Sunday, November 7, 2010

50 Miles running... did it really happen?

I journeyed to the Blues Springs 50/50 to help a friend, and have some fun running with Bad Ben.

My friend Anne was signed up for 50 miles, but she'd run really well (too well) the KC marathon, only one week after a 50k (she also ran well) and her knee was hurting. I feared her relentless, do a longer race, spirit would render her permanently injured.

So, we ( including Puccini, our 12 pound Chiueagle) got up early to "pace to pull." I would run with her and moniter her knee and pull her when necessary. Problem is, for all my selfless contributions to the racing community, it seems when I have a goal like the Rocky Racoon 100 miler, my own training, trumps all else.

After a smart, slow start, I left my friend Anne to the pacing auspices of Major Erin Miller of the US Army. Far better trained in duty and loyalty-- well...

"How fast is she running?"
"I don't know-- 11 minutes a mile? 12."
" Well , I'm not going to go slow."

Turns out the Major was better at laying down the law with a faster pace for Anne, and I was better at.. taking off.

I ran out to Danny Miller, paced him a while, and with his encouragement took off.

Still, having not planned on running 50 miles, due to the crushed gravel course instead of the single track I prefer, I was fine with running about 35.

"Sophia, you look great, what do you need?"
Bad Ben.

"Should I keep running? Is this good Rocky Training?"
"It's great for Rocky."
Ben seemed like a kid watching the underdog win the world series. He was cheering for ME I realized this race would get me into the lotto for Western States. The thought amused me.
I was high!
9 minute mile. walk fast
8:30 walk fast.
Aid Station. More cheers.

Hi ERIN and ANNE. Wow still running-- they RAN 40. I was proud of the Mud BABES.
Out and back again, again. More Ben.
Aid station. Ben again.
40 miles.
9 minute pace. Running , running, realizing, I've got lots in the tank. HIGH.
WIND, oh so much wind in the face.

I'm not really tired, just a bit bored. Get to the bridge and it's simple.
Over the bridge.

Ben ran with me until the end-- and I almost cried. So happy to have a such incredible people in my life, cheering for me.

Later, at my bank in Topeka, I mentioned the 50 miler to my friend Mark who works there.

"How do you do it?"

"It's the Nordstrom's Effect.. You hit the aid stations, and they tell you, you look great and you head back out. Later you may think (just like those shiny purple parachute pants in the 80's you bought,)why did I buy that? But unlike the 80's in a 50 miler, you are grateful.

I don't know if this can ever happen again.. but I did not bonk, or even come close. In fact, I think back on the day, and 50 miles seems short-- an etherial experience as I am running an 8:30 pace and look down at a watch that says 41 miles, knowing there is plenty of gas in the tank.

And what about Mudbabe Monday.
"What time Sophia?"
The Major. "6pm, let's just do a short 4.5. "
We felt good. The Major had ended up running a formidable amount herself-- 50k the day before.

We actually could have run longer on Monday but I was after all busy eating. Ben arrived home Monday to a counter full of a hodge podge of dishes. Every leftover, can and box in the house. He laughed and cleaned it up. Glad to be pulling for a winning team.

So, did it happen? Could 50 miles go by in 9:11 with so little pain? So little waivering? It is as if without the pain or need for major encouragement due to physical or mental trauma, I can't feel the magnitude of the race. However the race must have existed, as this time I did run as Sophia Wharton.

Running my Best

The alarm rang at 5:15 am on a Tuesday. Not your conventional alarm. There was no jangling noise, not even a nasty crack of light through a hotel window, harshly dragging me from dreams to reality. Instead, a gentle eye opening to a cool dark room and bright outlook of a day.
I guess I'll go running. I felt refreshed. If any of you have followed this blog ( I think at this day there are 24 of you) you know, I've been prone to excuses, ov0ersleeping and spotty training. But this day was different.
In Corallville, Iowa, headed to help Team Mizuno sell at the Chicago marathon, I got up and headed out for a run. Early on, I saw a critter cross the path-- it was a racoon. I decided to name it Rocky. Rocky Racoon, just like the 100 miler in February, my fiancee Bad Ben signed us up for.
Would I ever be ready?
I logged 8, made a plan for the week, and headed to Chicago.

The final piece of this week's plan was to run the Chicago marathon. It would be under my worst conditions. Two solid days of standing and selling apparel, dead legs, and no taper on a hot day. On marathon day I had 36 miles under the Wave Elixirs. Did I mention how much I hate running in heat?
10-10-10 marathon morning, I called the receptionist at the hotel. "I 'm sorry I missed the forecast, what is it for today?" She replied it would be "perfect," highs in the 80's and sunny.

Going into the race, I knew I needed to execute discipline. A fast marathon or a bonk fest could ruin my Rocky training for two weeks. I needed this race for my MIND. I needed to run my best, not my fastest.

My boss, Tim invited me along with some friends he'd mentored in training and we headed to the start line (via the VIP tent-- many thanks Tim for that!)

I watched the guys speed off, and settled in. Goodbye runners, I may see you later... 10 minute miles. 3 piddle breaks. Temperature climbing. 1/2 marathon in 2:10 (note to readers-- You won't find results under "wharton," a woman who couldn't run named Gabriellla Thomas gave me her number through a friend, but I didn't use the chip-- you'll see my photos under Thomas and 27376--her number). 2:10 x's 2.. I did not feel like running for 4:20 or more in the heat. I was annoyed with the piddle breaks.

Time to drop the hammer. So I cruised through the land of the living dead, to a 4:07 finish. Seeing the folks with 3:30 pace team, on their backs. Maybe we finished the same time, but I ENJOYED my whole race. Even more so, that at the end, with bored crowds (bored with wathcing Zombie land) standing smoldering in the sun, I was able to WHOOP it UP!!

"Hey, cheer for ME," I called out, and a wave of cheers erupted from the crowds lining the streets of Chicago!
"GO Me GO"

I was running my best, finishing running strong with a 9 minute negative split. In no way, my fastest, but accomplishing the goal. Defy ego early, and enjoy success in the end.

I was ready to run the next day, and did.