I never dreamed of running any ultra distances until I went to help crew a friend about two years ago! I ran some really good and really bad miles with him. It's an interesting thing watching a friend race. It's extremely inspiring! I left that day, saying, "one day I'm gonna do that."
A couple years later, my husband Jerry and I found ourselves not only trying to get to our goals in the "marathon" distance, but enjoyed training for Ultras. We both ran Silver Falls 50k in November 2016. He finished, I did not. A few months ago we both ran the 6 hour race "Angry Owl" My goal for the 6 hours was simply to hit the 50k mark. I really struggled with some stomach issues that day, but DID hit the 50k mark with about 7 minutes to spare!
Right after Angry Owl our friends Stacie and Chris McGraw asked if we wanted to train for Autumn Leaves 50k with them. We were up for the challenge. We begin training, adding once a week runs in the McDonald forest to beat the heat of the summer. Chris ran Silver Falls 50k in 2016 with us. Stacie would be running Autumn Leaves 50k as her first ultra "post stroke." It was a big deal to our little group! We had some great summer runs, but as Fall came, it became harder and harder to all train toge
ther. But we all came together October 28th to face the 50k!
Autumn Leaves 50k!
It was a dark, cool, clear morning at Champoeg State Park. The stars lite up the sky that morning. My teeth chattered as I walked through the dark park. I was glad it was cold. It was great race weather. Low 40s. No wind. No rain. The forecast showed the sun would be out soon. I used the bathroom, several times! Then one last time before we had to line up. It's just something that needs to be done when you race...it's ok to laugh!
|Loop two (around mile 7)|
I felt amazing as I ran next to my friends Chris and Stacie. Jerry had already taken off and was nowhere to be seen. We were
|Chris, Stacie and me!|
I started the race in long sleeves, but as soon as loop one was done, I shed a layer. It was time for a tank top! The second loop was great. I ran mostly alone for this six miles. I was ok with that, I just enjoyed the scenery and ran. I knew where I was going and what the course held for me now. I felt good. I felt as if I could run forever!!! I started to see the front runners now. The way the course was designed, runners got to see each other often and it got to be really fun. Watching the fast ones fly by, watching those moving slower but steady. We were all in this together and every single person would give a nod, or say "looking good", "keep it up" as we would pass each other back and forth on the out and back section. Ultra runners are more encouraging than any other group
My Ultra runner friend had warned me loop four and five would be the hardest to go back out on. I really hoped he was wrong. The first three loops were very smooth and good. As I came to the turn-a-round to head out for loop four, I struggled at the thought of two more loops! I reminded myself I "only have 12.4 miles left." I reminded myself I love to go out and run 10-15 miles all the time. I reminded myself, "just two more loops and you will be done!" As I headed back out on that paved section of the trail, I started to feel the fatigue setting in.
As I started watching the runners around me more. I could see others starting to struggle as well. I shouldn't be surprised, but somehow I'm always in hopes that the fatigue will bypass me for the race I'm in that day!
|Jerry running strong!|
|Final Loop (around mile 26)|
I really wish I could say this was an easy loop and I finished well. In reality, this loop was very difficult. I had great company, so it made it bearable, that's the only good thing about this loop. My body hurt! Both my legs aches so bad. My right leg had 3 spots that were tender. I wanted to take my shoes off because my feet were starting to throb. I was worried about my friends Chris and Staci because I should of seen them again by now, and I couldn't find them!
|Jerry heading towards the trail to finish up his 50k|
Around mile 27 we saw Jerry heading to the finish line with about two miles to go! From the looks of it, he was going to make his goal time so I was excited for him.
We went on, across the bridge and by the aid station. I had eaten half my RXBAR, a grape and some coke from an earlier aid station. Right now I just wanted to be done so I didn't stop.
Kristi and I headed out the next section and I told her about some of the runners I had run with. She helped keep my mind from dwelling on the pain. She was so happy (she had never paced a friend like this before...it's a really cool experience). I continued to be grumpy at this point but she didn't care! We finally got to our last turn-a-round!!!! We now were at mile 27.9. Only 5k to go...Wish it was as simple as it sounds!!!!
|Chris and Staci, still going strong!|
We went back across the bridge (for the last time) and onto the trail covered in leaves. This was the fun part of the course but also the harder part of the course. It's small rolling hills on uneven ground. My legs hurt worse on this section. Kristi kept encouraging me, knowing that we were almost to the finish line.
The last mile, I felt a tiny burst of energy. I was really happy to have any energy!!! I was able to pass a person just before heading
|Only a mile or so left to go!!!!|
|I finished! 2nd place masters!|
|Thanks for the loop Kristi!|
I took a few minutes to calm down and then went and took advantage of the free massage. It did wonders for my sore right leg. I got to watch Chris and Stacie finish! It was a sweet moment! It was a good day!
Check out Stacie's blog HERE!
|19 minute PR from Angry Owl 3 months ago!|
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