Monday, April 30, 2018

Carolina Donut Festival's Bob to Bob's Half Marathon ~ Race Recap

What a super fun way to spend a Saturday!! 

I signed up for this race January 31st. I like to have things on the calendar ahead of doing the next big race. This keeps me training for that next event and keeps me moving forward. I learned this valuable lesson after my first half marathon. After all the buildup and excitement of the race once it was over I was left feeling like "now what" and sunk into a slump of no running. Keeping the calendar full keeps me excited and looking forward to the next thing. 

After spending the weekend before last, however, in crazy weather at my first Ultra and being stopped short at 20 miles in I began to have some meh creep in and I wasn't feeling overly excited about the upcoming race. I actually thought briefly about not running it. I felt like maybe I needed a break. 

I quickly brushed those thoughts aside. My nephew was running this same race as his very first half marathon. Actually this would be his very first running event ever! I had to be there! He found running much the same way I did and I am so proud of him!

I also had lots of friends running it too and I love running races with friends!! 

I am so glad I didn't back out. This race has proven now to be one of my all-time favorites!!

The hubby and I ventured to Marion on Friday night to pick up my packet. Nothing fancy. The packet was a bib and my shirt. This shirt however is super soft, super comfy and super cute! We then grabbed dinner at a local hot spot and headed back home. I love a packet pickup turned date night lol!

I had not had time to really plan what I would wear like I normal do so I laid out all the things I would consider in the morning and went to bed.

I decided that morning on a tank and capris. I always wear Crazy Compression OTC socks but for some reason I decided not to for this race. It was ok but I really prefer my OTC socks. It helps me soooooo much with muscle cramps and at about mile 11 I had them in a big way! I did wear my Crazy Compression runners which are awesome running socks but I never run long without my long socks and I won't ever do that again. Lessons learned. 

The morning was actually much colder than I anticipated so I grabbed a jacket last minute and headed out the door. My friend Kathleen (my Detroit running partner) came to my house to carpool and we picked up Carly (my Asheville Marathon training partner) on the way. We made it to Marion with seconds to spare to catch the first shuttle. This race is a point to point, Bob's Donuts in Old Fort to Bob's Donuts in Marion.

We caught the shuttle just in the nick of time and headed to Old Fort! We got there and had time to spare before the race start at 7:30am. If you know me I HAVE to get to the race start early, It gives me anxiety to get to the start line just before the race start. This race is small enough though that I would have probably been ok to wait until the second shuttle at 6:45am. 

The weather was cold and there was nowhere inside to wait. Kathleen, Carly and I walked laps in the parking lot to stay warm. I ended up with an extra mile or so on my watch because of the warm up walk lol! The sun finally started to come up and we could then stand still in the rays and feel some warmth. 

I got to meet up with other friends there too!!

I planned to meet up with Jen who I have ran some fun training runs with!

I got to see Robin and Stephanie (fellow Crazy Compression Ambassadors)!!

I saw Ruth a fellow runner from Morganton who has unknowingly paced me in a race a time or two ;)

I of course saw my nephew Jimmy!

 I also go to see Kim who I ran Fonta Flora with. 

The race was chip timed but there was not a starting mat. There were 103 runners and we all just started together at the countdown given by a race official. 

The course was awesome! I want to run there every weekend! There were only 5 turns on the route so there were lots of long rolling roads. They had great aid stations that were all well manned. There were police vehicles back and forth throughout the event making sure everyone was safe as the course was open. I felt the traffic was minimal and I never felt unsafe at all. 

There were several rail road crossings along the course and we were reminded to be alert when in those areas in particular. For the most part I stayed behind these runners most of the way. They kept a steady pace which helped me fall in to a steady pace behind them.

I didn't have a big goal going into this race. I hadn't really found a good elevation chart and I tend to be better prepared when I am able to anticipate the elevation change. I had heard there were some hills but I expected it to be somewhat of a downhill course simple because of the geographical location of Old Fort compared to Marion. My ideal was to do about a 2:30 half marathon, my half’s in the past have been 2:27, 2:29, 2:30, 2:45 and 2:52 with those last two having some adverse issues (blisters and severe leg cramps) I figure 2:30 would be where I'd fall.

I was not doing a great job tracking my pace as I ran and instead just running on feel. I did stick as best I could to the 3:1 run/walk method. I ran the first 5K nonstop then started my intervals. Over all the elevation gain is 645 ft. All of that in miles 11-12!!! What a doozie of a hill! I walked the entire thing!!

For the most part I ran the race solo. Just me and the road and the rolling hills and the pastures. I loved it!! It was peaceful and beautiful. I did my own thing and just kept moving along.

