Baker Trail UltraChallenge 50 Miler, south section.
OA: 32/88 (16 DNFs)
About Baker Trail UltraChallenge
Lucky the Dwarf Goat joins us video
Half a mile into the race, we passed Luck’s home. She is an adorable dwarf goat. Lucky was bottle-fed indoors, unlike her siblings. She is free-range.
Lucky greeted and ran with us part way up the hill. What a fun way to start our journey.
She brought luck to my day, I had a wonderful race.
Katie and I started out the race together, she is the person in front of me in the video. Lucky is running in front of her. We ran several miles together at Baker last year, and we share the love (and hate) for Oil Creek 100. After a few miles, we got separated.
Stephen and I were sticking together. Last year, we ran the entire 50 miles together, but this year we weren’t sure how long we’d hang together because I did more training for the race. His hands were full with work.
As Stephen and I made our way through the trail, our friend Jamie came up behind us. I was surprised to see her because we didn’t see her at the start. It ended up that she just missed the race start, which is something that I have bad dreams over. She shared the story of getting caught up, and she also saw Lucky and got a picture with her. It was her first 50 miler. Jamie and her husband, Sean, founded the Butler County Milers run club.
At AS 3, I checked-in and asked how many women already went through, 9. I remained steady and continued hydration and eating.
Jamie hung out with Stephen and I, it was great having the three of us together. We talked about vacations, and all sorts of other topics. The section with the rope climb, which is pretty early in the race, caused my short legs climbing problems. The dirt was loose, it took a lot of effort. Later, there was another hill with loose dirt, but no rope. We clung to roots and trees to pull ourselves up. Jamie and I were laughing at my efforts. I did some cursing at how the climbing was going.
As I was almost to the top and avoiding a jagger, I felt this extreme bite in the back of my leg, just under my shorts. It was a hornet bite. I struggled to run, but decided to keep on. We passed a lady who stopped, she was also bit. It sounded like she was going to walk to the next aid station. It was crazy painful.
Any soreness or battle wounds that I received from trail running the rest of the day was masked by the pain of the bite. I had Stephen and Jamie help keep an eye on it, since I couldn’t easily see it. It turned into a large welt.
I paced our little group, everything seemed to be going great for all three of us. We didn’t stick around in aid stations, we stayed steady. I explained to my expectation of catching up to other women if we just stuck to what we were doing. Patients and doing everything right.
The 6 P’s paid off! Proper Pacing Prevents Piss Poor Performance. – Was my mantra. (Learned from my coach, Kyle Kranz)
Jamie and Stephen eventually slowed down and wanted more time in aid stations, the temperature was rising, so I continued on alone to stick to the plan. It was an awesome morning to reflect on!
At 50k, I still felt strong and figured that I could possibly catch 1 or 2 women in front of me, depending how their races were going. It was getting hot, 83° F. I told myself to keep up everything and remain patient. I estimated that around mile 40 I’d see the next woman.
In the final 5 miles, I slowed, took it easy, and paid close attention to how I was feeling. The water, Gatorade, and Coke were sitting in my stomach, making me very bloated. My body wasn’t absorbing the water. Just prior to this, between miles 40 and 45, I passed 3 women. It was hard. We leap frogged and even ran part of the uphills. We all wanted to do the best we could. It was great to have their company, motivation, and shared competitiveness.
One of the women I was leap frogging with asked me what age group I was in, thinking that I was in the 20’s, but I was in the 30’s. She was in her 50’s and was feeling very good about keeping up with someone much younger than she was. I told her that I hope to be still running strong in my 50’s, like she was. I know so many strong women in this sport who continue to participate and race as they age. They are great role models, some of them probably don’t realize it. They make a big positive impact in our sport.
At an aid station, I made a new friend, Steve, and his wife. He is a local, western Pennsylvania runner. I stuck around the aid station longer than I did any other aid station to chat. He saw my Badwater hat and asked about it. I told him about Badwater Cape Fear, which is a unique race, mostly being on sand. After deciding that I needed to get it done, I headed back out.
Two of the women ended up catching and passing me as I was taking my time in the last 4 miles due to possible dehydration. It was a bummer, but they were awesome. At the end of the race, I learned that it was the one lady’s first 50 miler.
Towards the end, I was in 6th place female before the two women caught back up. I’m pleased with my performance.
It felt good finishing another race strong.
Photo credits: Kelly Wilding, Mike McNeil, and Brenda Willet