For some reason, I never got excited about this race. I was definitely excited to go on a road trip and hang out with friends, but I wasn't psyched or even nervous about the race. And I'm ALWAYS nervous before a race.
My first mistake of the day was not taking the mandatory pre-race poo. I thought I heard the race director say there was a toilet at the manned aid station, so I figured I'd wait til I got there to go. In the meantime...I ran. I ran with Coleen for a while but before I knew it, she was smoking me. I KNOW Coleen is in better shape than me, so I decided to get realistic before I killed myself trying to keep up with her. I ran with Nick, Mircea and Mark Inbody after I split off from Coleen and the girls. We hit our first aid station at about mile 7 I think. It was the unmanned aid station, which featured...water. I didn't need water. I needed to go potty. I was wishing I'd looked at the course information more carefully! The thing is...this course had almost zero trees, so going outside was more complicated than usual, and I decided to hold it.
I was thinking the manned aid station was probably at mile 9 or 10, so I kept running, running, running. Wellll, it wasn't until mile 13 or so. I grabbed some snacks and chatted with volunteer extraordinaire, Karen Henry. I asked her about the toilet and she told me there was some sort of camp toilet that had already blown over. Alas, I was feeling too cowardly to check it out, but I didn't have to go so bad anymore, so I decided to continue on. On my way out of the aid station tent, I saw Stacey Amos and Angel Clark and chatted for a few minutes, then I was off. I don't know where they came from, but when I was gabbing I saw Nick and Mircea leaving the aid station. They must have stopped to get stuff from their drop bags.
I decided it was time to get going. About a quarter mile out, I was feeling pretty good and passed a couple guys. About another quarter mile later, the debilitating nausea kicked in. I tried running but mostly resorted to walking, slowly. I wanted to be done with the race and convinced myself I'd drop when I got back to the aid station in a few miles. A few things helped get me back on track. One: James Barker caught up with me and I was happy to see a friend! Two: Tricia, a friend of trail nerd Katie Spaeth caught up with me. I had just met her the night before at the pre-race dinner and enjoyed chatting with her. She was very positive and it helped keep me going. Three: I didn't wanna be a pain in the @$$ and make a volunteer drive me back to the start line.
I did, however, spend a good 15 minutes at the aid station before convincing my lazy self to leave. I had about 8 miles to go, which didn't seem far at the beginning of the race, but seemed like forEVER at this point. The nausea subsided a bit but never went away completely. I was running a lot more than I did on the Big Bluff Loop (aka hill hell) and eventually passed a couple. A little later I caught up with Tricia and her husband, chatted with them for a bit, then went on ahead since they were walking.
When I got to the BIG water crossing, I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to go around to the beaver dam, but I wasn't sure how deep the water was. I decided to go ahead and test the waters and turn around if it got too deep. It turned out to be about waist high, which was managable, but QUITE chilly. I complained to myself about the cold for a bit until I remembered that I was uncomfortably warm before I got in the water. Well I got going and not paying attention and before I knew it I was surrounded by the wrong colored flags. Soooooo, I turned around and about a tenth of a mile later I saw some people making a sharp turn. Aha! Well, at least I hadn't gone too far off course.
The last few miles weren't too bad. I walked the uphills, and ran the flats and downhills. As I was approaching the road to the finish line and thinking of the steep hill I had to get up, I wondered if I would walk it or not. Well I ran it. I'm pretty good at the whole finish line thing. It's the other 99% of the race I have trouble with. I finished the race in 6 hours and 35 minutes...waaaaaaay slower than I was hoping. I have to say, I think this was the hardest race I've ever run. Harder than the three 50k's I've already completed. Still undecided about running it next year, but I'll say the volunteers and race coordinators were great. Stacy Sheridan made everyone feel like family, even newbies like me!
After the run, I changed, grabbed some food and hung out in the Corral Shelter with my nerdy friends for a bit. When Debbie, James and Sophia decided to leave, I decided to ] take a nap in Nick's truck...until I looked at the time. I realized I did NOT have time for a nap if I was going to get to the only accessible aid station to see the Nickster. Seeing Nick was definitely more important! It was a win-win-win deal: I got to see Nick, Roxy finally got to leave the truck and run around at the aid station, and Nick gained a running partner (Rox). Well, Nick did a great job. I can't believe he went out for that second loop! I don't think I could EVER do that 50 miler! He's a stud.
P.S. This is the worst race report I've written, but please forgive me this one time. :)