As predicted, Voyageur 50 Mile was a party on the trail!
I left home by 315 AM, after 4 hours of sleep and pulled into Carlton a bit early, it was only 6 AM and the race didn't begin until 7.
Plenty of time for catching up with old friends and making new friends. These races are a social outlet for me. Sure, it takes training, but the race for me is really the party..the visiting the socializing. Lots of fun and smiles all around.
The weather was gorgeous, a start of 62F, clear sunny skies, with a forecast high of 83. Pretty sweet.
I had decided to take the race easy, don't push it, don't fall, don't try to PR..but if everything seems easy peasy then go for it. After speaking with Beth Simpson-Hall, 3 time Leadville finisher and will be out there again next month, I knew my plan was on the right track. Easy. Beth and husband Larry had recently returned from Colorado as Larry AGAIN finished Hardrock and Beth paced him for 56 miles. Incredible. She'll be a Hardrocker in the future.
I didn't line up in the first pack this year. The last two times I've run this race I have, just because I then push through the rocky rooty first few miles. I have fallen down each time, too. Yesterday I went more slowly and didn't fall during this section.
I decided to carry one bottle and I added a 'luggage' compartment to my bottle that connected via velcro. I could jam 8 gels and Advil in there. I decided to use a drop bag for the 1/2 way mark were I had 8 more gels and some Hammer Heed. The course uses Ultima, which I didn't think I liked, but as it turned out, it was just fine.
I didn't have any appetite, again, I don't know what is up with this change in eating and racing, but it seems that I am not hungry for pb&j this year as I always have been. I did gels on the 45 minute and drank 24 oz of Ultima every 30 minutes. This is a new phenomena for me as well..drinking more than 24 oz an hour. I did grab a few pretzels, some cantaloupe, strawberries and watermelon along the course. The aid stations were well stocked.
The day was just beautiful. The course is a nice blend of rocks and roots, bridges, steep ups and downs, creek crossings, grassy areas, a bit of road and the powerlines where there are 10 or so 350' hills that are very steep and climby. It's an out and back course so on the way back the powerlines can kill a person. Hot and tough.
As I was feeling so great I began to run harder and began to think about that 1025. At about 20 miles I was running hard, coming down a steep creek bank. I came to the bottom, tried to jump across but didn't make it. The ground made a sharp V shape. See that V? My feet were at the top left of it, my butt in the point and my shoulders and head on the top right of it. I some how spun around, was facing the wrong direction. My shoulder hurt the most, I really slammed it. I kind of laid there for a while, stunned. Then I became scared and couldn't get out of my position. I ended up rolling out of the V into the creek and righted myself. This was my wake up call..or my excuse to slow down. I told myself to be careful, Leadville is 3 weeks out, no need to hurt something for heaven's sake.
As I was running along I noticed that my skirt was falling off. The waist has become too large. Oh man. I could feel it falling down off of my hips, exposing my butt crack! How bad is that? Pretty soon Greg..Greg? Olson? It was his first 50, and he introduced himself at the start to me. He reads this blog and told me that I motivate him! He said it is funny because when I began running I would write about these ultra runners that were of elite status, that I was kind of nervous around them, that I felt unsure, and not adequate around them, and he said now here you are, friends with them and running with them! I told him it was I that had the problem with feeling unsure of myself, they were always there, and kind. So, as Greg was following me we were running down down down hill, a real long down hill. I was holding up my skirt. I told him it was falling off. He says "I thought so, but I'm not looking"! I had to laugh. Then I realized I had 4 pins holding my number, I could use a pin to make the waist smaller. It worked! I no longer had to hold it up as I ran. Sheesh.
I measured my waist this morning, it is 2" smaller since I last measured a few months ago. No wonder the skirt, and everything else for that matter, no longer fits.
As I was running down into the turnaround near 25 miles I saw Dawn Long ahead of me. She took a hard fall. I felt badly for her. Her sister was at the turn around so she said she would clean her up and make sure she was ok. Another reminder to me to slow down.
I came into the 1/2 way point at 4:50, grabbed my gels and Heed and got out of there.
I like the out and back. On the way out there I was able to see all of those in front of me. Wynn Davis was winning the race, John Storkamp was about 5, Rochelle Wirth was in 1st and Helen Lavin was in 3rd. I cheered loudly for the girls!
