Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rocky Raccoon 50K Race Report


1st Place Age Group Award Winner!

The Rocky Raccoon 50K Trail Race took place on February 11 at Huntsville State Park in Texas. After crossing the finish line with a time of 7:41, I was told that I had won my age group. I couldn't believe it. 

That's because a couple of times I felt so sick that I didn't know if I'd finish or ever be able to wear my new finisher's shirt. I think the heat was getting to me. At least that's what I told people who asked if I was okay when at mile 21 a wave of stomach queasiness hit and my head felt funny. I had to sit down on a tree stump. 




If there had been an aid station nearby, I probably would have just quit there. Instead, after a few minutes I had to get up and walk again because so many runners paused to ask me if I was okay. I felt guilty for slowing them down so I started walking. Within a mile, I was running again! That was my longest time in the pain cave, but I felt badly and needed to walk a few more times after that. 

And that's why I couldn't believe I won anything. They didn't have a presentation, but a volunteer handed me the butterfly after I finished. I was slower than I had wanted to be, but it felt great not only to finish, but to get an award, too.

My biggest fears before the race and what really happened:
  • Not the alligators who live at the park! (Didn't see any, but I saw a snake.) 
  • Getting lost like I did in a 50K at the same park in a different race. (Didn't happen!)
  • The predicted warm weather. (The temperature during this race was 70-84.)
  • Tripping on tree roots and getting my only DNF. (I stubbed my toes, but never fell. Plus, no leaning to the left like I do in long races sometimes!)

Getting There: The park is an hour's drive from my home near Houston.  I left home at 4AM because the race started at 5:45.

Course: The park has root-filled trails, hills, and is mostly shaded, plenty of race markings.

Fuel Pre-race: oatmeal with raisins and molasses, coffee; 
1 GU gel 15 min. before the start


Fuel During the Race:
They offered Tailwind Nutrition drink and VFuel gels (I like berry), which was great since I've trained with both of those so that's how I fueled. When toe cramps came, I loaded up on the offered potato chips and felt better.


Fuel Post-race: At the aid station at the finish, there were PBJ sammies, Oreos, pretzels, mashed taters, but my favorite was actually the plain old bananas. 



Note to Self: Didn't need belt, phone fits in skirt pocket.

Gear: 

Just the Facts (race results link):
  • Time: 7:41
  • 11:54 average min/mile pace
  • 1st of 8 in the 50-59 year old women (after they awarded the first 3 masters women, so technically I was 4th... kind of confusing)
  • 35th out of 77 women
  • 190 runners finished
Post race: dirty shoes and legs except for right leg where I wore race chip.
Fun Facts
  • I chatted with Liza Howard, winner of 100 mile trail races! She asked how I felt, I said good and then told her I was lying. She said that I was a very convincing liar. Hmm, probably not really a good thing.
  • A GottaRunNow reader said "Hi!" at the start, which helped keep the nervous butterflies away. He felt badly, too, but he finished ahead of me. Way to go, Greg!
  • The other runners, volunteers and spectators were so encouraging. I wish I could gather all of them up and give them a big group hug!
My day went from nervous butterflies before the start (which always go away as soon as I start running) to a butterfly award at the end. And in between, there were butterflies on the trail!

34 comments:

  1. This sounds like it was a tough one for you but congrats on finishing and on the AG award. Just finishing is something to be proud of but winning in your AG is the icing on the cake.

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  2. So amazing. I can't even imagine -- especially in heat! And I love the butterfly!

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    1. The first thing I thought about the butterfly was that even though we're eliminating most of our belongings for our big RV vacation, I'm saving it. A day later, I'm feeling a little less emotional about it. Maybe a picture of it will be enough of a momento. But I'm keeping the race shirt!

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  3. I can even imagine running those miles!! You are hardcore. Congrats!!!

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    1. Thank you! There were a few times yesterday after mile 20 when I couldn't imagine it either!

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  4. That is awesome! Congratulations! Rocky Racoon is definitely on my to-do list! Great job!!

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    1. Thanks! Hopefully, you'll have it a little cooler when you run it. It's a well run race with great volunteers!

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  5. Wow! Congratulations on your age group win!

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    1. Thank you! It was an exciting way to finish my first race of the year!

