Running Just to Run

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Mt. Hood 50 (aka Mt. Hood 32) Race Recap

I wrote this post so many times in my head. Not sure what to really say about this race. So here goes.

Amy and I arrived in Government Camp at 3pm on Friday. We quickly unpacked and began relaxing. Dinner was had and I was in bed before 9:30 because my alarm was set for 3:49am. Woke up feeling completely freaked out but tried not to dwell on anything.

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Credit: Michelle R.

Early start started at 5:30am. I was quite pleased with my pace for the first mile. It was spot on. Then my pace started to drop. I was getting very panicky because over the next 5 miles my pace went from 13 minute miles to 18 minute miles. My heart was beating too fast and I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to execute my plan. I arrived at the Animal Athletics aid station (mile 6) and my Garmin read 5.3. I smiled and realized that my Garmin was just freaking out.

I relaxed a bit watching my pace fluctuate from 9 minute miles to 23 minute miles. I was still freaked out but trying to maintain some sense of control. From mile 9 to 14, I had an amazing time. People doing the normal start started passing me. I recognized a ton of people and was so excited. I tried running with a smile on my face and that helped improve my mood.

After the turn around at Frog Lake, the temperature started climbing. I talked to a few other runners all of whom tried not to mention the impending heat but it was impossible as it was on all of our minds. By the time I got to mile 18, it was hot and muggy. But I soldiered on.

At mile 22 I hit the Animal Athletics aid station again briefly stopping to grab a gel and nod at Yassine who let me know I was getting close to cut off but could make it. Sarah Duncan ran with me for a bit asking my strategy and giving me encouragement. In my heart, I knew I was going to be in trouble really soon if I didn’t pick up the pace.

I started jamming along at a faster pace but then hit a party of people riding horses on the trail. I patiently hopped off the trail but the people stopped and wanted to talk about the race. Then more horses. Then people on mountain bikes! And then (no joke) a large party of Boy Scouts who didn’t want to share the trail.

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According to my watch I hit the start/finish at 12:30. I heard someone tell Amy Sproston that I was ‘3 minutes past the cut off.’ I didn’t say anything but pulled on my fresh pack. Amy asked how I was feeling and I lied saying I felt great. I was a tiny bit starstruck as I admired Amy but wasn’t going to stop at 28 miles.

Amy and team let me go and I slowly took off for the 22 mile portion of the run. I started off walking as there were more mountain bikers on the trail along with an older couple who was hiking. I started slowly running but started to feel very hot and very dizzy. I attempted to choke down a gel but it wouldn’t go down.

The next 6 miles were the longest 6 miles of my life. I couldn’t eat anything, felt really dizzy and hot. Then I was cold which I knew wasn’t right. I was sweating really really badly and felt horrible. I prayed that something would happen that would make me feel just a little bit better. But it never came. Drake, the sweeper ended up behind me. He let me know there was no way I was going to make the Warm Springs cut off. I wanted to sit down and cry but I kept moving towards the Red Wolf Aid station.

Once I got to Red Wolf, I saw another runner there taking off his number saying ‘I’m done.’ If I hadn’t been so dehydrated I would have cried but I sat down saying “I’m done too.” The volunteers at the aid station were the nicest people. They didn’t make me feel bad but instead were sympathetic. Still I felt sad and depressed and sick. I wanted to throw up and ended up with a horrible backache and headache. I wanted to lay down in a  cold river until the water swept away all of the horribleness of the day.

We finally got a ride back to the start/finish. The worst part was when I saw Andy a while later. He gave me a ‘hey why aren’t you on the course running look’ and I had to give him a thumbs down. I felt like I had totally let him down. Let everyone down.

I put on a brave face for everyone at the start/finish but cried for several hours the next day.

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I feel much better now. I’ve communicated with a lot of runners who didn’t finish the race who either go pulled or dropped. I know I made the right decision however hard that decision was. I haven’t decided whether or not I am going to run this race again. But I probably will.

Pre-Race Anxiety

Yep. I’m suffering from pre-race anxiety. Each time I think I am over it, I get a fresh wave of anxiety. For about a week, I couldn’t sleep through the night. I would wake at 2am and be paralyzed by the idea of running 50 miles. 50 miles seems so far. Finally I got past the night time anxiety by thinking about goats instead of the 50 miles. I like goats. They’re cute. Easier to think about that 50 miles. 

