Good morning! FYI There are three times as many pictures and words on this recap compared to my normal race recaps because I was running for three times as long so that is probably why;)
Wow. Saturday was unlike any race experience I have ever had. I felt more emotions than I thought possible (probably because I was running for almost 9 hours) and overcame some really low low times to get to some really good good times.
This scene below… it felt so so good.
On Friday night I had a rough time falling asleep. I was still coughing a little bit and was getting pretty nervous about entering the unknown. Jumping from my longest training run (33 miles on flat roads) to 50 miles (with some good climbs in there) felt huge to me and I had no idea what to expect… I just knew I had to be crazy smart about my fueling, hydration and pacing if I wanted to finish.
4:15 alarm, I made some UCAN (obsessed with using this before a race) and had a bagel with jam on the way to the race. Andrew drove and it took about 20 minutes to get to the race. It was so nice to stay at my in-laws that night because they live so close to the race and we were able to leave the kids there until later in the morning.
We got to the race at about 5:15 and grabbed my bib, used the port-a-potty and hung out for a little while.
Andrew & Toby = most supportive and positive crew you could ever ask for. I couldn’t believe how prepared they were. They had every little thing I needed. I feel beyond lucky to have had them for the entire day (and all of the time leading up to it too when I would text Toby every thought/question I had about the race ((she has done both the 50 & 100 miler and they know their stuff)). They just knew what I needed to hear emotionally and what things I needed physically (all of the lip gloss reapplications..). This race did not have live tracking so Andrew and Toby tracked the entire time by the Find my Friends app. They could only give me things at the aid stations but I saw them many times outside of the aid stations too.
It was so fun to see so many good friends there that I hadn’t seen for way too long too. I snacked a bit in the tent before the race started too. PS that is Toby on the right and you can read a little about her 100 miler here.
The race started right at 6:00 a.m. For the first 2ish miles I ran with my friend Janice and we were able to catch up with each other on life. The first two miles were a slight incline so I kept my pace very slow but kept running. At about mile 4 it was pitch black out and I saw a buffalo not too far off the trail from me. <—That is a situation that I never want to experience again ha (especially because on Friday night somebody sent me a video of a buffalo attacking people).
At about mile 6 a big incline began so I did a lot of power hiking and continued to power hike on the ups for the next 12ish miles. I was getting passed often which made me think I was doing it wrong but I knew I would blow up if I tried to run the ups.
At this point below you do a little out and back that is 3.5 miles. As you run through the aid station at about mile 7 they check you in and then you run out to a box of stickers. You grab a sticker and place it on your bib before checking back into the aid station again and beginning another loop.
The views were UNREAL. That is the Great Salt Lake below. The snowcapped mountains across the lake were stunning.
Here is the beginning of about a 5 mile loop.. A nice steady decline before you zig zag back up the mountain again (miles 12-13 had about 550 ft of gain in them). I had a bit of coughing on the uphills but overall I think the virus I had was beneficial for me leading up to the race. It truly got me to rest (for about 6 days straight) which is something I have a hard time doing on my own. I hope to never get a virus again before a big race but there was a bonus to it (all of the resting) and I got over it just in time.
I had probably about 700 calories before the race started and made a decision that I would eat no matter what every three miles… Even if I felt terrible and even if food sounded awful. I forced the calories in because you cannot possibly run for that long on poor fueling decisions. I had a Powerade in one of my water bottles and water in the other. Every three miles I ate about 120-150 calories and that worked really well for me. I didn’t fuel during the last 8ish miles of the race but other than that, I stuck to my every three miles rule. If I wanted 50 that day, I had to follow this rule.
I FaceTimed Andrew at about mile 17 to give him a heads up of where I was and what I thought I would need when I saw him in a few miles. For the first 19 miles you don’t see anyone besides the other runners and volunteers (which is the same course from Andrew’s race a few weeks ago… there is no way for spectators to get there) so I was really looking forward to seeing Andrew and Toby at this point.
I chatted a little bit with people and everyone there was so incredibly friendly. Everyone was telling each other ‘great work or good job.’ I loved how friendly and encouraging everyone was at the race.
Oh before I forget, one of the toughest part of this race for me was all of the mud. In many areas it was slippery and you had to avoid a ton of puddles the entire time. It got a little tiring to do all of the weaving around the puddles BUT the rain brought clouds and perfect temperatures so I can’t really complain. I stepped in a ton of puddles when it was still dark out which meant my socks were completely drenched and I had blisters forming from the very beginning. I probably should have changed shoes and socks but I just knew there were more puddles to be stepped in up ahead and my feet were going to hurt no matter what so whatever. It will probably be a few days before I wear anything but flip flops now ha.
