Mountain Mist 50K Saturday, January 24, 2015
I was up almost all night before Mountain Mist! Friday night, our baby got a cold and woke up with congestion at 10 p.m. and then 11 p.m., and I decided she'd sleep better with her head elevated. I brought her to bed with us and she laid her head on my chest and draped her body down over my side. It seemed to help her, but I could not sleep this way! I kept dozing and jolting back awake. I was so relieved to be able to feed her around 4:45 a.m., and then I put her in her bed. I went to take a shower and get ready.
My friend, Julia, picked me up at 6 a.m. and drove me to the race so that I could ride home with my family. How nice was that!?
When I arrived at the Lodge (6:30 a.m.), I was an hour early and could just relax, chat with other runners, and use the restrooms. It's a really nice place to wait for the race!
The weather was around 30 at the start, so I had on compression socks, arm sleeves, gloves, and a hat. But I knew I'd get warm (high in 40s at finish), so I wore shorts and a short sleeve shirt. As we started, I loved getting views of the snow! There had been a dusting last night, and it was still on some parts of the mountain. Too bad all of the icicles were melted though! I noticed the roads were still slick in spots and felt my shoes slide a few times before we headed to the trails.
I settled into a comfortable pace. After taking 2 full days off, I was definitely well-tapered and felt great! I saw Christy Scott and ran with her for awhile. After comparing her training to mine (she's been up on the trails a lot training with the Youngrens), I thought I was probably starting too fast since I was easily keeping up with her! I later found out that Christy was struggling and dropped out of the race with hamstring pain.
The aid stations were much needed for me to break up the monotony of the first half of the race (the race is broken into halves- the first 17 and the last 14- based on the difficulty of the second "half." Your times for these halves are usually the same even though the distance for the second part is shorter). We have 3 aid stations before mile 17. These trails are the easier half of the race, and sometimes I find them pretty boring. It was like that today. I was impatient for it to get hard! I didn't have anyone around to talk to, so I just kind of let my mind wander. We have a tough climb called K-2 and some awesome rocks that we actually climb through called Stone Cuts. There is also a section called Powerline, when we run under some huge powerlines and usually get huge mud cakes on our feet! Today the mud was too wet for that, though, so we just sloshed through puddles out there instead. At the 3rd aid station, I had I think 2:56, so I knew I was looking at a near 6 hour time. Ok.
It started to get really tough for me after the 3rd aid station. I was just feeling tired. My training wasn't great, and I knew trying to run 31 miles would be hard. My body hadn't gone that far in 2 years! I also fell somewhere around mile 18. I hit both of my knees hard and just sort of sat there stunned for a moment. A guy helped me up and I gladly realized that I was okay. At the 4th aid station (mile 20ish), I got Advil, a Gu, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and (my usual for today) Mello Yello. Caffeine was helpful out there! I started feeling a little bit better once the Advil kicked in (I'd been having some left ankle pain and knew there were a lot of rocky sections to come).
I got in front of a guy who had run 78 miles the weekend before, and even though he wasn't talking to me, I listened to his conversation and got a big pick-me-up! It was a nice distraction. The climb up to Waterline was good. I began passing some men who were walking. I was kind of jogging up the long incline before you get to the waterfall. During the steep climb, I felt pretty good and even ran/jogged to the 5th aid station (mile 25). Here I saw a fellow teammate and friend and dropped some gear with her (she'd bring back to the Lodge for me). I ate salt-covered potatoes. Yum!
As I entered the final stretch, I felt very good, just a little sore already. I played a game where I would see someone in the distance and try to catch up and pass them. I had been passed by a few women and knew I was in 7th place, but I didn't know who was in front or how far away they were. It makes it fun for me to have someone to try to catch, so I wished I could see more people. I wanted some company for this section, but I was alone. I tried hard to pay attention to the flags, especially in the Suicide Drop section, where there's a lot of sharp turns and many rocks to jump.
I made my ascent to Rest Shelter Hill pretty slowly and even walked some in a section I usually run/jog (the section after Kathy's Bench). I tried encouraging a group of about 5 guys that I passed going up this section. I told them we were close to a 6 hour finish and that the top was close.
For the tough parts of this race, I repeated the quote I shared in my last post. I kept thinking that I'd wanted this! I wanted it to be tough, and now it was. I also pictured Jillian Michael's barking orders at me to "Dig! Dig! Dig! Fight! Fight! Fight! Now! Now! Now!" I tried not to think of the baby, since I was worried how she was doing with her cold.
At the top of Rest Shelter Hill, there's less than 2 miles to the finish. I ran this part. I passed a girl who was walking, and I encouraged a guy who was behind me. He kept me running fast to stay ahead of him! At the end, he kicked it in and finished right before me. As soon as I saw my kids and Rick I thought, "What a sight for sore eyes!" And then, I finished!
I was 7th overall female--the 3rd local woman. I am okay with that for today but definitely have big plans for next year!
After the Race
Rick helped me get my shoes off (it hurt even to bend over!). I sat down to cookie cake and water. How nice to sit. The baby was fussing, and Rick said she only took 10 oz. of milk while I was gone, so I nursed her (I ended up adding this feeding to her schedule and not pumping any at all--too exhausted!). I don't like nursing when I'm sweaty, let alone covered in mud, but you do what you have to! I exchanged some stories with other runners, got my prizes (slate finisher's medal and a hat for top woman finish). We headed home. At the house, I surveyed the damage. Ouch. My left ankle was purple! I guess I know why it was hurting at mile 20 and also why I had a hard time on some of the rocks, but I still don't know when I hurt it. My knees were both bruised and swollen and a little scraped up. But that's it! Even though I felt AWFUL Saturday night (hurt to move in the bed!), I actually felt better than I thought I would. I was stiff but walked on Sunday to loosen up a little. Today, my ankle is still tender but I am feeling better!
I managed my 9th Mountain Mist finish! I am proud that I didn't give up. It's not really "fun" to race without being back to normal after having a baby. I don't look like myself in any of the pictures. It was hard to run this race without training well. But I am so happy that I finished!!