Prince William Forest, Triangle, VA.
83° F day. Sunny and humid.
68° F night. Thunderstorm and flood watch. Humid.
50.6 miles [according to my GPS watch]
2 25.7 mile loops on single track trail. Some parts of the trail were rocky. Fire roads were paved and gravel.
8,891 ft of ascending. 8,946 ft of descending [according to my GPS watch]
Second place female 99.37% **
46/91 participants finished
MSForce headlamp and rechargeable batteries; Black Diamond headlamp; UD vest with water bladder, soft flask (Tailwind), Cliff Bar, Almond Butter bar, cashews, pretzels, cranberries, 5 GU gels (3 contained caffeine); reusable speed cup; hat; Buff; pill box (Tylenol and SCaps); Injini socks under knee high compression socks; Altra KingMT and Altra gaiters.
Alex, the Race Director, lead the pre-race meeting and told us all of the important race details, like turns, orange and pink reflective markers, and where to punch our bibs with hole punches to indicate we completed the “out and backs.” He welcomed new comers to the ultrarunning community, as three of them would be running their first ultramarathon. They each received a red, white and blue lei to wear! Alex also handed off an American flag, which had a story behind it, to a runner who volunteered to carry it with her until she finished. Alex mentioned to watch for snakes.
We each received our own map to carry, since we would be running in the dark. The OSS/CIA 50 Miler is known to be challenging, with around or below a 50% finisher rate. – In 2017, it was below. Alex gave runners a gracious option of starting at 6pm or 7pm. 7pm being the normal start of the race and 6pm giving runners an extra hour of daylight to run in. Right after the meeting, Alex had the folks who opted for the 6pm start to begin. I had my mind made up that I’d begin at 7pm because I welcomed the challenge. I knew that with my slower pace, I couldn’t dilly dally and needed to run every run-able section of the course. I wanted to experience how the race was meant to be.
I made sure my gear was set and stretched my muscles as the start time got closer. I re-studied my map and became more nervous. I questioned myself for choosing the 7pm start. Stephen, my husband who was going to pace me on the second loop, sat with me at a picnic table. My phone GPS was set up so that he could somewhat follow my progress from his phone. Alex came over and chatted with us for a little. I told him I was feeling nervous, he could I was a little anxious. It was my first night race, though not my first time running all night long. It was nice that he came over.
Finally, the time arrived and Alex had us line up under the red, inflatable arch, where we would start and finish the race. I was one of the few women, I noticed more started at 6pm. No one wanted to be up front, as we tried to sort out where we would be amongst each other pace-wise. I like to stand between the middle and back. Alex asked the veteran runners to share any tips. One runner spoke up and said to pay attention to the course in the daylight because we would also run it at night. The race began as we all scuttled and started our GPS watches. I had a huge smile on my face. It was great to be running and to get the race nerves out of my system! I saw Stephen to the right taking a picture. I thought about good running form and reminded myself to stay patient because it was going to be a long night.
Once crossing the parking lot, we were at the trailhead. The single track slowed everyone to a halt as we has to funnel from a glob into a line. People chuckled about it because we didn’t make it far. Once sorted out, we ran along the windy, rolling hill course. I was somewhere in the back and playing leap frog. I noticed that my hydration pack was heavy and my muscles were burning, it was not a pleasant warmup. A runner near me happened to mention that his pack was heavy and thought that he might have overpacked. I agreed. The weather was hot and I began sweating. We ran up a small hill and through a grassy park. Stephen was there and kind of cheering because I might have fallen to last place!! People seemed to have gone out too fast, but I couldn’t tell.
I continued to physically battle through the first few miles, I felt like the race was kicking my butt. I needed more patience. I thought about my last race, UROC100K, and my DNF because of the heat and climbing. I thought about my last run before tapering for this race, when an old man stopped me to make small talk, and the conversation led to him telling me that my legs looked “weak” and did not look like runner’s legs. I shook the thoughts from my head. I knew in my heart that I’d finish this race. I love running the 50 mile distance, and this would be my 6th finish.
