citrus trails and tribulations

March 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm 2 comments

all week leading into the citrus trail 50k  i watched the expected weather. initial nightmare was a 60 percent chance of storms but by friday that had diminished to 10. thank god! what hadn’t changed though was the expected high temp of 84. we’ve had a pretty cool winter down here. at least for florida standards. and it’s been awhile since i’ve had to face the heat. i’m a 40 degree happy runner. seventy plus knocks me on my ass. hard!

saturday night at dinner carb loading with a handful of others running the race, i realized i might not have been quite as prepared as i could have been. while everyone was talking drop bags and comparing nutrition options packed, i was debating if i should even stop at the store on the way home for some uncrustables or if gu was good enough. where they had all obviously gone over the race course time and time again, i had yet to even glance at it. their back-to-backs in training far surpassed my 18 mile long a few weeks prior. but, this wan’t my first rodeo. i know me. i know my run. i’d be fine. as always.

sunday morning we carpool caravan-ed. the ‘dillo rode with me and we talked about hanging together but he encouraged me to go my own faster-than-him pace. part of me thought it would be far more intelligent not to, but the surprising mid-50s temp we arrived to made me think i actually had a decent race ahead. check-in was easy. bathroom a breeze. and a sunup start time left no need for a headlamp. far better a start to my morning than the cluster that was my croom zoom 50k and i was feeling pretty damn good! a quick briefing from the race director and off we went!

‘dillo and i stayed side by side with a small pack but not long in i felt myself pulling ahead and i went with it. i was hovering at a pace i knew i wouldn’t keep for long and i hoped to bank a little time while it was still cool. but it didn’t last long. there was no slow increasing temps. we pretty much went from nice to nasty in a couple of hours. add to that the amount of hills on a course i expected to be flat and by mile 10 i knew i was in for a rough race.

i spent a lot of the run solo. i’d pass the occasional runner only to be passed by another but all men. i knew i had been holding a top female spot from the beginning. and more than a pr ~ which i gave up on pretty early ~ i wanted top three. the lead was gone. she looked strong and i had no dreams of being anywhere near. but i knew there were others breathing down my neck. i held as steady as i could but by mile 18 i was hurting. and it didn’t help when i passed a small group of hikers who informed me that i was nearing the hilliest part of the course. post race a friend made the comment that she couldn’t figure out how the race director put together a 31 mile course that seemed to be all uphill. but my god he did and the stretch from 18-21 was brutal. i was already walking some by then. mostly just the hills but suddenly that seemed constant.

hills aside the course was amazing. well marked. beautiful though a bit too open and sun-kissed. but where the race director nailed the navigation he lacked in aid. there were enough stations. that wasn’t the issue. but the fuel option were scarce ~ far fewer than any race i had ever run. i’d found one table with potato chips and one with gummy bears which helped but the ginger snaps and m&ms at others simply sounded nauseating! ultimately i know nutrition is my responsibility so i have no oe to blame but myself. but i had at the very least hoped for pb&j ~ a staple ~ but it was no where to be found. guess i should have made that publix run after dinner after all!

i hung on best i could but between the heat, lack of nutrition and lack of enough training i was fading fast. by the time i hit the last aid station at mile 28 i was doing a quarter mile run quarter mile walk. and not long after that it got bad. real bad.

it started with my toes. oddly. i could feel the muscles cramp so severely they were curling under my feet. and my calf muscles. holy crap! from toes to waist my muscles starting cramping so bad that my legs literally seized and i could barely walk nonetheless run. i wasn’t even stepping anymore. i was shuffling. unable to bend or move my legs at all. i had to stop a number of times. sure i was going to fall over. and i quickly realized the realistic possibility that i was about to dnf my first race ever.

i thought about taking off my shoes. if i could just straighten out my toes maybe i could “release” the rest of my muscles. and i was just about to do it when i opted to try walking a little differently. lifting from my quads i started what was almost a prance. it took the strain off my calves and seemed to help loosen things up as i went. every so often i would try to run but ten, maybe twenty steps tops, and my legs would lock right back up. less than two miles from the finish i knew the walk was my only option and suddenly i got pissed! i started mumbling out loud that no one, i mean NO ONE, was going to pass my ass in that final stretch. and i certainly wasn’t going to lose a single female placement!  anger as fuel can be powerful and before i knew it i was walking a 12:30 mile.

with a handful of steps left and a determination to cross the line running, i finished at what could barely be considered a run then stopped dead in my tracks. volunteers were asking me if i needed to sit down or get in the shade. but i couldn’t do either. i couldn’t take another step. a banana and three salt tabs later i was finally able to lower myself to the ground and ask how i did. my time … a crap 6:10. but my placement … third female overall. and turns out the lead female was only 8 minutes ahead! so close yet so far away!

post race i quickly realized the MANY places where i went wrong.

  • i didn’t bring or take edurolytes ~ salt tabs. hence my intense muscle cramping. i never use them to train in cooler months and i simply didn’t head the weatherman warnings of higher temps. stupid stupid stupid!
  • i didn’t study the race course. i knew there two drop bag areas but i assumed one would be enough. had i really looked at the course map i would have understood the need for two.
  • i assumed aid stations would give me enough food options to chose from. next time i bring grub beyond a few gus and a powerbar!
  • i didn’t really do sufficient training. sure i run long just about every weekend. but ultras really do need a back-to-back here and there or at least something longer than an 18 or two.
  • i meant to and should have run the course before race day. i was caught off guard by the constant rollers and could have at least been mentally prepared.

so … in ten days i do this again. croom fools 50k. current weather forecast looks pretty similar to citrus and i know the hills i’ll face out there. though andyM puts on one hell of a well stocked race i’ll take my own food to be safe. and e-caps are already stocked! i’m ready to do this one right … i just hope i can actually run by then!


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

the trifecta i give up

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. activeharmony  |  March 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I’m partial to Salt Stick tabs – as the ingredient profile is fantastic.

    Sorry to hear you bonked – I did, too, just a week ago. Running those distances in heat is a real doozie.

    Best of luck in your upcoming race!

    • 2. becelisa  |  March 21, 2014 at 8:31 am

      i haven’t tried them but just looked at the ingredients versus enduralytes which has always been my go to and i think i may need! thanks!


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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



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