SPOILER: In case you don’t want to read this very long post. I DID IT! My first 50 miler. Mission accomplished.
For the rest of you, settle in…this is about to be a long post. Jump to the end for a gear list
Before my race report: CREWMAN
Hubby drove the limovan as a crew vehicle for 12 hours! He had it stocked with a first aid kit, food, 10 gallons of water, coke, ice, a camp stove and soup. He tirelessly supported and cheered any runner in his sight. I cannot thank him enough. Crewing is hard work and I’m unsure if I could pull off what he did. He was able to anticipate what I needed before I said anything and was simply amazing. Look for a guest blog from him as to his side of the story and what he saw and learned while crewing for a 50 mile race.
It was in the upper 40’s at 8:20am when Hubby and I arrived at the start line. I was absolutely GEEKED and FREAKED all in one. A giant bundle of nerves. On arrival I couldn’t get my Garmin to work. Seriously, it would turn on and then…nothing. I swore at it and banged it on the console and still nothing. Hubby tried to calm me down but I growled at him. I had the Garmin set to buzz on my wrist every 40 minutes as a reminder to eat. I finally tossed it on the seat and started to set the stopwatch on my other wrist. Hubby told me gently that he would attempt to fix Ms. Garmin and that I should perhaps go take a pee and get my stuff ready to run.
I headed off to a pine tree and handled my business. I saw many other runners doing the same thing. The mood at the start was anxious, excited, nervous, happy, jittery. The air was crackling. It was chilly. I wasn’t sure what to think or what I was about to do. We hit all the buttons on the Garmin and suddenly it loaded satellites. YES. I put some lube on my feet, tightened my hydration pack and got out of the car. I WAS READY.
The start line was located at the Upper Mesa Falls sign in Idaho on the Mesa Falls Scenic Byway. I lined up. My heart was fluttery. I was going to do this. I was going to run 50 MILES.
OMG! RUNNING! I admit it; I got some tears in my eyes at the thought of what I was doing. At the thought of what I was about to do. Out of the gate, I just got emotional. I’m not sure why. I quickly swatted them away and smiled a pretty maniacal grin. I looked around and ran, trying not to go to fast. We were running among towering pines and it smelled wonderful. The beginning of YT50 was downhill, after that it went up…and up…and up.
Within the first 15 minutes of running, a voice popped up beside me. “Chat happened” and I found myself a friend. Angie is a triathlete from Florida who was also doing her first 50. Her positive attitude and amazing directional knowledge was the perfect companion for the journey to 50 miles. We talked and ran and the heat began to rise.
Anyways, when the temp rose Angie and I started to get hot. There is no shade when you’re running on the road in the mountains. It got hot quick and the sun was like straight fire. We started stripping gloves, hats, coats and etc. Crewman hubby came to the rescue and grabbed our stuff. Angie was introduced and let hubby know that she was being crewed by her Mom and son and that they would be up at the first aid station.
We ran on. The first 10 miles went by pretty quick. It was down then up and through the pines. I ate a hammer gel, drank water and stripped to just my t-shirt and shorts but other than that didn’t need anything.
AID STATION #1 10.5 miles
We arrived at AS 1 at 2 hours in. Our crews were there and I went to hubby and let him know all was well. I told him I needed my handhelds filled as I was going to ditch the vest in 5 miles. It was too hot and heavy and with support I could ride it out with a handheld. I lounged around drinking water while Angie got refills on her tailwind and switched to cooler clothing and then we took off still feeling amazing.
This stretch was pretty neat. Every once and awhile we’d hit some irrigation spray from the fields which was ICE cold. It felt amazing, seriously. It was so hot! There was a long stretch of gravel and we went past a cemetery named “Squirrel Cemetery” and then a cool old elevator. Soon there was a steep hill leading to the 2nd aid station which was located at the Rough Riders Saloon (which was closed) in Drummond, ID.
AID STATION #2 20.8 miles
We got to AS 2 a little under 4 ½ hours in. I was hungry and had some potatoes with salt. Then I was still hungry so swallowed a cup of ginger ale because “why not” but oh, the pickles looked good too so I ate one, then two, then three. Hubby handed me a handheld full of ice water, some hammer gels and an s-cap and we were off.
BURP. Oh yuck. I was burping ginger ale and pickles. It didn’t hurt and I didn’t feel sick but gross. Just an FYI don’t mix ginger ale and pickles because gross. I burped this nasty concoction for nearly 10 miles.
Angie and I still felt great and smiled and laughed and joked and ran. We were hot and took the ice cloths that hubby had whenever they were available. We were getting crewed every few miles with water, coke, ice, and other needs. Sometimes we’d take it and sometimes we’d wave them on to the next spot and continue on our way.
This stretch had a lot of hills, some were big uphills. We handled them like pros. We smiled and pointed out the amazing scenery we were running through. We laughed and moo’d at the cows and grinned at the horses. Soon enough we were heading slightly downhill to Aid station 3.
