“I hammered down the trail, passing rocks and trees like they were standing still.” --Red Spicer, founder, Palo Duro Trail Run
...with pictures shamelessly stolen from others...
To repeat from my former post:
My goal: To beat last year's time of 8:25:51, even if it's by seconds. I would be happy with, say, 8:25:49. My only other 50K run was 8:26:55, so I'd like to PR on this trail. I'll go as far as telling you that my FANTASY goal is coming in under 8 hours. yep. that's a fantasy, alright! Reality is somewhere between, right?
The terrain is rugged, with short steep climbs and descents, and it goes through some open, unshaded areas and some slightly boggy, shaded areas. You never actually run through water, and most of the time you're in the open. The aid stations are nearly exactly 3 miles apart, with friendly accommodating volunteers. At the aid stations there are chips, Gatorade, water, coca-cola, m&ms, boiled potatoes, and salt. For breakfast, I had 2 packages of oatmeal 3 hours before the race, along with fat-free tapioca pudding and apple sauce. During the race itself, I had little solid food, about a gallon or so of gatorade and some coca-cola.
When the race starts, is chilly and dark, and you're walking the first mile or so because it starts in a narrow, u-shaped single track trail. So you're in the dark, and there's a long line of you snaking your way up through the canyon, waiting patiently for it to spread out enough for you to run.
I wore my race-ready long-distance capris and my injinjis, and an Athleta top. I had a headlight, thoughtfully provided by my Sweet Baboo because "you always forget your headlight," and my iPod. I wore my New Balance 811s, which I took out of the closet, puzzling over why I don't wear them more often. Well, I got my answer. They have very little cushioning, and the numb toe nerve thing that I get on my right foot from time to time started barking about mile 18.
Anyway. It was cloudy and chilly and glorious for the first 18 miles, but then the clouds went away and the Texas sun came, uninvited. There were enough cool breezes from time to time to make it bearable, but eventually I was in my running top/bra, because I didn't have the foresight to wear a short-sleeve shirt, and the long-sleeve shirt I was wearing, although wicking, was nearly unbearable formy big self.
One thing I did do that helped a lot: After about mile 20 my back started aching from all the climbing. I stopped at an aid station and bent down at the waist, touching my feet. Then I twisted a bit to the side, and held it for a about half minute, and then grabbed my right shoe with my left hand and pulled, stretching out my back. I repeated that on the other side, and my back never ached again after that. I'd managed to stretch out my IT band, hamstrings, and back, all at once.
After the sun came up and my feet started barking, I had to start walking, but I was power walking.
My Garmin died a few miles for the finish.
I was surprised and VERY pleased to find out that I'd made my fantasy goal of coming in under 8 hours! I'd knocked nearly 30 minutes off my time from last year. I don't have actual time yet, but I think my pace was around 15:05.
Of course, Sweet Baboo, et al, kicked me butt. And that was every considering the mongo blister SB had on the bottom of his foot, that he decided he'd "practice" running on. Read his race report.
Training: ask for it by name.
What makes that even more amazing is that last year, a wayward volunteer pointed me in a directino that caused me to take over a mile off the course. I didn't find out until after I was finished and was discussing the course with Baboo as we were leaving, but she's pointed me away from about a 3/4-mile-out and back that I was supposed to do, and so not only did I do this faster, but I did it longer than last year. I was determined to do this course again and actually do the whole course this time.
So, I ran about a mile and half longer, nearly a half hour faster, oh, and I'm about 15 pounds heavier than last year. Couple of hotspots on my feet, but no blisters (I hardly ever blister)
After crossing the finish line, I took a shower in the camp shower area. It was dirty and smelled funny, and it was the best, most awesome shower EVAR. If I could have sat down, it would have been even better. And so, clean and happy, the Daily Plate says I burned 6000 calories at the race. I'm pretty sure that once I deduct the gatorade and coca-cola, I'll have enough to eat the large, alfredo pizza with mushrooms and provolone that is my fav. Baboo and I also follow up long runs and races with orange crystal light mixed with citrus Nuun. Tastes like orange crush. Yumm.
Oh, and everyone else did really well, too. DP, Bones, Mo, and others...DP also PRed.
We drove back to Albuquerque straight away. So now I'm going to eat a fistful of tylenol and go to bed. Cheers, y'all. I'll post pictures soon.
Next up: Ghost Town 38.5, in January, although I won't rule out any fun local trail runs in between.