For those who don't know, Trail Mix is a trail run at Hyland Park in Bloomington, MN. The 50K race is 4 loops of 7.75 miles each. There is also a 25K (2 loops) and a relay (4 people running 1 loop each). This year due to late snow melt on the ski-hill a section of the trail was re-routed and the course was a mile or so short of the full 50K (30 miles instead of 31 miles).
Well, I can't say that I went into this race very well prepared. I had not run more than 2 miles since I did a pair of 12-milers mid-March as I had been spending my gym time with weights and short interval running. But what the heck, said I.
I grabbed my trail shoes from the laundry room floor where I'd tossed them back at the beginning of February after the Psycho Wyco 50K in Kansas City. That race was a mud-bath, and I knew my shoes were pretty dirty, but I thought why wash them just to do a trail run and get them muddy again? Ahhh... I know why: they were caked with a solid 1/2 inch of dried hard as rock mud. Into the wash they went at midnight, and I went to bed.
The weather was good enough for me, with reasonable temperatures and no precipitation. I ran in my long pants, my long sleeved Psycho Wyco shirt, and my cheap-o gloves. It was warm enough that I could have removed the gloves and pants once I was moving, but as I wasn't overheated I didn't bother. Also a point to consider was EForce had set in motion events that caused his 250lb dirt bike to tip into me while we were on the bed of his truck. I was thrown off the side of the truck backwards. The only reason I didn't land flat on my back on my driveway was because his bike pinned my calves between itself and the sidewall. The swelling went down by Friday, but I have some nasty looking bruises across both upper calves and lower thighs. I figured wearing shorts might cause some rumors to start flying.
Back to the race: At the start I met Steve Q. (1st pl. men's finisher-- now that I've met him I don't have to feel like a stalker when I read his blog). Also chatted with Wayne about the good times at Psycho Wyco. And then we were off.
1st loop: Sucked. I felt like my heart rate was 10bpm higher than it should be for the pace I was moving (which wasn't fast). I was sucking wind and when I got to the aid station around 4 miles I couldn't imagine finishing. I started coming up with excuses in my head to justify dropping after 2 loops (or even 1): my legs must still be swollen... I ate too much last night... I'm not well-trained, so 7.75 miles is good enough. I made it to the 2nd aid station and was surprised and pleased to see Londell, who picked me out of the crowd with my Psycho Wyco shirt. He'd been there, too, and has the shirt. Next surprise was Les, another Psycho-Wycoian passing by. I caught up with him and we chatted and ran the rest of that loop and most of the 2nd. We figured out that I've run parts of all my trail runs in 2007-8 with him. Sounds impressive, but remember this was race #3 for those years. I think finished loop 1 in 1:40, but I didn't pay much attention.
2nd loop: Continued chatting with Les through most of this loop and started feeling both mentally and physically better. Picked up some speed by the end of the loop. Finished at 2:50. Set the goal of finishing under 6 (finishing lap 3 by 4:30).
3rd loop: Felt great. Chugged along. Got the guys at aid station #1 to take my picture as I struck a pose with my beautiful hair; I need an updated picture for an online dating site. Kidding. Kind of. Finished at 4:15. New goal is 5:45 to end.
4th loop: Still feeling good. Ironically enough I pulled into the first aid station with a young man hot on my heels, leading the aid station volunteers to point out that the online photo must have worked! Finished in 5:37:30.
I carried my 20oz handheld water bottle and refilled it once. Drank a cup of Poweraid at each station. Ate two mini-clif bars throughout the race. Felt fine, but food isn't an ultra issue with me. I was not properly hydrated, as my stomach was way bloated the rest of the day. I probably should have drank more water, but for only a 50K this wasn't a race-breaker.
Thanks to all the volunteers out on the course!