Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jemez 50km

This was the race I signed up for and had been focusing my training on.  I signed up for the 50km but this included 10,000 ft of gain in elevation during the 31 miles.  Translation- closer to running 50 miles on flatter ground like Texas. Myself and 3 buddies carpooled to Santa Fe,NM Thursday sharing driving and napping and of course talking smack.  The rest of our group flew out Thursday and Friday am and we finally all got settled in our rented condo Friday.  Yes we team up for support but to also try and cut travel expenses as well.  Friends with you only enhance the experience.  Friday after settling in we drove up to Los Alamos to check into the race.  The views were just stunning up there minus the showers.  It rained Thursday night as well and the race director sent out emails advising everyone to bring "shells" with them.  I was thinking pasta or bullets for a gun???? Heck I'm from Plano,Tx.  It rains at home n we scramble to the car.  We finally decided since we didn't have guns on us, it had to be rain jackets.

   Saturday was race day and after a shower n food we got to the course at 4:45am.  The 50 milers started at 5am n 50km at 6am.  I had all my gear as well as a new drink supplement I wanted to try.  Mile 10 to 18 I heard was just brutal without a aid station and all uphill so I geared my nutrition towards completing that without totally emptying the energy tank.  I tried U-Can(protein enhanced) last week on a 10mile road run with a friend and my energy during and after was pretty level.  All the sugar based supplements seem to put me on a roller coaster energy wise and I didn't wanna hit bottom because of that.  At the start of the race I as usual found the back of the pack to avoid getting sucked into a foot race early on. As well as this, I search for my friends and that sort of helps me judge where I need to be.  New course, elevation,and although it was going to be a sunny start I was concerned about rain.  The 1st 10 miles is fairly easy winding around leading you to the base of  Pajarito Mountain and Ski area. It was a pretty normal run other than not being able to breathe. The altitude at the start was 7k feet and it's difficult to run hard.  I as usual bounced around running with several people and trying to save energy.  We rolled into the 10 mile aid and I took a little break to hydrate and pack nutrition in me for the impeding climb.  We knew the next aid was mile 18 at the ski lodge and I wanted to make sure this run/walk was going to be as easy as possible. My lil buddy Billy had been near me all day and he was ahead of me a bit going into this section.  I had left another friend (Ritu) at the start but knew she'd catch me soon enough.  These 8 miles were dang hard with alotta breaks to breathe but uneventful other than the gorgeous views.  Like clockwork Ritu caught me n Billy and we all stuck near each other all the way to the Lodge at 18.  After 18 we had aid at 21,24,30 n finished at 32.8.  When we got to the lodge the light rain hit and then sleet.  We hauled butt outta there trying to get to 21.  We THOUGHT we had been told it was primarily downhill after 18 so we got going and we were wrong on the downhill starting there.  1/2 way to 21 the snow hit.  Not like Texas snow where it is just a dusting.  Years ago I was in upstate New York n had lake effect snow. This was very similar.  Huge flakes, high wind with booming thunder n lightening.  The 3 of us were all wearing tight pants, sleeves and had rain ponchos.  We got to 21 n I was shivering terribly. Billy n Ritu hooked it outta the aid station n when my teeth started chattering I had to go before I got pulled from the race.  We had to get to mile 24 but unknown to us, the highest point on the course was between us n the next aid.  We were the only ones out there other than a local runner that passed us.  We spread out but stayed within eyesight.  I was cold but finally got the true meaning of the term "Embrace The Suck"   When you get to a point where there is absolutely zero you can do to change your current situation, not fighting it with negative thoughts will in the end defeat what is wrong.  I'm sure it sounds crazy but I let go of my fear n my cold and moved forward as hard as I could.  I guess at close to mile 23 the snow stopped and I ripped my poncho off n trashed it at the aid station.  I wanted water n Oreos and get on down the mountain. We had 8 miles of downhill switchbacks and  I loved every one of them.  The sun came out and the clouds blew out.  The views were great and I knew Billy n Ritu could finish so I just went as fast as I could those 8 miles.  Aid at mile 30 consisted of Bacon n Beer.  Not a good combo I found out shortly after leaving there.  They had a tequila option but I was out on that.  The last 2 miles were like the previous 6.  Ran as hard as I could when the course allowed it.  Soon after crossing the line I found out they closed the course n cancelled the race just minutes after I left mile 21.  Many runners, as well as myself were unprepared for a blizzard in May.  Critiquing myself I'm pretty happy.  I trained hard and I will get stronger but hey- 4 months of serious running it was a solid effort. My fueling was spot on and my pace was ok.  100% improvement over my last 2 runs.  I have a mentor I've ran with a coupla times and talk to some and I really think our conversations have given me more confidence in myself. This running deal is so much like life it's scary.  Whether it's confidence, the journey, etc.  I'm very blessed to be surrounded with great people and without them I wouldn't be where I am today. A friend of mine- Dave Hanneburg told me just this morning, ignorance is bliss. That is such a true statement with my running. I think I'm so new to this I'm gullible enough to try new things and can't wait to reset goals for my next big adventure!

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