zoom zoom

January 6, 2014 at 2:04 pm 4 comments

friday evening as i sat in the ice rink watching mini-me skate it hit me that i was running a 50k the next morning. i’m not sure why i didn’t respect the distance the way i still do a mere marathon so when the reality hit it hit hard. i didn’t panic per se ~ yet ~ but i knew i needed to get my act together and prep for the morning. with a forecasted cold start that was expected to heat up through the morning, i knew i didn’t want to wear a winter cap but needed to cover my ears so after skating i decided to take a trip to sports authority for a new wide headband.

i couldn’t find exactly what i was looking for but i found good enough. so headband procured i randomly felt a little better and we headed home so i could eat, pack and get to sleep early. but as i went to start my car, my key snapped. literally broke off, key fob in hand, key in ignition. dumbfounded i sat there trying to rationally comprehend what just happened but unable to quite wrap my brain around it. i wasn’t close to home and even if i was i had no idea where my spare key was. and the only one i knew who lived nearby was my ex husband who i have not been getting along with lately and i had no desire to ask for help. but in looking around trying to decide what the heck to do, i saw the light at the end of the plaza. heaven in the shape of a lowe’s sign. using the sleeve of my jacket i was able to get enough grip on the key to get it out of the ignition and mini-me and i strolled down to the end of the plaza to the home improvement store that was to be my savior.

“the key won’t work if i cut it”. the answer i got from the key dude caught me totally off guard. “these things usually have sensors in the key fob. a blank won’t work.” i tried to disagree. i knew my valet key was used to cut the key that was pieced together in my palm. i was sure there was no sensor. he disagreed. i insisted. he cut. we walked to the car. and bam! the key … didn’t work. and that is where the panic set in. with no idea what to do i called day ~ a friend and story to be told ~ and asked him to keep me calm and help me rationally think through what i needed to do. call toyota. ask them if there is a sensor or if it’s potentially just a bad cut. five minutes on the phone as i fought back tears and tried to swallow the reality that if i couldn’t get this fixed i wasn’t going to make my race the next morning. but as we talked, i jiggled the key. and finally it turned!

it was 8 p.m. before we got home. i pieced together a pasta dinner. threw potential race clothes on the couch and the garmin on the charger. the 10 p.m. bedtime was not ideal for the 3 a.m. wake up that was to come but there was nothing more i could do.

it was 4 a.m. when i managed to get mini-me into the car. her plan was to sleep for a bit when we got there and eventually come out on course with camera. a quick stop into 7-11 to get batteries for my dead headlamp (see. totally unprepared!) and we hit the road for the hour drive. i wanted to be there by 5 a.m. for the 6 a.m. start and was on track to be just a little past … until i missed my exit. and go figure it was nearly 7 miles until the next. with that unexpected 15 minutes detour i was a bit on edge when we arrived but given how much i love the trails we were running, i simply tried to imagine the morning as a long run with friends. no pressure. but a slow volunteer check-in line and an even slower line into the one bathroom started to worry me. as i stood in line with a need to not just pee but to “go” i swapped out the batteries in my headlamp and couldn’t help but laugh when it wouldn’t work. what the fuck?! thankfully the wingman was nearby and he graciously went in search to see if he could find me a spare.

then it got worse. i heard the race director holler “five minutes to start” and i knew the seven or eight person line in front of me wasn’t going to get me there in time. especially given my camelbak was still in the car, i didn’t have a drop bag set up, i hadn’t pulled any gels or nutrition and i still didn’t have light. don’t panic. i ran to the woods and peed. figured at least number one needed to be checked off the list. i flew to the car and got my camelbak and randomly tossed shit into a drop bag. i shoved two gels in my pants pocket to get me through loop one and i headed to the start. the wingman came through with a light. a handheld which i’ve never carried but would have to make do on pitch dark trails until the sun came up. i managed a few quick hi’s and hugs of all the friends i had out there. breath. ready or not here we go.

i spent the first half mile or so running with tavi who i was surprised to see racing only two weeks out from ancient oaks. having her there to talk to was exactly what i needed. it kept me from over thinking the discombobulation that was my morning. and by the time she pulled off and left me in her trail dust i was calm and mentally ready for a great run.

the race was comprised of a short 2 mile pre-loop followed by three almost 10 mile loops. i considered a quick potty break after the first but decided to just stick it out best i could. the first 10 mile loop was amazing. i love running in the woods in the dark and the handheld light wasn’t too hard to adjust to. i found myself leading a pack and i felt strong. i knew where i needed to be for my unofficial goal of sub 5:45 and i was banking lots of time at the pace i was holding. around mile nine i turned a corner and was shocked to see tavi. she was walking and i could tell she had been crying. i slowed down but she shoo’d me away. she’s like me. proud and stubborn. and i knew she wouldn’t admit to whatever was wrong. so as i came into staging i found the governor who was working aid station one and told her. i was worried and wanted someone to go in and check. a quick restock on gels and a downed gatorade and i headed out for loop two.