I learned that there were people behind me, though I accepted thinking that I was in last place. The trail was luscious and green, beautiful! We ran along a creek. I wanted to take it in because I wouldn’t see it again for hours. Plus, I remembered the advice from the veteran runner, study it in the daylight because you will see it again in the dark. Somewhere along the trail, Emily (Badwater family), came up from behind me and asked me if I enjoyed Badwater Cape Fear? I replied saying that I did and that it’s probably my favorite race. Emily and I chatted a little. Her pace was swifter than mine, I did alright with keeping up for a little, anything to talk about Badwater stuff! She has completed Badwater Salton Sea and Badwater 135. I told her that I became an ultrarunner because I wanted to run 135. She exclaimed that that was the same for her! How cool, I thought. Emily ran ahead as we came across rolling hills and small wooden bridges, and trees to step over. My short legs need to improve on uphill running.
The sun was still out and I wondered how much longer we had until dark. I estimated running for another 30-40 minutes before I’d stop to catch my breath and pull my headlamp out of my pack. I enjoyed running and hopping over rocks as I went. I felt like my pace was improving. I opened my first GU packet. I was a few miles away from the first water point, which was also an “out and back” road section, mile 7.9.
I stepped off the trail to pull out my headlamp, I knew it was early, but I didn’t care. Two chatty runners passed me, a man and a woman. The woman asked if I was okay. I told her that I was getting out my headlamp early and thanked her for asking. I thought to myself, I have trouble seeing in the dark, even if it is only a little dark. Some ultrarunners can get by in the dark with a small light or even just by moonlight, not me! – A headlamp was one of the requirements for this race. As I continued, I made sure that it sat comfortably on my hat. I thought about using my wireless headphones to listen to music, but I decided not to. Instead, I hummed and sang outloud two songs that were stuck in my head. I only knew part of one verse and the chorus. The songs were popular music songs. I haven’t listened to that kind of music in a long time, I enjoy rock music and grunge. “One Foot” and “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon were repeating. [Googled these songs to write this up, I didn’t know they were by the same band!]
The weather called for scattered thunderstorms throughout the night. I was looking forward to the experience! I’ve ran at night and I’ve ran in a thunderstorm, but never both at the same time. – This is one of the things that running an ultramarathon is all about… the crazy! We (runners) sign race waivers before the race to say that we’ve properly trained and are responsible for ourselves on the course. I would be responsible for my own safety in the storm.
A breeze was picking up and the sky grew a little darker. A storm was coming. I used a lower setting on my headlamp for brief, darker spots on the trail. I wanted to maintain my pace or even pick it up. Oh yes! I kind of said outloud when I saw the first turn for the road “out and back.” I learned that it was uphill, but I wasn’t far behind a handful of runners. I ran and walked the hill. The wind picked up, causing the tree leaves to rattle and my heartrate to slightly increase. I exchanged cheers with runners coming down the hill. I heard thunder rumbling closer and closer. In a peppy inflection, I told a runner that things are about to get interesting. He wasn’t as excited. When I reached the water stop, and a man was sitting under a tent, setup with machines and radios. He asked how I was. He jotted down my bib number and called it in on a radio that I made it. He said that he was waiting for another runner or two. As I used my speed cup to drink water from a water cooler, I asked him if the race would be shut down if the storm got severe. He said that he didn’t know for sure, but called and asked a volunteer working close with Alex. I heard the answer over the radio. The voice said that “the race would still be on. Depending if the creek floods, runners might be held at an aid station, otherwise, it’s the runner’s choice to drop out.” I was happy with that answer. I wasn’t going to drop out for any reason. This was my race. I thanked the volunteer under the tent and wished him luck as the wind picked up and rattled his tent. The sky became much darker, the clouds were dense. I bolted down the hill and at the bottom turned right to continue on the single track trail. I got a ways in and turned on my headlamp. The dark was coming, the storm was here.
The rain trickled down for a few seconds and then began to hammer the trees far above my head. I was shielded from the impact, but completely drenched. My body temperature was cooled and stopped sweating. It was still a little humid and very few bugs were out. Thunder and lightning was approaching my left. I watched in amazement the large drops of rain fall down between the tall trees. My pace quickened and I felt lightweight. Emotionally, I felt happy, peaceful and anxious. It was officially headlamp time, and time to find out if it was truly waterproof. All I could see by my headlamp were the rain drops, which appeared like silver coins and sparkled. The heavy rain filled the trail, making rushing streams to run up. Puddles and mud. The puddles were ankle deep in places. I had to be nimble and ready for action if my foot found a water covered rock or root. Luckily, it never did. I set my headlamp on the highest setting, 3 beams, and widened the main beam by twisting its structure. It was like having a circle of daylight reaching 12-15 feet in front of me. The rain and plants glistened. Thunder and lightning crashed overhead, the entire forest mimiced a black and white photograph for a split second, then nothing, but the circle from my light.
