|I thought it was cute they put armadillo stickers on the bibs to fancy them up.|
Sunday morning Ty and I got up at 5:15 and were out the door by 5:45. I ate a hard boiled egg and drank 2 scoops of protein powder mixed with water on the drive. My race was supposed to start at 7:15 but once we got there we found out they were delaying the start by 15 minutes because lots of people had gotten lost on their way by following directions the race director sent out. I had plenty of time to use the restroom, drink some water, put on bug spray, and chat with some friends I've made in the Tuesday trail running group. The race started at 7:30 and it was already 80 degrees and pretty humid. It didn't feel bad at the start of the race though. I've only been to Osage Hills State Park once and we didn't go on a very long hike so I wasn't sure what the trails would be like. We started and the trails were wonderful, they were mostly just dirt with a few rocks and easy to navigate. We did run down by the water where we ran across large rocks but nothing too tricky. I felt great and was excited that I'd moved into the first female position by the half mile mark. We came up on the water and I started to go the wrong way so I had to turn around and follow the group ahead of me. The girl in 2nd had also followed me so we figured it out together. I felt like the guys I normally run with at Turkey Mountain took out a little fast and I wanted to be conservative because I'd never run the course before and because I'd run hills so much that week. I went through the first mile in 8:27 and then miles 2 and 3 were 7:51 and 8:04. Those miles were all relatively easy with simple trails and just a few hills.
|Running early on in the race with the 2nd place female right behind me.|
|Ty's race started 15 minutes after mine.|
We ran on a road a little during mile 7 as we headed out toward a different trail. It was nice to have a section where I could see the people in front of me and I could look up instead of down at my feet. But that mile also had a lot of hills in it. We'd go off the road to run down a trail for a bit and then come back onto the road to head to the next trail so it was a mixture of trail and road that was mostly trail, but this was the only section of the race that included some road running. I went through mile 7 in 9:37. I wasn't feeling hungry but knew I'd need to get some calories in so I ate a Gu at around 7.5 miles. I was afraid it wouldn't sit well since I had to force myself to eat it, but it stayed down just fine and I felt a lot better after I ate it. I had packed 2 Gus in my fuel belt just in case but ended up only eating one. When I came up on the next aid station I had finished off one of my water bottles. The volunteers asked me what I needed and I asked if I could refill my water. They said yes and even took my bottle, refilling it for me. I was still feeling really good at this point and was excited when I saw I had a substantial lead on the woman running in 2nd place. The heat was starting to get to me and I was drinking water a lot more at this point. After the aid station we turned to the left and started out on a loop which we would do twice but the second time through we'd run a shorter loop through it. The loop was brutal and by far my least favorite part of the race. There were some really nice sections that were packed dirt with few rocks which were great and I'd cruise along but the majority of the loop was so rocky it was almost un-runnable. It had also gotten a lot hotter and I was sweating profusely but my sweat wasn't doing much to cool me since it was insanely humid and my sweat wasn't evaporating. I looked down at one point and realized my shorts were soaked all the way through with sweat. I ate a Gu sometime before mile 8. I noticed I hadn't seen one of my friends I run trails with and worried he'd taken a wrong turn at some point or was hurt somewhere. I worried about him off and on the rest of the race until I got so tired I wasn't thinking much of anything. As I came up on the aid station before starting my first loop I saw my friend, Morgan, coming up out of the loop and got a little pick me up seeing her.
We crossed water at a couple times during the loop and I stopped and walked over the rocks to keep my shoes dry. I chuckled a little in my head about that later because I was so sweaty my shoes were squishing they were so wet with sweat. Mile 8 was 9:16 and then things got real. I was getting tired and the heat was really getting to me. On the flat sections I would cruise along but every time we hit hills I could feel in my legs all the elevation I'd run through the week and my quads would start to burn. The really rocky sections were exhausting. I wasn't wanting to pick my feet up as high since I was getting tired and the rocks were really wearing me out. I kept rolling my left ankle which was causing my IT band running up the side of my left leg to pull and feel really sore. I decided it wasn't worth risking an injury so I started walking some of the really rocky sections. I told myself I could walk some and still not get passed by the 2nd place female. Mile 9 was 12:25. I told myself I only had a 10k to go but that felt like an eternity so I tried to just focus on running a section at a time. I couldn't see anyone ahead or behind me so I kept starting to go off the path and then I'd walk for a bit to figure out where to go so I wouldn't run too far off the path. There were some sections that were so overgrown I wasn't sure I was actually on a trail at all. Then I found myself wandering around in brambles before locating the ribbons hanging in a tree and running toward them. Mile 10 was 11:26 and mile 11 was 11:02.
