Friday, April 27, 2012

Race Update: Winona Lake Ultra 2012

Race: Winona Lake Ultra 50, 30, & 10 miles
Date: April 14th, 2012
Score: Awesome!
Time: 1:46:59.9 (aka 1:47)
Placing: 91st over all, 7th 18-24yr old women

This was a really good race. It wasn't a perfect race for me certainly but I really enjoyed it. It was well organized and executed by the directors. And it was very reasonably priced. $18 apiece. How can you beat that? I would definitely run more races by this organization.  

Justin and I before the race. This is classic us.

Justin and I ran the 10 mile which was one loop. The 10 milers started at 10am with the 30 milers and 50 milers starting at 10 minute intervals. There were 118 runners in the 10 mile, 38 in the 30, and 20 in the 50. So our race was by far the biggest of the three. But we got passed by many 30 and 50 milers over the course of the race. 

Justin finishing. Look at that concentration.

The race had a rocky start for me. Training had not gone well for either Justin or I the last few weeks and we had barely managed to get our long runs in let alone any speed training. Also, all our runs had been on the road. So, not the best training conditions for an ultra which by definition is a trail race. So we had determined to take it easy and just focus on having fun.

Me sprinting to the finish. I should have just passed him earlier.

Despite us trying to start in the middle of the pack we ended up farther forward than I would have preferred. The race very quickly dropped down to a single track and I immediately got seperrated from Justin. I also knew that there was no way I could maintain the pace I was running for very long so I slowed way down and allowed many people to pass me. 

Us after the race. Victorious and very sweaty.

Around the 1 1/2 mile I had caught up to a couple of other people and several of us were pacing off the man in front. He was running a pace that felt very doable to me so I hung with him. However, by mile 3, my fast start had caught up with me and I had a nasty side cramp. I walked my way into the first aid station at 3.2 to find an apologetic Justin waiting for me.

My little baby scrape.

I sucked down a HAMMER Gel (nasty, chalky stuff by the way) and we headed on. The rest of the race went more according to plan. I took one fall. Truth be told, I still don't know what I tripped on. Justin says it must have been a root. I think he's being generous that I tripped on my own two feet. However!, I managed to fall to the side of the trail so that neither Justin or the two men following him stepped on me. Score one for me!

Dry shirts and finisher medals.

I think the biggest thing I learned from this race is that electrolytes are very important for me.  My cramp went away as soon as I took the HAMMER Gel and stayed away the rest of the race as long as I ate Shot Bloks on a regular basis. Next long run I plan to start with electrolytes and maintain them. I have a theory that this will prevent cramps from starting which I would much prefer. So, I'll experiment and see what happens.

Celebrating with Ritters icecream!

Final thoughts: 

1. This was an awesome race! I definitely want to at least run the 30 next spring and am seriously considering running the 50. I know, I know, insane. At the very least, with a little training I should be able to win my age group if not place over all in women's. The fastest woman finished in 1:16:13.2. That should be doable for me with some focused training. I look forward to next year!

2. Play with the electrolytes. Figure out what works and go from there. It's very disheartening to begin a race with a cramp and feel like you're playing catch up the whole time. This is something I need to experiment with more on the regular runs.

3. The Nathan pack rocks! I love mine so much. You get used to it after a while and don't even notice it at all. For a shorter race like this that has aide stations I would definitely only fill it half way but I loved having it with me. The pack is well worth the money I spent on it and would definitely suggest it for other runners who are working to increase their millage.

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