I crossed the finish line of the Pass Mountain 50K Trail Race in Mesa, Arizona, near Phoenix, on November 12 in about 7:53. I'm the one waving at the start of the race in the photo. It's fun to see runners that I ran and chatted with during the race in that photo.
During the last and longest mile of the race when I really wanted to quit because I was so thirsty and hot and maybe a little sad about my time, I planned out exactly what I'd do when I finished: call my husband who I thought would be at our RV site, get some water (I ran out - the last part took longer than I estimated) and lay down.
But instead, I hugged my husband who was at the finish line and I chatted with the other finishers. I was really happy to have finished! I cleaned up and we went out to eat in nearby Chandler where I got in a little mall walking, which felt good to my sore muscles.
Getting There: It took my husband and I two days to get to the race start... We drove our RV from Texas to Arizona. Race vacations are the best!
|Buc-ees snack stop on the way to Arizona!|
Race Goodies: I received the race shirt at packet pick-up. I appreciate it when they offer shirts that are made for women like they did at this race. I've already worn it twice even though the race was only three days ago. Shirts are better than medals! (We didn't get medals, but they gave us finishing glasses.)
Weather: The temperature for race day was about 60-80 - a little warm for a mostly unshaded course. I liked it when I ran in the shade of the mountain in the afternoon. With the breeze, it was much better than running in the sun.
Course: The 50K was a two loop course in the desert. The good thing about that is that I would be familiar with the second loop after running the first half, which meant less chance of getting lost on the trail. I got lost on the first loop. The bad part is that people followed me. The good part is that we all corrected ourselves pretty fast and I didn't get lost on the second loop. Later, when I saw the place where I went off course, I didn't know how I could have gone off-course, but Garmin says I ran 32.1 so maybe I added a mile - not too bad.
Fuel Pre-race: Blueberry bagel and, at the start, a half of a banana. For three days pre-race, I increased my carbohydrates but I just don't see the advantage to that in my race time.
|Race shirt and bib and lots of GU gels!|
Fuel During the Race: Gu gels about every 30 minutes, some Coke, pickles, oranges and bananas. I ate about 200 calories/45 carbohydrates an hour.
Gear: My Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Watch battery lasted the whole race so I didn't really need to wear two watches after all! I turned the heart rate monitor off to save the battery and it was only down two bars out of four at the end.
The Not So Great: My race started with a splat! I fell at the 1.05 mile point. Like a fellow runner told me, it's good to get the fall out of the way! (It wasn't a bad fall. I dusted myself off and kept going.) Later, I had a tummy issue at mile 24 and sat on a rock. I really had to make myself get up and move forward, but after a mile, all was well.
|Fire and snacks at the start - nice!|
Overall: This was my 5th ultra, the 3rd 50K I've finished and the hardest course I've ever run. I ran up and around Pass Mountain twice. My favorite part was the first loop when there were more runners near me. I was alone for most of the second loop, but since I train mostly alone - that was okay. I liked seeing the cactus and getting in a nice, long desert run, which is so different from running at home at the park.
The 3100 feet of climbing and the parts of the rocky trail that I could only walk on was challenging. I had to change my mindset to one of trying to hike as fast as I could instead of running all of it. But I did it and, three days later, I still feel great about finishing that tough course!