A busy summer of racing is over! I have really slacked on posting due to a variety of factors, but I'm back, and I'll try to keep on top of things this time. After my big success at GSEC (which is now officially listed on the USATF website!), I completed 3 ultras over 6 weeks (Bad Marsh 50K, Merrill's Mile 24 Hour, and Double Cremator 50 Mile). I definitely don't think I was at my best- I think I generally need 4-6 weeks between big races to recover. But although I wasn't fully rested I still did pretty well at my summer racing. Then 5 weeks after the 3rd race I ran Homestead 10x5K, which also went well. Here are a few brief write-ups for each race:
Bad Marsh: This was the day after my 5 year wedding anniversary, so I ran it with my husband. It was his second ultra (he ran the 6 Hour at GSEC), and he did great! I may have held him back a bit at the beginning, as he's faster than me at short distances, but by lap 5 of 7 he was suffering. We had vowed to stay together, so although it was slightly frustrating- for us both, probably- I stayed with him through walk breaks at that point. He rallied in the final lap though, and we finished strong in 5:35. It was a really cool experience to finish hand in hand with my husband! And the time was good enough for 3rd female as well.
Merrill's Mile: My IT band was a bit sore after the uneven ground of Bad Marsh, and as this race was on gravel I was a bit concerned. I raced hard for the first 12 hours, managed the heat well, and ended up with about 69 miles in the first half. But overnight the uneven ground started hurting my knees and IT band. Knowing this wasn't an "A" race, and I had another race in 2 weeks, I decided to take it easy, and primarily walk. I knew I could have gotten around 120 miles had I pushed harder, but I think I made the right decision not to risk injury. I stopped after about 23 hours, with just under 111 miles- good for 1st female and a new course record. Alec did a great job crewing as always, and he was supportive of my decision to walk. He also didn't hit me when I spent hours whining that I was lazy and terrible for walking, haha!
Cremator: I was very nervous about running back-to-back races, and expected that day 2 would be much slower no matter what. So I went out pretty hard on day 1, but tried to keep a bit in the tank so day 2 wouldn't be a complete sufferfest! I felt really good throughout the day, and finished in about 8:02- 2nd female on day 1. That night I wore my compression sleeves and elevated my feet on a pillow, which I think helped a lot. Day 2 was much harder- for starters, it rained heavily at the start so I was wearing wet clothes all day (the chaffing that night literally made me sob!). Then it got super hot and humid in the 2nd half- I was refilling my water bottle every 2-3 miles just to stay hydrated. I was pretty miserable by the end, but I still managed a decent finish of about 9:18- 1st female on day 2 and 1st female overall in the double. Thank God for my crew at this race! Alec crewed/paced me on day 1, and my friend Kara crewed while Emily paced on day 2- I don't think I could have done it without them!
Homestead: This was a very unique race! There is a 5K trail loop, and you run it on the hour for 10 hours. Each lap is timed individually, and they are added up at the end for the final result. My plan was to run moderately hard but consistently, and count on people going out too fast early on to help me place high. This worked out pretty well! All my laps were within 2:30 of each other, and I was very pleased with the consistency given the brutal 102 degree heat (with a 126 heat index!). Most people did slow down more as the heat worsened, and I found my overall standing rising after every lap. I finished with around 4:22, good for 3rd female.
Next up is Chase the Sun 12 Hour this Saturday. I'm trying to just view it as a good training run with friends, and not push myself too hard. I'd still like to finish in the 60-70 mile range, but we'll see how it goes!