Overall: 32/54 (1 DNF)
Overall Female: 5th
AG: 1st – got a bottle of wine! Blackberry Merlot from the local Dragonfly Winery est. 2017
50 mi PB/PR
Worked my butt off for this.
I met my friend, Bryan! We’ve followed each other for quite some time on social media, but we have never met in person. He’s also an athlete ambassador for Prevail Botanicals CBD salve and oil. Bryan is no stranger to Race Brimstone. We hung out in the port-a-potty line and the start line. He’s very nice, I’m glad that I got to meet him.
During the first half of the race, I wanted to remain focused on in the moment things. I tried to not worry about the 2nd half, which is when you need to dig deeper.
All three race distances, 25k, 50k, and 50 miler, start at the same time. Since they all start together, it’s one of those situations where if you’re a 50 miler, then you don’t want to go out too fast. The shorter distance runners might have a faster pace than you’re planning on running. Be mindful of your effort and strategy, don’t go out too fast and risk bonking later. It’s best to let the faster runners go off ahead. Of course, maybe this doesn’t quite reflect your race strategy, it was a win for me.
- “Proper Pacing Beats Piss Poor Performance.”
- “You’re fine.”
- “You’re doing good.”
The 2nd half, I spoke to myself out loud the majority of the time and meditated on the feel of my pace, without looking at my watch. When my legs didn’t want to move, I trotted a few steps, then did a 10-20 second sort of stride. Counted the seconds out loud to myself. Then, with 19 mi left, I continued the trotting and strides, but added a mileage countdown during the trot. Telling myself, “it’s only __ miles, come on!” When I got to 15 mi left, I made myself think of it as a short run. Coming in the last half mile, feeling pumped up, the moving pace on my watch was around 9:25 min/mi. I finished strong and my strategy for the day worked out very well.
Windy, 10-30 mph. Drizzle rain. Did have done sun and got to wear shorts and a tank. Temps in the 50s. I got very cold with about 10 miles left, my hands weren’t working so well, I was in a tank top. I stopped and put my long sleeves and rain jacket on. Almost instantly felt better. The cold rain and wind felt good on my hurting legs.
I don’t know if I’ll ever run on a canal towpath for longer than 50 mi, it’s pretty punishing, but I do like that about ultras. C&O 100 (on the C&O Canal Towpath) has been on my mind for a while, I’m glad that I had this 50 mile experience first.
The Ohio Valley Canal Towpath was a mix of tiny gravel, normal gravel, mud, puddles, and a good bit of pavement and running on a town road. My leg and hip muscles began feeling the repetitiveness between miles 15 and 25. Miles 30+ I was deep into the pain cave, I’m used to trail running, and felt amazed that I could push through the pain from running on a path. Running on a flatter path might not bother everyone’s body, but for some reason, it felt like it was injuring my hip, so it was a concern to me.
I recalled my “whys,” all of my motivation. I knew I could do it, but I needed to dig deep. As I was approaching the turn around point of the out-and-back course, I counted the number of women ahead of me. First place was approaching with a pacer, she was crushing it. Our eyes met, sending the message, “keep pushing.” After her, it was about a mile until I saw the second place woman. She was doing great. Entering the aid station, third place was just leaving and fourth place was finishing up and getting ready to leave. The lady who was in fourth and I chatted. I took care of myself and she left. I was feeling like I needed to stay on top of everything. Continue to take care of myself, follow my strategies, but I learned I was in a race.
The moment that I learned that I was the 5th female, I felt the reward from training and sticking with my plan. I was highly motivated by the women around me and felt like we were all bada$$es. I let this sink in. 6th and 7th place women were coming into the aid station as I left. Remaining in 5th place was my new goal, that would mean that I would need to keep up the good effort. Continue to practice everything. A few miles after leaving the aid station, I told myself, “you’re doing it, you’re racing.” Actually racing, being in the front of the pack, isn’t something I’m used to. I hired a running coach, Kyle Kranz (plant-based run coach), two years ago and working with him has improved my pace.
Through one particular areas of the path, I heard a million frogs singing and communicating, saw about 3 dozen turtles sunbathing, 3 woodpeckers, a blue herring, Canadian geese, and a blue bird! It was amazing!
About three quarters of the way finished, I saw a runner’s enemy, two Canadian geese. They were really upset with me passing. I stopped running to go around. They were on the path and didn’t even like me going off the path to pass. There was a wooden fence, so I went on the outside. The one goose hissed, spread out it’s wings and charged towards the fence. After getting safely past, I had to bend through the fence to get back on the path.
Throughout the event, I talked to new people, but we were mostly spread out, as usual in ultras. Besides the aid station volunteers, the journey back to the finish line was alone.
Volunteers were kind and supportive. The RDs (race directors), Jeremy and Eric, were also very kind (and put on a great event). After I crossed the finish line, I received a fist bump and was awarded my medal. I was surprised that I also got a sweet bottle of wine from the winery a block away. I didn’t realize that was coming! – AG (age group) award. One of the RD’s told me that if I drank my wine tonight, it would take the pain away, lol. It indeed would, but I knew I might be asleep before the bottle would get opened. I’m going to keep my bottle after I drink it and put it up with my other awards.
“Challenge yourself and achieve greatness.”Race Brimstone
Help me reach more people by buying me a coffee
My overall goal is to help endurance athletes (of all abilities, newer to sport, and retired) strengthen their mindsets and level up their mental well-being, so that they can finish stronger in their race and in life.
By buying me a coffee, you can help fuel me, so I can continue to create mental wellness content, reach others, and run. Thanks for being a part of my mission.