Okay. Well, first off I was not trained up for this race. Not at all. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My back hurts. My core hurts. I'm chaffed. Chaffed, I tell you. And let's not talk about the fact that I've gained nearly 10 pounds since my last marathon. Yes. Let's just not talk about that.
Seriously. No talking about it.
About the race itself: I liked the course. The heat caught me off guard; it started in the 40s (F) as I expected, but then got up into the mid 80s. If I'd known that it was going to get up that high I would have brought my "Cool Off Bandana" that I've raved about. Oh, well, live and learn.
So the course, well, I said I liked it. It was challenging and scenic and I never got bored. I'm a huge rock hound, and there was lots of cool mineral outcroppings in various colors that I stopped and looked at and picked at them. Parts of the course were a very narrow, cupped single track which was problematic for some, but they were short lengths so they didn't bother me too much. There were a couple places that diverged and weren't marked very well, I had to stop and really look to try to guess which one had been traveled the most. Other than that, it was pretty well marked.
For the first 12 or so miles, I drank the 64 ounces of Nuun and my gels, but then at the aid station at my 12th mmile, I tried the boiled potatoes with salt sprinkled on them. I'd never tried them before. From then on I drank the 1/2 strength Gatorade (always ice cold) and potatoes with salt. That was a nice change from the sticky-sweet gels.
I carried my hydro pack. After the first 18 miles, I stopped and changed into a different pair of shoes that had a wider toe box. Problem is, I was so set on getting in and out of that aid station quickly that I forgot to fill up the reservoir, and I ran out of water. It was heating up, too, and slogged it to the next aid station (they were 3 to 3.5 miles apart) with a couple of fellow runners stopping and offering me swallows from their water bottle. At the aid station I filled up, and then sat down in the shade for a bit to drink 2 cups of ice cold coke. Mmmmm. From then on, at every aid station I had 3 or 4 hunks of boiled potatoes with salt, and about 4 ounces of ice-cold coke.
The first 6 miles was a loop that went out to the first aid station and then back to start; it was a mixture of scrubby desert followed by shady/woodsy, as you doubled back to the start line. After that you did the whole 12.5 mile loop twice. The top 6 miles, between 3 miles aid station and the 9 mile aid station, were brutal: fully exposed to the hot sun but again, very doable if I'd had my "Cool Off Bandana".
The bees were pretty intense at the aid stations; at one point the volunteer accidentally sloshed Coke onto my leg, and the bees were like, "YAY! COKE!" and I had to rinse off with water to get them to leave me alone.
Added later: There was this one guy, and I don't know who he was, and maybe he didn't mean to sound this way, but I swear that he sounded dubious and someone condescending as he came up behind me. He must have seen my tattoo, because all of the sudden over my shoulder I heard him:
Oh, no he di'n't! He did not just speak to me like I was a little girl playing make believe and ask me if I really did it!
I responded calmly by saying, "yes, I've done two now."
"Which ones?" He still sounded skeptical. I wonder if he knew that he sounded that way.
So, I told him which ones. I described them. As the look his face became more incredulous and disbelieving, it all became clear to me:
So, I did. I took off and left him behind and never saw him again. Then, when I came into the finish a woman suddenly ran across the grassy part we were supposed to go around, cutting the course, and they let her finish! What was up with that? She did it right in front of the timers, too.
Now, about halfway through the race I was feeling bad because I'd wanted to beat my first 50K time, and I remembered that being 7 twenty-something, and since my first 16 miles took me about 4 hours I knew I wasn't going to beat that. But then, after I got back to my hotel, I looked online and found out that my first 50K was 8:23, and I finished this one in just over 8 hours, so I was pretty happy! Baboo didn't have such a good time, but I'll let him tell you about that.
So but also there was a girl with a pink shirt on that was asking me about my gaiters. I was suffering when she was trying to be chatty and I feel bad now that I wasn't being chatty back. I hope I get the chance to answer your questions some time, whoever you are. I know I was probably just cranky because I was thirsty and bonking and I was mad at the heat. Seriously. Mad at the heat. I was shuffling along muttering under my breath, "stupid heat."
The finisher's prize was a hat. It doesn't say finisher on it. But now I have some "cred" wear to wear to my next Ultra, which will be in February (The Ghost Town 38.5)
Another nice thing about this race: unlike many of the current road marathons, nobody bitches or even suggests you shouldn't wear your headphones.
Lastly: The entire city of Amarillo smells like a giant toilet. What is UP with that?!?