Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cheyenne Mt 50k

I want to kick off this race summary by addressing something for regular readers of this blog. I haven't posted anything here in a long time. It's not that I haven't written anything; it's just that I haven't posted it. Lately I've gotten a little bit uncomfortable with posting things. I'm thankful for how supportive most readers have been but I think for the time being I'll probably just be posting race summaries. I feel more inclined to just post things that feel like they have substance and importance and I'll think I'll keep the rest of the stuff to myself.

Now on to this crazy racing adventure! Back on the 16th I was planning to run the Rattler 50k in Palmer Park in Colorado Springs, but as things work in Colorado, we can go from 70 degrees and sunny to 20 degrees and snowing. The forecast for race day was freezing temps, snow, and 40mph winds. The Ricks family of Mad Moose Events had been optimistic about race weekend and did all of the work to prep for the race, but when race morning came things were even worse than the weather had forecasted. Runners are crazy enough to show up in the snow but a lot of the volunteers weren't able to make it. They made the tough decision to cancel the race. Fortunately they were able to work it out so that we could jump into the Cheyenne Mt. 50k the following weekend where the forecast called for 70 degrees and sun.

Going into the race, I had serious doubts about whether I could finish the race. This has been a tough Spring. I feel like I have been sick all of the time and as soon as I get better I catch something else. The emotion that I feel most frequently has been apathy and with all of the snow lately, it's been hard to remember that soon we will be able to explore the high country again. The week before the race I was fighting off a virus and had to take walk breaks on downhills during super slow five mile shakeout runs. I'll come clean. I did a 5.5 mile run on roads and it took an hour. How the hell was I going to finish a 50k?

Going into race day, I was pretty determined to finish no matter how long it took. Even if the race was packed up and everyone went home, I was going to finish. The Bighorn 100 is in two months and if I didn't finish this race, I knew it would mess with my head. Fortunately I knew there would be a lot of great friends out on the course to keep a smile on my face during the race. After chatting with a lot of those amazing people before the race, my goal for the day was to have the most fun possible.

My friend, Kery, started off with me. She is super speedy but is relatively new to ultra-running and she was determined to start slow, be consistent, and finish strong. The first few miles were a blur but I was glad to have her there ahead of me. Soon the course looped around and we had people passing us from behind as the speedy 25k runners who started 30 minutes after us caught us and tons of 10k runners were coming straight at us. It was at this moment that my body told me that I needed to go the bathroom and that it wasn't going to wait. I told Kery that she could go on because, "I needed to go to the bathroom and that it might take a while." Instead of leaving me, Kery stood on the side of the trail and waited for me. It was nice to know that someone was keeping guard;)

Eventually Kery did have to leave me. I felt like I was running out of steam and every time I had a coughing fit I felt like I was going to throw up. I think it was near mile 8 or 9 that we started the longer climb of the course. I figured, this was it, I was going to have to walk it in from here. Fortunately I met a new friend, Tonia Smith. I'm definitely an introvert, but sometimes you meet people and they just make you feel energized. I really appreciated the conversation we had and before I knew it she was like, "Do you want to start jogging?" and we did. And then we walked and then we ran. That continued for a while and I started to feel better and more confident that I was going to finish this race.

Around mile 17 I was running low on water and I knew there was still 2 or 3 miles to the aid station. I had to leave Tonia but I was sure she would catch me. After getting to the aid station at mile 19.5 I felt really good. There was still more extended bathroom breaks and some walk breaks, but overall it felt like a heavy weight was lifting off of my back. I passed a few people and nobody passed me back. The people at the last aid station were awesome and kept my energy up and before I knew it, the finish line was in sight!

Overall I was pretty happy about the day. I had the maximum levels of fun that you can have at a 50k and I got to see a lot of friends out on the course. It made me excited for the season ahead and for that I am extremely grateful. Thank you to the Ricks family for giving us an opportunity to do this race and also to the RDs of Cheyenne Mt Trail Races for making us feel so welcome. And I'm so lucky to be part of this awesome Runner's Roost community that honestly feels like family. Congrats to my smokin' fast husband who snagged fourth place in the 50k!

Kery and I sprinting it in to the finish!
photo by Grace Krause

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