What a day! After meeting at Michelle's and then carpooling over to Steve's (and getting lost doing so) we made out way to Longview, WA about 2 hours south. We got ourselves all registered and checked in and made our final clothing choices and got drop-bags ready. It wasn't necessary to have everything out as the trailer we were using as our headquarters was about 25 yards off the course. We dropped out goodies, gels, and drinks off at the lap counter's tent and chatted until the start.
There's not a whole lot to say about the course. It was a one mile loop around a very beautiful park and lake. The path is mostly crushed gravel over packed dirt with a couple of concrete sidewalk sections. There were bathrooms about a half mile apart. IT was a pretty cushy race in terms of the amount of support. No need to carry a bottle as you went through the aide station every mile. It was nice not to have to carry a full camelbak.
The company was fantastic. Michelle and I ran the entire 50 (50.91 read my garmin) miles together. We had loops where we were joined by others running, Cat who ran a marathon ran with us a bit, but at her own pace for the majority of her time at the event. Super fast Jamal ran with us after he had run many more miles than we and was getting pooped, Rob ran with us to get away from taskmaster Steve (who by the way ran the entire 24 hours and 105 miles WHOO HOOO!!!) And we were passed by just about everyone several times and had lots of fun telling everyone how well they were doing.
The weather held for the most part. I had packed a huge bag of clothes to change as often as I needed. Rob said to pack "everything I own" to be able to get out of wet clothing whenever needed. I wore shorts and a short sleeved shirt with a lightweight windbreaker until mile 32 when I changed into a new layer on top including a long sleeved shirt for the evening. It rained on us a few times. I swear every ten minutes the weather changed. Sometimes calm, sometimes windy, sometimes misty, sometimes rainy, sometimes bright and sunny. It was pretty good for the most part. Michelle cracked me up as every time she would put on her vest it would be too warm, then next loop she'd take it off and it would rain for a loop, same thing with her hat. I just left my hat and jacket on the whole time and I was fine!
The first 26 miles seemed to go by slow as there were lots of people running and lots of people accruing miles much faster than us making us feel really slow. We took a couple of breaks to change our shoes and socks and then after 32 miles we took a 10-15 minute break and we felt great. We got our groove back and were ready to get our last 18 miles in. We began to look for our pacers ladies who were to show up sometime between 6 and 7pm to run 7 miles with us. As we were heading out on number 37 we spotted them and told them we'd meet them the next time around. It was so nice to have them there to distract us in those later miles. Wendy ran 7 miles with us and Jessica finished with us for 13. The last five miles, Eric joined us after his Chuckanut 50k and 5 hour drive down. It was nice to have him along too. Sometime I'll get Michelle to send me the photos he took as we crossed the finish line for our first 50 miler.
At about mile 43 my left upper quad began to feel really tight. Like after a bad charlie horse. There was no fast tightening up like you get with a charlie horse, just the soreness you get after. I stopped to tape it and get some Advil and was determined to finish those last miles. It was sore and I limped when we walked and even considered just going ahead and keeping with a run, but I wanted to finish with Michelle, not ahead as we had come so far together. So I managed. The beginning running again after walk breaks took a minute to ease into, but once I was running it felt okay. My quad is about the only sore spot today. Otherwise I have tight calves and some blisters that are tender, but no major issues to speak of.
We finished in 14 hours and 11 seconds. We took lots of walk breaks and a few longer rest breaks. It was a fun event overall. I was skeptical of running a 1 mile loop 50 times, but it turned out okay as it was new scenery where I had never run and didn't really get old. 14 hours is a long time to run, but it was also nice not to have a cut off time to worry about. I am please with the time and the fact that I actually ran 50 miles. I never thought I would ever run that far. Maybe someday I'll do it again! It was a blessing to reach such a goal.
Grace and peace to you.