Pushing beyond

There is no way I could have written this post last night… I was too overwhelmed by the experience.  As it is, I am struggling with where to begin!

The weather: Those of us in New England have been soaked in rain for over a week.  For a field and trail course, this was not good news.  A report from a fellow blogger (more on that in a moment) confirmed the start line was under a few inches of water.  Other reports, specifically from people who attended the shorter races on Saturday at Pineland confirmed it was a mudfest!  I woke up yesterday morning to pouring rain and 42 degree temps.  Oh my.  I messaged Tony one very profound swear word which he agreed with.  In true fashion, I packed even more gear having no idea what to expect.

The people:  I am lucky enough to have fantastic friends who not only ran with me but crewed for us too.  Katie’s fiance Steve was gracious enough to drive us up in his comfy truck.  We were chattering the whole way, distracting us from the nerves.  The rain let up and eventually stopped the closer to New Gloucester, Maine we got.

We got to Pineland in time to see the start of the 50K.  And I finally got to me Astrid from vttrailgirl!  A quick hello, a few hugs and some good lucks and she was off for the 50K.  Sadly we didn’t get to see each other again.

The prep/gear:  It was about 50 degrees, breezy and cloudy for the start of the race.  I chose my purple shorts, a tank top, a long sleeve tech shirt and my Injinji toe socks along with my Speedcross for this run.  I was also wearing a hat to in case the rain started again.  At the end of the day, the toe socks and shoes prevented me from getting any blisters despite spending the entire race SOAKED and covered in mud.  The Speedcross (Salomon) are hands down the best piece of equipment I own.  Amazing shoes.  They shed water quickly and their grip in the mud could not be matched.  Tony and I barely did any slipping while other people literally slipped and fell down the muddy hills.  I also wore my Wink Pack.  I almost didn’t pack it, thinking I would rely on aid stations but was THRILLED I did! I had snacks for in between and water, plus it kept me a bit warmer when the biting winds hit in the fields.

RACE TIME!  Katie, Tony and I were eager to get going.  Well mostly, I was fidgeting, Katie was dancing and Tony had a grumbling belly!  What a mess as usual.  Here Katie and I were posing for one last photo:

mekatie

At precisely 10:00AM, we were off!  The mud started immediately.  And I mean MUD.  Sloppy, nasty shoe sucking mud.  This is wear the Speedcross saved me… for the most part.  Katie lost a shoe almost immediately.  I attempted to avoid some of the mud by running on the edges of the wooded trail, but ended up scaling some rocks and crashing HARD about a 1/2 mile in.  I skinned both skins, have a nasty egg on my right shin and was bleeding.  Did I stop, heck NO!  Battle wounds!  The first half of this race was relentless mud.  I didn’t even notice the elevation changes.  Hill work really pays off.  The mud was brutal on the ankles and feet (I paid for it later).  Here are a few shots from the first 2/3rds of the race:

Mudfest!

Mudfest!

One of the many fields

One of the many fields

Nasty muddy hill climb

Nasty muddy hill climb

One of the drier spots!

One of the drier spots!

I found OREOS!

I found OREOS!

And finally, we made it to the last leg.  The final 10K or so started from the finish line.  As we ran into this area, all we could smell was the grill.  How cruel.  And the Steves (our crew), held their beers up.  I started to crumble a little!

The last leg begins!

The last leg begins!

This is where I started to hurt.  Badly.  I developed an insane cramp in my right foot under my big toe, no doubt due to all the balance work I did in the mud.  I was able to push through it for a few miles, but eventually had to walk a ways to work it out.  Tony stuck with me while we encouraged Katie to run ahead.  She did AMAZING!  I realized later, we all did.  I went to a very angry place, one of rage because my body was not cooperating with my head.  It made my heart race and blinded me a bit.  Tony was pushing me gently at this point, telling me what to do at the aid stations… which I needed.  It made the difference.  And this whole time, while I was blindingly mad, I was still running the same consistent 11:30 splits.  I felt like I was standing still.  Amazingly, I was able to pull it out on the last mile and finished strong…. almost missing the finish line!  Hahaha I wasn’t even looking up at this point!  All I could think about was that finish mat and not crying from euphoria!  As soon as I stopped, so did the pain.  I was ecstatic!  Happier than I have been after any run.  Here we are at the end:

Done!!!

Done!!!

And my official time:

3:10:58 with a 12:18 pace.

Holy crap.  I can’t even believe it.  Four hours was our goal.  We ran the crap out of it.  And I got a PDR (personal distance record) out of it at about 15.5 miles.  With minimal training this year…..  Amazing.  Significant.  And empowering.  I could not have done this without my friends.  I am so grateful for them… for the laughter, the support and the pushing.

Today, I am a bit sore where my Achilles attaches at my ankle.  OK, I am very sore.  But the rest of me feels good.  Rest and ice and hopefully I will be good to go very soon.  I cannot wait to continue my training!  50K at Pineland next year???  Maybe 🙂

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vttrailgirl
    May 27, 2013 @ 13:32:55

    So awesome! I love the pictures! It was truly a blessed day. When I get my head out of my rear, I’ll post a little recap myself. Lets plan on the 50 together next year.
    You are a rock star, fast lady! Pleae tell Katie and Tony it was a pleasure to meet them, too.

    Reply

  2. Amy Chiaramitaro
    May 27, 2013 @ 13:59:16

    SO PROUD of you and love the pictures! You can see the triumph and accomplishment in all of your faces!!!! YOU WILL SO BE DOING THE 50 NEXT YEAR!!!! I can see it 😉 Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey, and all of you….what an amazing team! CONGRATS!!!!

    Reply

    • spottedimages
      May 29, 2013 @ 14:57:02

      I LOVE that you follow our journey 🙂 Thank you for your support, I appreciate it more than you know. ❤

      Reply

  3. Ja @Ja on the RUN
    May 28, 2013 @ 15:42:45

    This looks so much fun! Way to go girl! And congratulations for the PR! 🙂

    Reply

  4. Emily
    May 28, 2013 @ 16:20:48

    Congratulations! That mud looks like NO JOKE, my goodness. Great job, and I enjoyed the recap.

    Reply

    • spottedimages
      May 29, 2013 @ 14:58:00

      No joke! I keep laughing when I think back to the slip and slide hills. A few days later, I can’t WAIT to go back! thank you for reading 🙂

      Reply

  5. myrunspiration
    Jun 10, 2013 @ 10:17:08

    Congratulations! Amazing & runspirational 😉 And an awesome time! well done

    Reply

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