Saturday, February 05, 2011

In which I am as fearless as a big old Armadillo: A race report.

Dear Diary,


I think I must, must have it. If I can't find it, I'll
have to make it.  
Up early-ish, and to the airport.  Our early morning flight was canceled, something about winter weather, so we were put on a later flight.  We arrived at the airport and were the only ones in line.  We breezed through and headed for our gate, and settled in to do laptop stuff while waiting to board.

I was momentarily annoyed that the place where we usually get our pre-flight supplies (quad latte for him, diet redbull for me) was all out of diet redbull.  Then I had to laugh at myself: I'm running 50 miles tomorrow.  I think one 110-calorie redbull won't hurt.

I.  <3  RedBull.  It gives you wings, you know?

On the plane, I worked on my schedule for the spring, copying and pasting info from my three syllabusss (syllabi?) into one master sheet so that I can keep track of all that has to be done every weekend.

We arrived in Houston, where the first smell upon walking off the plane and into the airport was fried--something.  Fried anything is the official smell of the south, after all...especially the southern Gulf.  In Houston, it was cold and grabbed our rental - we purposefully chose a hideous lime green midsize - and headed north to Huntsville.

We checked into the Days Inn and I was apoplectic to discover an abundance of outlets!  They were everywhere!  My biggest pet peeve is the lack of outlets in hotel rooms.  I ran around the room, exclaiming over the outlets, and then plugged in my surge-protector strip, which contains an ipod charger, cell-phone charger, two garmin chargers...and plugged in my computer.  Then we headed to packet pickeup.

At packet pickup two years ago, I was handed a thick, shit-brown sweat shirt that.  Now, while I definitely want to just, oh, so casually, wear something that says I went 50 miles on it, it is the type of thick sweat shirt that says, and yet I'm still this fat, and ugly too.  

This year, however, I was handed a deep purple hoodie.  Su-weet!  By this time, we had also found out that magically, only the corridor between Houston and Huntsville was free of ice.  Huntsville, and much of central Texas, was full of hiways that were sheets of ice.  Many people would simply turn back and not make the race after spinning off the highway more than once.

Post-race dreamin'
I scarfed down pasta, some cake, and cobbler, and said Hi to Ja-ja-jogger, and still before 5 pm, we headed for Kroger, where I bought two large Nissin Noodle Bowls and a large, Mocha Starbucks Coffee + Energy.   There's tons of sodium in there, too.

On the way back to the hotel, I was all, OOO!  POPEYES CHICKEN! But himself talked me out of getting some.  "We'll get some for lunch, after the race, okay?"


It should be no secret to anyone that I was raised primarily in Alabama (first 12 years) and Dallas (next 13 years) and so my favorite foods are those I associate with my childhood: fried chicken.  Actually, fried anything.  Steak, eh, okay.  I do like me some sushi.  But fried chicken will stop me dead in my tracks.  I will actually lose my train of thought for a moment while I inhale deeply, mmmm, fried chicken.  The 7 years I spent as a vegan were difficult ones, especially when Sweet baboo and I worked out at a gym right next to a KFC.

But back to the noodle bowl breakfast.  This, after all, is the secret to all this and why I do it: The best way to get a fast, 1000-calorie pre-race breakfast in is simple carbyhydrates.  The best way to burn it off is to run.  I, being a glutton AND vain, have had to give up my other vice: Sloth.

Lets face it, the true key to fitness and being slim is when vanity wins out over sloth or gluttony.  I choose to give up sloth.  Hence: my pursuits.

We were asleep before 8.  If you've ever had trouble falling asleep early on race night, I recommend Advil PM or Tylenol PM.  Zzzzzzzz......


It's the most important meal of the day, you know.
The alarm went off at 3 am, and I set about making two noodle bowls.  You need to eat at least 3 hours prior to start time.  Sweet Baboo relayed a dream that he'd had that I recognized as the "college student" dream, the one where you suddenly realize that you've forgotten to go to class all semester and suddenly show up on exam day, and/or you can't figure out where teh room is so that when you arrive everyone has already started.

