Monday, January 23, 2012

Battle to the End - The Duel Dirt 50K

The Duel Dirt 50K
Wichita Falls, Texas
Jan. 21, 2012
5:30:04, 2nd overall female, 7th overall

At 29 degrees at the start line, I thought the biggest battle I would be fighting was keeping warm.

I headed up to Wichita Falls at 0530 for my second 50K, third ultra marathon. In typical Texas winter weather, it was in the 70s the day before. I knew a cold front was coming in, but the weather forecast said a high of 54 degrees.

At the last minute, I ran back in the house and grabbed my Solomon 3/4 in compression tights and Solomon jacket. Turned out to be a good move, as I was wearing a singlet and shorts! I realized when I pulled into town that I would seriously freeze my tooshie off dressed like that!

The race is ran on the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail, which ironically parallels the BNSF main line. The trail is not technically difficult and has some great flat parts where you can really fly. But there is a section (which us ultra runners got to run not once, not twice, but three times) that contains some short steep ups hills, hairpin turns, suspension bridges, a barn and some half pipes.

My running buddy Josh, returned to defend his marathon title win from 2011. We wished each other luck at the start and off we went.

I took the first five miles pretty conservatively. I was chatting with a person who flew in from Denver and was training for Leadville. We swapped a few stories and I decided to pick up the pace. Soon, I came up to the pack of lead women and a few boys. After following the pack for a bit, I decided to work my way up.

Feeling really strong, I took the lead and pulled away from the other gals. In the back of my head I thought, shoot this is really early in the race to do this. Are you messing up?

I hit the half marathon mark at 2:03. Pretty damn fast for a 50K, really damn fast for trails.

My nutrition plan was to take in most of my calories through liquid. The mix I had was 250 calories for my 20 ounce bottle. I ended up taking in only 250 for that half marathon -- about half of what I planned. I grabbed my new bottle at the half and decided to grab a few fig newtons for more calories. There was nothing at the aid stations that I have ever had in an ultra -- pretzels (which I hate because they are too doughy), gummy bears (too sweet), PBJ (never sits well with me in a race), Snickers (haven't tried that one yet) and fig newtons.

That fig newton was the death of me. I think I ate one and a half, spit the rest out. It wasn't long before my stomach acted up. I really had to slow my pace. I grabbed 4 papaya enzymes which helped take the edge off, but I knew a port-a-potty would be in my future. Around mile 15 or 16, I spent a few minutes cursing that fig newton in the port-a-potty.

I started to feel my energy draining. I grabbed a snickers to see if that would help. Around mile 21, my tummy hurts again. I popped six more papaya enzymes. Miraculously, I'm still lead female. I figured by 21, I would have lost my lead. I knew the gals were catching me.

I think it was about here, that I kissed some Wee-Chi-Tah dirt and fell. Picked myself up and kept going. I thought, girl if you are in the lead, you are running no matter what.

I was certainly losing energy and speed. I hit the full marathon around 4:15. I lost the lead right at the end, around mile 28. I wished Tammi well. She was running strong and I was fading. Thinking I could slack off a little, I hit the last .50 miles and realized the next girl was not far behind. Time to pick up that pace.

I crossed the finish line at 5:30:04 - a one hour, 39 minute PR over Rockledge Rumble.

This was my last long run before Rocky Raccoon 50M. It gave me a good idea of how I want to run that race and how I need to fuel.

On the road to Rocky. See you in two weeks!

Here's a story on Endurance Buzz about the race.


  1. Congrats! Good Luck at RR50!

  2. You are inspiring... I love trails and am considering my first ultra this year. You are motivating me to sign up. Great job!

  3. Can't believe after all of that you still got second. You rule.