Monday, June 30, 2014

Mohican 50 Miler Recap: Part 2

Continued from Mohican 50 Miler Recap: Part 1

Miles 26.9 - Finish

There is not much I remember about this second loop, and not just because it's a week after the race, but it was a very surreal experience.  After I changed clothes and filled up at the Mohican Adventures aid station I stopped at the indoor restroom and back into the woods I went.  Within the first 1/2 mile I had slipped going up a hill and was simultaneously lapped by a 100 miler.  Ugh, not only was I embarrassed but definitely took a punch in the ego.  Thankfully the 100 miler was really nice, she offered some encouraging words and was on her way.  Over the next 10/11 miles I walked when I needed to and ran when I could and rolled into the next two aid stations right on that 14 hour finish pace, even though I knew it was to late to actually make up that time and finish in 14 hours, I was sure going to keep giving it everything I had.  I continued with the Tailwind and Nuun, and at every aid station ate one solid food whether it was a handful of pretzels or a 1/4 of a sandwich.  My stomach felt great, my legs even felt decent at this point, other then a small spot on both my feet I really was holding up better then I expected.  As I exited the woods to head to the Covered Bridge Aid station I saw Glenn and Lindsey's car, seriously, these two were awesome! They were helping out at the aid station while they waited for me and as soon as I got in they had my bag and were asking me what I needed.  I also got a little help from Colleen, "The Purple Lady", who offered some help with my blisters and snapped a few pictures of the 3 of us.  Colleen is sort of a legend at the Mohican 100, she writes an article every year chronicling the race and leaving it's mark in history.  I got packed back up, threw on my headlamp.  Glenn and Lindsey grabbed my drop bag and said they would see me at the finish, seriously kid free and they are following my slow butt around a course Glenn had run earlier!
A note on my drop bag-It wasn't until the next morning I figured out it came from David who was running the 100.  Seriously my brain was not working at the time!
After leaving the Covered Bridge and before Hickory Ridge I was once again able to call home and say goodnight to the boys and talk to the husband.  It was nice, I told them I was taking forever but not to worry I was feeling fine.  As the sun set in the woods I was really happy I had my head lamp and tried not to spook myself, even after I ran by several deer and a family of raccoons (who I was convinced were going to jump out of the tree and land on my head).  I still tried to run during the last 7 or 8 miles, and it was nice only seeing the steps ahead of me.  I also enjoyed looking up and seeing the different headlamps heading through the woods.   I will say running in the woods at night is interesting and will take some getting used to.
The sun beginning to set in the woods
Those 2 eyes belong to one of the deer I saw.  The woods after dark is a creepy place in my opinion.
The miles in the dark went by rather quickly it seemed though and soon I was headed to the main road to make the turn to the finish.  Sure enough, there was Glenn and Lindsey cheering for me!  They pointed me in the direction of the final turns and said they would see me at the finish.  Similar to my Woodstock finish, I sprinted to the finish line, yes all on sprint, I needed the race to be over.   I collected my medal and water, saw Colleen again, who photographed the three of us once more, picked up my last drop bag and was given a ride to my car.  I said my goodbyes to Glenn and Lindsey and headed up the road to the McDonalds for french fries, a large coke and free wifi to tell those back home that I finished.
And DONE! Thanks to Glenn for the picture...crew/support and photog!
After texts and Facebook posts I headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower, toothbrush, and muscle rolling.  I enjoyed a "celebration" beer, rolled some more, and drifted off to sleep.  I will say I did not sleep well that night, my legs kept twitching, I was dreaming about running in the woods and I woke up several times and rolled my muscles out.

What worked:

  • Nutrition-I used Tailwind Nutrition (200 calories per aid station variety of flavors and some unflavored Naked), Nuun (total for the day was 2 tubes of various flavors including Nuun Energy) & Picky Bars (total of 4 throughout the day) and I felt fueled and full.  I drank Coke & Ginger Ale at most of the aid stations, a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels, some pickle juice, had a couple 1/4's of sandwiches around lunch and dinner time, and chicken soup later in the evening.  I would say that Nutrition was spot on, at no time did I feel uncomfortable or have any gut bombs.
  • Hydration Vests-The combination of the Orange Mud Double Barrel and the Ultimate DirectionUltra Vesta worked nicely, I felt it distributed the weight differently for each loop and as a result my shoulders and back were not as sore later in the race and the day after.
  • Chatting along the way with other runners, even though this was one of the first races I threw in an ear bud, I had some great chats on the course with a handful of people.  As someone who is not very "outgoing", I had no problem talking with other runners on the course, mainly the basic where are you from, is this your first, etc etc.  It made the time go by faster and was nice when the conversation was there because overall it was a very lonely course.
  • Shoes, I would say that both the Lone Peaks and the Intuitions worked well for the 50, even though I ended up with one decent sized blister on my left foot, other then that I did not have any issues.
  • Headlamp: I really liked the Petzl Nao.  It was bright and I felt it lit the way nicely.  I will need to get another battery before Woodstock but over all I was happy with it, very comfortable to wear as well.
  • Training, even though I know time wise I could have benefitted from some more trail and hills in the cycle, the fact that I was only sore for the first 2 days post race and was able to run within a week was a win in my book. (I would have run sooner but a week filled with out of town family and out of town friends visiting, I spent the days with them and decided sleeping in was better for me then the 3/4 mile runs I would have gotten in)

What I learned:

  • Even though time wise I missed the 14-17 hour time frame I wanted to finish in it turned out to be a really good trail and training run.  I got 17+ hours on my feet, even though I ended up with Glenn and Lindsey I was solo on the actual course, so this was the longest run I had ever done and the longest run without a running partner.   It was my first real night time trail run and I feel pretty bad ass that I did it in an unknown woods by myself.
  • I really am stronger then I give myself credit for some days.  I really wanted to quit, but at the end of the day I would have taken Dead Last (DFL) over a Did Not Finish (DNF), because there was not anything "wrong" with me and I really did not have any issues that were life threatening, so I had no reason to quit. (I did have a massive headache the entire race, which I had attributed to the heat and humidity, and tried to solve it by increasing my fluids.  In reality, nothing I would have done would have fixed that headache.  It was my once a month hormone headache that decided to show up 3 days early, because I my once a month cycle showed up on Sunday 3 days early.  This actually was a relief, because it explained the fatigue and the headache that I could not shake.)

What I need to improve on:

  • Even though Woodstock is not as tough a course, I will need to add some more trail time in the next 66 days.  This should not be a huge problem since it was the weather keeping me away from them in the winter. 
  • Continue focusing on strength and yoga over the next 66 days, strengthening the core will help with the some of my fatigue.
  • Daily Nutrition: Honestly I ate like crap in the two weeks leading up to Mohican.  Between not running because of injury and nerves I was eating nothing but junk!
Want to help me say thank you to Lindsey? Vote for her until July 2nd to be on the cover of Women's Running: VOTE HERE (And tell a friend or share the link on Facebook/Twitter/whatever social media you choose :) ) Thank you!

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