I don't blog as much as my older sister so I'll catch you up. Last January I ran my first ultra race, and then spent the rest of the year logging those ultra miles. It's become my passion. I love all running, road and trail, but I've to the conclusion that for right now the ultra is my favorite. I love the challenge, both mental and physical. Pushing myself when I want to stop...not wanting to stop even when your legs scream NO, the feeling of strength, accomplishment, but most of all, happiness with what I'm doing.
My low point last year was the injury and then the Black Flag at my first 50 mile ultra attempt. I took the time then to regroup, reevaluate, and get my head back on straight. I had gotten to where I was so worried about time cutoffs and my speed that I was no longer having fun leading up to the race. What good is it if its not fun? I took a three month approach to my next 50 with two ultra races spaced out during to continue my training. I tried my best to not obsess about the race itself, just concentrate on my training and to try and stay calm. The approach worked. At the Tortoise and the Hare 50k I placed in my age for the first time ever in an ultra, at Battle for Black Rock, I bumped down to the 24 mile from 36 to save myself from agravating my past injury (this is an extremely hard race.... over 12,000 elevation change in 24 miles with some serious steep work, yes!) I won first place female in this race...overall.
January 9th rolled around and it was time to tackle 50 miles again. Starting at 5am with 2.5 hours run in the dark, my goal was 13 hours (cutoff was 14) but I was hoping for a little under. I already knew the last 12 miles of the race were going to be the hardest technically and in elevation too, so I knew I needed to get a cushion at the beginning, but to not overdo it and bonk out later. The dark part was easier to do this with...I'm not coordinated enough to run in the dark and press the light on my watch
and look at it without falling, so I didn't look at my watch at all during this time. We did get lost once, missed a flag, figure we added about a mile. At the 14.5 mile stop it began getting light, and that's when I realized I was running my shorter trail race speed. I felt great though...strong, free, so I decided to keep it going. Besides a nagging stiff hip flexor I was good to go (it worked out at about 20 miles thankfully)
21 miles I was at 4 hours, cut off was 6. Yes! was I going too fast? Next stop was is five miles so I kept it going. 26 miles right in 5 hours. cutoff 7. I'm halfway, no reason to stop now. Feeling a little fatigued but still great. At 32.5 I was at about 7 hours...wait, I just PR'd my 50k. Back at the start line 38 miles in 8 hours 4 min, cutoff was 10. Time for the hard stuff, but I had 6 hours to do it. After A a long 3 miles on road we were back to trail. Seriously technical, lots of roots right on the edge of the canyon. A little scary, then 600 steps down and tons of running. At this point I knew unless I got
hurt I would finish. My watch had stopped so no idea of time. My new goal was to finish in the daylight. Got back to the top of the 600 steps, and someone said a little more than a mile to go. That gave me what I needed to push to the end (really...uphill???). I was shocked when I saw the time. 11 hours 41 minutes! Not fast by winning ultra standings, but fast for me. 2 hours and 20 minutes before the cutoff and 1 hour 20 minutes faster than my goal. I think I was on a high for a week.
Now my 100 miles comes from a 4 mile track club race on Jan 1, Cloudland Canyon 50 mile, Hot Chocolate 10k, and last Saturday I did a last minute 40 mile race (don't do a last minute 40 mile race. haha). Very hard physically because I'm not 100% yet, but I still PR'd my 40 mile (my other was even road and this was trail) and I pr'd my 30k during the race too. I ended with my fastest mph of any ultra. Great results, but I'm paying for it .