This is the race I wasn't supposed to run. The plan was to go and crew Libby at her first 50k. Then wrestling season happened. Also, a long, cold, nasty winter and my typical laziness and lots of illness in my house over the winter. Those things created the perfect storm of a crappy training cycle. I hadn't been running enough miles, and suddenly Heartland 50 is just a few weeks away. How did that happen? Anyway, I didn't want to lose an opportunity for a weekend of back to back long runs. I also needed to force myself to run, and if I've paid for it, I'm doing it. I sent Libby a message and told her that I'm happy to crew, but if she wanted me to I'd run the whole thing with her. She knows me and saw through that right away, and asked if I needed the miles. Yep! She very kindly agreed to let me run instead of crew. Woot!
My plan was originally to go down the night before with the boys and camp. Then Rick decided he'd like to go. Prom was Friday night, which meant going down then was a no go. Instead, we got up and were out of the house by 4:15 am. The boys were probably not my biggest fans in that moment. They're sort of used to my craziness at this point though and just went with it. We hit the road and within an hour I had to go to the bathroom. Rick kindly pulled into a gas station and I went. Maybe 10 minutes later I had to go again. He wasn't quite as kind the second time.
We got to the race, found Libby and her husband Justin, and picked up my packet. I started getting ready and Rick and the boys tried to sleep. I had been really nervous leading up to the race, because this was Libby's race and I didn't want to do anything to mess it up for her. I was also severely undertrained and was afraid I couldn't finish, or that it would be really ugly. Thankfully I was worried for nothing! We started the race and pretty quickly everyone took off and Libby and I found ourselves at the back of the pack. I was actually shocked at how fast that happens. I mean, I'm never really speedy, but I'm not usually last place within half a mile. I think if I hadn't been with Libby this would have put me in a pretty nasty place mentally. I was determined to just enjoy the day though.
Since the first time I heard about this race several years ago I've been hearing about the Leap O' Doom. It always seemed like a big joke, but was it really? I mean, you definitely had to leap over a crevice, but how deep was it? How wide? Would I make it? I don't want to die on the trail! We got there and all of my questions were answered. The only one I'll answer on my blog is that yes, I did make it. My remains will not forever be a part of Lake McMurtry. If you want more details on this 72nd Wonder of the World, you'll have to run the race yourself. It's worth it! Trust me.
The race is two out and backs, which you double. Well, sort of. There are some loops within the out and backs, but every 7.5-8ish miles you came back to the start/finish. I could never decide if I liked not knowing where we were and how far it was to the next aid station, or if that was a bad thing. I think it was kind of fun to just be running along and an aid station would sort of pop up when I didn't expect it. I knew very little about this race or what the course was like going in. I'm still not sure I know that much about it! I just mostly played follow the leader all day. This was Libby's day, so when she ran, I ran. When she walked, I walked. Sometimes I stayed at an aid station chatting a little longer than she would, so I'd have to run really fast to catch up. Every aid station was great, which is typical at TATUR races, but the Flushy station was the best! What is a Flushy you ask? Who knows? I had one, but I still couldn't tell you. Something slushy with some alcohol. The first time through I had a flushy and some home brew that Jason Bement concocted. It was actually pretty good! I chased that with a pickle and some pringles and m&m's. How did I not throw up you ask? So many mysteries surrounding this race. It was at this station on the way back, which was maybe mile 13, that we heard it was getting ready to rain. Probably about 5 minutes later it did in fact start raining. I assumed it would just be a quick shower, but it pretty much rained the rest of the day. It never rained very hard, and the rain actually kept us cool. The ground got a tiny bit sticky, but mostly by clumping and since I was running behind Libby, the clumps hit my legs and slid down into my shoes. I had so much gritty dirt down inside my shoes that eventually I just had to pretend I didn't really have feet anymore. If I thought about them it was incredibly unpleasant, so I didn't.
The whole day was filled with laughter and just lots of chatting and fun. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Libby had a perfect first 50k. She was strong and happy throughout. She never death marched. I was so proud of her! Her hard work definitely paid off. I think this might be the most fun I've ever had in a race. It turns out I'm in good enough shape to run a 50k! I had a nice relaxed day and wasn't sore at the end. Win! I had some stiffness when I woke up Sunday, but I ran 10 miles and felt good today. I really needed this weekend to remind myself that I can still do the long distances, but training is necessary.
I could tell stories for hours, but I'll just leave it all on the trail. I will tell everyone that if you ever get a chance to do this race, do it! It is fun, beautiful, and very well organized. Ken and Dana do an incredible job with every race they put on. I'm very happy that Ken is going to be running the Urban Adventure 100. Hopefully I can put in some miles with him.
Heartland is less than three weeks away my friends! This will be my second 50 miler. I had high hopes and goals several months ago, but now I'm just looking for a finish. I'm sure I'll share all the details here, whether you all want to hear them or not.
PS, I almost forgot to thank my crew! It was a handsome lot of boys that helped me out. Rick, Ryan and Adam were great. They didn't need to do much, but they were always fun to see. I think Adam spent most of his day trying to eat the food in my drop bag. I love having them come to races with me. Who knows? Maybe it will inspire them to do ultras one day.