Last Sunday I ran the farthest I've ever run in one day. Outside of Ironman, the Cowtown 50k was the first time I'd run over 21 miles in one "sitting". I was nervous. Not so much about being able to finish - I'd walk 10 miles if I had to - but about being able to run the entire thing and, more importantly, do so without suffocating my love for the activity. I had quite a few things going for me, though:
- My parents had flown out to join in the fun. Everything is awesome with the right company.
- I had only had a total of 120 mg of caffeine over the course of the previous 4 weeks. I was planning to have 300 mg by the end of this particular 31 miles. Aaaaaaawesoooooome!
- I would have a few hundred run-buddies for the first ~25 miles, including one Mike Lamie for the first ~11 miles, as both the half and full marathons started at the same time as the ultra, and all three followed the same route until their particular turn-off toward the finish.
Mike and I scooted up to the start area just in time to catch the National Anthem, and then we were off! I didn't have much of a pacing plan other than to be sure that the effort felt easy for the first several miles. I wore my HR monitor, but didn't end paying much attention to it. All of my training over the past several months has been based on percieved exertion, so I figured I should stick with that for race day. I REALLY enjoyed that! It was nice to just run - to take in the whole adventure as I was experiencing it, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I like my Garmin and all, but I already know what it looks like. (No, I'm not saying no one should every pay attention to HR or pace or power or whatever metric he/she chooses for guidance - these are smart ways to train and race. Just saying it was nice, after so many years, to actually have the confidence in myself to run by feel.)
And feel I did! Mentally, I felt light - little pressure, more curiousity. Emotionally, I felt peaceful - free, joyful, strong. Physically, I felt.....sore! A soreness like I've never felt before! Well, the first 20 miles were decent, but then it crept in, slowly but surely, over the final 11 miles. My quads and IT bands were NOT happy with the surface with which Texans choose to finish their roads. I'm sure the pace fell off a bit in the final miles (haven't actually looked at my files yet...), but I don't think it was by much. What's more important to me is that my spirits didn't tank. I may not have been able to do so, but I finished with the desire to keep running. I love it.
I don't have any pictures from the race itself, but here are some highlights from the week:
Ok, so this was more of a lowlight, but at least the weather was AMAZING when it happen. Was much nicer to wait for the tow truck in 60° sunshine than 30° snow showers, either of which late February in Colorado could bring.
And then this had to happen. Poor Volty. She's special - she doesn't carry a spare.
Psyched (and nervous) for my first ultra! And for expo trick-or-treating!
Meanwhile, this was happening:
[Note the expressions on the two faces....]
Lesson learned. Do NOT mess with the ceramic Longhorn at the Cowtown Health & Fitness Expo.
Wow! SEVENTY-2 ounces??? FOR FREE?????
Aaaaaah, the fine print:
(Is anyone else horrified by the idea that someone could ingest 72 oz of ANYTHING in one hour?)
And this here was the scenery between Pueblo, CO and Amarillo, TX, a driving distance of 320 miles. Beautiful yet mind stealing in its vastness. (Thank the universe for audiobooks - the radio was just as barren.)
AND! We're up to $3,552 to help bring clean water to those in need via More Than Sport! THANK YOU!
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