I was protected from wind, though I could hear the leaves blowing fiercely atop the trees. I wondered how other runners were doing, but I mostly wondered what the wildlife was doing. Do they like being out in stormy weather, do they hide, or does it even phase them? Bears crossed my mind, frequently. Does the rain make them feel like hunting? I was a nice little 4’11.5″ tall snack running through the woods. My singing increased in volume and enthusiasm, wanting to scare off anything.
I was owning running through the puddles, storm, and darkness. I weaved around brush that was taller than me and close to my sides, and I was not always able to see what was around the corner. I eventually passed a runner. He was hiking, and though I tried to encourage him, it didn’t seem to help. More runners. I passed them. I began to realize that the aid station was up ahead, I was 10.85 miles into the race. It felt like a day had passed. The lights under the white tent glowed. The thunder and lightning seemed to have ended, but it was still raining. The rain decreased. I turned off my headlamp as I began to approach the aid station, so that I wouldn’t blind anyone. Along with welcoming volunteers was a gigantic puddle right where I needed to stand. I didn’t care, my feet were soaked anyways. I shouted out my bib number. I had discovered where all the runners were. They were huddling around the aid station, eating and going through their drop bags. Some were heading out to the 2.4 mile loop and some where moving on to the road and second “out and back” of the race. Some runners looked like they were in bad shape and others looked well. The volunteers were upbeat and fun, cheering, clapping, and making jokes. The storm didn’t stop them. I was thankful that they were out there. There were a number of them!
Volunteers asked how I was and what they could do for me. I gathered my thoughts and assessed myself. I was feeling upbeat and well. I told them that I’d just quickly eat a banana and something else and go do the loop. So I did that and waved so they knew I left. I told myself that a nice, short section was ahead. My headlamp lit up the trail and then a brief road section, before turning right onto the trail again. A lady was there sitting in a chair with her rain jacket on and holding a flashlight. Her dog, at her side, barked at another runner. More puddles to splash through. The rain let up. There were bends and very small rolling hills. This section was enjoyable and I felt comforted knowing I wasn’t out there alone, I watched headlamps bouncing around. I passed people when I approached. I always let the person know I’m going to pass on the left and thank them for letting me by. Then, I came across a cute green toad with his head peeking out of a puddle! I stopped and said hello. My light reflected in his eyes. He starred back. I told him that I had to move him to somewhere safe. I guided him with my hands to hop along, off of the trail. Off he went.. and off I went. I love critters, I continued to think about the toad. I saw another runner ahead and realized it was Emily when I heard her voice. She had stopped for a second to backtrack because she couldn’t remember how long ago she saw the last piece of reflective ribbon. I told her that I was pretty sure that we were still on track because I saw one about four minutes ago. We ran a little together and I told her about the toad. We began up a hill and then I think she slowed. I thought to myself, I must be back at the aid station soon. [It was the one I was previously at, located at an intersection of the course.] I found another toad, this one was more colorful. I got him out of harm’s way.
Yeah! Minutes later, I was back to the road where the lady was sitting with the dog, but she was gone. I headed back into the aid station. Again, I wasn’t there long. Two or three runners were trying to drop from the race. The volunteers explained why they can’t drop there, they had to drop at the next aid station, which was the start/finish, completing loop one. There was no other way to get back. One lady’s headlamp was done, only a dim green light on it was working. It was her only headlamp and no extra batteries. A runner behind me murmured that it was her first 50 miler. I thought, terrible mistake to make during a night race. I thanked the volunteers and began making my way towards the “out and back” section.
I ran down a trail that seemed to last forever. I passed another runner. It seemed like people were tired. My headlamp was bright and helped keep me awake. Having a bright headlamp is game changing, especially during 100 milers when your body wants to sleep. I was alone, again. I sang the same two songs outloud, over and over again to keep up my pace and spirit. 3.5 miles felt very long. At least the temperature outside was cooler, upper 60’s. Road again, and more uphill! I approached a gate, and it had a water stop on the other side. Two men volunteering warned me about the big puddle next to the gate. They said that they didn’t want my feet to get anymore wet than they already were. I went around it even though I didn’t care. I quickly grabbed water using my speed cup. They asked if I needed anything and I told them that I was doing well. They asked if I knew where I was going next and I was like, uh? They gave clear instructions: go up the road and at the second right, go right; keep going until you get to the gate and punch your bib; turn around and go back to the first right you saw, and then go left onto that trail. I nodded that I understood and said, and there are signs, too? They said there were. I thanked them and ran up a road hill, then hiked.