but not a mile into loop two i had yet another panic. i hadn’t seen my kid. now i really didn’t expect her to be awake and out of the car yet. at 13 she can sleep forever. but i knew the windows were all up in the car. i knew she was bundled in a warm sleeping bag on the futon mattress i had thrown in the back of the RAV4 for her comfort. and the mom voice in my head started asking the what-ifs. what if some psycho saw her sleeping and kidnapped her. what if she’s overheating. didn’t matter that the 45 degree weather made that very unlikely. i had another nine miles or so before i’d be back at the start to send someone to check on her and for a moment i considered turning around. race second priority to my child’s safety. but another possible disaster was answered with the unexpected. i saw a girl ~ one i’ve seen on trail and at many a race ~ running the other direction. i stopped and asked her if she was going back to the start. asked her to go to the aid station and tell the governor to find my car and check on my kid. she confirmed the details. went her way. and i went mine. but another mile later i realized i hadn’t even told her where my car was parked but knew the governor as a fellow mom would scour the parking lot until she found it.

mid loop two i started fighting the lack of my full potty break. for a moment i thought i might have to hit the woods with a toilet paper leaf but the pangs would subside. i was still pacing strong. almost more so than i wanted to be and i started revisiting my goal. i had my reason for wanting a sub 5:45 but i’d really secretly wanted a sub 5:30 and top three female and i started to wonder if i could hang on and get there. so as i finished loop two i debated on the bathroom break but quickly decided to risk the last loop. i shoveled down half a pb&j and some potato chips as the governor gave me the update on tavi ~ who i was sad to learn had dnf’d ~ and my kid who had ventured down to the course here and there but was cozy in the car with her phone and the ipad. see, no need to mom worry! and then off i went.

a few miles in i started fading. little walk breaks increased in duration as exhaustion kicked in. but even in the walk i tried to keep a good clip. heart rate up. pace respectable. my hammie started to seize and the knee that always complains was screaming loud and clear that it wasn’t happy. but i was happy. i simply belong on trails.

around mile 27 while taking a little walk break i got passed by andyB. he had won ancient oaks and was out doing the 100k just to see how fast his legs could recover. he asked my goal and told me to stick with him. he could pace me in for a 5:27. but as hard as i tried i couldn’t hang and i watched as he disappeared into the trees ahead. but then i started lapping people. and what a damn amazing feeling that was! i aimed for little run intervals with short walks in between and was doing ok but it was getting harder and harder to maintain. around mile 30 i lapped turner and ~ in total jest ~ i made the comment that if the course measured long i was going to strangle andyM ~ the race director. turner shot back. “oh it’s long. by about a mile and a half.” i was crushed at first. are you kidding me?! here i was hanging on to get to mile 31 and the idea of doing an extra mile and a half about killed me. but then i got pissed. really pissed. especially because i started recognizing where i was on course and i knew turner was full of shit. it motivated me. pushed me to finish strong and finish hard. and that i did.

for the record, my garmin measured the course at 30.99 ~ just about perfect!

50k finish!

50k finish!

ultramarathon number two. my first 50k. done.


had this been last year, my time would have been good enough for second female overall. this year it put me 6th overall and second in my age group. i’ll take it!


Entry filed under: racing, running, ultra marathon. Tags: , , , , .

here and now a new day

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. PDX Running Chick  |  January 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Wow! Congratulations! You seriously inspire me. All that shit pre-race likely would have brought me down. Way to get it done!

    • 2. becelisa  |  January 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      thank you! i’m not sure how the pre-race shit didn’t destroy me out there. maybe i’m letting go of some of my anal-retentive behavior! HA! or not.

  • 3. kitkat1126  |  January 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I need to reiterate how amazing you are. Just remembering last year, reading during some of your worst and most painful months where you couldn’t run and now… you’re an ultra-runner. Not just a runner, not a “oh I’m doing a long run of 13-15-17 miles” no, no, 31+ f*ing miles. It’s beyond admirable and impressive what your body, and most of all your mind, can do to get you across a finish line of a 50k.

    • 4. becelisa  |  January 6, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      sometimes i’m still so dumbfounded where i am right now. and how “normal” it feels. though this race was tough i really liked the 50k distance! and i love the camaraderie and comfort i’ve found on the trails. at least one part of my life feels right. finally.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 150 other followers

the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39



%d bloggers like this: