Sunday, January 12, 2014

Tybee Island, The Hunger Games, another 50k and a peace only a fellow runner would understand...

What a weekend, it began with my youngest daughter, Hannah finishing up her last day of high school which I might add she graduated half year early.  

Friday morning we packed everything to be ready to go on a weekender that would consist of a race for me and then some time, just the two of us, getting some relaxation.

When I got off work, I picked her up, and we were Tybee Island bound. Neither of us had been to Tybee so our trip was going to be nothing short of fun, and an adventure.    

The drive down to Savannah first, I had to pick up my packet at Fleet Feet, was rainy, sometimes downpours. But it was beautiful, Savannah that is, Hannah loves the Spanish moss and the old trees as do I. Her face lit up as we drove. 

Such a pretty place, Savannah and then Tybee, Hannah and I also liked Beaufort when we were there a few weeks ago for Mad Marsh.  We decided we could surely live in the area.

We got onto Tybee, had spotted the Fort Pulaski National monument, where the race began and ended and checked into our hotel. Such nice people there as well, we had been upgraded to an oceanfront room, even though rainy and foggy, can't really go wrong with an ocean front room. 

Hannah picked the place for dinner, a little dive around the corner from the hotel. We ate and went back to the room, curled up in bed and watched TV until we fell asleep.

Alarms set, race gear ready...checking the weather...not looking good. It's only rain though, builds character. 

Race Day:

It started later than when I'm used to, so sleeping til almost six was kind of a small luxury.  The first alarm went off "purple rain" was blaring on the radio, the second one, "lost yourself" yep, yep, going to be a great day regardless the weather. Opened the shutters and threw back the sash...kidding, opened the sliding glass door and what appeared? Rain and fog...and wind...oh joy. 

Hannah opted out after I gave her the option, so she relaxed while I ran my race. I knew I'd be fine to drive back after any way. Couldn't much blame her!

I drove to the race venue,  parked walked to the start line. Saw a bunch of people from other ultras (other special kinda of idiots) and just chit chatted for a bit.

Pre-race meeting, National Anthem and we were off. 50k distance on a foggy day, temperatures hovering around 65 and humidity out the wazoo with a strong wind that only got worse but that wind is the very thing that kept the rain away. 

I have six laps to complete. My best 50k time at the start of Rails to Trails was 5:53:13. I wanted in under six hours for this one, I figured out what I had to do each lap under in order to reach that goal. Game plan set. And remember a slow jog is faster than a walk and you don't need to walk the last lap, that's psychological, actually it's the last mile according to Ray but, I meant business today. 

I love the course, especially the bridge part because I love a hill and running on the road. After three laps, I was at 2:43. And I felt good, really good. No falling apart, no bonking. I am growing my super power of thinking. Sugar is my friend. Gummy bears, coke and full strength Gatorade, my race fuel. 

The next three laps were pretty much the same, didn't walk any of it either on the course, just while passing through the aid stations.  Support was fantastic. Support on the roads was fantastic.

Somewhere between miles the cannon on the fort fired as I passed by it, first after I was scared enough to jump all over, I began laughing. No what my first thought was? Another one has died! (The Hunger Games) don't get all upset, it's in a book! Later when I mentioned it to Hannah, she asked me did my first thought go to someone dying, I said yes it was! She said though it would have been. She laughed!

I had a great race, and imagine that I had decided that if at the third loop, if the rain started I may not complete the race. Once I got past the third loop, there was no way I was going to stop. The wind kept picking up. Over the bridge, was becoming more challenging every time and I love a walking. None. Don't even think about it. Slow jog, no walking. Push, go, over halfway. And I did. I felt good.

I felt strong the whole way. Not something I'd experienced at the 50k distance, caught my rhythm at mile 22, I've learned that after about 18 miles I double my sugar intake, no water, just Gatorade or some electrolyte drink, nothing void of calories. 

It was a good day. Though foggy, humid, gloomy, the sun was shining on me. I was running, I was filled with peace while in motion. Stillness in motion, my mind was calm, still, and for close to six hours I was able to escape, to go to my special place in the quiet of my mind while exerting energy, propelling forward.

The melodious sound of my feet pounding the pavement while my breathing is in rhythm, the sound of birds, the water, fellow runners smiling, and the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. It doesn't get much better than this...or maybe it does. 

I finished this race with a 9 minute pr, 5:44:38. Felt strong and smiling. 

I finished up the weekend with a two mile jog Saturday, 3 mile beach run Sunday before breakfast. 

Hannah and I spent so quality time together. Eating, getting tattooed and just talking. 

We finished off our Sunday spending part of the day with my mom and then ice skating with my cousins. What a fun weekend!


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