Going into this race I was coming off of several days of severe sickness, so I had no idea how this race would go. The answer was...not so good. When I flew down to Florida Friday morning I was still congested and exhausted. My friend/crew chief Danielle picked me up from the airport and we drove to our hotel in Pensacola. I tried my best to rest up even more, and when I woke up I did think I might be okay.
The race started out okay, although with 100% humidity I think I should have started at a bit slower pace. I actually PR'd both my 50k and 50 mile by about 2 minutes each, but my quads kept cramping up, and I needed Danielle to keep using the "Stick" on my legs. I actually have bruises from all the pressure! Anyway, I would get in a few good laps, but then cramp up again. I've never had this issue before, and I'm not proud of how I dealt with my frustration- there was some yelling and cursing involved. Danielle was pretty much a saint for dealing with me during this race. I need to work harder at dealing with my emotions under stress.
By about 8 hours in I began to slow down, and around 10 hours/64 miles in I just couldn't get a good turnover and slowed down a lot. At 12 hours in my cramping quads started giving out- if I lost focus or tried to stop my legs would give way and I literally collapsed on the track several times, which was scary. I'm guessing it was illness related fatigue, combined with the humidity, which I really didn't take into account with my pacing.
At around the same time I noticed my urine looked pink. I'm not 100% sure but I think there was a little blood in my urine. It looked the same the next two times I went to the bathroom, and I wasn't able to maintain more than a 12:00 running pace, so after about 13 1/2 hours I switched completely to walking. At that point my walking pace was only about 1:30 slower than running, and far less painful. Since I knew I wouldn't be making my goal anyway I stuck to walking from that point. I also stopped collapsing and started having normal urine, so I think it was a good decision. My friend Chris spent a long time walking and talking with me, which was super helpful and made the time pass quicker.
I walked consistently until about 18 1/2 hours in, when the thunderstorms and torrential rain started. Around that point most people quit, and the rest of us took shelter for a while. I was close to 100 miles so i braved the rain when it settled down a bit so I could at least earn a buckle. With only a few laps to go Danielle found out I was the only lady who hadn't quit in the 24 hour yet, so if I did another 3.24 miles i would win 1st female. I would have been upset if I had so much time and chose not to take the lead, which Danielle rightly guessed! So I kept going to finish lap 418 (103.34 miles) in 21:36. Very few people were still on the course, and I was perfectly fine to stop there.
It was a rough weekend for almost everyone. Between the humidity and the storms it was not a day for PRs. Given that, I'm satisfied with the result. However, I am not satisfied with myself. Frustration is not an excuse for screaming and cursing, and I wish I had shown myself in a better light. Generally I am friendly and supportive at races, and this time I was a bit too self-centered. I've always had some trouble controlling my emotions under pressure, and this weekend made it clear I still have work to do in that area.