy wrote a blog on the epic adventure! Check it out here.