Monday, October 1, 2007

Iron Mountain 50

Wow, what a day Saturday was! I looked forward to the day, trained for it and pined for it when overwhelmed at work when all I wanted to do for weeks is the freedom of running hard for hours at a time with nothing else to worry about!
Early Saturday morning my friend Perry Edinger( in the state briefly from his home in AZ) drove over to the start in Damascus-me in my down jacket and Perry with chattering teeth as we tried to stay warm for the 42ish degree start temperature.
I wanted to run in 8ish hours. Even with my inconsistentcy in hard workouts due to hamstring flareups-I still thought I was well trained for a "go consistent on the ups and flats and fly the downhills" because rarely does my hammie bother me on the down hills ('cept for when I stumble)...

The first 10 miles went fast-being fully on pace for an 8 hour finish...yet a stumble here and there and stomache "issues" appearing after 4 more miles...the last 36 miles of the run seemed more of a contest to see how many pit stops I could make. I didn't feel sick-just unsettled and quickly ran out of rump soreness from prickly leaves quickly added to the frustration of not being able to run well. The harder I ran -especially the more I pounded the wonderful technical downhills-the jostling in my belly would demand a pit stop. So the slower I ran-the less stopping had to happen. I have only had this phoenomena 3x before..out of 50+ ultras...each during 100 mile runs somewhere around mile go figure-what was going on?

It seemed that all day long I heard runners just ahead of me and as I would look forward to catching up-ooopps-time to take a break. Sigh. Yet I was not having a bad day-just a frustrating one! Perry reported having a cruddy day-legs leaving him limp because of too many previous miles...makes sense-the Iron Mountain is a toughie-runnable for sure-yet still makes you work and gets your attention and I think 150+ mile weeks all summer that Perry packed in finally caught up and made him slow way down. Perry and I chatted briefly with 8 miles left to go-he planned to walk some-I didn't know where the next woman was, didn't want to be passed-and although I lost my shot at 8 hours and then 8.5 long ago-I was still in range for my next goal of 9 hours...I knew Bethany Patterson ran in a little over 9 hours the previous year and I wanted a shot a the CR-And my ego wanted to come in at least under an hour past my goal time!
Fortunatley my body cooperated and only demanded 2 more pit stops and pretty soon the descent down Mock Holler came sooner than expected. I knew I needed to hit pavement and 1 mile left to go my 8:50. I got there in 8:46 and motored (by end of 50 mile ultrarunning standards anyway!)...crossed some roads, shared the VA creeper trail with dozens of famllies and kids on bikes and trikes-almost tripping over a few in my eagerness to not be stuck in "traffic"...I pulled in to the Damascus Gazebo at 8:57:16...relieved, tired and sort of content...Happy not to have been passed by another woman..and to have run sub 9:00...yet not satisfied...

I quickly put on more clothes, drank some Clif Recovery and was settiling down to drink water and stretch when Perry hurried across the finish...Great job...I know he was bummed-yet I still cheered-he has been through alot this year-and has pushed his body far...I don't know him well-but celebrate his small part in my life (and the fact he let his awesome kitty Mama Grey move in with George and I when he moved this past April). We didn't stick around for long-I was feeling puny due to lack of calories over the day-and Perry needed to get up at 3am in order to drive to Charlotte to fly back to AZ to be back at work Sunday night....

Now a few days later, I am able to articulate my lack of satisfaction...not so much due to "stomache issues"...but because I didn't push myself as much as I hoped to. I wanted to see how my hammie would do. Yes it was sore from some stumples and my approach to hills since the injury is different..yet I really want to to be strong again...and I'd hoped to use this race as a tool to see how I am doing? I queston myself-did I subconsciously create the belly thing from having to not face my hammie? Am I a "has been" who now makes excuses? I really can't be sure! Because the stomach thing is not common with me I have a hard time figuring out what happened? Was it physical or a physical effect of my psyche?
I did enjoy Saturday-and am pleased with the "win" (and awesome finishers shirt)...yet I think I will be unsettled until I can push as hard as I can w/o being dumb and see what happens-stomache? Fear? Hammie? Sigh. My personal mystery continues!

If you are reading this -make plans to come to Damascus for the Iron Mountain 50M next year. I can honestly say that based on terrain, challenge,variety, placement of aid, race director and volunteers, that it is easily on my top 5 list of favorite ultras. It is worth traveling to. It is tough-yet runnable- And If not tough enough-run it faster! I really hope to next year! Actually-I'll keep things in perspective-last year I was still so injured I worked aid stations for the whole morning and went to the gym in the evening to work out on the elliptical trainer-because I was still having trouble running fast enough to break a sweat!

The next day (Sunday) one of my friends RD'd a new off road duathalon 30min driving from where we live (Dark Mountain Challenge). I participated in the 4 mile run, and 14 mile bike ride to support her and her event...There were 26 participants and I think I finished 3rd from last! Yet it was a good slow motion day for me. (I am sooo scared on a mtn bike I don't think I'd have been much improved even without Iron Mtn day before!)


Bedrock said...

Great report. Sounds like a frustrating time indeed. Way to go battling through to get a strong time. See you at Masochist.


Greg said...

Thanks for the report! If you ask me, 9 hours is darned fast but I hear you on the frustration... I bet you are even more hungry for MMTR - maybe this was a blessing in disguise?

I am going to try and make it up to MMTR to volunteer if I can - see you tearing up that course from the sidelines will be a delight! Have a good recovery week :)

- Greg

Anonymous said...

a "has been who now makes excuses"?? hardly!! your finishing time rocked!! it was a tough course. Could there have been any more freakin' rocks???? Iron Mtn was my first 50 miler and i was honored to meet you and admire all you have accomplished out in the ultra running world. (i'm sure you have accomplished much in your personal and professional life as well!)a little frustration is good for us all. it 's what pushes us each day to try and be better then we were the day before.

Best of luck to you in your upcoming races. You inspire me and others to keep moving!
k,louisville ky

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