At the top of the big hill two runners caught up with me. Kim, I knew, she is a fellow Asheville Marathon Ambassador. I also knew that she was pacing this race for the 2:30 group. With only a mile and a half or so to go and with my goal of finishing in 2:30 I held on and ran in with the two of them. I thought maybe they were ahead of pace but I didn't ask and just kept on following behind. As the finish line grew near I kicked up my pace and sprinted to the downhill finish with a time of 2:24:18!!! A new PR!!! I was so excited and a bit surprised!! I feel like I still had energy in my tank but for the first time ever I didn't pull back too much at the finish and instead finished strong! 

While the PR was AMAZING my favorite part of the race was having the opportunity to congratulate my niece on her first 5K and together cheer in my nephew and watch him also sprint to the finish!! I can't fully express how proud I am. 

 Running is hard. Running 1 mile is far. Running 13.1 is incredible. As John Bingham says "The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

Be careful with those running shoes... You just never know where they may take you!

Friday, April 27, 2018

High Five for Friday ~ April 27, 2018

It's been a minute since I posted a H54F!! Gonna get back on it. I have been missing it. 

It really is one of my favorite weekly posts. It's a great way to recap the previous weekend and week and give thanks for all that was good in the week!

My highs this week were:

1. Carolina Donut Festival's Bob to Bob's Half Marathon (more on this to come)!

2. Spent the evening Saturday with family for my hubby's birthday cook out and got to see Madie who came home to surprise him (Tess came home on Wednesday the week before to surprise him too)!

3. Enjoyed a lovely lunch on Sunday with my mom. She took us to lunch to celebrate my hubby's birthday and to celebrate me receiving CHC certification and credentialing. We also visited our new downtown General Store so that was fun!

4. This pup <3

5. And these two together...

How was your week??

Share your highlight with us and link up!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My first Ultra Marathon - Fonta Flora 50K Race Recap - You need to carry the sunshine with you!

Well dang it!!! I may have jinxed us. Maybe you don't post about ultra-running until after the ultramarathon... Should have done the cancel cancel clear thing... Lesson learned!

So Kim and I haphazardly (sort of) decided that, since we were super bad ass runners, we'd sign up for an ultra. Actually we started out looking for another marathon but didn't find one close enough. I'm super good at peer pressure but I am also a sucker for peer pressure. This time this craziness was all Kim's idea!! She did have a good point though, I mean we had already logged most all the training miles building up to the Asheville Marathon so might as well get another one done while we were at it. 

In all our searching we landed on the Fonta Flora 50K feeling super bad ass lol! 

Kim and I met at Fonta Flora Brewery the night before the race for packet pick up. We got our bibs, pins, a cool Tanawha Adventures Sticker, some awesome Fitsoks and a super comfy Race T-Shirt. 

We asked a few questions about the trail since we got lost the weekend before a little and we suggested starting the race earlier to miss more of the incoming storm. It seemed as though they might take that recommend but they didn't. 

In the days approaching the 50K the weather was not looking so good. By Friday I honestly thought they would re-schedule it, it looked like some pretty gnarly storms were coming in. 

Later Friday evening I carb loaded on pasta.

I laid out my flat runner and got all my gear together that I would take that evening as well. 

We decided to get to the race early on Sunday just in case they decided to let some people get a head start. Also a no go lol! 

It was overcast and cool and so I debated on long sleeve or tank for a bit. We also hit up the porta potties and then met up with a girl I knew from Kentucky! How fun is that! We talked to a few other ultra-runners and lined up at the start. 

The race began when the director began playing his banjo. It felt very Barkleyish...

It was quite gloomy and the race director had emailed out notice the day before that if there was lightning the race would get stopped. There was no doubt there would likely be lightning, based on the forecast, but it looked like it would be later in the day. Sometime between 1:30 and 3:00 pm. We planned to finish by 3:00-3:30pm so I kept thinking we may make it through! 

I had recently listened to a podcast where the person said sometimes you have to carry the sunshine inside of yourself and that is what I fully intended to do this race! Gloomy, rainy no matter, I had sunshine on the inside!

There were aid station cut offs we had to make and so we kept track of our time as we ran.

Aid 1: 2.2 miles - no cutoff 

Aid 2: 9.5 miles - 10:40 am cutoff

Aid 3: 13.4 miles - 11:45 pm cutoff

Aid 4: 20.0 miles - 1:40 pm cutoff

Aid 5: 27.3 miles - 3:40 pm cutoff

I carried my fuel and hydration with me and felt great for the first 6 miles. I have been careful with my nutrition and staying pretty close to the 10-30-45 plan. So at 10 minutes, I take a sip of my hydration mix (water and Nuun), at 30 minuets I take in some salt (from a packet), and at 45 minutes get in 100 calories of  fuel. I carried some Cliff Shots, Gummie Bears, Sour Patch Kids, Pretzels, Pickles, PB and J sandwich, a PayDay bar and Watermelon. At about mile six, however, I tried something new and maybe I shouldn't have. I had a few pickles and a couple of pretzels. Something did not settle well and my stomach twisted into knots. Oh mercy I was miserable the rest of the race. I have had pretzels before during runs but not pickles. I am not sure which of these if any of these was the culprit but I spent the rest of the race wishing I could just throw up. (Except I hate throwing up sooooo much that my body probably worked hard to hold it all in, yuck!!)

