Hello Dear Readers,
Well another 50K race done and in the books of history. This race was a first for me on many levels.
1. It started at midnight.
2. It was in a location I had never been to (Fort Worth Trinity Park).
3. It was the hottest race I have ever done.
4. First time I ran shirtless the whole time.
Morning of the Race
All things about this race were different for me. Since the race started at midnight, I saw no reason for me to get there the day before since the site was a 5 hour drive from Houston. So I placed the dogs in the kennel for the weekend and headed on up to Fort Worth. The drive was pretty uneventful, lots of sitting. Drank 80 ounces of Gatorade since I knew it was going to be one heck of a hot time up there. Once I got into town and before I checked into the hotel I stopped at the Running Store to get my bib and race packet. I just glanced at my bib and saw that the number matched appropriately to the paperwork and headed out to the hotel. The fact that I didn't pay super close attention to that bib is part of this story later on!
Arrival in Fort Worth (Otherwise Known as "The Oven")
The first thing I noticed when I pulled into the hotel was that it was HOOOOOOTTTTTT! Not just Houston hot, but burn the skin off your body and bleach your bones the sun is so intense hot! My car agreed:
Not sure what the heat index was but the ambient at 106 degrees made me really hope it dips a lot before the race start!
Once I arrived I got a free hotel room at the Residence Inn (literally next to the race sight) using my points. After I got all checked in a situated I went to IHOP and had my usual pre-race calorie fest:
I got some of my gear laid out and decided to take a walk over to the race site to see if it is close enough for me to not drive. The park where the race course is was literally just over a hill right next to the hotel. As I searched for the race start area, I found cones and markings for the run course and noticed that Trinity Park was pitch black dark most of the time! They weren't kidding when they said the course was only partially lit and you would need to bring a head lamp. After about 10 minutes of walking I saw the race site in the distance and decided that while it technically WAS within walking distance, anything over 10 minutes is NOT something I will be wanting to do after running 50K. So I turned around and walked back to the hotel to get dressed and hydrated some more and then waited till 11 PM or so till I left and drove to the race site. This is when U noticed that there was something wrong with my bib. It said I was only in the 25K! I was like, OH CRAP! So I got on the horn with the race directory (Who is one of the coolest guys I know) and he said to just check in with him when I get there and he will get me all fixed up. PHEW!!!
Oh and you may recall me mentioning the hope that the temperature drops significantly? Well..............
Arrival at Race Site
I pulled into the parking lot and got a gander at all the other runners competing in the race. This is why I love ultras. Such a awesome mix of people. Some were dressed with costumes while almost all the guys were shirtless. I was thinking about going shirtless myself and that sealed the deal for me. I parked, got out my cooler of Gatorade and hydration pack and headed over to the race start to find the Ryan (Race Director). I couldn't find him (as he was busy directing, DUH!) and was directed to the timing chip people. They said to race with the same number, but they changed the entry in the computer to show my chip as a 50K racer instead of a 25K. So at least that problem was solved.
As I walked around to find a tree to dump my cooler I saw people had brought chairs and tents and canopies. Families with their kids were there. Music was playing and there was a guy walking around with a microphone announcing stuff and generally having a good time. The guy with the microphone walked up to me and asked me some questions about my race history and any tips I could give the new runners, etc. I gave him a few answers that I thought were appropriate. I am normally a chatty Kathy but not tonight!
I did finally run into Ryan and Jason (the two race directors). They were gracious as always and wished me great luck during the race. I first met these two at Bandera 100K and the Sunmart 50 miler a few years back and we raced together. That's the thing about these races. You meet people and you make new friends!
This race is comprised of a 5K loop. So we run this loop 10 times. There were water stations every mile or so and the volunteers were great! The moon was nearly full and it had risen just after the race start. This was really cool because it was so bright I didn't need my headlamp after the first loop. Here is a aerial shot of the course with my GPS data:
First 3 or so laps were pretty uneventful. It was really really hot so I was sucking on my hydration pack like it was going out of style. My GPS was telling me I was on a sub 5 hour pace which was my goal for this race. Felt good, legs were fresh and I was having a heck of a good time! At the end of lap 3 Ryan and Jason came along side and asked how I was feeling, I was like "I'm doing great!" and they said "Let's see how you are feeling at lap 8".
Laps 4 through 7 were your age old laps. As the distance piled up it got harder. The night did cool as it went on and that was a relief. I met a lot of interesting people. The race really thinned out once the 25K racers finished and it was only us 50K racers left. I actually raced with music and listened to Pink Floyd (Dark Side of the Moon and the Wall) for some of the time. With the moon looking over me that music seemed appropriate.
When lap 8 came about I understood what Ryan was saying. It definitely got tough. But I've been there before with some longer distances and was able to run through that low point. By the time I got to the last lap the sun was getting ready to rise. The night got brighter and the world came alive again. My last lap was actually pretty fast compared to the earlier ones and my final mile was sub 10 minute (which by that time was pretty good for me)!
I cam running through the finish line at 5:45 AM and got all my swag, which included a cool (and large) finishers medal and a 50K finishers pin (see below):
I hung around a bit after the race and chatted with the race director's and let them know that I will definitely be doing this one again! I high tailed it out of there since I had to check out of my hotel at 1 PM and wanted to get a few hours of shuteye before my 5 hour drive home. It's been a week or so since the race and I'm already pretty recovered and have started adding the miles again. I am probably going to do the Rocky Raccoon 50K race in the fall before doing the 100 miler in February. So keep checking my training page to see the GPS data I send and of course friend me on Facebook if you like (http://www.facebook.com/TexasTriathlete or just search for William Choppa)!
Until next time...
Tri your best!