So...this happened over the weekend.
Oh, you didn't know I was planning to run a 50K? Not many others did, either. After the Green Jewel disaster, I decided to keep this one to myself. Many of my good friends didn't even know about it until a few weeks before the event. I'm sure they speculated that something was up, but they let me have my secret until I was ready to share.
The night of Green Jewel while I was snuggled on the couch with my never ending vodka beverage and feeling sorry for myself, I perused the web for nearby 50Ks that were at least a month out to give my injuries time to heal. I came across the website for Another Dam 50K. It's put on by the Ohio River Road Runner's Club, the same club that runs my favorite half marathon. It HAD to be a good one, right? Well, it couldn't be worse than Green Jewel.
Four days after Green Jewel, I registered...and started training. Again.
Back in May, my friend Angela and I ran 20 miles on the course, which was a 7.8ish mile loop. I wanted to check out the trails and she was kind enough to accompany me. The day we went was the first hot day of the year. Temps reached over 70 degrees and it was sunny. This whole run was pretty miserable. The course was hilly and parts were very technical. Oh, and there was nature. Everywhere.
I like nature, I really do. I just don't like it when it touches me. After 20 miles that day, I knew. I was going to be touched by the damn nature. For 31+ miles.
Photo taken by Angela
At least the scenery was pretty.
I spent the next few weeks running on hills as often as I could and hoped for the best.
Fast forward to race day.
Temps were in the mid-60s, we had total cloud cover and a cool breeze. I couldn't have ordered a more perfect day. I nestled in toward the back of the pack at the start. I wasn't in a hurry, I had 31 miles to go. The race director said a few words and said, "Go." And we were off. Gotta love a teeny tiny race.
|Before the start.|
Photo taken by Allen
The race course has a figure-eight shape with two aid stations. The main aid station was in the middle of the 8 and the start/finish was also an aid station at the bottom of the 8. My friends, Allen and Sunshine came to cheer for me and serve as my aid station crew. Randy and the Little Ladies were planning to come after lunch. I was afraid there wouldn't be much for the kids to do and didn't want Randy stuck with bored kids all day.
|My personal aid station|
Photo taken by Sunshine
|Running through the aid station.|
Photo taken by Allen
There was one big downhill in the woods--at the top of the figure eight. Tree roots built steps into the hill to climb down on. When the tree roots ended, there were man-made wooden steps in the hill. I took my time there, as well. No use tumbling down the hill.
During my first loop, I made a friend.
Of course I did. I'm me.
Her name was Lisa. She has two daughters who are a few years older than mine. We chatted and ran at a nice easy pace. When we got to the start/finish aid station, she took her time, I did not and we were separated.
On the second loop, I made two more friends.
Their names were Gina and Dawn. These ladies were badass. This 50K was a training run for a 100 miler they've got coming up. They were fun to chat with. They'd done this 50K before and warned me that the third loop was misery--everyone loses their shit on the third loop--but the fourth loop is better. Second wind, or something.
Some time during this loop, I was separated from Gina and Dawn and during this brief time, I tripped over the damn nature and found myself sprawled on the ground. I wish I could say that I went down gracefully. I did not. It was quite a shame that there were no witnesses to help me laugh at myself.
I was reunited with Gina and Dawn at the main aid station and we ran together to the start/finish aid station where they took their time and I did not. I was still feeling pretty good and didn't want to waste it.
I started my third loop at 15+ miles and as I ran, I waited. I waited to feel the misery. I waited to hit the wall. I waited to lose my shit.
|Photo taken by Allen|
What the hell? Why aren't I miserable?
Shut up, Jamie. Just go with it.
My fourth trip across the dam...
|Look at all that dam behind me!|
There was a volunteer on the other side to make sure the runners turned the right direction and every time I came off the damn, I said to her, "That's one long ass dam."
And every time she said, "Don't I know it."
While I was on that long ass dam for the fourth time, I saw Randy pull into the park. As I approached the main aid station (mile 25ish), I started to lose my emotional stability. I always get emotional when I see my babies at races.
