Sunday, November 04, 2007

50 miles..........Check! √

Yesterday I was able to check the 50 miler off my To-Do list at the Autumn Leaves 50M/50k/10k in Champoeg State Park (pronounced shampoo-ee), just south of Portland. The mostly paved course consists of approximately 5 mile loops. There's about 1 mile of dirt, but I'd still consider this a road race. There was an aid station at the start/finish and one on the course, so runners were very well-supported.

Although the drive from our house is only about 45 minutes, we decided to head down the night before and stay in one of the little cabins at the campground. That way I could roll out of bed for the 6 am early start and Marc and the little guy would have somewhere to hang out before Marc's 10 am start for the 10k. And he could get a shower before spending the afternoon waiting for me to finish. It turned out to be a beautiful fall day for both runners and spectators.

I ran the first loop with fellow Maniacs Bret, Gail and Rick. A guy running his first 50k tagged along with us. He hadn't brought a light and he would have been in big trouble if he had been by himself. I didn't catch his name and didn't get a good look at him in the dark so I'm not sure how he did. It was really cold (30's) and foggy, but I felt pretty good in my skirt, short sleeves, lightweight Hind jacket, head band and gloves.

On the second loop the light was starting to appear in the sky and we could turn off our lights. The most beautiful sight of the day was seeing the sunrise through the trees over the lifting fog from the meadows. During the second loop we discovered some ambiguous course markings. On the first loop it was too dark to really see that we had gone the wrong way. When I finished the second loop I found Fritz, the RD, and found out that we had been adding on about 1/4 mile. One of the signs was just a little bit off, but he went out and fixed it. What kind of ultra would it be without some bonus mileage! But overall, the race was very well organized and the course easy to follow.

I don't really remember much about loops 3 and 4. When I finished loop 3 I was ready to drop my headband, but Tom R. was working the aid station. He took care of me and got me out so quickly I forgot to leave it. I felt like a rock star! But no worries since there was still a bit of a chill in the air.

On loop 5 I was starting to feel a little sluggish and stiff. That got me worried since I was only approaching the half way mark. At the end of 5 I took come ibuprofen, which I've never done before in a race. It seemed to help, because I went on to have my best loop on Loop 6. It was also great to come into the start/finish aid and hear Olga, the official timer, call out my name from 100 yards away. I pity the person standing next to her when she gives out a yell. That woman has lungs! Thanks Olga for all your encouragement.


First two pictures by Tom Riley...more here

Loop 7 was a bit emotional for me. My 103 yr old grandmother (and my last living grandparent) had passed away 2 weeks ago. I had chosen not to attend her out-of-state memorial service, which started at 1 pm, just about the same time I was starting loop 7. But I had my own personal memorial service for her out on the course. Thinking about her made me realize what a precious gift life is. She had lived a long and productive life and I dedicated my ability to run 50 miles, on one of the most beautiful days of the year, to her.

Loop 8 and 9 were the worst for me. I thought my fueling had been on track, but my stomach really went south on these two loops. During the first 5 loops I drained a bottle of Accelade or water each loop, had a gel and an S-cap at the start/finish aid and something solid each time I passed the on-course aid. I also pee'd once each lap, which is more than I usually do. I'm still figuring out what went wrong, but I suspect that gels just don't agree with me over the long haul. Or maybe I need more plain water. I also wonder if the ibuprofen could have affected my hydration. Anyway I was definitely getting dehydrated the last few laps. I tried to grab at least a few pretzels and started drinking cola, which helped.

On loop 10 I was definitely feeling like I was going to do this. Actually I never once felt like I couldn't do it. But by this time I was the horse smelling hay. I started saying good-bye to the landmarks I'd been looking at for the past 45 miles. I knew I had enough energy in the tank to finish so didn't worry about putting too much more in my stomach and just drank cola. I really wanted to finish below the official cut-off of 10-1/2 hours and had held off from walking too much, thinking I'd save the walking for the last loop. But I surprised myself by not wanting to walk that much. Overall, I pretty much ran the whole thing, except for walking out of the aid stations and on a few small hills here and there.


I came in at about 10:06:30 by my watch and got my medal and belt buckle, and of course, my hug from Olga. It felt good to finish! We hung around for another 45 minutes to see Bret and Gail finish. Also got to chat with Olga and saw some of the WA Maniac/bloggers Eric, Michelle and Jenny. Rob was still out on the course and we had to leave before he finished. I have to give him credit for taking on the 50 miler.

Today I feel surprisingly good. No unusual pains, only slightly sore, and not tired, tired like I felt after Sisters two weeks ago. I feel pretty good about my run. I hit a new 50k PR along the way too....I think about 6:03. I'd like to solve the stomach issues because that's the only thing that really takes the joy out of running for me. But that will probably come with more training and experience. My schedule is empty now until Hagg Lake in February. But I'm looking at the Christmas marathon in December.......

Here's a quote I really like that I've added to my sidebar:

"The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach." -- Benjamin E. Mays

27 comments:

olga said...

