Monday, September 22, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

I am now officially an ultrarunner!

And my quads are toast. Plus I have about 12 -15 super itchy wasp/yellowjacket/something stings. But I'm happy.

Aunt Cathy was super wonderful and drove me to the start of the point to point Skyline to the Sea (now known as Skyline to the Bees) 50K race. It was beautifully cool, foggy and misty. Perfect running weather.

The race started at a plodding walking pace. Perfect. That's the way I like to start a race! No bolting out of the gate...hey folks, we'll be out here for a few hours.

The first 6 miles or so were mostly downhill to the first aid station. I had fun listening to everyone's conversations around me and piping in here and there. At about 3ish miles in I heard people screaming on the trail up ahead. Huh? That's not good.

Wasps, yellowjackets...killer bees? We're not sure what they were but they were darned angry and protective of their digs. We encountered several pockets of these buggers through the race up until about the midpoint. Then blessedly we didn't have anymore. The worst for me was right after the China Grade Aid Station where one went down my shirt and stung me a couple of times on the neck and back. I happened to be crossing a "bridge" that was only a single wooden plank over a break in the trail. I nearly went ass over teakettle into the ravine.

China Grade was the biggest uphill in this race. Didn't seem bad at all and I was really being conservative and did a lot of hiking on the hills. I probably didn't need to and would have had a much better finishing time if I hadn't. I found the extreme downhills to be worse. I actually WANTED to go uphill instead! I was way too conservative on the five mile loop at Gazos Creek. There was a pretty steep uphill of a few kilometers that I mostly hiked, which was okay but I could've run some of it easily. But not knowing what to expect I played everything very conservatively.

The Famous Dirt Diva Catra and her man Andy were at the Gazos Creek aid station. So I got to see them twice as there was a loop there. Thanks for being there guys. It really motivated me in the miles before that to know that there was someone there I knew.

It was the downhills that killed me! Especially around Berry Creek Falls. Lots of rocks and very steep downhills that required big strides that I was no longer happy about/capable of that late in the game. I started talking to and yelling at the rocks. Like after millions of years laying there they had no right to be in MY way.

Okay, so I shut up so that no one would pull me for hallucinating. My wasp stings were all taking turns burning - first the ones on my left arm, then the ones on my right shoulder, then the ones under my right shoulder and lastly the neck/back ones. Then the cycle would start all over again. At least they took my mind off of my back/upper glutes which were very tight. They've been tight for a while so I wasn't surprised. I was just hoping that they wouldn't go out on me or something. Surprisingly, they seem totally fine and even loose now! My quads are what is tight and tired now!

After Berry Creek Falls the trail widens out and slopes gently downward for the most part. Every little rock in the trail required a lot of brain power for me to avoid. I ate half of a Cliff Bar. Where in the world is that last aid station? I knew that when I hit that aid station there was only 2-plus a little bit of miles to go! Around every twist and turn I looked for that aid station. They must be moving it further away as I run toward it! Did they shut it down already??

There was much rejoicing when I found it. There was even more rejoicing when I found out that there were only 1.9 miles to go!!! I didn't really need anything at this station, just added a bit more water to my bag for the final assault and I was off.

I emerged from the woods next to some farms and fields. This was a total dejavu moment, I remembered this scene from running here years ago. It can't be far now.

Suddenly there were people and cars and a parking lot! Is this it? Not yet. I see the striped ribbons up ahead signaling a turn around a building. The trail then dove into a wierd hedgerow type of environment that was sort of marshy too. Crossed a couple of little bridges over streams. What the heck is this? The bushes are at least 15 feet high on either side. It's like running through a tunnel. I start to doubt that I'm going the right way....

And then bam! I'm out and there are orange cones and a finish line. And there's hubby scrambling for his camera. And it's finished! I'm done. I'm an ultrarunner!


Things That Weren't so Great -

  • Probably ran too conservatively - I'm really not at all upset about that, better safe than sorry, I didn't know what the heck to expect!

  • Wasps/bee stings - Eh! Whatever. It's nature and you've got to expect it. I rather have that than a lot of other things.

Things That Went Great!

  • Volunteers, Aid Stations, Race Directors - Great race guys! Thank you so much!

  • No turned ankles, falls or anything like that

  • No blisters, toenails are all accounted for

  • Finished strong. I could still run.

Today, my quads are still quite sore. Decending anything is a bitch. But I'm smiling. I'll be running again in a few days and looking forward to the Stinson Beach 50K!


Bee Sting Cure said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scott Dunlap said...

Welcome to the club! You had a great race for your first ultra, and if you're tough enough for the bees, I'm pretty sure you can take on any course. Love your pics!


Sunshine Girl said...

Yeehah, honey!! Way to go! How fantastic is that?? Congrats. So would you believe that my husband and I will be at the Stinson Beach race in November also??

Sarah said...

Congratulations on your first ultra finish! We were honored that so many first-timers chose our event as their first, and SUPER proud of each of you for getting it done!

Congrats on toughing it out after the stings, and looking forward to handing you many more coasters in the future.

Sarah (PCTR)

SLB said...

Hi found you through, well I can't remember, sounds like you had a great race and welcome to the clan!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

WOO HOO!!!!!

Julianne said...

Congrats on your first ultra run!! I'd love to do one next year. Gotta get my butt in gear and start training. Do you have any advice for a even newer newbie? Where do you normally go on your long runs? I seem to be at a loss for long runs over 16+ miles... Thanks!