I’m finally getting around to writing about the race. Well what I thought was going to be a great, easy 50 mile run turned out to be about a great 12.5 mile run, crappy 4 mile run, and then a crappier 4.5 walk. My first DNF (did not finish). Ohhh well.
Chris and I drove up to MI on Friday and got there around 10pm. We had no idea how many people were going to be at the race since it was the race director’s, Bruce’s, first race. It turns out there were about 27 people signed up for the 50mile race (I think only 22 showed) and about 55 or so people signed up for the 50k.
My race started at 7am and it was warm out but not as bad as I thought it’d be. We were all gathered around in a weird pile while Bruce was talking to us about the course and getting a headcount. Right afterwards he said “okay…you guys ready? Go!” and we all unexpectedly started running right then.
Since I happened to be at the front of the group while he was talking to us, I expected a ton of fast runners to pass me up in the first 1/5 mile. I was really surprised when only 2 people passed me…leaving me in about 7th place and 2nd female (mistake #1- worrying about my stupid place after 1 mile into it).
The course wasn’t too bad at all. Every once and awhile throughout the course I’d smell some really yummy citrus smell. I couldn’t tell if it was the bug spray on my arm or not, but it smelled good. The majority of the trail was shaded and it was a combination of rocks, sand, dirt, roots…the normal. It had a medium-high amount of little hills, and I ran up 99% of them during the first 12.5 mile loop.
I was feeling like I was running at a really good pace and I thought that I’d be able to keep it up. I felt like I was able to walk up the hills faster than normal. However since there were so few people running, I was by myself for almost the entire loop and therefore I couldn’t compare my speed to anyone else’s. There weren’t any super old skinny guys to speed walk up the hill and make me look like a big lazy kid.
At one point I finally caught up to 3 people in front of me and I was about 45 seconds slower than them. I kept trying to get them and finally there was an aid station that they had stopped at (by the way- there were aid stations at mile 4 and mile 9). I felt so proud of myself when I got there because I just grabbed one Gu and left- passing them all. It was a great feeling because that’s something I did in the past- take way too much time at aid stations and slow down.
Speaking of the Gu, it was disgusting! It was double espresso flavor or something and even though I like espresso, the Gu was nasty. I don’t know why I keep writing this because Gu is always nasty but it still seems to surprise me. The Gu was leaking out onto my hand and the humidity was increasing so I was just a gross, greasy mess.
Now probably my one and only complaint about this race was the bikers on the course. The trail was at a public State Park and I guess according to Bruce, the bikers are only allowed to travel clockwise (although Chris said there were a couple of bikers going the wrong way). The path that we were running on was very narrow and there were a bunch of curves, so a lot of times you couldn’t see what was going to be in front of you. I’m not kidding- there were about 4 times that I was seriously scared for my life (or at least body parts).
As we would be running up a hill, bikers would come down the hill full speed with no warning and we couldn’t see them until they were 2 feet in front of us. One guy got super close to me and I screamed and almost went off the path. Haha. I was mad at him for not stopping or saying excuse me. Ay ay ay. Anyway…that’s all. It was scary overall because that really would suck to get run over.
Back to running…I managed to stay in front of 2/3 of those people that I passed and I finally made it to the start/finish line again. I filled up my CamelPak and got some food. Right when I headed into the woods again to start the 2nd loop, it felt like a huge wall just came and hit me. It was the weirdest feeling…one that I hadn’t had in awhile.
All of a sudden I was walking up the tiny hills that were right at the beginning of the path. I had the weight of the filled-up CamelPak on me and I just felt soo physically tired. I had enough food and water and salt and I was drinking my protein drink that had 20 grams of protein in it (I drank half of it and then threw it away…no cap on it to save it for later. Lesson learned- stick with Ensure).
I kept on trucking and continued to run ¼ mile and then walk, run a tiny bit and then walk. I immediately thought of quitting (which I hadn’t done before in a big race) but then I told myself to keep going and then I’d get a 2nd/3rd wind on the next loop. I was still by myself on the path and I was really surprised that no one else had passed me yet even though I slowed down a ton. I was still in the top 3rd.
The more I kept going the more I thought about quitting. I tried to keep telling myself to stop thinking negatively until finally I said to myself, “you know what…who cares? If I don’t feel like running then why do I continue to run?”. I ran/walked to about mile 16 and then made the decision to DNF.
I walked the rest of the way until mile 21, where there was an aid station. Right when I walked out of the trail to the station I told them I was quitting. One said, “maybe you should eat some solid food and you’ll feel better”. I said, “nope…I just don’t feel like going anymore”. Another said, “ya…it’s pretty hot out there so it’s hard to run”. And I said “no…that’s not really it either. It’s just not my day and I want to stop”. It was funny…I wasn’t sore, I didn’t cramp up…I just felt like quitting because I was lazy and didn’t want to push myself. I really didn’t mind stopping.
So good ole Bruce drove me back to the start line cause I didn’t feel like walking 3+ more miles there myself. I got there around 12pm and took a little nap in the sun. It was kind of nice to know that I wouldn’t be getting home at 1am anymore. Now I knew I just had to wait for Chris to finish his 50k.
After I woke up, walked around some more, ate pizza, and after an hour or so had passed, I was seriously confused as to why I had quit. I couldn’t remember the feeling. Maybe I could have pushed myself more to finish but at the time I didn’t want to, and I didn’t want to finish if it meant walking more than 50% of it.
It is a weird feeling to DNF. On a physical level, I don’t mind not finishing a race. It was a good “training” run and I have another 50 mile race in a few days. However on a different level, I didn’t feel like explaining to other people why I didn’t finish. Chris told me as he dropped me off at home that I’m not immortal. Thanks Chris.
Now on a separate note- the 50k path consisted of a different 6 mile loop, and then they finished out with 2 12.5 mile loops- the same loops that the 50 milers do. I wonnnnder if I would have finished a 50k had I signed up for it. For me, it’s all mental. So I’m thinking that if the order of mileage would have been broken up differently (as it was for the 50k), if I would have finished it.
I would have for sure felt fine for the first 6 miles…and so of course I would have continued on the next 12.5 mile loop. I’m assuming that after having done 18 miles, I would have made myself finish the last loop since the end was in sight. That may or may not be true…I just think I could have been able to trick myself to run more had the order of loops been different. Doesn’t matter.
Speaking of 50ks, Chris did the 50k and he had a good finish. Good job! I think the female winner finished 2nd place overall at a time of 5:20. That’s pretty fast.
Yes, I would probably sign up for the race again. Like I said, the course was fine and the weather wasn’t too bad. So as long as I feel like running that day, it’d be a good race.
It was nice to get home around 8:30pm that night instead of 2am like it would have been, had I finished. I was surprisingly sore the next couple days….and only from a 15-16 mile run! Maybe I need to start training more. Hmm.