What an amazing day!
Before I get in to what hopefully won’t be tooooo long of a race report, I have to say that this race would not have been as awesome and fun if I had not run with Kovas and Rachel the entire time. I had already planned on running with Kovas, and we were hanging out at the start when Rachel approached me and asked if I was a blogger! After quick introductions, I remembered her and Kim (who was pacing a 50 miler, not doing the 50K) from the Wisconsin Half Marathon! What an awesome surprise to run in to them! They were both super pumped, and we talked about how race day snuck up on us so quickly. I don’t think the race felt real to any of us until we hit the trail. We didn’t all plan to stick together, but we did!
Kovas, me, Rachel and Kim before the start
So, start details – 4:00 am wake-up call, hour and 20 minute drive (through some freaky fog) to Kettle Moraine, WI with my running club, 7:00 am race start. I wasn’t nervous. I knew I could cover the distance, because my plan was to walk the hills, and the hills were aplenty! And I can go far… I just have to go slow.
The sun was just rising when we started the 50K, and the runners in front of us were in a beautiful cloud of fog.
It was neat to see all of the 50Kers together at first, because that did not last very long! For some of the course, we were completely on our own, or getting passed by the fast marathoners who started two hours later and 6 miles in to the 50K course.
After a short part on the street we were in the woods. I was waiting to see it. Everyone says how beautiful Kettle Moraine is, and it did not disappoint:
Even when we were busting our butts to hike up the hills, I was not upset. It was just so beautiful.
Attempt to take a picture of a small hill
The terrain varied quite a bit – grass, packed dirt, loose sand, rocks and roots… and it went from single track to 6+ feet wide (I preferred the wide part). The sandy parts of the trail were are for horses, and we saw a lot. Despite what people warned me about the sand, I liked it the best – it felt so nice and soft on my feet. Running on the rocks hurt (especially as the run went on).
The only part of the course I did not care for was the open prairie.
Besides being in the open sun, it was a bit boring. So boring that I lost track of what I was doing and tripped over my own feet.
Damn, that left knee just can’t catch a break!
And that was very interesting – you had to pay attention to your footing the entire time (not something I am used to). It was easy to stumble. Kovas, Rachel and I all fell! Ha ha.
We were only in the open prairie part for maybe 6 total miles, and split between woods, for the entire course. We sped up on these parts. And these parts made me wish for the hills so I could have a walk break! Ha!
So, how was our pace? Hmm. Well, the garmin did die at 26.46 miles. Until it died we were on track for 13:00 minute miles, then starting to creep up closer to 13:45. My final time was 7:14:38, which is a 14:01 pace. I predicted 13:30 average, so I was a bit off, but not too bad!
I was surprised there were no mile markers – duh, Kim – I should have known this. Luckily, Rachel’s watch held through so we had an idea of how much further we had to go. There were great trail markers:
Just make sure you follow the ribbons that match your bib, and you’re good to go!
buffets aid stations were AWESOME:
I got potatoes with salt every time and that really helped with my swollen fingers. I also snacked on chips. And Skittles once, but they bothered my stomach a bit. I filled my Nathan vest at every station too. I was a little slow with that, but I’ll get better.
Oops. This is getting a bit long. So, like a typical long distance race, I slowed down toward the end. But, I felt great the entire time, except for a sore right butt cheek and sore hips (from the hills, I think). I had energy (I was eating and drinking a ton), my stomach felt good and my legs felt good. Just getting a bit sore.
We really picked it up at the end when we saw the finish line. We were stoked! I almost cried, I was so excited!!!
And I was so so happy to see Steven and my running club friends at the end!!! Steven drove up to see me finish (there were only a few spots for spectators on the course, mostly at road crossings).
I asked for my flip flops right away and was surprised at what I saw:
Ha ha ha! What happened to my toes?! Man, I really had to scrub hard in the shower!
We chatted with my running club friends, grabbed the free food:
and took stalker pictures of Dean Karnazes:
I didn’t stay for the meet and greet with Dean, but after I changed clothes he was walking by me during the kids run and said to me out of the blue: ”Looking good with those wounds – you earned them!” So… Dean thinks I am badass. Ha ha. Right?! That is what he meant, right?! RIGHT?!?!?!!
So, this was amazing, and I had a blast. Parts were hard, where we were all quiet on the trail, pushing our own mental game. I wore the pin Erin gave me for luck and would touch it often to think of its sentiment. But I felt really good. Like scary good, thinking of signing up for another one, before the race was even over, good.
I think it was so fun because I was running with people though. It would have been lonely without Kovas and Rachel. So I have to thank them SO MUCH for running with me. And find out which one of you wants to do the next one with me. Just keep in mind how slow I run. And that I get schmelly (today was not too bad – 44° at the start and 74° at the finish, and mostly shaded).
Thanks for getting so far in this post. I am sure I have forgotten a lot of details and you’ll have to hear more over the course of the week!