|Some pictures of the trail taken by the race director.|
|Some of the easier terrain during the loop.|
|This gives a little bit of an idea of how rocky the trail was, but this isn't even the worst of it!|
|At one point I was realizing Ty was probably finishing the 10k and I was wishing I'd just done the 10k!|
I was catching a guy in front of me during the last mile of the race. When I got close to him he started walking up a hill and I decided if he was walking, I'd walk too. So I walked until he started running again and then I started running again. I passed him and then a while later heard a man catching up to me moving fast. I moved over to let him pass and then continued on. I went through mile 15 in 10:39 and then finished out the last half-mile in 10:08 pace. This was one race where I was so ready to be done, I didn't want to run one extra step but when I looked at pictures I saw I had actually run through the finish line by a large amount. My finishing time was 2:37:59 and I was so glad to be done! I felt awful the moment I stopped moving. It wasn't anything comparable to a marathon with how my muscles felt but on a whole it was the most miserable I've ever felt after finishing a race. I think I was on the verge of heat exhaustion because I could barely function. All I wanted to do was lay down. Ty was at the finish with my friends, Morgan and April. April encouraged me to walk around some and I knew I needed to but I was just so freaking hot! She went and soaked some paper towels in freezing cold ice water and put one on each of my shoulders. It felt great. I walked around making sure to stay in the shade. April talked me into eating some watermelon and I was surprised that it was actually really good and went down easily. Then I heard my dad yell my name and looked up to see he and mom had arrived with the kids! I was excited to see them but also felt miserable so there wasn't much I could do. We cheered on Daniel and Peter, two of my friends from our Tuesday trail group. I joked that Peter was the top 30k finisher because he'd taken a wrong turn and run a bit extra. Ty finished the 10k in 1:20:15 which put him 15th overall. He said he had a blast!
I knew I needed to eat something so Ty and I went down to look at the food but just smelling the chicken made me nauseous so I grabbed a hamburger bun and slowly worked on that as we walked over to play with the kids at the playground. I laid down in the shade for a while and started to feel better so I got up and Ty started punching me gently in the muscle that was really sore in an attempt to loosen it up. We went back over for the 25k awards since I'd finished first female. I got a really awesome, homemade plaque with an armadillo holding a beer on it. I thought it was super cute and laughed later when Elise said to me, "Why is the monster holding a drink?" I guess it would look like a monster to a kid! I picked up a cookie for the kids and ate some of it. Then we headed over to swim a little before heading home. We had an awesome time in the water. I found a spot where I could sit and have my hips down in the cool water which felt amazing! Ty went off the rope swing once and the kids enjoyed being in the water. We didn't stay in too long because it was lunchtime and the sun was getting pretty intense. It was just absolutely gorgeous and the view was stunning. I was glad it was what Ty wanted to do for Father's Day because it was a blast. We went to a state park on Mother's Day and then a different one on Father's Day!
When we were done in the water I took Carter to the showers with me and we both rinsed off before changing. Later mom told me Elise hadn't wanted to potty in the toilets because there were so many bugs in the stalls so she had pottied in the shower. I thought that was funny. I didn't want to put my shoes back on because they were so wet from sweat but I also really wanted to wear my compression socks because my calves were sore so I ended up wearing compression socks with flip flops which I'm sure was a great look! Thankfully no one minded going to McAlister's for lunch with me in my get up! I enjoyed walking back to the car while telling mom more about the race. We also got to see a few more 50k finishers. When I first finished the race I told Ty I would never run a trail race over a 10k again. But then by the end of the day I was already considering running the 25k at this race again next year. I'm positive that knowing the course and being better prepared will result in a better experience in the future. I also now know it doesn't matter whether I plan to actually run a trail race or not, I need to take it easy the week leading up to the race because it will be more physically taxing no matter what pace I run! Honestly after my summer of trail running and adding another trail race to my belt, I'm a bit hooked and Ty is for sure hooked. We're looking at another trail race in September on a less technical but still beautiful trail! I'm actually super excited about it! And not true to my word after the race, I'm considering the half marathon distance!
When we got home it felt great to shower and get really clean. My hair was so tangled after the race, even though I'd braided it, my arms got tired from brushing it and I enlisted Ty's help to get the knots out. He obviously doesn't understand how to brush hair so it was pretty painful and after a brief break I took back over. It wasn't too bad when I laid on the bed with my hair hanging off and brushed that way so I didn't have to reach up and over my head. I am so ready to cut the entire mop off and can't wait until my appointment on July 3rd! Since I'm donating it, I'll be cutting off 10 inches no matter how short that makes it. I just want it gone at this point! At first right after I finished I was pretty miserable and wasn't sure I'd ever run a longer trail race again. But now that I've had a few days to process and recover I feel pretty bad ass about what I accomplished. It was a very challenging course not just due to the hills but also due to the technical aspect. I finished 7th overall and first female in my second trail race with only having run a 5 mile trail race before. Now that I know the course and have a better idea of what I'm up against, I think I would do the 25k again next year. My favorite part of the course was the first 7 miles before we got to the 10k loop and I don't know that I'd want to run the 10k and only run the worst part of the course! We'll see what I decide next summer because Ty has already said he'd like to make this race our Father's Day tradition. I know for sure no matter what distance I decide to run, I will not be running hills more than once during the week leading up to the race! I have learned to respect a trail race and not to think of it as just a regular run because the trails are so much more demanding than a regular run!
|Ty helping me brush my hair.|