Up and down a couple of times. I came across more runners, they were coming down the hill. I heard several chorus frogs singing and toads croaking. I could even hear them jump, it was as if a string being held taught was plucked. It was amazing! I came up behind a runner for a few seconds and we both stated that there were a lot of frogs out there. I power walked and began to pass two men who had stopped to fix gear. For a second, I thought I made it to the gate and looked at them for the hole punch. I was on a mission, but getting delirious. They didn’t have it, they said it was up ahead. I asked if they were okay and they said they were. I kept going. There was the gate. These gates reminded me of the Barkley Marathons. Me and the other walker found the hole punch tied to the gate, and we punched our damp bibs with it. We ran down the hill and eventually walked up another, then ran down a hill, then up another. The frogs continued to keep us company. Our left turn arrived and we got on the trail. I began singing once I was alone again.
Another section seemed to take forever. 6.3 miles until a water stop, no volunteers at this one. During this section, my headlamp batteries were going dim. I didn’t want to stop, though I was prepared to replace the batteries with extra rechargeable ones or use my Black Diamond headlamp. I was stubborn for whatever reason and decided to keep trucking along. I was running tired and going through the motions, however, I had a positive mindset. I ate and drank what I was carrying with me in my pack throughout the night. [In fact, I had salvaged and properly paced drinking the water from my bladder that I didn’t need it to be refilled until I finished the first loop.] Besides being tired and ready to see the next water station, I thought I was doing alright. Two guys up ahead stepped aside for me to pass. I came to a fork in the trail, having difficulty seeing with my headlamp at this point, but I didn’t want to slow down, I looked for a marker, but my lamp didn’t light anything up, so I went left, which seemed more like a straight, anyways. When the men got to that section, they noticed that I went the wrong way and they saw the ribbon directing another way. They yelled over to me that I missed the turn. I came back. I thanked them and decided that it was time to get out my Black Diamond headlamp. I took my MSForce off and placed it into my pack. I decided to give my head a break from wearing a headlamp and to just hold the Black Diamond with my hand. I passed the men and thanked them again. Had they not been there, I would have not known that I chose the wrong turn for a while. I should have gotten the other headlamp out sooner, oops. I wondered where the next water stop was. I didn’t need water, I just wanted to know how much further. My GPS watch is usually accurate, but I don’t look at it much. I was fighting a mental battle. We came to a road intersection and there were the water coolers!
Striving forward, was more trail, roads and rolling hills. It was a run/walk battle for everyone around me. I just kept moving, this section was 3.6 miles. One road was made up of pebbles and rocks. There was more trail again. I began to realize where I was! I was getting somewhat near the suspended bridge at the beginning of the race! I trucked along and I reached the bridge. It was a good sign. A mile or whatever left and I’d be done with the first loop! Up and down the trail, I was still on my mission. A few runners were coming towards me from the aid station, heading back on the second loop. We congratulated one another. I saw the aid station pavilion lights shining slightly through the trees in front of me, up and over another hill. I came up the final hill, pressing on my knees with my hands to heave myself upwards. Ah, the trailhead end, seeing it felt relieving. I began running! People were cheering! I smiled and waved.
As I ran through the dark parking lot, I saw the red inflatable finish line and the multi-colored flags that lead up an embankment to the aid station. I questioned in my mind for a second whether I should run under the finish line because that’s for finishing and I’ve never ran under one before finishing a race, I didn’t want to jinx myself! I crossed under it, knowing that without a doubt I was going to complete the second loop.
I ran up the hill and volunteers, race timers and other folks were clapping and cheering that they had another runner. The scene was almost blurry to me from the strenuous activity. At this halfway point aid station, held in a picnic pavilion, a volunteer and my husband came up to me right away and asked me what I needed. I asked to have my hydration taken care of and got my MSForce headlamp batteries changed. As I was standing around eating, I couldn’t help but to hear a man, who was unwell, sitting at the picnic table next to me. He described to a volunteer that he couldn’t stop throwing up. As I was sticking a corner of the sandwich into my dry mouth, Stephen comes over and says, “are you aware of what time it is?” I replied with a “no.” He says, “well, you’ve got about 8 minutes to get out of this aid station.” Meaning that the cutoff time was coming up behind me. “I said, alright, I can go, just let me eat this.” He says, “alright…” and quickly used the restroom before we went back out onto the course.
