I woke up at 5:30 am on Saturday morning and hurriedly got myself ready. When I finally stopped for two seconds, I realized what the heck I was getting myself into. I almost did not want to get up and go, but I knew I prepared well and was ready. The weather was amazingly perfect as it was partly cloudy and in the low 60s.
My mother (aka Sherpa) and I drove the 10 minutes to the lake and we got ourselves settled. I checked in, got my race bib and bag, put on my chip, then got myself prepared for the madness I was about to put myself through. I got to meet a few other runners, which was nice since I was pretty nervous.
Right at 7 am, the race started. We all shuffled through starting line and were off. The first hour, I just did not feel 100%. I was having some lower GI issues that were worrying me, but after I took some Pepto and finished the first hour, everything seemed to just fall into place. I was in 7th place (I later found out that there were 11 women competing) after the first hour. I didn’t like that place, but knew that place should not matter during the race, seeing as this was my first ultra. The next couple of hours kind of went on uneventfully.
As the hours swept by (pretty quickly actually, which felt weird), I found myself creeping up the rankings. A bunch of us ladies were tied for laps for a bit, but I eventually got up to 4th place, then 3rd place. I knew to keep myself in check and not to push myself when I should be worried about distance, not place. Around hour 6, though, I realized it was possible to catch the 2nd place woman.
I felt amazing up until about hour 7.5. At hour 7, when I realized I would definitely hit my 50 mile goal, I thought to myself, “Okay, I think I can do all 12 hours. I feel great!” Just a short 30 minutes later, I realized that would require 4.5 more hours of running, which seemed INSANE at that point. Nothing really hurt that much (okay, my right knee’s usual runner’s knee pain would flare up from time to time, but nothing that would stop be from running), but 4.5 more hours seemed like a ton. I just convinced myself that I needed to get to the 10 hour mark (50 miles) and figure out the game plan after that.
I loved the small course and the race was run unbelievably well, especially due to the amazing race director Shelly and the superb volunteers. The runners there were so inspirational and supportive of everyone else. Whenever one of the top guys would run by, they’d say how strong I looked as they zoomed by me. It was really great. I ran with a few runners during my time and everyone was always so supportive and nice.
Around mile 45 or so, I ended up re-connecting with the only other 22 year old in the race. He was of course many laps ahead of me, but we ended up doing the last 2 or 3 hours together. It was nice having a companion during the run, especially to discuss running. Most of my friends are not runners, especially not ones training for ultras, so it was great to talk to someone else who knows what the training and experience is like. He also had not run for as long as we planned to hit in the race, so I was not the only crazy one running way more than I have ever done.
Around hour 10 is when I snuck into 2nd place. I really think that my tortoise and the hare theory worked for this race for me, but there were some amazingly talented runners out there. I feel like I just hit a pace that was slow enough that I could keep going at that pace for a long time, but not so slow I was trudging along or walking (though I did incorporate walking breaks every 10 minutes). I eventually hit the 50 mile mark (my high goal for the race) and I felt amazing. I knew I still had 2 hours left, but I just decided to break it into 2 1-hour sets.
Eventually, it was the last hour and I could not believe it! I was going to make it to around 60 miles and going to run the whole 12 hours. The last hour was kind of a blur, as it seemed to whip by. The last lap, my running companion, Jesse, said we should really push the last lap. Having seen him run fast the beginning, I just told him to have no gripes about leaving me in the dust. Once we hit that last lap, he was gone! I pushed pretty darn fast for all the running I had done. It felt amazing to finally finish! I had run 59.8 miles (the course was .49 miles, hence it not being a full 60 miles). I came in 10th overall and was the 2nd placed female. Since there were awards for overall winners for males and females, I won 1st place Open Female Award. I was slower than I planned on being, but in the end, I think it helped me be able to run all 12 hours. Overall, I could not be happier of how my first ultra went. I am sure hoping my 24 hour race in July goes similarly, but that would be a lot to hope for.
Final Details: 59.8 miles in 11:58:31