Saturday, May 17, 2014

First and Last in a 50K Race



When I ran the 50K race last week, I learned:

  • What it would be like to finish first female in a 50K race - sort of.
  • What it's like to finish last female in a 50K race - really.

  • On May 10, I set out to finish my first 50K, the Hog's Hunt 50K in Huntsville State Park (Texas). Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn and added 8 miles to my 31 mile race. (My recap.) After mistakenly back-tracking on the course, I ran through the midway point/finish line, and I was told I was the first female. People cheered. If only it had been true! 

    I said that I wasn't first and that I had only run 24 miles. I explained to the race director how I had gotten lost. Someone encouragingly told me that I could still finish the race. I believed that I could finish, but I needed to hurry because of the 8 hour cut-off. The race director made sure I had plenty of fuel and then I was running again. 

    For the last 15 miles or so, it was very quiet on the trails. I was surprised to see three more aid stations. Two of the volunteers even ran with me. I thought I was the last runner on the course until almost the very end when I saw another runner. We encouraged each other and soon I was alone again.

    Lake at Huntsville State Park

    Fortunately, my phone with my music on it and my Garmin 220 never died even though they both gave me signs of upcoming death. I called my husband twice. I walked the hills. I didn't have any pain. I had plenty of fuel. 

    When I passed 30 miles, I felt like I had accomplished something big already - that was much longer than running a marathon like I've done before. Running 35 miles felt great, too. I wondered if I'd hit 40 that day. I hoped that my phone and my watch would make it to the end, just a little while longer. Maybe I had a mile or two or three left. I wasn't sure.

    After a while, I realized that I wouldn't get a medal. I thought that the finish chute would be gone when I finished and I figured all of the people would probably be gone, too. Finally, after 8 hours and 44 minutes, I ran through the finish chute and there were two people cheering! I was the last female finisher. Even though I didn't receive a medal, I did receive an unexpected finisher's plaque. It felt great to finish that 50K!

    Now I should probably sign up to run this race next year - I'm pretty sure that I'd PR!

    28 comments:

    1. O my goodnees. You got lost? This stinks after all the hard work and training you did for this race and you didn't even get a medal at the end. O well, you finished and it sounded like you were in good spirits and didn't have any pain so that is all that matters. I am so glad that there were some people there to congratulate you at the end. That is a HUGE accomplishment Tina! I'm so glad you got a finisher plaque for that.

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      1. Those two people at the finish line cheering for me - one of the highlights of my race!

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    2. These races can be challenging beyond just the distance. Especially trail races where you don't have as many folks around and there isn't a wave of people to follow! I'm glad you to read you were able to finish and complete this course, even though you had to add extra mileage. I think you should definitely sign up for it again next year ... now you know the course too ... so you'll go into it with that much more knowledge! :)

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      1. Now that I've been hurt (in 2012) and lost on this course, how could it get any worse?! My third time at this race has got to be better! (I hope!)

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    3. A finishers plaque is pretty awesome too, although i would be sad not to have a medal too after all that!

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      1. I wish I could have gotten a medal, but since all of my medals just go in a drawer for now, it's not so bad. Now I've just got a drawer full of medals plus a plaque!

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    4. It sucks that you got lost, but congratulations on completing it, and actually running more than the entire mileage! I bet there are plenty of people that wouldn't even have tried to go back on course after going through the finish line and getting lost, so good for you for persevering! (I probably would have been one of those people, but it WOULD have told them I wasn't the winner because I'm not a cheater!). I'm a little apprehensive about doing trail races because I'm afraid of getting lost. It used to happen to me when I ran high school cross-country (just once, and I wasn't the only person that got lost that day). OK, now I'm done babbling!

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      1. Now that I've gotten lost, I completely understand that apprehension!

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    5. Way to hang in there and finish!

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    6. Still so sorry you got lost, but love that you stuck it out and finished.

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    7. I'm so impressed that you went ahead and finished the race even though it meant adding miles!! Great job!
      And, sounds like some pretty incredible volunteers out there - hooray for that!

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    8. That is so neat you finished. Love that you got a plaque. That is a long long time to be running.

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    9. I'm grateful our snakes aren't huge or dangerous but I still hate them!

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    10. You finished! I am just amazed that you did 39 miles and didn't incur any injuries! Wow.

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    11. I'm sure it took some serious mental toughness to stick that out. Congrats - you made it very memorable!

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    12. Way to go!!!!!! Great job :D

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    13. Great job Tina! It's a PR in so many ways. Yay for a great race director who made sure you were fueled and sent you back out to finish. 3rd time is going to be a charm on this race! :)

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    14. That took a TON of mental endurance to get through such set backs. That says so much about you and how tough you are. You're going to have some really good races ahead of you because you can always look back, dig deep and know what it took to get through the Hog's Hunt 2014.

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    15. I am sorry you didn't get a medal... you definitely deserve one!! A plaque is awesome too though! :0)

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    16. Oh my. That had to be SO mentally and physically exhausting. Huge kudos to you for getting back out there after the 'first' finish. Bummer about no medal but I'm glad you got a plaque. Congrats!

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    17. I still cannot believe this happened to you! At least you got to feel like the winner of the race for a bit, haha :) So you're pretty much ready for a 50 miler now, right? When's the race??

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    18. Wow. Running a 50km is amazing enough without adding to the distance!! Good on you for continuing - huge congratulations. I'm really impressed :)

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    19. It shows so much strength of character that you went back out there and finished the race when almost anyone would have DNF'ed under the circumstances. As long as you live, you will remember that race and should be proud of that finish. Well done!

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    20. Congrats! You are amazing!!! I could not even dream of a 50k! I barely finished my marathon last year! That shows a lot about you that you grit your teeth and finished, be proud of that Tina! Especially to bring home the win, that is even better! :)

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    21. Wow- 8 extra miles is a LOT!! Especially in an ultra- way to go. I'm so impressed you still finished it all!

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    22. wow, what a whirlwind of emotions this race must have been. You are my hero for not quitting or giving up and finishing strong!! You go girl!!

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