As I drive down Friday night to go to the race location. I had a sense of calmness of what I was about to do. I thought I was ready. I felt I had trained the best way I could and I thought it would be enough.. And for some strange reason I thought the course was not as tough as I have heard.. Boy, I was totally wrong on that..
So after checking in the hotel, I headed to the race sight to pickup my packet and wanted to see the people who where running the 150 miles. A small group, probably around 40 to 50 people went off into the night around 6:00pm.
So on Saturday morning I left for the race early to get a good spot for my gear. It was probably around the mid 30's. While waiting around I saw some of the 150 milers finishing some of their loops. At this point, they had run for almost 12 hours non-stop in the woods.. Crazy stuff I must say...(After finishing the wimpy 50 miler, I could not even fathom doing 150 miles out there)..
So at 6:00 am, the 100 and 50 milers took off into the darkness. Even-though it would be sunrise soon I wore a headlamp just to be safe. It was Kinda of a
surreal thing taking off for a new adventure for the 1st time. "I
was actually going to try to do this". I thought to myself.
Loop 1: My goal for each loop and the entire race was to stay within a zone 2 Heart-rate no matter what the pace. Especially for me, this would be one of the hardest loops because it takes me awhile to get into any type of running groove. But my race plan kinda went out the window anyways halfway through the 1st loop. I actually was not surprised. The course was mostly single track, so at certain points in the loop, I stayed with certain running packs and followed their pace. Not sure what my first loop time split was but I realized after finishing this loop. This course is "Hard ASS, I'm definitely not In Chicago No more"
So a quick pit stop after loop one. I knew it was raining during my 1st loop, but I was trying to ignore it most of the time. But after stopping for a few minutes to re-fuel, I realized, "Dang it is really raining out there".
So loop 2 hear I come.
Loop 2: I must have been trying to be in my "happy place" for a little while, then I heard, HEY, HEY... So I turned around and looked.. Crap, I missed the turnoff and was going the wrong way. I think that woke me up, you think?? I really don't want to get lost out there and add any more yardage then I needed to. After that I paid very close attention to the trail markings for the race..
So what do you get when you mix water and dirt? YES, "MUD". The rain made the trail into shoe sucking mud at certain spots. Squishing and squashing beneath me was not a fun feeling.
There were some places you could not even run because of the mud. The worst parts were the steep descents and then an accent right afterword's.. I pretty much describe it as a crooked/crazy "V" shape.
So onward I go, trying being cautious so I would not end up tumbling down the hill if I misstepped. But maybe sometimes a little to cautious at times because an
unplanned butt slide took place. Then another steep muddy hill, I started to go down it and told myself, "This is not going to be good". And almost did a face plant in the mud. "THUG, down on all fours".. Only my out-stretched hands saved me from a mud pie in the face.. So after doing yet another butt slide I was mentally getting burned out. Doubting myself in a lot of ways. I felt this was hardest 20 miles I've ever done.. The questions like "why was I out here" came to mind.
But somehow "Never trying to finish" was never an option.
So Loop 3 and 4 here I come. The only goal for the loops was to stay upright. At this point the rain had finally let up and got a little warmer.. The best part was that I was staying upright. WooHoo.. But things started to hurt during this time as well. I was having a shooting ankle pain. Not sure the cause, but it hurt
the most when going down the hills. So I figure I would try to run as best I could. It wasn't pretty, but other things hurted to keep my mind off my ankle.
Wow, loop 5 was upon me. I was almost at the 9:30 to 10 hour mark. One loop to go. Then, I knew I would finish this crazy race. I really could not wait to finally say goodbye to these crazy mud hills.
I just said one thing to get myself to keep me going. I blurted out loud "RUN."
Somehow in a crazy way it worked, my body listened. The pain really didn't
matter anymore because I just needed 10 more miles..
So in the final miles, I crossed one of the two streams that was ankle deep for the last time. Then I knew I was so close.
I emerged from the trees, holding 5 in the air. The race director announcing a 50 mile finisher was coming in. Wow... I had done it. I'm really an "ultra-runner"
Crossing the finish line with a smile on my face, pumping my fist in the air, hugging the race director, and telling him this was a great race..
I have to say this was toughest running race I had done so far, even running a 50k in -20 degree weather was alot easier than this.. It drained me physically and mentally as well. But I accomplished what I wanted to do and my 1st "A" race is now done..
Not sure how I placed, for me it really does not matter. Like Iron-man, whether you finish 500Th or 1500Th overall you are still an Iron-Man. But I know one blogger finished at 11 hours 24 minutes and finished 16Th overall (113 registered). So maybe I didn't to bad with my 12:21 time.
So I guess "Ultra Iron Bubba" does not sound to bad after all.
So what's next.. Oh yeah, there is more.. Right now I'm pretty wiped out.. I have to ramp up my Iron-Man training like it was yesterday and ICE Age Trail 50 is still on the racing schedule as a "?" race. ICE AGE 50 for me was never if I will do it. It was a matter if I will do a 50k or another 50 miler as a "B" race.. That I will decide in a week or two. Right now I'm taking a week off from running and trying to do some repairs on this 40yr old body of mine.
As they say "pain is temporary, regret last forever". Each day the pain is less and I have no regrets during my race because I did the best I could do out there. For now that is good enough, because next year Mr. McNaughton Trails I will be back for you, and will embrace your path instead or cursing it.
Labels: Ultra race report