Thursday, January 15, 2015

Willis River 50k

The 2015 edition of the Willis River Trail race was slightly less eventful than last year, but just as memorable and way more fun. Check out last year's race report here, you'll see what I mean.

This was my second 50k, my first being just three weeks ago at Seashore.

The Willis River 35k/50k races are held at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland, VA. The route is pretty difficult, not because of elevation changes (although there are a few big hills), but because of numerous creek/river crossings and tricky footing the whole way. Sounds like fun to me!

Running a 50k is definitely a huge accomplishment, and to now have 2 under my belt feels pretty awesome. For this race, the weather was gorgeous, super sunny and ridiculously COLD.

Congratulations! Your body just ran over 31 miles! Way to go, Legs!

Here's a question.

What on EARTH was your brain doing that whole time?! 6+ hours is a LOT of quiet time. Every person is different and every race unique, but here's a little break-down of what went through this ultra-runner's brain during my second 50k trail race.

Mile 0. I've got the jitters. Am I wearing enough clothes? I think so. Should I wear my camelback? Nah, that's what aid stations are for. Should I shove my phone in my bra so I can have music? Eh, keep it simple. You got this. Damn, its cold.

1-3mi. Cold hands. My hands are cold. My hands are cold. Can NOT stop thinking about how cold my hands are. When I get home, I'm ordering new gloves.

Mile 5. Ok, I'm half-way to the half-way point of first part of the race. SO, almost there. Totally.

Mile 6.  Aid station 1. Yay, there's candy! Candy, candy, CANDY!

7-8mi. Try not to fall down. Everyone is falling down. The trail is covered in leaves, making it impossible to see roots, rocks or anything that will trip you and lead to a total face-plant. Pick up your feet, lady!

9-10 mi. Chatty chatty. Make new friends. Meet a chick who has chosen THIS race as her first race. EVER. Now that took some gusto. Conversation makes the miles go by quickly, trail runners are great at small-talk.

Mile 11. Aid station 2. YES! More candy! 35k turnaround. This is EASY!

Heading up the hill to the 35k turnaround, around mile 11
Mile 12. Crap, now I have to go back to the start, then run 10 more miles. This is NOT easy! Why didn't I bring music? I think I'm getting a blister. Ewwww

13-15mi. Didn't bring music. SO dumb. Start singing Whitney Houstons "I wanna dance with somebody" in my head. At least I think it was in my head. Wait, it totally might have been out loud.

16-18 mi. Help save fellow trail runners from impending doom. Catch up with a group of 6-7 runners who look on the verge of total panic. Luckily, I had actually been paying attention (for ONCE!), was able to back-track quickly, find the trail. Getting sort of lost is part of the experience. Welcome to trail running.

19-21mi. Feeling awesome. Resist the urge to sprint to the finish. You're not finished yet!

Feeling great @ 35k finish line

Mile 21+. 35k Finish. They ask if I'm done yet, FAT chance! I'm getting my money's worth on this one. Feeling pumped heading back out to tackle the final 10 miles, blister hurts, oh well! Pipe down, I got this.

Mile 22. A marathon really is far enough. Why, WHY am I doing this? Two 50k races in a 3-week period? You are SO dumb.

Mile 23. I think I'm lost. I'm pretty sure I'm totally lost. Haven't seen a white flag/marker thing for a while....oh, no. Why didn't I carry my own water? How long before dehydration sets in and I start hallucinating?

23-24mi. YAY! I'm NOT lost! I was on the right trail the whole time. Duh! Learn that there are only 3 chicks doing the 50k. We are BAD asses! Hmm...I know there's a super speedy lady way in front of me. Can't catch her. I'm in second. I wonder how far back the other chick is. I think I'll speed up a little. This IS a race, duh.

Mile 25. SPLAT! As I glance backwards (just a little), to see how far ahead of the other girl I am, my foot catches a root and BOOM! I'm in the dirt. I land like a water buffalo on top of a huge root; it smashes into my outer thigh and left arm as I topple to the ground. Oh SNAP, that hurt. I get up slowly, trying to figure out if I'm actually hurt or not. That's definitely gonna leave a mark, but looks like I'm alright.

Mile 26. Walking/hobbling. Wishing I'd brought my own water. Yep, there goes the other chick. Just got passed. SUPER! Decide to walk to the turnaround, this SUCKS!

Mile 27. 50k turnaround. Water, YES. Grab more candy, drink some Mountain Dew. Delicious. Feeling better, shake it off. Almost there.

28-29mi. Ok, I'm getting pretty tired.

30-31mi. Run with a couple of dudes whose chatter and jokes keep the mood light. I pick up the pace as the last mile unfolds, one hollers, "Finish strong!" as I pull away from them. I love trail runners.

50k #2- FINISHED! Another adventure complete. I LOVE this! So, I came in last place for the women, but still got a prize. You betcha!

Time: 6:30:14
Place (overall): 13/27
3rd/LAST for the women
All 3 of us gals finished in the top 50%. I'll call that a WIN!
Girls Rule.