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  6. WAY TO FINISH!!! I know exactly how you felt -experienced this at my first 50k. The warmer weather sure does have an affect and changes everything! You are so right when you said that little 20oz water bottle feels like 10lbs when you're not feeling well! I am so happy you were able to finish and WIN your age group!!! Congratulations Tina! What's next?! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kate! I'm going to be doing more walking with my dog and slowly ramp up my miles again. Now I'll have more time to get ready for our RV trip and to pull some weeds - as soon as I can bend over again!

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  7. Anonymous2/13/2017

    Tina - it was fun to run into you at another race. I thought I was going to die on that 2nd loop! The wonderful angel in the med tent brought me back to life after finishing. If there would have been a viable spot for my wife to pick me up after mile 20 I would have DNF'd for sure. So glad you had a strong finish! Keep up the great work - I love you race reports!

    Gregg B.

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    1. I was so happy to see that you finished! Great to see you again!

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  8. Wow! I have never ran more than a half. I love reading recaps about ultras and hearing all of the good snacks along the course. I'm used to water and gu. Congrats on the first in your age group (I love the butterfly award!) and way to break through the mental barrier and keep going to a finish.

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    1. Thanks! I like GU, too. I used it in my last 50k. One of the best aid station foods I've had was at the Texas Brazos Bend 50 mile race - pecan pie!

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  9. Wow! You are such an inspiration! To feel that bad that you wanted to quit, and to then continue on and then find out you won your AG--that's so awesome! Every time I think about quitting, I need to remember your race!

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    1. Thank you! After feeling kind of low about how the heat slowed me down, I was kind of in shock when the volunteer told me I won my age group!

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  10. That is an amazing pace for that long of a run! That is good sitting took away the queasy, I always struggle with that lightheaded queasy tummy in heat...I sympathize. Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment :)
    It is amazing how good bananas taste when the energy tank feels low! I still think a few pieces of banana during my marathon saved me. Congrats again. I love your butterfly prize.

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  11. Thanks, Karen! I kept checking the predicted weather temps and hoping that they would go down or they were just wrong, but this was one time when they were right about the forecast! I learned a good lesson, though, to tough it out and not give up if at all possible because as hard as it may be to believe, I might start feeling better.

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  12. Congrats on the AG win! I love the butterfly award - that's awesome. That's great you felt better after taking a break and walking a little to make it to the finish line. Just starting out with trail runs and I'm not sure if
    I'll ever delve into ultras but it sounds enticing. Right now, I'm sticking with trail halfs.

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    1. Thank you, Elaine! You must have a lot of opportunities to do trail races on beautiful courses in the San Diego area. I'd love that!

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  13. Totally Epic!! Congrats!! Sure do appreciate this race report.

    Cheers

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you like it!

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  14. That is an amazing pace for technically, root covered trails, it being as hot as it was, and 31 miles. You are amazing. I really like the unique award too. Sorry it was tough, but man did you ever pull it out.

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    1. Thanks, Abby! I couldn't be happier that I started feeling better and that I was able to finish.

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  15. I have so much credit for you all who can run 50k! How cool that you saw a reader there :) Great job!

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    1. Sarah, thanks! I love to meet people in person like that and I'm sure you could run a 50K, too, if you ever want to!

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  16. Interesting how we both had rough patches during our races but were able to power through them somehow. Pretty amazing what the mind/body can do. Congrats on toughing out the race and doing so well in your age group!

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    1. Thanks, Angela! Congrats to you on finishing the Death Valley Marathon! I hope I have the chance to visit the area someday - when it's cool there!

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  17. Wow congratulations!! I cannot even fathom running that far. And I would have totally been gone when I heard about the alligators and snakes eek

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    1. I saw a snake, but it was a safe distance away so I wasn't scared or maybe I was just too tired for fear!

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  18. WOW, Tina!!!!! Congratulations on your AG win and for running for that long in general. I can't imagine running for 7 hours. Crazy and awesome! You are an inspiration.

    As for Texas alligators and snakes... I think I'll stay up north. I would totally freak out :)

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    1. No, you would get used to the wildlife! Or at least you'd put on a brave face for your kids! There were so many great things about this race - the people, feeling better after feeling sick, the shock of winning an award after a race like that!

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