All I can say is… what an unexpectedly great race!
Mendon Trail Run gives you the option to run a 10k, 20k, 30k, or 50k. The 50k started at 8am, then the other races started at 9:30am. There were a total of 281 people racing – only 81 ended up finishing the 50k. Originally it looked like there would be over 100 in the 50k, but im guessing a bunch of people switched distances due to the weather.
The 50k was 5 10k loops in Mendon Ponds Park. I started out following my friend Liz, who is a great Ultra runner – and she had won this race last year. My goal was to keep up with her as long as possible. We ended up running together for the first loop and into the 2nd. I started to feel really good, so I picked it up a bit. That’s when Liz told me to “listen to my body” and take off if I needed to. So I did.
Lap 1 time: 1:01:04
Soon I was behind the 2nd place female and could see the 1st place female ahead. I had no idea who they were or what they were capable of. So I passed #2 and stayed behind #1 for a while.
Lap 2 time: 0:57:52
In the 3rd loop I was still behind #1, and she started talking to another runner and seemed to slow down a bit. So I passed her. Then my only thoughts were that I needed to get as far from her as possible… so I tried to keep a good pace, and run up some hills that she would probably walk. I thought I had made a good gap between us, didn’t hear her…. I wasn’t going to look behind me tho. I get to the worst hill of the course and start walking up it. Sure enough she comes out of nowhere and passes me speed walking up this thing. I knew it was coming, but I was still in 2nd!
Lap 3 time: 1:00:07
I was still 2nd for the entire 4th loop, at one point I could see that the girl behind me was pretty close. My hands and toes were numb, I was starting to get chest pains… so I started to think the usual (I was dying). I started thinking about the 2nd pair of (dry) gloves that were in my drop bag… and decided a glove change would be necessary.
Lap 4 time: 1:07:05
I stopped at my drop bag before the 5th loop. Had a ton of trouble changing gloves… my hands were numb, swollen, and not functioning effectively. I watched as my place changed from 2nd to 3rd…. if she didn’t pass me now – she definitely would have on the course.
I started loop number 5. I was wishing I was done. I was tired of being cold and wet. I wanted to walk the whole thing… but I didn’t want to lose being in 3rd. I also wanted to get this over with. So I decided I would take it easy… and try to just walk the hills.
Lap 5 time: 1:18:25
I finished still in 3rd. Got high fives from the #Trailsroc crew – who also cheered and high-fived me all day… which was awesome.
23rd overall out of 81
3rd female out of 20
1st in my age group out of 4 (20-29)
50k in 5:24:33 (10:28 average pace)
Overall – I felt great. No mental breakdowns. I didn’t get overwhelmed at all until around mile 25… which is a new record. Usually it’s around mile 17. But I fought the urge and sucked it up.
I ran the 50k faster than my trail marathon time (5:50:49).
I had said before I didn’t think I could run a trail ultra. I always get foot and calf cramps when I run longer trail races. But that didn’t happen yesterday! I felt a twinge once… then nothing. Maybe it was the colder weather? or maybe it was just a lucky day… who knows. But thanks to this race, I’ll definitely be testing out more trail ultras.
Also – I am strangely not sore. Only thing that’s bugging me is my right heel? Which didn’t bother me yesterday, but I woke up this morning… and holy painful! I’m hoping it goes away… I would like to be able to run the Dirt Cheap Stage Races next weekend – one of my favorites (3 races in 2 days). That would also complete my goal of 300 miles raced this year 🙂
This is long. Thanks for reading. The end.