I was by myself for many of the 1st 19 miles so I put in some podcasts which were great for about an hour and then I turned on my music. I thought I would be able to listen to podcasts for hours (and had a great line up ready) but I just needed a good beat and plenty of singing out loud occurred.
I was so excited to see my people.
Andrew and Toby had everything I would need laid out on a blanket for me. I took off my vest and long-sleeve top because I was warm enough without them at this point. I switched out my water/powerade for full ones, grabbed more fuel and used Andrew’s glasses. During the previous 5 miles my eyes felt weird because it was so bright (… even though it was cloudy?!) and the thought of using my Goodr glasses with the colored lenses made me want to avoid them completely. Thanks Andrew for your sunglasses:)
At mile 19 Andrew had a glazed donut and I ate that but below are the foods that most of the aid stations had. I usually grabbed a few things from each aid stations but stuck to a lot of the food that I brought too.
From here I went over to an out and back area that you check into and then another out and back area that led to the ranch where I met my family.
Andrew drove back to get the kids and this is the sign that Brooke made for me:). The first time I saw them I teared up. I loved having them there cheering.
Miles 26-33 were very rough. And 26-36ish were by far the darkest/hardest of the entire time. At mile 26 I knew I had a good chunk of time before I would see my people and the headwind was very hard for me. The hills were rolling and it just felt like the longest stretch ever. At this point below I had been running for about 5.5 hours by myself and I was feeling very nauseated.
Andrew, the kids, my mom, Toby, Austin and his wife were all there with everything I needed set up along with a chair and I sat there and just cried. I got in my head and I just let all of my emotions out and didn’t know if I could finish. My body was trying to throw up and my pack had been chafing me like crazy (even with all of the Dove Deodorant and anti-chafing cream). At this point Austin thought I was going to take about 10 hours to finish and at this point I made a deal with myself I was just going to finish one mile at a time and go from there on how I felt.
I had some bacon, dropped off my pack with them and just carried my bottles and fuel. Austin gave me a bandana to put around my neck that had ginger and mint essential oils on it and I put it over my nose for a minute and I 100% feel like it helped my nausea to go away.
At mile 38ish I had a ton of Ginger Ale and Coke and between the bandana and the Ginger Ale, my nausea peaced out until the end.
PS I ate so many of those Fig Bars from Costco during the first 30 miles and while eating my last one it took me about 5 minutes to actually be able to swallow it. I will NEVER in my life be able to eat one of those ever again. I also never want to eat Salt and Vinegar chips ever again. Ever.
PPS I was so nervous before picking up my pacer that I was going to get lost somehow but this course was marked perfectly. I felt very secure the entire time and never got lost. I also never fell the entire time (but saw some pretty bad falls) while I was out which made me feel pretty lucky. I twisted my ankle a few times but other than that… nada.
PPPS I waited until mile 33 to take caffeine. I am very glad that I waited until then. I needed the extra pep at this point big time and took two nanohydr8s. Thank you Andrew and Toby again for just handing everything I could ever need right to me.
I told myself to get back out after sitting down for 10 minutes and tried reminding myself that these feelings were going to pass, they always do. I couldn’t predict what I would feel like in 10 miles so I just needed to focus on the now and get through one mile at a time.
I also thought a lot about different training runs that I had done leading up to this. IE When I got to mile 22 I would think, ‘okay, you did 25ish miles one day in a complete blizzard before the kids went to school… you can do this now in perfect weather.’ Turns out I am a good luck charm for perfect race weather lately (St. George was perfect too last fall)… I can’t imagine doing 50 miles in anything other than the cloudy, 48ish degree weather that I did on Saturday.
Austin wins Pacer of the decade. I got lost in his stories (which helped me get through those really hard miles) of his Hard Rock/other crazy ultras experiences and all of his canyoneering and life stories. If was so nice to really get outside of my own thinking about how bad I was hurting with his stories. From the minute I picked him up he took over my nutrition and fueling thinking. He told me when to eat, when to drink and what to think;)
I do not know what I would have done without having a pacer. After getting through a few miles of pain with him it turned into something really fun again (like the first portion of the race) and he kept me thinking positive and hopeful. I liked having him run in front of me so that I had motivation to keep going.
That felt good. At this point I was feeling a lot more like myself (I’m telling ya… these terrible feelings during races come and go so don’t quit ((even though I wanted to quit more than any other race in my life during this time ha)).
Megan D and her whole family showed up and it was a total surprise. It gave me a HUGE burst of energy to see them too.
This was at about mile 43 and it was the last time I saw my family before the finish line (besides them driving by a half mile later).
See you in a few miles! It was so hard to not run over and pick Skye up when I saw her reaching for me in my mom’s parked car.
