During the fall I kept hearing rumors of a 25K in January on the FlatRock trail. Eventually I gave up on the idea as I hadn't heard anything for a while. Then in December I was looking at Facebook and what did my happy little eyes see? An announcement from Epic Ultras that they were having a 12K and 25K called WinterRock. I could not have been more excited! I didn't care where it fell in my training schedule, I was doing it.
Yesterday was the day and I was really excited. I ran on the trail three times in a little over a week and felt very confident. I mean, yeah, the trail was hard, but I knew I could do it. I underestimated the trail and overestimated my ability to run on it. I'm pretty conflicted about how I feel about the race. On one hand, my time was great. The first time I did a 25K there my time was 4 hours 30 minutes. Yesterday it was 4 hours 13 minutes. Obviously I'm really happy I improve my time so much. It was way harder than it should have been though. I've had a much easier 15 miles on that trail. Yesterday was just all kinds of hard.
I could come up with lots of reasons as to why it was so rough. Some of them are even valid. It was my fault though. I didn't eat enough Friday and definitely didn't eat enough Saturday morning. No food means no energy. I'm trying to lose weight and start eating healthier like I used to. I did a great job of that this week, but I forgot to take into account that I would be running a really tough race and needed some fuel.
Despite the fact that the race was hard and I didn't really have the energy I should have, it was fun. I got to visit with some fellow crazy trail runners before the race and chatted with some new people during the race. One guy that I ran with for a little while has run Psycho Wyco, so I got to ask him some questions about it. Also, I didn't come in last! The first part of this race is on the road and people took off at a pretty good clip. Libby and I were bringing up the rear when we went into the woods. I actually passed a few people in the first couple of miles! This is a pretty new experience for me. I chatted a little with most of the people I passed and they all said they were doing the 12K. Because of that I was pretty sure I was dead last in the 25K. I had been prepared for that so I wasn't too upset. After the 12K turnaround I was by myself for quite a while. Then I heard voices behind me. I kept looking but didn't didn't see anyone. Finally I saw two people and it was two of the people I had passed. By the turnaround they had caught up with me. They passed me but I caught them at the aid station. We took off from the station together. Within a mile they were ahead of me. Occasionally I could see them ahead of me and it seemed like they were getting further and further ahead. Eventually I stopped seeing and hearing them and assumed they were long gone.
After the turnaround I met a couple of runners still making their way to the aid station. I was shocked that they were there, but happy there were actually people behind me. I ran most of the 2nd half without seeing another soul. I was running without music because I can't have headphones at Psycho Wyco, so it was boring. All I had to think about was how much I suck at running, so I was pretty down for most of it. As I started running down the last hill I knew that even though I hadn't run as well as I wanted to it was almost over! I could go home, take a bath and then snuggle in my warm bed. Taking off my muddy shoes was high on my list of things I wanted to do ASAP. When I got out of the woods and was running up the embankment to get to the blacktop I saw the two people that had left me behind after the turnaround. Huh? How did they get behind me? It turns out they had taken a wrong turn right at the bottom of the hill. The race doesn't take the actual trail at the beginning. Instead of following the blue flags like they should have, they followed the blue marks on the trees, which is what you do all day. I must have gained a little ground on them anyway, and then the wrong turn added maybe a quarter of a mile for them, so I got ahead. Once I got on the blacktop I gained more ground on them and finished ahead. I felt bad for them because I took a wrong turn in a trail race once and it cost me about 15 minutes. Two women that would have finished behind me finished ahead of me causing me to be the last female across the finish line. I definitely knew how frustrated those two were!
Eric was doing his thing with the cowbells at the finish wich is great. There were still some people there and they were cheering as people came in. I went in the shelter to record my time and was seriously shocked that it was 4:13. My watch wasn't accurate as I had accidentally stopped it once so I had no idea how long I had been out there. I thought it was much longer.
They had hot soup and hot beverages at the finish line. Unfortunately, I didn't get to eat the soup as it had carrots and I'm allergic to them. The hot cocoa was great though! I visited with Libby for a while and then headed home. It was a good day! And I'm even further convinced that the people doing a 101K on that trail in April are just a little bit crazy. No way. Never.