Well, the STR50K is in the books! While it was my fastest 50K so far (5:38:34), it certainly wasn’t my easiest—running that far on the road sucks. Plus, it doesn’t count because it wasn’t a real race. And there was a lot of down time. But it’s still one more 50K notch to put on my belt!
You know when you have a run where everything is perfect and you feel like you can run forever? Yeah, yesterday was not that day. Within the first half mile I got a nagging calf cramp that I had to stop and stretch out, and the rest of the run took more effort than it should have. I found myself getting fatigued really early on—if I’m trained to run 50 miles, I should not be huffing and puffing after 12. The last ten miles that I ran with the hubs were pure torture (sorry, Zack!). I definitely need to go back and reevaluate where the wheels fell off so that I can learn from it and not bonk during the Mississippi 50 in a little over a month.
Now don’t get me wrong—there was never a point when I wanted to call it quits, and I did have a blast with my friends. Because this was a self-supported road 50K, I have some slightly different lessons that I learned this time around:
Road miles are hard—I guess I never really paid attention until yesterday to how much the road beats you up. The constant pounding on my legs left me cranky and discouraged by the end of the run. While I’m still not ready to bid farewell to marathons, this run reaffirmed that this girl belongs on the trails.
Warn friends if your road run turns into a trail run—Peer pressure: sweet talking your friends who thought they were going on a safe, slow, road run to join me for a not-so-easy five mile loop on the trails. What followed was 53 minutes of pure entertainment for me and pure hell for some of them. Ladies, I am sorry. But not that sorry. It was funny.
Eat, woman—Wait, didn’t I say I learned this lesson during the Tranquility Lake 50K? Clearly not. After the girls and I jumped off the trail and back onto the roads, I could feel my energy seeping out of me into a puddle on the road. We stopped at a gas station for a pee break, and it wasn’t until I wanted to eat all the food in the store that I realized I had run 20 miles and had only eaten two GUs and very little water. Oops.
Bubblewrap your phone—Back in September I smashed my phone screen and lived with my broken, possessed phone until my sweet friend gave me his old one. I must have thought I was invincible—surely lightning doesn’t strike a clumsy person twice. So what did I do yesterday? Dropped my phone—while standing still, mind you—and shattered it to pieces. Sigh.
Nothing beats having great friends—My friends totally made this run possible. Between the runners (Kelly, Shilonqua, LB, Becca, EP, Jennifer, Ann, and Zack), virtual cheerleaders (parents, Darnell, Greg, Alex, Jen), and finish line crew (Sherri and Daniel), I was entertained the entire time. In a real race, you can commiserate with the runners around you. Here, my friends and the hubs kept me company, listened to me bitch and moan, and distracted me from the suck. And when my watch ticked over to mile 31 and I was ready to fall down and take a nap, Sherri and Daniel were waiting to catch me and showered me with flowers, chocolate cake, and beer. Love.
Now remember, the real reason for this “race” was to get in a long training run before the Mississippi 50. So do I feel ready? No. I cringe to think about having had to run 20 more miles yesterday. But I know that the trails are much more forgiving, I’ll be going slower, and I still have a month of high mileage to prepare me. Here’s to hoping I’ll be ready!
More photos for your viewing pleasure: