Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Promise Land 50K++ Bedford, VA

To say I went into this race under trained is an understatement.  I have been working a lot of hours and my training has ended up taking a back seat to my day to day life.  I had no expectations other than to finish and stay ahead of the cutoffs. A few days before the race I started getting a cold too.  So it goes!  I was excited about it regardless :D

I headed up to VA Friday afternoon - carpooled with Steve - to get there for the pre race meal and to set up a tent for the night.  When I arrived, there were a lot of folks there already - a few I knew too.  Dinner was ready about 6:00 then Horton had the pre race talk and gave away many GREAT prizes.  I love his sense of humor and it was very entertaining. :)

After the talk we sat around n talked for a bit, ate some of the good desserts that the runners brought, then headed to our tents. 

Jack and I he finished U100 a few weeks ago!
I went to bed around 10.  Later that night the wind picked up and was crazy!  The tent buckled several times and finally I got tired of trying to fix it and left it flat.  lol!  I bet I got 2 hours of sleep...

I woke up to car doors slamming at 4am.  It was a half hour before I wanted to wake up, but I got up and started to get ready for the day.  I was excited about the race and ready to get started!  I drank a coconut water and 2 protein drinks for breakfast and headed to the start line. 

The advice I heard from most everyone was to walk the first 4 miles.  It is a slow uphill climb and to put all your energy out in those first 4 miles would be insane.  So, I did.  Steve and I walked it together.  

One of the creek crossings
We got to the top and started on a slow decent I pulled away from him for a bit then caught up to Rachel and Bill and Doug.  We did a leapfrog thing for many miles they would catch me on the uphills but I would catch back up on the down hills.  I was not at all strong climbing but could make up time with the downhills.  Somehow I am great at crushing descents.  Had to laugh when Steve caught up to me and yelled "ON YOUR RIGHT!" and kept going - LOL!  Here is the commercial that line came from:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJ22qhe9qMU

There were several creek crossings but my favorite one was the one that was about knee deep.  Felt amazing on my feet and legs!  

At some point I caught up to Jenn on a downhill.  I was surprised to see her figuring she would be way ahead of me.  We ran and talked a while but I moved ahead.

The views were spectacular.  The trees, mountains, the sun shining through the trees.  The river, birds and finally making it to the top of the first climb where the water tower was.  It took me 3:05 to complete 13.1 miles - wow....  o_o

the rickedy bridge with a random runner :)
After about mile 17, I was on my own.  No one caught up to me again like I thought they would.  I was listening to my tunes and just putting one foot in front of the other and enjoying the day.  My breathing was not good, I kept coughing and I could not take deep breaths, but I felt alright. 

There was a bridge that looked like it was going to fall into the river.  There was a big step up on to the bridge then about a 4 foot jump off of it.  There was another bridge that was pretty rustic as well. 

It took me 6:15 to complete 26.2 - after that was when the real work began.  I heard of apple orchard falls but I was not prepared for the intensity of it all.  Nothing like running a marathon then climbing a mountain.  It took me 1 hour to complete 2 miles - walking and climbing and looking for the streamers that marked the trail.  My legs burned.  I ran out of water - twice.  I almost filled up my handheld in the river - I was that thirsty.  To quote Dax Ross "Is that drinkable?"  I bet it was... ;)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq8lJEJr3xk

yep, thats the trail!
There was a point in the trail that was all rocks  - like 'where is the trail' all rocks?!?  I was climbing on my hands and feet to go up it.  It was cool and insane at the same time.  

Jenn had told me about the falls and how when you think it has to be done, it just keeps going.  When I got to that last set of steps I was like REALLY????  Another set????  You HAVE to be kidding!!!!  

A blonde girl caught up to me and I did my best to keep up with her.  I was not sure of her name but in my mind I called her "bada$$ chick"  she was rockin the pace and she kept me going.  We talked some and we FINALLY made it out of the abyss of apple orchard falls and to the final aid station.

"the stairs"
At the aid station, I drank a LOT of coke, waters and that gu drink - I also ate at ton of rice krispie treats and a donut and started my decent down the last 4 miles.  It was just the fuel I needed - I felt energized again and ready to finish this race up!

I was ready to be done.  I could smell the barn, or finish line as it were....  Mile 30 was still a bit touchy as it was single track and rocky.  I was taking it kinda easy but was movin pretty good. It was runnable! Well, until I kicked a rock and fell.  ugh!  Got me a bit of trail love on my knee and was covered in dirt.  I sat there a second to get my wits about me and started out again...  

Once I hit that dirt road I was "flying"  My last 3 miles were the fastest in all the race - all marathon pace - lol!   I was passing several people and feeling really good about being close to the finish. 

I got to the 1 mile to go mark and started laughing and tears came to my eyes - I was almost done!!!!!!  I was so ready to be done!  I got to the "squirrel" with 1/4 mile to go and finished strong.  There were a lot of folks there at the finish cheering - very cool :D Finishing time - 8:21.

I got a hug from David Horton and picked up my Patagonia finishers shorts and sat down to wait for my peeps to come in.

My plan was to take pics of all my peeps finishing, but my phone got wet when I was running from sweat so the lens was all steamed up - ugh!  I was not happy  :/

Instead I cheered them all in :D 

Steve was the first to come in about 20 min after me.  I was standing at the finish and David Horton turned to me and asked "did you get something to eat?"  I said "not yet, I am wating for him" and pointed to Steve who was just finishing up.  David yelled out to him "Shes been waiting for you!"  lol!  It was amusing. :)

I watched Rachel and Jenn finish  then some of us went down to the river where I sat in the cold water for a while to ease the pain in my legs.  There were a bunch of runners down there just sittin n talking.  Wish I had a pic of it! 

We went back and got something to eat and waited for the last of the finishers to come in.  My phone had cleared up and I was able to get a pic of Jason and Haley finishing :D  woo!  at least I got one good finishers pic - lol! 

Im always amazed at these events where its a lonely, open field, then its like woodstock - ultra running style - with cars and tents everywhere for 24 hours then its cleared out. 

Packed up the tent and headed home. What an amazing weekend.  Great race, well organized, great volunteers, and an amazingly difficult, beautiful course. 

I wore my old hokas, double socks and compression sleeves.  I didn't get ANY blisters but lost one toenail.  Im actually thrilled with that considering how many creek crossings there were and how prone to blisters I am. 

I am rockin an awesome tan - runners tan that is!  my legs are tan from my shorts line to my compression sleeves and the tops of my feet are tanned, oh except for the flip flop lines.  and yes, a runners tank tan as well - lol!  yep.  awesome!
Elevation profile

Insanely difficult.  Beautiful views.  Would I come back?  Yes,  even considering the LUS series for next year....  Its.  That.  Good.

It is 3 days after the race and I am STILL hurting!  Stairs are NOT my friend!  lol!  I was not this sore after running 103 miles at Hinson, but certainly had my tail handed to me after all these hills.   What a great race!  :D


Team buttercup - me, Bill and Rachel
Mo  and Gene