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.


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!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Being Mindful of My Time

I woke up at 4AM without an alarm today. That only happened because I went to sleep at 7:30! It felt great to finally get a good night's rest and to have time to do all that I wanted to do before my 8 mile run: pray, read my Bible (I use this Bible reading app), eat (muffins, today) and to do hip/leg exercises.

Yesterday, we found a buyer for our piano that we're selling. I'm posting a picture of it to remember two things: our piano and how I had high hopes of playing it often, which I didn't stick with.

Exactly three years ago today, I wrote on my blog, "I practiced on the piano 5 days this week. Too bad taking a child to piano lessons for years does not make you a great pianist!" Playing the piano on a regular basis for the last three years would have been great, but other fun hobbies beat out the piano. 

So I'm taking a moment to remind myself to think about how I spend my time and to choose wisely.

Exercises (1/29/17-2/4/17):
  • Sunday - rest
  • Monday - 6 mile run, back/upper body exercises and then major cleaning of our RV, which made my back ache later! 
  • Tuesday - 5 mile run  
  • Wednesday - 13 mile run (I'm tapering for the Feb. 11 Rocky 50K trail race); 15 min. arm exercises
  • Thursday - rest
  • Friday - 8 mile run with  a few hills in the woods, 20 min. hip exercises: ideas from REI's Cross-training for Backpacking   
  • Saturday (planning to do) - 6 mile run to finish up my 38 mile week of running

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