Sunday, May 8, 2011

Capitol Peak 50mile Race Recap

Last Saturday I lined up with a hundred plus other people in the Capitol State Forest and headed out for a run. An all day run. You know, the kind that takes 10 hours and you cover 50 miles up and down a mountain and through the woods and over the river and back to the finish line we go...

I have only run 1 other 50 mile race, a year ago, and it was flat. Kansas flat. I ran a 50 mile fun run through the Cascades to Stehekin last September, but this would be my first 50 mile race with any real elevation gain (6,500 ft). I didn't really have time goals, my only plan was to set out at a comfortable pace that I felt I could maintain for an indefinite period of time. I wanted to practice race strategy and being on my feet for hours on end, maintaining forward motion, keeping positive and staying hydrated and fueled in prep for my 100 in August.

So I went easy. I hiked the ups fast (whoo hoo...getting better. I passed some people going up!). I ran the flats and I killed the downhills in a restrained (for me) manner. I ate, I drank, I took electrolyte tabs and I kept moving. And you know what?

At mile 20, I didn't even feel like I'd been running.

At mile 26 I felt like I'd been out for about a 10 miler.

At mile 35 I felt like I'd run a good "long run" training day.

At mile 39 I hit a low mentally.

At mile 42 I felt like I'd run a 50k.

At mile 47 I caught up to 2 people and I found I had the energy to kick--hard. I went flying down the switchbacked trail leaving the guy way behind. The woman stuck with me for the first half before she fell back. When I hit the road with about 1.5 miles to go I was beginning to feel the sustained increase in speed, but it was still downhill. So I kept pushing, because

I was nowhere near tired.

My muscles weren't fatigued, my mind was clear, my mood was good. 50 miles was a short distance away and it felt like I'd run about 30. I caught another person and as I flew past him he gave me a high five and some encouraging words. A few strides later I ran into a friend who was there supporting some mutual friends who were also running and he ran the last bit with me. His encouraging words kept me moving even though the downhill became flat and had some little ups. I managed to cross the finish line at 10:02:53.

After a few minutes to catch my breath I was jogging to my car for a change of clothes. While my time wasn't that fantastic (I was 8th woman, 3rd in my gender/age group and 47th overall) the fact that I felt as good at mile 10 as I did at mile 20 as I did at mile 50 makes me pretty ecstatic. The fact that I had so much energy at the end and that if I'd maintained my pace rather than kicking I could have run for several more hours makes me even more so. I'm well on my way to being ready for Cascade Crest 100.

I can't wait for Sun Mountain 50 miler in 2 weeks!

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