Runners coming in, up the trail, were going to miss the cutoff time. Even though their race had ended, they applauded me for heading out to my second loop. I congratulated them on their work. As we ran, I chatted with Stephen about my adventure so far and how I caught up to everyone. I explained that the 25 miles facing us were going to be the longest-feeling 25 miles of his life. The loop is that mentally strenuous. We continued on winding single track trail, with no light, but from our headlamps.
We approached the out and back road to head up the hill to the water station. I recalled that the last I was here was when the storm was about to strike. The same aid station volunteer was there. He joked around with us and asked Stephen if he needed a whip or pitchfork to keep me going. We laughed (especially, because we have an inside joke), and Stephen said that he thought I was doing well pacing myself. I grabbed a quick swig of water using my speed cup and beat Stephen to being ready to fly back down the road. I was welcoming the road downhill. The volunteer was trying to find out over the radio who might still be on the trail, heading his way. Once Stephen replenished his hydration (the temperature outside was hot enough for us to sweat), we swiftly ran down the hill and turned right onto the trail.
I discovered that the majority of the rain water that was previously rushing down the trail from the storm, had seeped into the ground. The mud puddles were still there, in all their muddy glory. We talked about many things as we ran the runable and hiked the too difficult. When we heard the water rushing over the dam, but couldn’t see it because it was too dark, we reminisced on a winter time visit to this portion of the trail. We continued on this way until we excitedly reached the aid station with the food.
The gigantic mud puddle that used to overtake part of the aid station was gone. We could hear a runner dry heaving just outside of the aid station lighting. I grabbed a small bite to eat as the volunteer, who I heard was also vegan, asked me if I wanted anything. I explained that I’ll go get the loop done and then come back to have some of his vegan lentil soup!! He perked up and asked about how I found that out? I told him that it was mentioned at the pre-race briefing. He nodded and smiled. We went out onto the little stretch of road and into the looped single track. I told Stephen to watch for frogs and shared my stories about the frogs from the last loop. The loop felt easy compared to everything else, it was nice. We passed a few runners. I was looking forward to vegan soup. I had a hunch that the loop would be over soon, based off of landmarks from the first loop, so I commented to Stephen. We went up a hill and came to the road that led to the aid station. I happily asked for just a little bit of hot soup. It would be enough to help fuel some of the remaining race miles, but not enough to make me stop to use the restroom. I was scooped some and as I waited for it to cool, I grabbed other food. Stephen also had the soup. When mine cooled enough, I finished it and felt prepared and motivated to tackle the next section of the course.
I recalled the next section feeling long the last time. It was this time, also. I tried to keep my spirits up. I began to feel sleepy from being up all night and thought about telling Stephen, but I didn’t want to say it outloud. I dismissed the thought and was able to fight off a little exhaustion. More night running, more night hiking. We could tell that the sky was a shade lighter, morning was on its way. I knew that having sunlight would make a world of difference with being able to stay awake, but I was dreading how hot the weather might become.
Another road and we were close to the water station. When we arrived, we took in some water and listened to the volunteers, who reminded me where to go and turn. I nodded that I remembered and thanked them. We continued on our way. During this out and back section, the sun was coming up and things began to look differently in the daylight. I listened for my choir frogs, but they were gone. I could occasionally hear another type of frog off the trail. I enjoyed listening to the frogs. After walking up the last of the rolling hills on this road, I hole punched my bib for the second, and last time of the race. My bib was damp and it was difficult to pierce. We ran back down the hill. I remembered our next turn and we made it, back to trail, we could see in the daylight! We stashed away our headlamps.
I kept a steady, slow pace, just grinding away at the miles. They felt longer and longer. My stride length was shorter. I began to get tired, both physically and mentally, at times doing a run/walk, with no method to the madness. Relentless forward progress. If I kept moving, I’d finish, but I’d have to keep a certain pace. I longed for finishing. Having fun was over, at least the scenery was beautiful. Rich green plants, ferns, grasses, trees. A stream rolling along rocks on our left. I watched for wildlife, thinking that it would be a great place to witness some, but I never saw any. The runners around us were also running and walking. I attempted to briefly converse with them, but it seemed like they weren’t in the mood. There was a group of 3 or 4 men and one woman. Because I’m a competitive person, even if I’m exhausted to the bone, I looked at the woman to see if I could tell whether she was in my age group or not. I decided that she was, and that I would try to stay ahead of her the remaining miles. I would kill my body to do so. Stephen and I played leap frog with the group. The oldest man was kind and stated that his goal was to make it in just under the cutoff for the race finish. We were well ahead of schedule. The other runners gave short answers when speaking with them and didn’t seem to want bothered. One was the lady that I didn’t want to beat me to the finish. I figured they were grumpy from exhaustion.
