Monday, October 31, 2011

Autumn Leaves 50 10/29/2011

On Tuesday October 25th, 4 days before the Autumn Leaves Ultra marathon, there was an unfortunate accident involving two planes. "Witnesses told investigators that the twin-engine plane involved in a mid-air collision over Newberg Tuesday appeared to be doing training maneuvers and hit the single-engine plane during a descent. Steven Watson, 58, of Beaverton, was in the other, smaller plane. He died after his Bonanza single-engine aircraft broke apart and crashed to the ground, authorities said."
Steve Watson is survived by his wife and two adult daughters, for more information, please read:

In honor of his memory, I wore this on my backpack.

But because of the crash, we were nervous that the park was going to re-open in time for the race. We were hearing that it may open by Friday. But on Wednesday night, the night before I left for Portland, I heard the news that the park would re-open Thursday at 4PM. I was extremely excited and was actually jumping up and down, grinning from ear to ear.

The night of the race, I got maybe 4 hours of sleep.

This was the outfit that I wore to the race. I also wore a long sleeve shirt under and shorts
When I got to the race, I was greeted by all my friends and a few friends from Facebook that I had not met yet. For the race, I provided all of my own supplies. I had my Ultimate Direction Diablo pre-filled with 2 quarts of diluted Gatorade. Which by the way, I was taking a chance with. I only trained with the Diablo for a 10 mile training run. I knew this was a no no. You know the rule, nothing new at a race? But I thought, well it can't be any worse than my Camelbak, that thing left horrible chafing on my back constantly. In the end, it was perfect, no problems. I also had in my Diablo, salt caps, 2 peanut butter powerbars, 1 cliff bar, two 5 hour energy drinks, my head lamp, band-aids and my IPOD. The only thing that I left in my drop bag was another cliff bar and fresh pair of socks. I have heard another run say that he doesn't think the 5 hour energy drinks don't work, but I disagree, they work for me and they don't cause my stomach any problems.

My weakest part of the race was running the first loop in the dark. The course was a 10K loop and for everyone running the 50 miler, we'd go around 8 times. I joined up with a gal and ran with her for most of the first loop. It was hard though, I kept going off the pavement, even with my headlamp. The hardest part was the 1.20 mile trail section; I really slowed down and lost some time. But finally, we were back at the start for loop 2 and I could even turn off my headlamp and gained more confidence. At the end of the race, someone told me that I should buy a hand-held flash light. Great idea!

Between loops 2-5, I was really strong and doing very well. It wasn't until the 5th loop that I walked for the first time, but it was only for a minute. The 6th loop was when I saw my sister and walked from the aid station to where the trail portion started, probably for about 3 minutes and that was my longest walk break. The 7th loop was the worst, but only mental. The 7th loop wasn’t the last loop, it was the 7th. I not only was feeling it in my legs, I decided that I hate the whole course, not just a certain section. Yes I was getting grumpy. I still smiled and waved at everyone. I also just said goodbye to my friend after the 6th loop, who ran the 50K and some of the other runners were finished and enjoying their victory. It was during the 7th lap, that I past a friend of mine who yelled at me...”Jeannie, you are just fucking rocking it!" Cracked me up!!! The last loop was bitter sweep, as I was going around, I never even stopped at the start/finish and just kept going, with intensity.  I don't believe that I walked at all that last loop. I found a whole lot of strength and just went for it. I remember coming in, there was this guy, who I passed and then he passed me and I said to him, "hey, do you want to race!" He said no, but I picked up the speed a little with the Black Eyed Peas song "Shut Up" playing.
I also wanted to note that there was a hill at a turn around and in the trail section and I proudly ran up them throughout the whole entire race, never walked. I'd like to thank all the hills in the Redwood Forest. Out of the whole race, I barely walked.

I finished in 9:47. Out of the 22 women that ran the 50, I was #9 and out of both male and female, I was 41 out of 73. I was a little slower than last year, but I never did any speed training. But where I lacked in speed, I made up for in strength.

I got a lot of compliments during the race. They compliment by cute skirt, how well I looked running out on the course and the sign on my hydration pack. No, I didn't know Steve Watson, but my heart went out to his family.

I have one battle wound. My pinkie toe is really bruised and the nail will fall off soon.

All the volunteers and race director were absolutely wonderful and worked hard at providing a great race for us. Without them, we couldn't have done it. I was very thankful to them. All race volunteers should be thanked! A heard a few of them were up awfully early that morning.

So what’s next? Well I am going to rest a few more days. I have a little leg swelling + my toe problem. I start training for my first 100 on November 14th, I’m starting all the way at the bottom of my training schedule with runs of 2 miles for the week and 10 and 6 for the weekend.

Photo taken by Tom Riley

Photo taken by Tom Riley

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