Sunday, July 14, 2013

Running the Mt. Hood 50, 2013. Qualifying for States.

"My Lucky Banana"

I ran the Mt. Hood 50 this weekend. It was my 3rd time running it and my 5th 50 miler.

I started and ended very strong. So do I thank my hard work with my training; my Crossfit, making me stronger overall; the Udo's oil that I started taking a few weeks ago; or the rest that I gave myself (tapering); or all of the above? I mean, come mile 40+ I felt fresh, strong, and great. My feet were another story. Towards the end, they were a bit achy. The blister that I got on May 11th from a 50K, that was almost gone, I could tell, was back.

I had the goal going into the race that I was going to qualify for Western States using this 50. This meant that I had to come in under 11 hours!  The first year that I ran this race in 2011, I came in at 11:59:49. The 2nd year, 2012, I came in at 11:28:32. So could I pull off another PR of 29 minutes to get under 11 hours? Well, I was going to try.

I made up a pace chart for myself when I left the house. The pace chart would have me come in at 4:20 with 10 minutes to spare. I did the early start, 5:30.

I worked hard the whole entire race. Funny story, I lost the pace chart. I knew that I had lost it prior to the 6 mile aid station. I thought it was a sign that I should just run and not worry about qualifying. I only knew I was on track with that first aid-station. I just did my best, which was my new goal. The course had a 28.4 mile out back and then a 22. Just prior to reaching the first turn around to go back in to the start/finish, all the fast kids start flying by me and I got out of the way. But what, what is this? A dog was on the course and following them? Somehow the dog that I saw at the start was now on the course at mile 14! Good thing those aid station workers took in and took it back.

On the way to the start/finish or mile 28.4, I found my pace chart at about mile 27. I found out coming in to the mile 28.4 aid station that I was 48 minutes early from what it said on the chart! I was doing great! I was so happy.

The course had so many things in the path just dying to trip, roots and twigs. It seemed worse this year then the years prior and oh, did I trip! I tripped a lot! I never fell, but I tripped so much and I was losing confidence. Every time I tripped, I hurt my shoulder and it was getting achy. Come mile 48, really not cool.

I remember at the mile 33.7 aid station, I saw a friend, Bret Henry helping. I told him that I was hoping to come in under 11 hours to qualify for states. But I said to him "F states, there are so many other races that are just as good that will let me in just because I paid." Off I went, down the massive 2 mile hill. (I have to come back up this keep in mind. The footing was annoying. I swear everything wanted to trip me and it was hard to eat because I would trip more!
I got to the 39.2 mile aid station basically starving. I ate a bit, stuffed my pockets with everything and left. So up this massive 2 mile hill, which I figured was killing my time. I'm a slow walker and I really need to work on this. The hill did kill my goal time. There was a down tree on the course and one lying on top of it that was smaller and I had to climb up and over it and I was wondering where it was. I couldn't remember! I thought it was on the 2 mile hill.

I was about 15 or so minutes late coming in to the final aid station at mile 44.7. However, I had 4.7 miles to go and an hour to go to make it in less than 11 hours! I had hope! I grabbed a whole banana from the aid station table and I started running. I had a lot to give still, legs were great! Oh, I ran and I was running fast (for me). I saw a pace of 8, 9 on my watch. 11, 12 sometimes, which I said to myself “hurry up!” I heard my 100 miler finisher friend's voice in my head from Crescent City, CA. He told me prior to running my first 100, "now Jeannie, you have to fight for it!" I was fighting for this. I was talking to myself, "I'm fighting for it Ralph, I am!" I ran my ass off. I was praying that I would not trip and fall. Where is that fallen tree? Oh my! There it is, I practically leaped over it! “Don't kill my time tree!” I saw a runner up ahead, he was walking. He said, "I'm trying to run again." I said to him, "You can do it!" Moments later as I booking it, I hear him right behind me, for awhile and then I don't hear him. I then trip and I trip hard, but I didn't fall (at mile 4.50). I heard him ask me if I was alright. I lift my hands up, "I made it!" Several times, I thought about tossing that banana, but never did. I was thinking that it was lucky! It was my lucky banana. I see a family up ahead, I knew I was almost there; I had 5 minutes to get in. I said "excuse me; I'm trying to come in by 4:30. They get out of the way and the man says, "Go, go, go, you can do this!!" Faster, faster. I hit the pavement and sprint harder. I come in and get this, at 10:59:10. I had 50 seconds to spare. Talk about close. But, I did it! I won't be calling myself slow anymore. I qualified for states not with a 100 miler, but with a 50.

I have less than two weeks to heal up and do this all over again. I'm running the Siskiyou Out Back 50 on July 27th. My goal will be different for this race. It's all in preparation for my 2nd 100 miler, Mountain Lakes 100 in September.

When I got home, I put my lucky banana in a smoothie and drank it. It was delicious.


  1. You need to change the title of this blog to "My Lucky Banana." Great finish Jeannie

  2. You amaze me. I'm just sitting here getting my mind motivated to do my 5-mile training run for the half I am doing in September. Was thinking a 13-minute pace over all would be stupendous for me. Reading about your 50-miler here boosts my spirits. I appreciate the motivation to give to others, including myself. :)

  3. OMG Jeannie, that banana is awesome! Now? It will always be part of you and you'll always have it!! Congrats on qualifying for Western States. Once I get back fully from knee and hip surgery, that's my goal. There are two races near me in PA to give it a shot at. Congrats again!