Congratulation on a check!!! You did great, and never once did you look like it was your first go at a 50. Just focused and propelling forward. Yeah, my son always tells me I am too loud, what can I do, I get excited...to see all of you out there! Rob and Steve finished with 30 sec to spare. The day was gorgeous, but yikes so very cold for standing around, my feet fell off! Awesome, Sarah, welcome to a new club on the way to next goal!

Kim said...

Wow, what an excellent time for your 50 miler!! Congratulations, that was great!!!

Darin Swanson said...

It was inspiring for us 50kers to see the 50 milers out there pounding it. Great job!

Backofpack said...

Sarah, You looked strong all day! You looked like you were running easy, yet fast and felt good. Way to go!

Joe said...

Wow, Sarah, what a cool, cool thing you got done there!!

I was touched by your tribute to your Grandmother. I'm sure she was proud of you and would feel honored that you ran in her memory. May her example continue to be a source of inspiration for you!

Nearly two marathons...back to back...awesome. I'm so happy you are feeling little pain.

Congratulations...awesome!!

robtherunner said...

Congratulations, Sarah! You definitely looked like a veteran 50 miler out there. Well done!

Journey to a Centum said...

Sarah,

Welcome to the 50 mile club! Do I hear 100K? Ha Ha Ha Ha, it never stops!

Nice seeing you and your family yesterday. I posted one picture of you after you had finished.

Trail Scat

Bob Gentile said...

Sarahhhhhhhhhhhhh Congrats !!! Great re-cap and sounded like you stayed up pretty good on ur fuel...

I have added CARBO PRO to my long runs cause when I did Tetons the last 10 miles I fell behind and couldn't really eat ...I held a gel for like 10 mins trying to get it down...so i have been testing carbo pro & seems to work but we will see on how it will work for 10 plus hours.

Great job again AND I cant believe ur not that sore today...ahhh ur on ur way to 100k's PLUSSSSSS

Jack said...

Congratulations Sarah, what a great time! Great write-up too!!

sherri said...

Wow.

Bret said...

Nice race Sarah. You were so strong out there. Like Olga said to me on one of the turns "She dropped you like a fly!" Feels pretty good to get that 50 under your belt. I think Gail and I will do Tucson on December 2nd. Come join us in the nice sunshine, plus its all downhill!

Addy said...

Congratulations!!! You are amazing and did such a great job out there :) So glad you finally got to "check this off" after your first plans for the distance got derailed. Sounds like you were strong out there the whole time!

Congrats again :)

mtnrunR said...

you just qualified for western states young lady...

great job and you looked great all day!

it was a great day out there for all i thought.

Pete said...

Congratulations, Sarah! This was my first ultra, too. What nice people the runners and volunteers were. And lots of bloggers among the participants -- I'm seeing race reports all over the place. Fun to read. Thanks for sharing.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

You looked great out there, like you were really having fun. I love how you dedicated our ability to run to your Grandmother. She would be quite proud of you! It really was a great day!
Jenny

angie's pink fuzzy said...

Sarah, that's awesome!!! Congratulations on getting 50 miles, and doing it so well!!!

rick said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother. I cherish my own and hope she reaches something close to 103. What a way to remember her, while out celebrating your own life on a run. What a great time too at 10:06 and that includes that extra stuff you did in the dark! Enjoy the break in racing. You did a lot of hard work this year and it certainly has paid off.

Sunshine said...

What an inspiration you are!
Congratulations.

Pinkcorker said...

Great race report! You make these longer distances sound fun and easy. Very much enjoy reading your blog.
Renee

craig said...

Congratulations Sarah on getting the 50 miler done. I've lost a few folks dear to me recently and can appreciate how meaningful the time must have been to remember your grandmother.

PNW Runner said...

Sarah, you're a stud!! Congratulations, you are amazing, I'm just in awe! Next year, I'm doing one for sure...don't know which but it's on my list. way to go!

Carrie said...

'like a horse smelling hay' -- I love it! The thought that keeps me going at the end of long runs is the thought that me and my body CAN do this -- and how fortunate I am to have the health and strength to run. I'm sure your grandmother would have absolutely approved of the way you spent the day!

Way to go Sarah. You are a role model and a strong woman.

Darrell said...

Well that 34 mile long run record didn't last long, heh? Looks like another beautiful run up there in the PNW.

Pinkcorker said...

Sarah, I think that is so awesome! Love watching what you are currently up to and look forward to possibly meeting you and hooking up at the PCTR Forest Park 50k next year. Hopefully, you'll be doing the smaller ultras still!

Travis said...

Congrats on a great run! Now you have a check by that 50... is there an unchecked box by a 100 :) Sounds like great conditions for the day. Well done!!!

wendy said...

wow, Sarah, you made that sound so peaceful and pleasant, I almost want to do AL next year!

Almost...

Great job on the running and writing. It's a joy to read your reports. How was the 10K?

Downhillnut said...

Congratulations on running such a huge distance! I still have a hard time wrapping my brain & body around marathons and halfs, but the more trails I run, the more I see myself taking on longer ones eventually.

Love the quote, and the tribute to your grandmother. My grandmas and great grandmothers are/have been a great inspiration to me, as well. There's always so much to reflect on when we're out there running.

I also liked how you started saying goodbye to the landmarks on the last loop.