Apologies in advance – this is a long post, but I have to do a race report, for four of us, because that’s how many of us ran.  In the pictures below, you’ll see that there is one that includes 3 guys and me.  The tall skinny guy you should recognize as my brother. The guy to his right is Scott, and the guy on my right is Steven, my brother in law.

This was a very interesting weekend! Besides it being July 4th, which was awesome in itself, Bill and I drove over 400 miles to get to the Finger Lakes region of NY state on Friday. There was a slight problem in the logistics of my brother getting there, so we ended up going about an hour out of our way to pick him up in Albany (he was worried that one bus was not going to wait for another, and that they’d be therefore stranded.)

My original plan this weekend was to do my long run as a pacer with Jamie and his friend Scott during the end part of their 50 mile run. You see, the fifty-milers were to run one 15.69 loop 3 times, and then a baby loop of less than 4, that would equal 50 miles. People running the 50K would do that 15.69 mile loop twice, and the people doing the 25K would do it once. The 50-milers and 50Kers would start at 6:30 a.m., and the 25Kers were to start at 8.

When we picked up Jamie and Scott on Friday afternoon in Albany, they were talking about their plan to finish in about 8 hours. They thought that they could even “lap” people if they did it right. At this point, I was starting to seriously doubt my ability to keep up with them and not slow them down, but I was still terrified about running a 25K on my own since the most I’ve run before that was my very cool 11 mile run down on the Cape a few weeks ago, when I ran for 2 hours. However, the race director had also responded to my pacer inquiry email a day before, and said that it might be hard to do just 10 miles with Jamie due to the loop-course. So by Friday night, I decided it might be best for me to try to do the 25K, and just know that I would walk a certain portion of it, and not beat myself up for doing so.  Each of them said “hey, we’re running a distance before that we’ve never run too, so don’t worry about it!”  Um yeah.  Scott has run numerous marathons and 4 ultramarathons before this weekend.  Jamie has run about 10 marathons now and has done one in less than 3 hours.  Steven has been running marathons now as long as I can remember.  So there is a difference – they all have huge running mileage bases!

We ended up getting there so late on Friday night that we didn’t have a chance to scope out the course, but luckily my sister Annie had arrived earlier, picked up our race numbers, and her husband, Steven scoped out parts of it. We found out that most of it in the woods was a single-track course. In case you’re not familiar with what that means, basically there are many places, where even if you wanted to let someone pass, it’d be pretty hard to do so, unless they run off of the trail itself.

Steven’s race report:  So here’s what happened – Steven signed up to do the 50K, but ended up getting a DNF, even though he ran a 25K. Those of you out there who have run trails know that it’s quite easy to turn your ankle on tree roots, or the mud, or rocks, etc. He completely wiped out once – the way he tells it, he had a feeling he was “going down” so he curled up his arm in front of him and literally fell head over heels. He was wearing red Brooks Cascadias (the male version of my bright green ones that you’ll see in the first picture below) and you should see them now – one of them is pretty much completely brown!  On a separate fall, he sprained his ankle, and limped/walked/ran to the end of the course (about 6 miles for him at this point.) He ended up getting his loop done in about 3:40. We figured out that the two of us pretty much run about the same pace.

My race report: To give you an idea of what this race was like – there were about 60 people signed up for the 25K. I immediately went to the back of the “pack” at the beginning. I had my Camelbak filled up with Purple Frost Gatorade (yummy), and about 4 Gus and powerbar gels with me (I wanted to try out some new ones that have more sodium in them, to see if that helps me, energy-wise.) I only got lost once – but there were two ladies who were behind me at the time and I asked them if they thought I was going in the right direction and they corrected me. From then on, I was determined to always keep them in my sights – we introduced ourselves later on at the 4th stop – we kept running with each other in bits and spurts for the entire race, and at one point, when Bill was waiting for me at a point where we crossed over a road, they heard him say “those are the ladies that were ahead of Terri before!” and they shouted back that I was right behind them! And about 20 seconds later, there I was. I saw that Steven was with my family, so at this point, I knew something bad had to have happened with him. I am telling you, some of those inclines in the trails were so steep – if you fell, you would be falling for a VERY long way down. So far, that when Steven saw Bill after he had finished, he asked him “is Terri afraid of heights?” and Bill was like “yep, why do you ask?!” Not a good sign.

I’ll try to make this very long story short – while running through the trails, these are the thoughts that went through my head.