Austin told me a few times leading up to the end that during the last 7 miles we were just going to go for it. It was going to hurt but whatever… we needed to push during those miles. The faster I went the faster I got to see my family is something I kept thinking. He put on some music and we cruised. During those last 5 miles I felt that same crazy kick that I felt in the last 10k during St. George last year. I found myself smiling and telling Austin how much fun I was having. I honestly felt the best that I had the entire day (not the freshest) but so energetic and we booked it. We saw the 3rd place female up ahead and passed her at about mile 46 and then 2nd place finished 8 minutes faster than I did and 1st place finished 31 minutes faster than I did!
My last 5 miles were my fastest five miles in a row of the entire race. I don’t know what hit me but I took it as a sign that I fueled/drank right and that the patience in the beginning was worth it. 7:59, 8:40, 10:30, 8:49, 9:32 and
We turned off the music when we came close to any other runners or buffalo.
Here is what the elevation looked like (my watch didn’t pick up the elevation for the first two miles… the start and finish were at the same place)! There was about 3500 feet of climbing throughout the course with most of it in those first 19 miles.
Here are my splits (the first two were about 8:50 but I think that was off because it took two miles for my GPS to pick up the signal and they were actually slower than that). Also, at mile 19-20 I stopped my Garmin out of habit when I stopped to see my crew for about a minute before I realized that you don’t stop your watch IN A RACE!!! I finished in 8:46:14.
I had two goals that I told a handful of people before the race… to get under 9 hours and to podium. Of course I was going to be beyond happy to just finish even if I came nowhere near those goals but I like having some goals that scare me a little bit… they got me out the door on those ridiculous winter mornings to train.
I also randomly lapped my watch at the 40…
During those last few miles I kept repeating my current favorite mantra, “I can and I will” and thought about how good it was going to feel to just lay down on the ground. My body felt more spent at the end of this race compared to previous races but overall I felt better than when I first finished St. George Marathon last year and just wanted to sleep for 10 hours straight.
I just laid there, smiled and soaked in the accomplishment.
Many hugs and a leg massage from Megan D… heaven.
Andrew’s whole family came to the finish line too. It meant the world to me to have so many people there… They are all the best.
After the race Toby had a blanket for me and helped me change into my sweats because it was not something I could do on my own ha. I had a massage and just soaked in the race scene. My sis-in-law took the kids back and it was nice to just not move fast at all and hang out.
I always get blue lips after a race and the world’s best mom supporter:
Sure grateful for this team of mine.
A few more random things to talk about:
*Do I want to do another one? Absolutely. Yes. 100%. Do I love the trails more than road racing? I love them both with all of my heart which is a good situation to be in:).
*I highly recommend the training plan from this book that I used. It definitely got me ready for race day and I loved all of the advice she offered throughout the book.
*My pilot brother told me that I technically have 3 new prs now… Saturday PR + a PR in my previous race in October = 2 PRs in a row which technically makes 3 PRs;) It makes sense in my head.
*I won the most prize money I’ve ever won in a race—> $180 wahoo!
*After the race we grabbed food and went back to my in-laws. I took a shower and then an hour long bath with the jets on. It felt amazing.
*I stopped to pee once on the course behind a big rock and once in a port-a-potty at an aid station… I am very grateful I didn’t have any stomach issues during the race (<—TMI but this is stuff that runners talk about:).
*Nothing tastes better than soda in those last miles. Nothing.
*You can find everything that I packed in this post.
*Saturday proved my other favorite mantra… ‘I can do hard things.’ And I’ll think about this race at other times in the future. I thought about hard races/life situations in the past that I made it through and that helped me to continue to do a hard thing on Saturday. Our brains are so powerful and if we can prove to it that we’ve done hard things in the past… it builds our confidence that we can keep doing the hard thing we are doing in that moment!
*I still want nothing but salty and savory foods. I overdosed on sweet items during the race (gels, honey stinger waffles, fig bars, donut, jam on bread etc) that it might take awhile to want sweet foods again.
My ears don’t hurt and that’s about it;). I’ve never been this sore after a race. I can walk like .5 mph right now and that is it. I walk around better after having a baby than after this race ha. My right hip flexor is screaming at me and the blisters are not happy either. My core and biceps are surprisingly really sore.
But it was all worth it. Keep chasing those feelings of accomplishment. Keep getting outside of your comfort zone. There is nothing like it in the world.
And I can’t wait for what is next (after I get in some rest, sleep and figure out what is next;).
Thanks for following along with this ultra training, it’s been quite the experience.
PS this post was written at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday morning when I woke up hungry. I went to the kitchen to eat and took my food over to the computer because I was wide awake. I’m going to need a few naps this week.
What’s next for you? What goal are you chasing or thinking about a lot (in life and running).
What was the best part of your weekend?
I’d love to hear about a time you wanted to quit in a race but then you didn’t!
Have a food that you NEVER want to eat again after feeling sick from it when you ate it?!