I said over and over I would not run the Midnight Madness 50 (51.5) miler again after last year. Running that much pavement is a ways down the list on my favorite things to do. But then I heard the medals (which were awesome last year) were going to be the other foot, a mirror image, with the color patterns reversed. I NEEDED a matching set. Normally I am not a medal hound, but somehow this was different. Of course part of it was that this race was on my home turf, and I had so many friends running. A lot of my running buds going for their first ultra had asked for my advice, and I'da felt like a chicken if I sat it out!! And so it was--that is how I turned in my entry fee and subjected myself to hours and hours of pavement pounding. Oklahoma has been in the middle of a heat wave. Sure, it's summertime, and it's supposed to be hot, but we've had triple digit temps, and even the lows have been in the mid 80s. The forecast called for a low of 80°, and a high the next day (when I would finish) of 104°. The Midnight Madness 50 is Brian's baby. For some reason, people come out of the woodwork to run this race. It seems like so many marathoners make this their first ultra. He worked his butt off on this race, and like last year, it went off flawlessly. Brian has a LOT of AWESOME volunteers. Lynna was just one of many. There is just no way I could ever mention them all, but Venus Monyhan needs a huge pat on the back, working for 19 hours straight at the start/finish setting up, serving food, hanging medals, cleaning up, and being an awesome cheerleader. There are so many others too. A few pre-race pics. Janeen is and was all smiles for the run. Every time we passed, she seemed to be having a blast. Here's a trio of ultra runners. Charlotte and Kathy were gunning for another notch in their resume. Caroline was out for some pacing, and I unofficially ran my second loop with her. Five minutes before the start--everyone is ambling toward the starting line. There were plenty of fast runners toeing the line. I heard the one minute warning, and moved to my place in the back of the pack. And we were off. The early going was really no different from any run, but I tried to keep it slow. It always seems to me that everyone goes out a little fast. The course is great--for paved trails. Crossing the old railroad/pedestrian bridge is always a treat. This is one section where there is always a breeze. I was one mile into the race and the runners had spread out. It was time for me to put my camera away and start running. Meanwhile, Brian gets ready for the speedsters to start hitting the start/finish transition area. (The race consists of five 10.3 mile loops, and each loop alternates directions.) My first visit to the Turkey Mountain aid station. The Oklahoma Trail Runners from the OKC area manned this oasis. This pic is courtesy of Julie Dolph, who worked all night and all day along with Keith and Beth McCombs and David Woods. My next several miles were sort of a blur. I know I covered the distance, and I ran some with Caroline. Derek paced me on lap three and we were treated to a splendid sunrise. This same sun would roast my head and legs later in the day. Derek was a natural as a pacer. He kept the chatter going, told jokes, and did a rendition of the Village People's YMCA. Meanwhile, Katie Kramer finished her race in 7:01!!!! Beating the entire field, and lapping me twice, she rocked the race! I thought it was awesome that she put the guys in their place.
Bobby paced me on the 4th loop. I was so out of it as it was really heating up. The trip across the 71st Street bridge just about melted us down. While it is runnable, in 90° temps, we walked it--slowly. Dana met us at the top of the hill, and ran the next 6 miles with us.
Pat took over for lap five. I had paced him at the Jenks Aquarium Half Marathon and the Lawrence Half earlier in the year, and wowed him with my pacing abilities and plethora of inspirational stories, and he had some payback on his mind. He intended to give me hell for all 10 miles, and did his best to do so. I loved it, and he kept my spirits high dragged my butt to the finish. It was 103° and we did a LOT of walking--it was all I could do. I also had a couple of tricks I used to get me through. Notice the pink thing around my neck in the picture above--it is a Jog Tog, that my friend Susan Westmoreland modified for me, making two compartments in it which I kept filled with ICE. She also made a round pouch for me which I put right on top of my head under my hat. Without these two "cheats", I probably would not have finished. Dana also went back into Crew-Babe mode, keeping me hydrated and iced. Here I am--done--make that WELL DONE. Notice my ice pack on my head. Love my pacer Pat!! (The two above pics courtesy of Paula McCracken--Pat's lovely wife.) Guy Wolcott ambled over to congratulate me and my 14:51 finish. Guy had picked my brain for tips on finishing his first ultra, and absolutely aced it. Every time we passed, he was joking and laughing seemingly enjoying every step. Other first time 50 milers included Tim Eraker, Kelli Oyewole, Matt Hancock, Cheryl Isaacs, Kellie Alexander, Stacy Fissel, Cassy Russell, and Karrie Garriott. TATUR had arranged these hot tubs filled with ice water. I did not take a dip, but many people did. It would not be a complete race report without blister pics. These were not the worst ever, but one felt more like a burn than a blister. Now, two days later, they are 75% better.
While cruising FaceBook for pics to swipe, I read this post on Cheryl's wall.
She did her training, and ran a very good time for a first time effort.
Ultra running is much like a disease--once you're infected, it only gets worse.
Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd (or the 50K or 100K) is in her future--no doubt.