Sunday, April 19, 2009

Leona Divide 50 Mile Race Recap

We woke up to a clear windless morning in Palmdale. Temps were cool but not cold in the morning, possibly forecasting high temps by the afternoon?
We got checked in and started out at 0610, a little late but making that all important porta potty stop.
To describe the course in a few short words...miles of gradual uphill and miles of downhill. Not too technical and not too steep(except a few sections)There were 2 sections of out and backs meeting at the 28/42 mile aid station. So, up and down we hiked/ran. At the first aid station everything was well, we checked in and moved on quickly. Rick, as always, was strong and amazing. Encouraging and patient he helped me through sock changes(no blisters this time!) and refueling. He kept the pace easy but made sure we stayed on track. He knew what the cutoffs were and pushed it so we would make them. We joked and laughed and enjoyed the beautiful day. The 35 mile turnaround point had a cutoff time of 8 hours and we had to push the pace a bit to make it. We arrived with about 20 min to spare, and a reminder that we had to get to the 42 mile aid station-7 miles away in just over 2 hours otherwise risk getting cut. Rick was confident we would make the cutoff, it was mostly downhill and 2 hours was plenty of time...
but the push to make the 8 hour cutoff had taken it's toll on me. I was suddenly really tired. I'd been doing good, eating a drinking at the stops, but the 35 mile stop did nothing for me. I walked away from there bone weary. The temperature was probably in the 80's. The next aid station was 3 miles away...the luau group...some ice, and beer for Rick then onward. After a mile or so, Rick was getting concerned, I was really beginning to slow down. Even on the downhills, my pace dropped to 13 min/miles. We had to average 15 min miles to make the next cutoff. He fished around in my hydration pack and found some Hammergel. That helped alot. Being tired I'd forgotten to stayed properly fueled. 5 minutes later, gel working, we picked up some speed and finished with a strong downhill at the 42 mile aid station in 1.5 hours. SoCal Trailheadz were everywhere cheering on clubmates , taking photos and crewing. There was so much energy there, i felt refreshed and ready to finish. 8 miles left and 3 hours to complete them. It was the homestretch and we would make it. If we finished under 13 hours we would get our finishers medals. After that it would be an unoffical finish and no medal...well after all that, I wanted a medal!!! An endless hot uphill and then the final downhill we crossed the line at 12:34. Rick celebrated with a free beer, hot potato soup and a coke. And I took a nap in the back of his truck.
Thanks big guy, i wouldn't have finished without your neverending and unselfish support. Your smile and your calm voice kept me moving...and yes, I had a great time!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

50 Miles of Training

Just a few days left before my first 50 mile race. Compared to the 50K, i've been sleeping remarkably well. Probably due to EXHAUSTION !!! 2 weeks ago I put in a 50 mile week, the miles spread over 5 days. The next week 51-ish, 17,16,12,6 with the majority of the miles in 3 days. Life took priority over the long runs, so longish runs spread over the week made up for it.
Rick and I finally got in a 20 mile run on Monday. It was a beautiful spring day. Temps in the low 70's and high whispy clouds. We started up the motorway off the Maple Springs trail, I wanted to do the hard part early, when it was cool, at 8. Fast paced hiking up, stopping to take a picture of a "bunny" on the trail, then a little bit of running to the "DeathStar". After a quick blister/sock check we continued on, pretty much down hill. Other than sore feet, I felt okay.
Part of my 50 miles last week included a 16 miler down by the beach. 8 miles of head wind on pavement without stopping. Then turn around and 8 miles back without stopping. It was a hard workout because of the continual running. No stopping at the top of a hill. No walking. Mentally and physically it was 16 miles of continuous "one foot in front of the other" and no real breaks. The next day, we met at El Moro to run 17 and I found out how hard the run the previous day had been when I could only get to 12 miles before quitting. I felt bad because I was denying Rick the miles he needed to get in, but I just could not go another 5. The remaining miles would wait until Sat.
So, the Leona Divide awaits us. As Rick wrote, it will be fun and we won't watch the clock. And he is absolutely right! From a TW to her TH, an adventure in the waiting...