Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lake Sonoma 50: First 50 miler = check!

Lake Sonoma was my debut 50 miler and turns out, I LOVED IT! I had awesome weekend down in Healdsburg and couldn't be happier with my first 50 mile race. I learned a lot and can't wait to do another one! Maybe at this point the amnesia has set in and I've forgotten how hard it was, but I'm really excited about more upcoming races!

The race course was spectacular! How often do you get to run 50 miles on single track? There was only a short section of pavement at the start and the rest of the race was on awesome trails that weaved around Lake Sonoma. It was green and lush this time of year and the temperature was near ideal for racing. I knew it had been rainy the weeks prior to the race, so I was anticipating some mud and creek crossings, but I had no idea just how wet it was! I almost lost of shoe at one point when my foot went into some deep mud and almost didn't come back up! There were also some pretty deep river, I mean creek, crossings. 

Photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama
Photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama

This race was definitely a great experience and I learned that a lot of things can happen in a 8 hour race. Earlier in the week I had the stomach flu which totally annihilated me for 48 hours. I guess it was a forced taper, but I was not happy with my luck. Nothing like starting the longest race of your life totally depleted! I felt pretty good race morning, with just a minor irritated stomach. 

I tried to start pretty conservatively and stay on top of my nutrition. I wasn't really sure how to pace for 50 miles, but I did my best. I hiked most of the hills (ski-walked actually, it's a lot faster) even though everyone around me was running. Things were going pretty well until around 30 miles. I think my body thought it was done, since I've never run further. I made my first mistake and grabbed some PB&J sandwiches (they were seriously calling my name!) rather than stick to my plan of gels and sport drink. Sometime after that I found myself in a pretty bad state. Having just finished an in depth sports nutrition class at OSU, my head started swimming with thoughts of how my choice of food was not ideal and now my body was having to do gluconeogenesis……
In any event- I bonked. I felt pretty terrible. Around that time Tyler passed me like I was standing still. She was very encouraging as she effortlessly flew by me, but there was no way I could hang on. I was in survival mode. My race plan shifted at that point. My main goal for the race was just to finish, but in the back of my mind I had been thinking about trying to place in the top 2 to earn a spot into Western States. As Tyler passed me I let go of that goal and went back to my previous goal- just finish. One of my favorite mantras when I'm getting tired and is from Dory in Finding Nemo: "Just keeping swimming", only I change it to "Just keep running, just keep running…" 

13 miles to go…
Photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama

I had some pretty low spots before it got better, like my stomach vortexing and falling flat on my face 3 times because I didn't pick up my feet. BUT, eventually I did come out of it! It was amazing, one minute I was shuffling along and then next I was like 'ok, game on'! The last 2-3 miles (yes, it took that long) were amazing! I was able to run again and actually passed a couple people. I was so happy when I crossed the finish line and ecstatic to be 3rd!

Ladies Podium
Photo credit: irunfar
After the race everyone was hanging out eating tamales and enjoying the sunshine. It was great to sit and chat with friends and meet some new people. I have really enjoyed getting to know the ultra community. People are so genuine and down to earth! I met a lot of new people racing over ther weekend who I can't wait to see again in the future. I met two of my TNF teammates, Leigh Schmidtt and Rory Bosio, at the race. Leigh was kind enough to invite me to dinner with his family the night before the race. I could not believe how generous he and his wife were to me! Rory and I shared a hotel and spent most of the weekend together. I definitely felt like we were longtime friends even though we just met.

Meghan and I tasting some wines!
The next day was pretty much the best day ever. Rory and I got some coffee and went for a walk before she had to drive home. After, I went down to the French bakery in Healdsburg and got a croissant (my favorite!). I had a few hours to kill before the wine tasting at noon, so I walked around downtown Healdsburg. I found a yoga studio and decided to take a class since there was one in 10 minutes. Turns out it was only me and teacher. It was totally awesome! She just tailored the class to what I needed and helped me stretch out. Afterwards I went and sat outside in the sunshine and read a book. At noon I joined the rest of the crew at Wilson's winery for a tasting and tour. It was so great to sit in the sun and taste some great wine. Later in the afternoon I drove back down to SFO, got some sushi, and flew home. What a great weekend…..
Wison's Winery

I am so excited about my upcoming races this summer! I think it's safe to say I'm addidcted…..

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