However, in this dream, instead of starting the race Sweet Baboo and I lay down to take a nap and missed the first 6 hours of the run...

Being neurotic is so awesome.  You have the most entertaining dreams.

I dressed for the 25 degree start in CW-X thermal tights, injinjis, Zensah calf sleeves (under the tights), an underarmor l/s shirt with another, slightly larger shirt over that, a bill-cap.  I carried a Nathan handheld and wore a vest that doesn't carry hydration - it's just a vest that carries stuff and I can't find it on the internet anywhere so apparently, Sweet Baboo had it made by elves.  Anyway.

Over the billcap and over my ears I wore a fleece headband that has speakers in it.  I found it three years ago on Ebay and haven't been able to find it since.  They come out for washing.  You can still hear sounds around you when you wear them, which makes them ideal for running a 16-mile loop on which 600 other runners may be at any given time.

I was told by Sweet Baboo that Scott Jurek was going to be at this race.  Hmm.  I wonder how many times he'll lap me?  It's very likely that he will finish his 100 before I finish my 50.

I watched a couple of YouTube videos for some inspiration, lounged around a bit, and then we headed out.


I kissed Sweet Baboo good-bye at 5:45 am and he took off on his race at 6 am. Then I went to hang out in the car and take a short nap, but I was too nervous about missing the start to do that.  It was in the 20s at the start, so I wore a thin fleece neck gator that I pulled over my nose and mouth so that my asthma wouldn't be triggered by the cold.

The trail is easy enough; it's not flat (disappointingly) but it's nothing like, say, the Javalina trail.  The roots didn't see as bad this year, at least not until the 3rd loop when I was dragging my feet.  Still, I didn't go down.  No face plant for me.  The drama of 2009 no withstanding, I wasn't truly suffering until toward the end.  This year, I did the the loops faster, and spent far less time in aid stations.  (less than 10 minutes, which I recorded as part of my loops):

Loop 1: 3:35
Loop 1, I started out slowly, warming up that tweaked calf muscle.  I started out with water, which I refilled throughout this loop. I took an e-gel every 45 minutes or so.  Finally towards the last half of the 17-mile loop, I felt confident enough to run full out, so I did.  good.  I ran.  I ran more on the way back then on the way in. I kept up with my nutrition.  It was cold, and when I came in from loop 1 I was able to discard my jacket, leaving me with two shirts and gloves.  Anton Krupecka, who is a champion 100-miler, passed me twice, and so did Scott Jurek.  More importantly, on every single loop, I got to see Sweet Baboo who would give me a nice smacker on the lips and we'd check in briefly with each other.

Loop 2: 3:45
Still feeling good, but new concerns were creeping in.  Achilles wasn't happy about the tight calf sleeves, and the tweaked calf was starting to ache, just a bit, so I sat down to pull the calf sleeve off the right leg, where my Achilles ached, and put it on my left leg, where my calf muscle ached. After this, my Achilles on my left leg ached, but it was either that or  my calf muscle, so what the hell.  I stopped and dropped off my gloves in Sweet Baboo's drop bad at the Dam Aid station, and wound up picking them back up on my way back through on loop 3.
Anton passed me twice again. Scott passed me once.

I also saw JaJa Jogger several times as of the posting of this blog she looks to be on track for a finish.

Loop 3: 4:43
Total time: 12:03.  Ish.  On loop 3, about mile 7, a BIG old Armadillo waddled across the path in front of me.  I saw him/her standing by the side of the path, and then as I approached, stuck his/her nose up in the air and pretended s/he didn't see me, and waddled across about a foot away in front of me so that I had to stop and wait for it.  No hurry, no sense of danger.

