Off to Cool we go!
This run I was wearing my new Salomon hydration pack for the very first time. The Fleet Feet Ultra group was interested in my new pack along with other trail runners on the course. It was a great conversation starter, and my favorite feature today was the whistle, which I blew crossing hyway 49 both times, and I even gave Miss P. a little song for all too hear when we were nearing the end!
Before all of us runners took off James B. who had organized this run gave us all a pre-run briefing but I was so cold that I huddled together with Wonder Woman, Miss P., GPS Michelle and Power Girl. It was probably in the 40's at the start. We started running because we were cold and the best part was we had a nice open dirt road, no congestion as we were the first runners out of the gate.
Yes, we did get passed but I am Ok with that. Wonder Woman made a joke that I was the Kitchen sink because of all the pockets I had in my pack and what I was carrying which I didn't eat it all. I had sharkies, gu in my new flask and Honey Stinger Waffles. This pack is awesome and everything was easy to access and it fit nice and snug.
The first few miles flew by and it was also a nice descent to hyway 49 crossing (where I blew my whistle, the non official crossing guard) and quarry road. Once on Quarry road Wonder Woman took off and I never saw her again. I enjoyed running with Miss P. who kept encouraging me along the way and every now and then Hawaii Mark would make an appearance! Quarry road is very runnable, it has a rolling terrain and a few steep climbs but overall it is very runnable.
The steep climbs I used as an opportunity to fuel, only I had forgotten to put some water in my flask so sucking the Gu out was a workout in its self, so I opted to eat a Honey Stinger Waffle that Miss P. offered and a salt tab. We were about an hour in the run and where making some good time.
Miss P. in the distance!
After quarry road we hit some nice single track and Miss P. was gone, but not to far ahead. I could see her neon arms. She also stopped for a photo opportunity of this gorgeous water fall. Thanks Miss P.
The single track was great. I found a great rhythm and actually had a pretty great pace going in this very runnable section with a few small hills. I had such a good pace going that no one wanted to pass me. I offered, but they all said no, pace is just fine. Pretty soon though the tough climbing was going to happen. Up dead truck I went. I did see the truck over the side, but I am sorry I didn't get a picture. When I saw it I actually couldn't believe it.
Up dead truck I go, and it was a major climb. It just kept going, but I kept moving forward. I kept moving knowing it had to end, but it didn't it took forever to get up. My legs were feeling this climb, and I knew I needed to get some more fuel in me. The climb finally ended and the sweet single track was back with a nice gradual descent. Down, down, down, I go. and then up, up, up I go. I fueled some on this section, I took in some more Gu and inhaled a Honey Waffle Stinger. By fueling that helped my legs feel better and I knew I could make it to the second aid station now with no problems.
At the second aid station Miss P. and Power Girl were there. At this point, I took off my arm warmers and put my gloves and arm warmers away and Miss P. was kind enough to get some water in my flask so that my Gu would come out easier. I ate 2 paydays and off we went.
Thank You!!! Power Girl in the red shorts!
The second half Miss P. let me lead and set the pace. It was great running with her. We talked when we felt like it, walked when I needed too and really just enjoyed being out on the trails. I knew that Goat hill would be coming so I was really focused on trying to get the fuel in my body as I thought my fueling was off just a bit.
The second half before goat hill has a nice gradual descent with a few climbs. It seemed that I was expecting Goal hill far before it actually showed up. I was a little directionally challenged and I also tripped over a
Miss P. and I tackled goat hill. It is a very steep climb but a short climb at that with a little 20ft section that is runnable and then more climbing. Here is where
The miles today seemed to tick by so quickly. I mean 10 miles came and went and then we were at 14 and next thing I knew we had 5 miles to go. We had a few small descents followed by some more climbs. Here I thought it was all down, but nope we had at least 3 more mild but steep climbs to go. I saw that grandpa tree was up ahead and told Miss P. we had a little over 4 miles from this point.
The landmark I was talking about
Which is good information to have come race day. The tricky part is there is one major climb before the finish. We kept going down ever so tenderly as the terrain was pretty steep and tricky I didn't want to lose my feet and I knew my quads at this point could only take so much more. My toes were hurting the most followed by my blister. But nothing I could do about it besides keep going.
Soon enough I could hear the cars and knew we were just shy of 2 miles to the finish. As we crossed hyway 49 I became the unofficial crossing guard and blew my whistle. I found it fun and uplifting! Once we crossed safely we had the last major hill to climb. This climb was really technical with a ton of rocks, erosion, and mud. Be careful here as I almost lost my shoe in the shoe sucking mud! We hiked as quickly as we could and then the most beautiful sight in the world today, the meadow. We were so close we could taste it.
We were so close in fact I blew Miss P. a little song on my whistle and I hummed the main chorus to Rocky!!! The whistle blowing and humming were so encouraging that as I rounded the corner to the main stretch of the finish I took off. My legs had a new life and I ran the last portion just as I started with strong legs. What a fantastic run. Thank you Miss P. for running with me I enjoyed the company out on the trails and I enjoyed the laughter as well.
I learned a few lessons on this run. First, I probably should have started my food intake a little earlier. I think I became caught up in everything, but once I realized what I did, I focused on my fueling and that helped during the second half. I also should have put some water in my flask. This way the Gu would come out easier and I wouldn't need that straw (which I didn't have). I believe my salt intake was spot on. I didn't seem to be puffy at the end, but I think I needed to drink more water at the beginning. All things considered I now have a stronger idea of what I can expect on race day and some things to be working on in the mean time.
A special thank you to James for putting the Way too Cool Training Run together, thank you to the volunteers at the 2 aid stations and a huge thank you to Anthony AKA Coach Nikon for taking the time and marking the entire course! It was fun had by the entire Fleet Feet Ultra group and 100+ other trail runners. A day where the sunshine shone down on us and smiles where had by all.