Miles 10 and 11 I felt a tiny bit better. I drank some ginger ale at an aid station and that was the ticket I'm telling you!

Between Aid Stations 2 and 4 we kept hearing about runners who had dropped out.

At Aid station 3 we saw a girl who had breezed past us earlier that had dropped out. We were so surprised. Many of these runners that were dropping seemed super stealthy and so for them to drop was almost shocking. We kept going. It was tough but we knew we could do it!

The trails were all single track. 

We were to follow the blue and white ribbons hanging in the trees.

Shortly after we left aid station 3 the thunder began to roll. It was earlier than expected. Not long after that lightning began to illuminate the sky in close proximity and short intervals! Up ahead we saw a guy waving a bit from a cliff and my heart sank. I felt certain they were calling the race. Luckily he was only the photographer. I asked if he had heard if they were going to stop and he had not yet heard. As we past him another loud boom and strike across the sky. 

Shortly after we passed the sky opened and what felt like a monsoon ensued. I have run in the rain before but never anything like that!! At one point I recall giving thanks to my hat which kept the waterfall off of my face so that I could see just a bit in front of my face. The wind whipped, the rain and a bit of hail persisted, the thunder continued to grow louder and the lightning more severe. I prayed and ran. I have never been so scared on a run before in my life. At one point I was so startled that I reached for Kim so we wouldn't die alone... We found ourselves looking around for safe places to shelter ourselves in case we needed one. 

My friend Renee from KY posted this video of the "calm" before the storm. 

We met up with a couple other runners and then approached the creek that we anticipated. We had originally fully intended to traverse the vertical hillside as we had the weekend before to get over the creek but at this point on the course we were soaked to the core already so crossing through the water became a non-issue. Upon quick survey of the creek I elected to cross where it looked a bit shallower.... Big mistake! I sunk to my knee in the sandy creek bottom.... Ugggg.... Now I began to feel all the sand and rocks INSIDE my SOCKS!

As we emerged from that section of trail, close to mile 17.5 or so Kim's husband had driven up to this section of the route which was the highway section so he could see her. The down pour had let up for a bit but we were exhausted. 

We were then approached by a truck with a race official inside. At that point they were driving around to pick up those that had dropped but were letting people keep going if they wanted. We were in the clear! We were still making good time. The race had a 9 hour limit and we were looking to finish in 7-7 1/2 hours. Whew, what a relief I felt!

My stomach was still a wreck! I'm not sure I have ever felt that sensation before. It was like a muscle cramp in my stomach... I get leg cramps and that's how I would explain it. I felt as though a section of my stomach was seized up and twisted into a huge knot. I hate throwing up so bad but I wanted to throw up so bad too!! I feel so bad for Kim, she had to listen to me whine the whole time about it! (When I am sick for some reason I feel the need to tell you how bad I feel over and over and over and over... So sorry Kim, I'm a cry baby when I feel bad.)

Because I felt like we were in the clear and the race wasn't going to get cancelled I asked Kim to walk a little bit in hopes that the stomach cramp would subside. We were good on time, we'd make it to the 20 mile aid station by 1:00 and we had until 1:40...

Mother Nature however had other plans.... At about mile 19.5 the truck came back by and the race official told us the race had been cancelled due to a tornado warning and also that a flash flood warning had been issued. Ugggggg!!!!! He told us we could hop in the truck or he'd let us keep going to the 20 mile aid station but we wouldn't be able to go any further. I felt so deflated and a bit defeated! We were absolutely not getting in the truck though. We, being the aforementioned bad asses that we are, kept on going to the 20 mile stop! We made it at 1:00 pm as predicted. 

I have to say I was devastated! The last bit of the course was going to be a breeze, we expected it would be a bit of downhill coasting. We had done all of the elevation already! We for sure would finish as expected somewhere between 3:00 and 3:30 pm with hours to spare! 

Because the race was cancelled due to the CRAZY weather we did receive our finisher awards. We are also told they are making a new event for this race as the 20 miler so our finishing times can be recorded. There were so many of us that didn't get to finish and collectively we are all I am sure feeling the same way.

