I didn’t write a blog for June because I didn’t have any races, but it was still a good month because I started off June 1st with a 15-mile run which brought my total for 2019 to 1000 miles. Then I had my ICL surgery on the 11th which has been a HUGE blessing and life changer!! Within minutes of the surgery, I was able to see clearly and now have 20/15 vision in both eyes. I had been wearing glasses and contacts for my near-sightedness/astigmatism since 4th grade. The ophthalmologist recommended seven days of convalescent leave so hubby and I flew to California. Luckily, I was able to return to normal activities after that week. I heard that LASIK/PRK patients aren’t allowed to do physical activities for 30 days so I was worried that I couldn’t go running. Either way, I still took it easy for that month and worked on my favorite “ultra” called marriage.
Earlier this month, I attended the Uwharrie training group run and after talking to people who have finished the course, I pulled the trigger and signed up for my second 100 miler at Uwharrie. 12 hours after signing up, I also won the lottery for the 2020 Georgia Death Race. There will be much climbing and hill repeats in my near future.
Back in April, I signed up for a race called The Stevest “50K” that is actually a 42 miler. It’s located on Steve’s property in Concord, NC. George said there were only two spots left. $30 and close to home, I signed up without any hesitation. My friend Liz got the very last spot and Tricia was put on the wait-list. She ended up getting in because we would find out later that many people backed out of this race.
The race started at 0800. Each lap is 14 miles, mostly on single- track winding through hilly, steep terrain on the banks of the Rocky River. Elevation gain is about 1035 feet per lap. We had to use a rope to rappel off of a couple of hills. Yes, there were lots of rocks, roots, and gravel. I can’t imagine going down those hills on a mountain bike! To be honest, I did not really look at the course profile and factor how much time I would need for the elevation. I just figured 10 hours was plenty of time. George took a spill pretty early hurt him for the rest of the race.
Liz and I went ahead and got back to the Start/Finish at 11, but we ended up waiting for George and Tricia anyway. Probably spent a total of 30 min at the aid-station and didn’t start the 2nd lap until 1130. For miles 19-20 We goofed around a lot and took pictures. When we reached the mid-loop aid station I realized that I had 4 hours to do 21 miles. I hated to leave my friends, I did not want to sacrifice any more of my training so I downed some Coke with Lay’s potato chips and continued the next half of the lap without them. Of course, within a couple of miles I tripped over a root and scraped both of my knees. At the 7th hour, I called AJ in despair and he helped me work through some of my nihilistic thoughts and emotions. I felt better after talking to him and then kept on running/climbing, hoping that I would make it back in time for lap 3.
The cutoff to start lap 3 was 1600. I came in just shortly before that with my bloody knees. As a volunteer refilled my Osprey pack, I ran to my truck to grab a couple more gels and downed a cold Garden of Life Sport smoothie. Everyone cheered, “ONE MORE LAP!” and I felt grateful that they would let me back on the course. I knew damn well that I would not finish the next 14 miles in two hours, but I still wanted to get as many miles as possible. I was probably at mile 37 when the race ended at 1800. I even considered picking up the flags the rest of the way so I could earn some volunteer hours, but wasn’t sure if another runner was behind me. I saw the race directors Donnie and Jon sweeping the course and they asked me how I felt. I told them that I was feeling good, just mad at myself for goofing off so much earlier. They told me they were impressed with my determination and to make sure I drink some much-deserved beer at the end. I don’t drink often, but at this point, I considered it would be a real treat after Ithe last climb on the Stairway to Heaven.
I finally came through the finish line after 10 hours 57 min and 18 seconds. My first epic DNF! Everyone who was still there cheered for me. Because I was the very last person, they allowed me to soak my feet in the ice chest with the remaining finisher beers. I was also told that I am the first person they have ever allowed to remain on the course after 1800. I had a really great time laughing and hanging out with my little DNF squad – missing Tricia in the pic but I’m proud of her for showing up despite how scared she felt!!! Also congrats to Vasu for finishing on his 3rd attempt at the Stevest!
Overall, I had a really great day. Discovered a new place to run. Weather was nice, still pretty warm but could’ve been way worse. Planning trail runs in the summer can be hard when it comes to hydration so I am more than grateful when it’s provided. I met all my training objectives: 42 miles, energy management, nutrition (yay no GI issues), and most importantly discipline to keep going until I was done. The next morning, I stopped at Uwharrie on the way home and cranked out 8 miles on Dutchman’s Creek. I would say I had a pretty successful weekend!
I’ll be in recovery mode today – probably visit my chiropractor and do some yoga tonight. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be preparing for the Matamuskeet Death March!
Gear: top – RADrabbit tank, shorts – rabbit mountain climbers, socks – XOSKIN, hydration – Osprey 1.5L Dyna, shoes – Altra Lone Peak 4