Monday, September 26, 2011

I'm an ultra-marathoner! DWD Review & Reults!

The Short: 

AMAZING!  One of the most fun I have had in a race.  Ran 50K/31 miles through trails, woods, water, vines, picker bushes, you name it.  I have cuts up and down my legs to show for it.  I walked away with another awesome racing experience as well as a 3rd place finish in my age group and 5th female overall!  Next year I fully intend on doing the Dances with Dirt 50 miler.

The Long:

Dances with Dirt Hell, MI - want to know more?  click here or here. 

Our day started bright and early at 4am.  Dad & I got dressed, brushed our teeth, loaded up our gear, grabbed a bagel and headed out the door by 4:30am.  We stopped at Mc D's for some caffeine (coffee w/ cream) and hit the highway.  I was obsessing over the weather. They were calling for rain, but when I checked it that morning, it changed!  It was going to be dry. 

We arrived to Halfmoon Lake at about 5:15am.  This gave us 1 hour to park, use the the port-o-potty a couple times, find my dad's friend Mike and get to the start line.  The three of us planned to run this thing together!  Since sunrise was not until 7am meaning the first 5.3 miles will be ran in the dark.  It was hard running through the woods on a technical trail with only a headlamp.  Lucky for me, my dad and Mike were in front of me and would yell out things like "rocks", "roots", "step up", "step down" so I knew what to watch for.  At the first aide station (water and Gatorade only) we were able to drop our headlamps and continue on.  We ran another 4.95 miles to Hell Creek Ranch to the first fully stocked aide station.  We're talking coca cola, sprite, water, Gatorade, oreos, fig newtons, pringles, Gu, bananas, orange, boiled potatoes, salt, etc... I had a volunteer fill up my fuel belt bottles and I ate 1 fig newton.  I also grabbed an espresso Gu.  I knew I would need the caffeine later on.  The only thing lacking were port-o-potties.  They had one, so we stopped for about 5-10 minutes while my dad waited in line.   

We continued on for another 4.75 miles.  This had one of the roughest stretches, flat ground.  Seriously.  When you get off the trail on to flat ground, you start to think of all your aches and pains. My hip hurt, my foot hurt, I had to pee...  We came up to a fluids only aide station and I ducked behind a volunteers car to relieve myself.  I filled up my water bottle and off we went. 

This next leg is where we experienced the famous "butt slide" and "stripper pole".  The butt slide is exactly what it means.  A dirt path so steep you can't help but almost sit down and butt slide to the bottom.  You run a bit through the woods and come to the "stripper pole".  Basically you scale the side of a dirt cliff in the middle of the woods.  Crazy!!  I found a video someone made on you tube.  You can check it out here. 

We ended up going through not 1, not 2 but 3 river crossing and then had to make our way against current for roughly a 1/4 mile in a river to the 22 mile point.  Here is a video from youtube of one of the river crossings and here is a short video of heading up stream. We climb out of the river at the 22 mile point.  We had our drop bags at this location so we were able to change out of our wet gear and fuel up.  We took a good 10 minutes driving off our feet, changing out shirts, shoes & socks and grabbing a few snacks off the aide station table.  I stuck a Gu in my fuel belt, drank a shot of coca cola and had a handful of trail mix before we headed out for our final 9 miles.  The last aide station was 2.90 miles into our final 9.  I stopped at the port-o-potty, ate an Oreo (my first oreo in about 10 years!), sipped one some sprite and head out to a familiar trail, the Poto!  We run this trail often so I assume my final 6 mile leg would be smooth sailing.  Not so much.  I was really starting to feel sluggish.  I kept telling myself to correct my posture and watching my footing.  About 2 miles in, I figured I better take a Gu.  Again, I took one with caffeine.  I wanted to make sure I could make it through these last 4 miles without totally crashing.  I pushed on, thought of "pick me up" songs while frequently reminding myself to correct my posture and watch my footing.  We came off the trail, crossed a road and headed into the parking lot of Halfmoon Lake towards the finish.  All three of us picked up the pace and cruised to the finish line.  Mike placed 1st in his age group earning him a DWD hat and DWD camp chair. My dad placed 2nd in his age group earning him a DWD camp chair and I placed 3rd in my age group earning me a DWD mug (also placed 5th female overall).  Our official time was 6:16:56. 

What an experience.  Completely different from road racing.  I loved it and can't wait to run more trail races in the future.  I am really developing a love for distance running and trails.  I will be running this event again, but next year I am moving up to the 50 mile!!

Once the professional pictures are available, I will make certain to share them with you all.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dances with Dirt pre-race logistics

2 more days until my first 50K.  And not just any 50K, Dances with Dirt Extreme trail 50K!  They also have a 50 mile race and a 100 mile relay race.  My dad has done the 100 mile relay so at least I will be with someone who knows what to expect.  If you are curious what the course is like and what we will encounter, click here. 

Since this is a trail event, we must have a headlamp or flash light at the start.  Our start time is 6:15am, which calls for us to be out the door by 4:30am.  I have decided to stay the night at my dad's the night before for various reasons.  One of them being that I do not have to drive.  Ha. Joking. Maybe.  It really just makes it easier on us both.  We will consolidate our drop bag so instead of each having one, we will pack our stuff in one larger duffel bag.  We will need extra shoes, socks, shorts, gels, body glide, ivy block, etc...  I laminated us 2 maps; one to carry with us and one to keep in our drop bag in case the other gets ruined.  I am hoping we won't need to use them though! 

We have 2 options of checking in prior to the event; either the night before or the morning of.  I will be going to the start area Friday evening to turn in our signed waivers and to pick up our race packet.  It will make it easier on us come the morning of the event.  We've already decided on our pre-race dinner and breakfast; pizza Friday night and bagels w/ coffee Saturday morning. 

I hope I am ready for this.  At this point, I really have no choice.  I can't wait to be able to wear one of those famous DWD shirts! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm in!

Dear Stephanie,

This is to notify you that your entry into the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2012 has been accepted.

Oh my gosh, I am so excited!  I want to jump up and down and cry all at once.  Not only that, but my dad got in too. 

I will definitely have more (as stated by my dad) piss and vinegar in my step tomorrow when out doing our last trail training run for DWD on the 24th!!! 

How many people can say they run with their parent, let alone qualified for Boston and will be running Boston with them as well?

Today is a good day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thank you for submitting an entry to the 116th B.A.A. Boston Marathon.

I pulled the trigger as soon as 10am hit.  I submitted mine and my dad's registration for the Boston Marathon.   According to what I read on the B.A.A.'s face book page, I still have to wait until Friday morning to get the 2nd email with my confirmation that I am in. 

Ah!!  This waiting game is so nerve-wracking!

Friday, September 9, 2011

August Mileage

Last night I decided to sit down and tally up my mileage for August. I wanted to post my "August Stats".  I didn't realize how devastated I would be when I saw the grand total for August.

199.86 miles

Only .14 miles away from 200 miles for the month.

I know 199.86 is a lot of miles, but being so close to 200 kills me.  I wish I had kept track better for the month because then I would have made sure to run that extra .14.   


On another note, last year I ran a total of 1,383and some change.  This year I am already at 1350 miles and it's only early September.  Can I reach 2,000 miles for the year?  I will most certainly try!