After the race there was great food and beer but the rain made it a little less than enjoyable too! We ate and then headed home. 

Once home I crashed on my couch and slept the rest of the day. My stomach did not feel well until about two days later!!

Overall the event was incredible. I had an amazing experience. I feel like an extreme bad ass runner girl having gone through all that!! The Fonta Flora 50K was top notch! Great community, awesome runners, super cool race officials, wonderful aid stations.

 I will certainly do it again. Next time though I hope the sunshine will be both on the inside AND on the outside!!

Here's to many more adventures to come!

#KimandDeanne LOL!!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Girls who Ultra ~ Going on up ~ Ultramarathoning


An ultramarathon, also called ultra distance or ultra running, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 mi).

So in the midst of all the amazing training runs I had when training for my first marathon I knew I was going to do another!\

I was talking to a college this week and sharing my account of the marathon and realized I had a very different experience than some. I don't "race" races. I run them. I enjoy the race maybe a little more than some people do because I want to soak up all the moments along the way and I am not super focused on a time goal! I am your everyday average runner and I want to stay running for a long long time. I am not running the race to ever try to win it (although it is fun when I do) and I do not want to puch my body so hard that it can't keep going for years to come. I really run races to experience something new or sometimes something familiar that I love. 

I loved the marathon. It was hard but I loved it! I especially loved training for it!

Right before the marathon Kim, who was also running the marathon, mentioned how she wished we could find another marathon within the next month or so since we were all trained up. That got my wheels spinning. 

After the marathon we kept talking and made plans for a 40K in the fall. We also kept looking for upcoming marathons. On March 21st, 3 days after the marathon, I, half joking, floated out the idea of running the Fonta Flora 50K...

Kim and I decided to run a section of the trail and if we didn't die we'd sign up for the 50K.... On March 31st we ran 5 miles on the trail and decided to sign up!! 

I think we have lost our minds!!

This past weekend we went out and ran 21 miles on those trails and man I am nervous and excited!! 

The route we ran was not entirely the route we will run for the race so that is encoring. We ran a lot of road and hills!! My legs were so tired but we did it! I know that running trails I run quite a bit more slowly than roads, with all the roots and rocks. The cut off time for the 50K is 9 hours. I think we can finish within 8. 

I let my Garmin run nonstop Saturday so that I would know worst case scenario and we stopped A LOT!! We did that 21 miles in 5:47. Ten more miles would add about 2 or so hours so that would be 7:47 or so! I think we can, I think we can!!!

Even with all the stops (we got lost A LOT lol) we had a blast!!! I am super excited to continue on this crazy journey!!

We originally planned to split park with one car at one end of the trail and the other at another. This would enable us to get a lot of our miles on the trails we would run during the race. The forecast called for rain and that morning my husband said I bet the trails are closed.

We dropped one car at the first trail head as planned and drove out to the next. As he predicted it was closed. We re-grouped and decided to just do an out and back from the first stop and so we drove back there. 

The only problem was that I couldn't quite tell from the map just how and where this trail connected to the next. Surely we could figure it out right??? Wrong!!! 

We were stopped at one point by a park ranger who asked if we were running the race. Why yes we told him we were... He told us we were waaaay off track and then we realized he was talking about a race that was actually happening that day!! Ha Ha!! We were talking about the upcoming race. Still we were waaaaay off track and he brought out his big map to try to get us back on course, I had my map and we compared. No luck. We decided to keep on running. I knew we would eventually run into Whippoorwill Farm and could run the Over Mountain Victory Trail that I had ran before from there and regardless we'd get our mileage. 

We got to the farm and I saw a gate I recognized, the trail was just beyond there. Except that the gate was closed and locked. Weird. So we decided to go under. Seemed easier than over. Except I soon realized that was NOT the gate from my memory... I saw the other gate and so we crawled back out and ran a bit more until we found the trail!

We stopped for a sandwich at the half way point and then turned to re-trace our steps!

We were only chased by a pack of dogs once. I realized I am more scared of dogs on the run than I thought. I was seriously terrified. On the way back we found some big sticks in case we needed them. The big dog was sleeping and we did our best to let sleeping dogs lie.

At one spot deep in the woods there was a pretty deep and slightly too wide to jump creek. We made our best attempt to build a bridge with no luck. We ended up scaling the side of a hill, thank goodness for small trees with deep roots; it was like a mud slide.

Kim only tried to knock me down once when we got to a fork in the road, I must have gasped like oh no which way do we go and she thought my gasp sounded more like oh no there is a giant snake. LOL!!

We had 2,500 feet of elevation gain, holy hills!! There was thankfully no rain!!

Lucky for us next week the course will be marked!! Or so we hope!!

Stay tuned!! More adventure tales to come!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...