Aid Station #3 30.9 miles
We hit AS 3 at 7 hours on the nose. There were some young girls manning the station and they were awesome. I had salted potatoes and coke while hubby refilled my handheld with ice water and added in some gin gins, S-caps and more hammers to the zipper pouch and removed the electro-bites as I wasn’t using them. Angie and I got iced down and then we left.
We noted the time at the 50K point as this was ALSO Angie’s 1st 50K! She goes big doesn’t she? Pretty awesome. The Grand Tetons were positively beautiful and we had views on every single side of us. There were different senses being activated constantly.
Around mile 34, we instituted a plan as “just running” didn’t work anymore. We were getting a little tired! We started a strategy, run to a pole…walk to a pole…run to a pole…walk to a pole. The only time we deviated was when it was downhill. Then we ran until we got to the bottom. It worked. We ended up getting laughed at on one of the bigger uphill’s as we were ‘caught running’ It was blazing hot and we were smiling and running. We felt good. I felt like I could go forever.
At around mile 40, I started to get that twinge in my stomach that says “uh oh…gotta poo” Yeah, that one. It got more and bigger and then some nausea kicked in with it. I talked to Angie, I smiled, I looked at the pretty views. My tummy hurt. My tummy HURT.
Aid Station #4 41.4
We arrived at AS4 about 9 ¾ hours into the race. I thought we’d never get here as the mile and a half between the start of the tummy ache and the arrival to the aid station took FOREVER AND A DAY. Seriously. I zoomed into the portapooper really fast and think it’s the first time I wasn’t wearing a smile (though I hope I at least had a half smile as my goal was to smile the whole race). I felt icky!
I pooped. Sorta. It was one of those uuuuuuuuuugh I don’t feeeeeeeeeeel good kinda trips. I got outta there and tried to eat a piece of potato. Oh barf. Coke? Better. OK then. Let’s move on and finish this thing.
We ran, and walked, and ran, and walked. We made up things to run to as the poles were gone. We cheered each other on. Angie encouraged me and I hope I encouraged her. The dust from the gravel road got in our eyes and our noses, the cows moo’d at us, the sun dropped behind the mountains and it was beautiful. The temperature dropped and we ran and walked and shuffled towards the end.
Driggs twinkled in the distance and we reached for it with every step and then- we arrived at the edge and Angie glanced at me and told me we were running. She said it so firmly that I had to agree and go. We had run together for 50 miles and we were going to finish this. We were finishing strong. We ran the last ¾ mile to the finish and held hands as we crossed the line. How lucky am I to have a stranger find me and spend 12 hours running by my side only to become no longer a stranger but instead a friend? Thanks Angie.
Everything I thought about finishing was wrong. I thought I’d be emotional. I wasn’t. I was just tired and ready to go to bed. The emotion and joy was in the journey- not the finish. I really didn’t feel anything as I crossed the line other than so glad I was finally going to get to go poop and lay in a bed.
The next day
I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk after 50 miles, especially with limited training. I only had a mild stiffness in my quads and my feet were tired. I was ready to run again (and went climbing hiking) two days after the race. I think that means I ‘took the race easy’ for which I’m glad of. I had no blisters and lost no toenails. Was it the use of trail toes? My shoes? My socks? I don’t know. My feet are just as good as when they started and that’s awesome. I did get a sunburn except for where my hat shaded (my chin burned and the back of my neck burned, the two places I forgot to re-apply sunblock.
I won 2nd in my age group. This was a small race and that’s the benefit of doing small races—you can sometimes win stuff. I got a ceramic piece painted by a local artist. LOVE.
I’d recommend this race to anyone. Lisa puts on an incredible race. The aid stations were so well stocked with things like macaroni and cheese, boiled potatoes with salt, soup, multiple types of soda, m&m’s, cookies, and friendly faces. Bring a crew- AS are 10 miles apart and the weather changes rapidly in the mountains, flash rain, blazing heat, freezing cold. Those without a crew were struggling and leaned on the crews out there. Bring your camera and your soul. It’s beautiful- don’t just run to race. See it, smell it, embrace it. Take it in.
This will be the first of many long, long runs. I wish I could put everything I learned in this blog, everything I felt, everything I saw- It’s just not possible and it would take a book. I just feel thankful and HAPPY!
Nike Icon Shorts
Fusion PRF Pro T-Shirt
Experia Socks with Thorlo pads
Asics Arm Warmers
Brooks wind jacket
Thrift store stocking cap
Altra Running Cap
U of MN sunglasses
Champion Sports Bra
Zensah Calf Sleeves (for warmth not compression)
Altra Intuition 1.5
Trail toes (lube)
Black Diamond Storm
Hammer gel (banana)
Ibuprofen (took 300mg at mile 38 for left knee pain)