As I came out of the turn around and headed back I was able to see everyone else in the race. I love it! Lots of good jobs and high fives and hugs.
Pierre was ahead of me, I figured I'd try to catch him again. We had been going back and forth on the way out and I enjoy his company. Pierre. If one would have told me a few years ago that I would be brave enough to even talk..much less run with Pierre I would have called him a liar. I never thought I'd be able to run with Pierre, much less, actually be his friend. I have always thought so lowly of myself, that those that are faster, stronger, 'more tough/elite' wouldn't have the time to speak with me. Sad, hu? I'm glad I am trying to get over that..I still have a hard time breaking through that.
Anyhow, eventually I caught Pierre and we ran the rest of the race together. We trudged through the powerlines again, oh man, how tough! It was 2 PM, hot as hell, and our legs were tired. As we came out of the powerlines I noticed that I was freezing. Freezing! I had goosebumps, the hair on my arms was standing straight up. The gal at the aid station said my lips were turning blue. Nuts. Dehydration. I had been drinking 24 oz every 3 miles. I was sweating like crazy. My top and skirt were streaked with white salt. Then I realized I hadn't peed ONE time. Not once! That is so unlike me. I usually pee every hour. I became a little nervous.
We came into mile 39.5 on a 10:15 hour finishing pace. Kim Holak was working the aid station. She just finished Hardrock, too! I told her when I became tired the next 10 miles I was going to think of what she had just accomplished.
Pierre and I trudged on. I was slowing. I no longer cared about the 1015 or the 1025 or whatever. I was worried that I was so damn cold when it was 80F. I was freezing.
We continued on, past the last aid station, thank god, ready to finish up the last 3.4 miles. The last section takes for flipping ever. It's all rocky and rooty, along the river. I was sucking it up. I went slowly, I didn't want to fall, I wanted to come out in one piece. I began to get a bit dizzy, slowing down. I told Pierre to go on, that I was fine. He went up ahead just a bit. I finally saw the bridge that goes to the asphalt bike path. Oh! Happy days. I came out on the bike path and saw Pierre up ahead. I ran to catch him, but wasn't getting too far! As Pierre came to the road he turned backward, running, waiting for me. We ran in together at 1055. I was 8th woman out of 32. A record 139 entrants in total. I don't recall where I fell overall, I'm sure the results will be up shortly.
A spectacular day!
Those that finished earlier than us, were spectation, or had dropped, were all sitting on the grassy hill at the High School cheering. It's awesome! We came in, hugged and asked how everyone else was doing.
John Storkamp finished in just over 7 hours! Holy balls. Helen won the woman's in just over 8 hours! Wow. Crazy fast runners. I'm so proud of them.
Hey, all of us that were at BETA two weeks ago running the SHT, finished Voyaguer today! John and Helen came out on top :)
I took a nice warm shower and sat with the others to cheer on our friends. We swapped stories and laughs. This is one of the best parts of the race. Laughing and being silly afterward. Everyone is exhausted and delirious and out of hand...good stuff.
A nice meal of lasagna, bread and hot coffee..I was satisfied and happy.
At the award ceremony Rochelle Wirth, 2x woman's winner of Voyageur came up and introduced herself to me. She told me that she reads this blog and wanted to introduce herself. I was star struck and didn't know what to say at first. I began to feel unsure of myself. I can't quite explain it. I wanted to say that I was flattered that she read my blog and that she come up and to say hello to me. I did remember to congratulate her. Thank you, Rochelle! I hope I didn't seem cold to you.
After everyone came in we visited a bit and then headed off for home. I wasn't tired at all. I drank 4 cans of Diet Pepsi before I left the race, another 3 on the way and finally at 10 PM I stopped to pee in Cambridge! I hadn't peed since 6 AM. WHAT is up with that? I do not know. It was wonderful to crawl into my own bed post race, curl up with my book and relax, smiling to myself about the day.
I'm drinking drinking drinking water today. I feel very dehydrated and am down 4 pounds. THAT never happens either. I don't get it.
Hope everyone had a grand time at Voyageur yesterday, thanks for the party!