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.