This is the first time I've seen one close-up that hadn't been run over by a car, and HOO, they are UG-LAY. But now the new symbol of fearlessness to me--
-= I was as self-confident and a big old Armadillo. =-

This one was about the size of two footballs.  Other than some ducks, that was the only wildlife I saw...the alligators were probably all burrowed down in the mud, being as it's so cold.
I got slower, and slower, and slower.  I'd hoped to beat the sunset, but the last 4 miles were run with a headlamp. I have an awesome headlamp.  I could land planes with this thing.  Still, it slowed me down even more than I already was.  My IT band was starting to speak to me.  It said, hey, remember me?  I'm your IT band and I have had just about enough of this shit.  If calf and Achilles won't slow you down, I sure as shit will.
Toward the end of the loop I trotted along behind Scott Jurek for a while, which was only possible because he had probably gone over 90 miles and was not wearing a headlamp.  Damn, that man can walk fast.  2 miles from the finish, I passed Sweet Baboo for the final time, and got a nice kiss and a "well done".
Total time: 12:03.  My super secret double fantasy of 11:15 and missing sunset wasn't realized, but my fantasy goal of 12-ish was.  Woot!

OW. just ow.  I took my medal, and my drop bag, headed for the car, and drove straight to my hotel.  Then I drove 2 miles more to a Popeye's chicken, and ordered 5 pieces of chicken (white meat), a side order of cajun gravy, and mashed potatoes, and DO YOU KNOW THAT BITCH DID NOT GIVE ME MY GRAVY, GAVE ME THREE BREASTS AND TWO THIGHS, AND GAVE ME WHITE RICE INSTEAD OF MASHED POTATOES?  and charged me 15 dollars?  I MEAN, WHAT THE HELL?  But i was too out of it when I got home to do anything but call and complain about the gravy.  Truthfully, I shouldn't have been driving.

I earned 182 points today, according to WW.  I intended to use them.

I took a hot, hot bath to try to stabilize my core temp, and then fell asleep, woke up after an hour to text my displeasure at not having gravy to anyone who was awake and gave a shit. Then I fell asleep again until about 1:30 am, when I woke up to check on Sweet Baboo's time.  All this time, I was hobbling.  OW.   I took some Advil, and felt better.  Washed my hair.  Felt better still.  Ate the last of the chicken.  Mmmmm.

My next-door neighbors in the Days Inn about to incur my wrath.  The reason I am up typing this a 2 am is because they came in, NOISILY, and talked loudly, slammed doors, and turned on the TV.  I am getting ready to start a rumble if they don't shut it down.
I'm tired, and when I'm tired, I'm fearless.
Like big old Armadillo.

I'm also disinclined to correct typos.

Soon, I'll go get Himself and tell him that his name was drawn for Wasatch.  Guess I'm coming to Utah September 9th!



  1. Have a great race guys!

  2. Good luck!!!!!!

  3. Have a great race - thinking warm (but not too warm) and safe thoughts your way.....

    I love the idea of the spreadsheet for your classes - would you share the template?

    LOL, glutton+vain trumps sloth. For me, some days yes, some days no. And then there's my unholy love of almond butter to contend with. :)

  4. I used to walk a mile for a Camel. Now, I'll run 50, you betcha, for fried chicken. Well done. That is an awesome time.

  5. Awesome Misty! you rock gf!

  6. Congrats on another finish~~!!! You are so inspirational!

  7. Way to go! You're amazing.

  8. Congratulations! Sorry about shining my headlamp in your face at 5AM, but my social skills suck after 80 miles. Oh, and it's Joja Jogger. Joja is how a transplanted northerner like me says Georgia when she's trying to sound like a southerner ;)

  9. Congratulations on a GREAT Race! You did so great out there under less than ideal conditions for at least that first lap (what fun it was to slip slide on the boardwalks:-( But at least next time we do this it will be easier...

    It was great to catch up with you overnight...I missed chatting with you at JJ100. You really are doing great with respect to running--way to go!!


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