I came out of the woods crying. I promised everyone that I was ok. Just emotional. I said hello to my sweet Little Ladies while Allen and Randy each refilled a water bottle for me. During my third loop, I started carrying one bottle of water and one bottle of Powerade. With the humidity, I was sweating a lot. I wanted to stay ahead of the dehydration. Allen quickly shooed me out of the aid station, which was good for me. Leave the emotions behind. I dried my eyes so I could focus on the damn nature.
Mile 26 came and went. Still, I was waiting. Waiting for the misery. Waiting for the wall. Waiting to lose my shit. Mile 29, still smiling, I made one last stop at the main aid station, my crew refilled bottles, gave me some chips and sent me to the finish.
To the finish!
I was going to the finish line and I felt...good. How could this be? Sure, I was tired. And swollen. And it was possible that once I stopped running, I wouldn't be able to take one more step. But I had my wits about me. I wasn't delirious, I wasn't cursing running or my stupid ideas and my giveashit was still intact.
I was still smiling.
|Photo taken by Allen|
Holy shit, I did it.
After I ran 20 miles on the course with Angela, I decided that I'd like to be able to finish around 6 and a half hours. This seemed do-able. A challenge, but not outside the realm of possibilities.
The clock said 6:21 when I finished.
About the race:
Another Dam 50K is tiny. Like, microscopic. They limit their field to 120 participants. The finish line consists of checking in with people sitting at a picnic table with a clipboard who write your time down. Nothing fancy. No timing chips. No fireworks. No bands. Exactly what the runners need and nothing more. It was perfect.
The course is a loop; 7.8ish mile loop run 4 times. Many people dislike loops, but I'll tell you why this looped course is great: with only 120 people out there (this year, they went over and there were 133), after the second loop, I was alone for the last 2 loops. Not a soul around. It was nice to pass by people who were running the opposite direction. A smile and a wave and a "nice job!" or a "you're looking good!" can do wonders for your energy level. You know what to expect: on my third loop, when I ran an undesirable part of the course (the grassy areas or the dam), I'd tell myself, "I only have to do this one more time." Plus, the loop is not so small that you feel like you're running in circles of insanity.
Every type of terrain was included in this course. We ran on a paved bike path, on a road, on grass, on a gravel path, on a dirt path, even on decking built in a marshy area in the woods. This race course has it all.
I've been saying since before Green Jewel that I would do one 50K, cross it off my bucket list and stick with marathons. I still stand by that. One and done.
Buuuuuuuut....***if*** I were to do another, it would be this one. I didn't expect to, but I really enjoyed it. Every second of it.
My friend Lynn ran this one, too. She also had a mishap at Green Jewel and didn't finish.
|Redemption for both of us.|
Man, I look tired.
Photo taken by Allen.
HUGE THANK YOU
~to Randy. My rock. For pouring the vodka and not even hesitating when I said, "I'd kind of like to try again..." For making pancakes with our Ladies every weekend while I ran and for your unconditional love and support.
~to Allen and Sunshine. For being my cheerleaders and the keepers of all of my shit. For lying to me, telling me how great I looked, for 31 miles. For taking pictures. You know how I adore pictures.
~to all of my friends who trained with me. Short or long, whether you knew what I was planning or not, you were a part of this journey.
I know you're dying to know, so I'll tell you....
...all about the outfit..
I wore the Running Skirt with Shorties (sorry, not available any longer) and the Eclipse Tank. The skirt has shorts with a 5" inseam and there was absolutely no adjusting during our 31+ miles together. Other skirts that have the 5" shorties that ARE available are: Race Magnet Skirt with Shorties, High Five Skirt and Gym Girl Ultra. The Eclipse tank is lightweight and fitted but not too tight. Perfect for summer. You can't see it, but I'm also wearing the Kelly Bra. I like to wear it with the straps criss-crossed in the back to make sure that the straps stay put...and to hide the straps when I wear a tank.
If you want my outfit, head on over to SkirtSports.com and save 20% with the coupon code SSRRMR20. Happy shopping!