  1. Wow, these vistas are pretty. Whycouldn’t the entire course be in the fields like this?
  2. I think I am in hell.
  3. Why would anyone want to do this?
  4. Why would anyone think this is fun?
  5. My God, this is a lot of mud.
  6. Holy shit, this is a lot of mud.
  7. Holy crap, this is a lot of mud. (Are you noticing a pattern?)
  8. I better not be walking through poison ivy to get past this mud.
  9. Ok, my ankle hurts now from turning it for about the gazillionth time.
  10. Holy crap (pun intended), that is a huge cow pie. My God, they are all over the place in this field!
  11. I cannot believe it took me 90 minutes to go 5.7 miles. This is going to take forever. So much for the 2:45 or so goal I had in mind.
  12. Thank God I don’t have to do this three times.
  13. Holy crap, Jamie and Scott have to do this three times. They’re insane.
  14. I cannot think of a worse hell than doing this three times. (Are you noticing a pattern?)
  15. Thank God my Powerbar gel with 2X the caffeine just kicked in – get me out of these woods!!
  16. Hey, that’s my little nephew and Bill at the very top of this hill – if it kills me I am getting to them without stopping! (I did it by the way.)
  17. If it kills me, I am going to get to the top of this next HUGE hill – hey, I’m doing it – it’s more like trudging, but I’m moving!
  18. I can’t believe that 50K/50-miler is actually sleeping at the aid stop. I wonder if he’s ok.
  19. The cool part about running this race is that I could literally eat my way through it. So much good munchies – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels, M&Ms (they melt in your hands by the way, as well as the inside pocket of my running shorts), twizzlers, cookies.
  20. Heed sports drink is gross. Really gross, I was not the only person to dump mine out (I took it by mistake thinking it was water.) Oh yes, did I forget to say that it looks just like water too?
  21. At least I can think about what I’m going to write on my blog to keep my mind occupied while running. I just don’t want to trip and kill myself.
  22. There are really nice people involved in this race like those ladies in front of me who caught me from going in the wrong direction and knew I’m now following them for the rest of the race. (Trish and Stacy are angels – we finally introduced ourselves at the 4th aid station.) I’m just going to watch them and follow everything they do.
  23. As Karen said about her 5K race, I want to finish this thing with a pulse. Please let my time be under 4 hours.
  24. When I saw my husband and nephew standing at the top of a long hill, I thought to myself, even if I have to drag myself to the top, I will not stop until I get to them.  (Bill later told me that he told little 4-year-old Jack to keep yelling at the top of his lungs once they recognized me.  He was so adorable, yelling “GO AUNT TERRI!” over and over.  I gave him a big hug and he hugged me right back.   Bill later told me that he asked Jack “Was Aunt Terri sweaty?” answer “uh huh.”  “Was Aunt Terri stinky?” answer: “uh huh!”  Nice.)  One of the pictures at the beginning of Bubbleshare was taken at the top of that hill. Trish and Stacy are in the background of one of them – they walked all the hills.
  25. Thank God for family – it definitely helped to see them when I would come out of the woods at various junctures – at one place they waited for about 20 minutes, saw Scott, asked him if he’d seen me yet, and then they asked the park ranger if Number 188 had passed through yet. Turns out that they had missed me by about 10 minutes.   Bill called my sister Annie, “The Wizard” for knowing just when and where to be to see all of us while we ran.

I finally finished in 3:52:17. Trail running is so much slower than road race running, I have found.  I could have run ahead of Trish and Stacy at one point – I just wanted to be OUT OF THE WOODS, LITERALLY, but I found it safer to run behind them – they seemed to have a good sense  of direction, just like Lis, my running partner.

Race report for my brother – Well, he (questionably) had a Nathans hot dog at a rest stop on the way there – it might have been sitting there for some time before he ate it. We think that may have been what caused his, as Scott called it, “intestinal issues” during the race. I won’t elaborate because he’s my brother – let’s just say it wasn’t pretty, and he was not the only person during this race that had to sneak off into the woods. (It happened more than once that someone just reappeared out of the woods in front of me.)  Bathrooms were a very scare commodity.

We saw him on the 2nd lap around, this would be about 23 miles or so – he looked like he was cramping up and not feeling so good. He asked for gatorade, and since we were close to the bed and breakfast, my little nephew, Sean, showed his track sprinting skills, ran down to the B&B, and sprinted back up with it for his big Uncle Jim. Jamie’s comment – “Sean, you are my hero.”  Uh, Jamie, you are my hero. I told him that during the race, hoping it’d help him keep moving.

On his third lap, we saw him again, and he was looking much better each time. When he thought he had about 8 miles or so to go, he said something like “I anticipate having at least two more break-downs and two more highs in me before the end.” At this point, my sister, who has just started running again, offered to run with him for about 5 minutes into the woods, and he said it gave him a good boost. I think she would have gone further had it not been for her already-wounded husband, and her kids being with all of us.

He also lost his shoe at one point, in the mud. He took a step forward, but it did not. It sounds like Scott was cracking himself up, and he took pictures of it after it happened.  He ended up finishing the race in about 9:45:00.  Pretty friggin amazing if you ask me.

Race report for his friend Scott:  Scott is what Jamie would call a bit of an “endurance junkie.”  We found out he’s done charity rides for the American Cancer Society where he averaged 83 miles per day, from Texas to Alaska.  Before he ran a 41 mile run with Jamie about a month ago, he had ridden his bike about 80 miles. He ran the race in about 9:15:00.  He said that he “trudged” quite a bit at points during the race – trudging is a good word! He stayed with Jamie until he had his “intestinal issues.” 

Jamie and Scott are now thinking that it may be a bit longer until they try to tackle a 100 mile race. With the Western States 100 being cancelled this year, they know that chances of getting into it next year would be slim, as they thought that everyone who was registered to run it this past year automatically gets to do it next year.

All in all, it was a great experience.  Now I know what running in trails really is like, and a race at that. 🙂  By the way pictures 5-7 are of me at the finish line. It was at a campsite, in the middle of a national forest. Wow, those running shorts are SO unflattering!

And yes, we were ALL in pain on Sunday – even today, my legs are still sore, so I’m taking tonight off again.  Never plan to drive 400 miles the day after you run that far, trust me!!

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