Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Antelope Island 50k!

My first ultra!  As I said earlier it has been a goal of mine this year to run a 50k, so yesterday I did!  The Antelope Island 50k/100k.  Was lucky enough to have good friend Matt Williams to run most of the race with.  He talks like he was my pacer even though he was entered in the race too.  Thanks so much Matt for getting me through the hard stuff and teaching me a lot in those hours together. 
It was a neat experience.  I was glad to only be watching time and not distance, I think that would have distracted me more.  I simply listened for a 15 minute timer when I'd take more nutrition and that's about all I knew about where we were other than glancing at the overall time occasionally.  I was unfamiliar with the island so even more thankful for Matt who could kind of prepare me for what was next.
Speaking of nutrition, I took 7 gels, 2 cups of Coke (probably 4oz each), 6 salt pills (Salt Tabs I think, they were whatever my husband put in the pack last since procrastinator me was late getting ready and forgot to put any of my own in, haha).  I used 5 Vi gels, a new brand we've been testing and using and I'm happy with them.  Peach cobbler is the best!  Also took 1 Hammer for something different and 1 Roctane at 4:05 for the caffeine. Took the other gels at :40, 1:20, 2:00, 2:40, 3:20, 4:05, 4:35 and took a salt pill at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 4:20, 4:40.  Drank probably 60oz of water from my Ultrspire Surge pack.  I was torn there because I figured why carry the extra weight when I can fill up water at aid stations (in which their bottle pack would be awesome, or a handheld), but I was used to carrying all my own water so just went with it, and it was a good plan.  I always had enough and had it when I needed it.
Didn't run into any buffalo, saw a couple dozen of them, but never close enough to make me worry.  I did however consider riding one to the finish when I was about a mile out  :)  My friend Dianna had to wait 5 minutes or them to pass out of her way though, she took video of it if you're interested.  Also saw a herd of antelope and a few big black ravens.
My stomach didn't have any serious issues, but felt kind of hollow pains the first couple hours for some reason.  I left the race with a light vest, arm warmers, gloves, and a beanie and decided to shed it all about 2 hours in because I was feeling kind of clammy.  I think that helped.  My right hip flexor bugged me a little around that 2 hour point to, but went away eventually.  I was curious to see what it would feel like going that hour longer than I'd ever run (1:12 actually).  My hips and hamstrings were very tight like at the end of a road race and quite sore at times, but I luckily just got into a rhythm that last 8 or so miles and plugged along.  Only stopped to walk twice and skipped the last aid station because I was too afraid I wouldn't get going well again.  My legs for the first hour after the race were more sore than I think I've ever felt.  I just had to sit down, even took a couple ibuprofin's which I don't usually do.  And today upon waking up it's my back, shoulders, and triceps surprisingly enough that are the most sore.  My legs, not too bad.  I have however been eating everything in sight  :)
I finished the last mile or so really strong (thank you flat and downhill last mile) and that felt great.  I don't have any negatives coming out of this.  Yes it was hard and long, oh how long miles 25-28 were, and I'm very satisfied with my 5:12 time!  My goal was to be under 5:30, and 5:12 is closer to 5 so that's great.  I was 3rd place woman.  I was a little surprised at that because neither Matt nor I ever saw any other women in front of us and there are some looong open valley stretches you could see far.  Maybe it's because the lead woman beat me by a little over 30 minutes!  Wow!  Results and pictures (I'm hoping there's pictures) aren't actually up yet, so I'll post those if I see them. I'll also post more specifically about splits and times and such, but wanted to show my photos and experience. 

Driving in on the causeway was really cool.  It was dark, all I could see was the narrow road in front of me and the lake out to either side.  I could also see the sunrising in back of me and the mountain we'd run around to my left.  It was cool thinking there were already runners an hour into their race there for the 100k.
Buffalo crossing! 
Did I mention how cold it was at the start?  I mean not snow cold, but really chilly with a breeze.

Great friend Matt Williams on our first walking climb
This first side of the island (which I thought was west but may be north actually) was really cool scenery wise!  Big mountains off to the left with sweeping hills down
with the beautiful Great Salt Lake off to our right.  Love these long open valleys with the trail able to be seen the whole way
This was after a probably mile long section low on the shoreline with either big cobbly awkward rocks to run over, or loose deep sand to run on, not the funnest section.  Then we'd climb up high above the water, several times.
This side of the island is one people aren't typically allowed on because it is breeding ground for the animals.
This was the middle I believe of a long 1000 ft climb up to the second aid station 13.5 miles in.
Don't know if you can see them but there are 3 round bare dirt patches here.  They are where the buffalo roll around!
Thought of you here Sis :)
A mile or so after the top we headed down a steep long hill to the ranch where I ran off the trail to the bathrooms, which of course resulted in nothing except having to run fast to catch up with Matt over a mile, and pass 2 ladies that had passed me during my stop.
Once on the east side of the island the scenery wasn't amazing, kind of barren with the city in the background here).
And while the last 10 miles were flat, that doesn't necessarily mean easier.  They were monotonous on the legs and mind.  No real reason to walk, and no coasting down.  And everything was sore by this point.  This is about where I went on ahead of Matt at the 4th aid station because I was too worried I wouldn't keep moving well if I stopped long.  At this point I put music on to help keep me moving too.
Then finally I saw the fence I knew we went up along to the finish.  It was longer than expected, but we were finally headed in the right direction so I was positive and happy.  This was a neat view at the top of the hill before descending to the finish of the mountain we went around at the start and the beautiful lake.
And then finally my first glimpse of the finish line (all those cars and white tent down there)
Halleluiah!
I did it and was so happy to be done!  I came into the finish line all smiles, very happy with the day.  It was nice to have a small group cheering too, sometimes finish lines in ultra's can be pretty dead. 
Instead of a medal they give a mug.  Something new and useful.  Also got a tech shirt of course.
Probably the closest I got to the big furry beats...in the car on the drive home





Volunteers were great, race director is a hoot and does a very good job.  Sat at the finish with Matt in a nice comfy camp chair for about an hour cheering others in enjoying all the aid stations had to offer that I didn't partake of (fruit, chips, candy, cookies, soda), as well as some of the huge pot of buffalo chili they cook after every race.
It's so funny, my mentality.  I of course had a little bit of racing mentality when I thought I might be in first.  When I had to stop for that break I was really pushing to catch those ladies and was quite satisfied when I got back in front of them.  Even though I felt kind of wiped out when I caught up to Matt, it felt good to open up and go a little faster for a mile or so.
The other part of me that's funny, strange, masochist is wondering if I should really consider this a long race, an ultra (even though by definition it is).  Yes it was my longest run ever, longer than a marathon, yet I didn't get the night time, pacer, etc experience that I think of when I think of ultras.  But don't get me wrong, it was great and I'm proud of it!  Gotta start somewhere.  I'll just have to get a few of those additional ultra perks next year  :)