I’m worried about the cut off time as well. I’m a slow runner so cut off times are crucial for me. Mt. Hood 50 has a cut off at 44.7 miles. Yeah. I know. It’s like ‘C’mon guys! At 44.7? Really? Why not at 30 or even 40 but not so close to the finish. ‘ 

It feels like I’ve trained for this race for such a long time.  I would hate to get pulled at 44.7. I feel like I would let people down. So many people have helped me along the way and if I don’t make the cut off then I effectively let them all down. And myself. 

But then if I think about the times my friends DNFed, I felt bad for them. Honestly I didn’t feel like I let them down so why are the tables turned? Honestly they shouldn’t be. My friends and family want me to have a great race and to be happy with my performance. 

This article gives some good tips on dealing with pre-race anxiety. The best way I can deal with the anxiety is to remember how much I love to run. Returning to the simple joy of exploring new areas, pushing myself, and hanging out with my friends. 

Deep breathes. 

 

 

 

Hydration

Coach says to hydrate.

 

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8 Days and Counting

8 Days until Mt. Hood 50. I’m a bit nervous but also getting excited. I’ve spent 18 months thinking about the race and it will be a relief to finally run it.

I’m in taper mode and getting in some shorter runs which I’ve been enjoying. It’s given me an opportunity to really enjoy running, being outside and the sheer beauty of trail running.

 

Running in Washington

Yesterday I went up to White Salmon Washington and ran the Backyard Half. I ran the first 6 miles with a few friends which made the miles fly by! The scenery was beautiful. I highly recommend the Backyard Half. It’s a nice low key race with some very friendly people.

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Today I ran the Vancouver Marathon. It’s been almost a year since I ran a road marathon. Honestly I enjoy trail running much more. Vancouver is a very flat town and the course highlighted this. We ran these super long straight flat parts of the area where you could see for miles. Don’t get me wrong. Some of Vancouver is very pretty but there are some sketchy parts that I would prefer to not see again.

I had so many friends that ran Vancouver so prior to the start, it was like a mini reunion.

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Me and Danielle (who qualified for Boston!)
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I ran both races very well. I am quite proud of my performance. I gave the Marathon all I had and my time reflected this. I haven’t run a sub 6 hour marathon in a long time.Bart Yasso (my hero!) was the announcer at the Vancouver Marathon. Bart took our selfie saying that he had longer arms. :-)
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42 (ish) miles in 48 hours

After last year’s horrible race at Timberline I was eager to try the run again. A few months ago over drinks, Laura suggested we do the marathon on Saturday and the half on Sunday. Fueled by beer and ambition, I eagerly said yes. We camped Friday and Saturday night next to Timothy Lake and right by the course so there was no driving back and forth.

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It was a great day of running. The weather was perfect. I had to keep remembering that I was running a half the next day which meant I couldn’t kill my legs. Laura ran with me the first loop which made the time fly by.

Overall my pace was a bit slower than I hoped for partially due to my chatting with another runner. I did beat my time by a few minutes. I was disappointed that my time wasn’t better but oh well.

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This is my favorite photo:
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While I ran Andy fished and set out traps for crawdads. He caught quite a few of each.

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I cleaned up in the lake the best I could but running a marathon without a shower and camping is kind of gross. Andy and I drank beer and hung out after the race.

The next morning I woke up a little stiff but overall felt pretty good. The half on Sunday had a lot more participants than the marathon did. For most runners it was their first trail run. I was surprised how ill prepared some of the runners seemed. Many carried no hydration or fuel.

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I was surprised how good I felt. I wasn’t all tired and achy like I usually was after a marathon or even a day spent all the trails. Although my legs did feel heavy and slow until we reached the first aid station. But they usually feel that way for the first couple of miles when I’m on the trail.

As beautiful as Timothy Lake was, I was so excited to only have to do one loop around the lake and then be done. I really tried to run a faster pace miles 6.5-9. After 9 I slowed a bit due to being tired. I was able to pass a few people which was pretty awesome.

The end was brutal. There is a large hill you need to climb that just kicked my ass. I was so tired but kept repeating “This isn’t as hard as Capitol Peaks. This isn’t as hard as Capitol Peaks.” My heart was pounding and I was dripping with sweat as I power hiked up that hill. Every muscle in my legs and lower backed protested loudly but I made it up.

I was so happy to see Andy, Laura and the finish line. Laura and I put on both of our finisher medals and posed for a photo.
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Andy insisted that he couldn’t see our faces and asked us to take off our hats. Running 42 miles over 2 days without a shower makes your hair really gross.

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Andy’s bounty:
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I’m not sure the actual mileage but both the marathon and the half were long. The half marathon was about 14.5 miles which makes me feel better with my slow pace.