We passed by the final water station. Stephen stopped, but I continued. Stephen caught up. Leap frog continued with the group. Continuing on, Stephen began to tire and fell behind me because he needed more fuel and was sleep deprived. I was feeling frustrated trying to keep up or stay ahead of the woman I was pacing myself with. She was now just running and chatting with a man. I was giving it close to my all, but how did she move quicker?? I could tell by the trail scenery that we were getting closer to the final stretch of trail. All I thought about was finishing strong. The woman and man picked up their pace, knowing the finish was about 3 miles away, I also did. I wasn’t sure how far back Stephen was. I had to walk the smallest uphills, my legs were beat. I was doing my best and soon learned that my best would have to do, the woman pulled ahead, still running with the man. She had more left in her to run up hills. I could hear the finish line! It was finally the end!! I wasn’t far behind the woman, but I was beginning to accept that she beat me.
As we went from trail to parking lot, people cheered for us to finish. The grand finale arrived!! People were tailgating and the aid station pavilion was full of people. I chased harder, and my goal is to always finish strong. -Even on training runs. I darted across the parking lot, watching for moving cars, but luckily they were stopped waiting for runners to come through. I don’t know how fast I was running, I was so happy! I gave a small fist pump and smiled at those cheering. I looked at the inflatable red arch as I approached to cross under it. I felt extremely thankful that the race was over, that I was safe during the thunderstorm, and that it was a wonderful experience.. though a crazy, tough one. The race couldn’t have been better, I thought. I ran up the small bank with these happy thoughts soaring in my head. Then, my attention went to the timing and to Alex. I crossed the finish and Alex personally congratulated me.
Only a few dozen runners waited around to watch others finish. Runners were eating, cleaning up (mud and sweat) and sharing running stories. I ate some fruit and part of a bagel. I didn’t feel like eating, but forced myself something. The woman who finished about 15 feet ahead of me was sitting on the picnic table where I was grabbing food. I told her, “great job, out there!” I didn’t get much of a reply, I guess she didn’t have fun or whatever. I went back over near the finish line and hung out with others sitting on a block wall. I was asked by the runner sitting on my left if I would participate in this race again? I told him that once was enough and that the race was really hard. He chuckled. I briefly talked about running other races and DNFs, and then just listened to their stories. Alex came over and told me that I finished second female overall! I missed first place female by 5 minutes!! He said that I’d receive a different sized cup than the other finishers. I didn’t know what “different sized cup” meant, but it sounded good to me. – I actually didn’t even know what we would receive for finishing the race, lol. I don’t remember my reaction to learning my place, I think I was in total disbelief and it felt surreal… I could have acted a ton more excited! Things were fuzzy.
Shortly after learning this news, Stephen arrived back and I told him my placing. He was happy for me. We watched as others crossed the finish line. It was past the race cutoff time, by now. It was great to watch all the victories! Everything accomplished by everyone was a victory! When people settled, Alex gathered us and individually announced those who placed. As he called our names, he handed us our large, fancy OSS/CIA 50 Miler tumblers. It was so awesome finishing second female overall. I’ve placed in my age group before in a 50 miler, but never female overall. What a blessing!
I learned that the woman who finished feet in front of me did the one hour early start. Questions I had earlier made sense now. She actually finished behind me, I had no idea that she was in the earlier start. I wonder what I could have done differently to speed up and beat the first place woman? I will continue to learn and improve.
From this race, I learned that you just have to hang in there and do your best. Have a positive attitude and mindset. Have fun! Grind out the work and accept the suffering. Repeat!
This race was one of the most fun times I’ve had. It was mentally, excruciatingly difficult; the thunderstorm was THE. BEST. PART; I had fun with the volunteers and my husband; Alex is caring and organized; good race course location; challenging race, overall.
Half of the runners finished the race this year, which Alex claimed was one of the better years. OMG.