I went into this race not in the best shape, but definitely wasn't worried about being able to finish. I had somehow managed to convince Eric to do the 50k with me, and huge props to him for jumping in and doing it without having ever raced further than a half marathon on trails! I was also happy that CFS (Craig) was going to run the 50 miler in an attempt to forget about the 100 miler debacle. Tori was also jumping in to try the hardest half marathon (um, by far) she'd ever done. I was pretty stoked for everybody and the accomplishments I knew were ahead.
Because I'm writing this months after the fact, I won't go into a ton of detail about every mile of the race.
What I do remember was feeling pretty great in the beginning. Eric and I said good luck to Tori, who wouldn't be starting until a bit later, and turned our headlamps on for the dark start down the road. Pretty much right away we met some guys that we talked to for awhile. They were racing their first 50k and had come from sea level, and I think at that moment Eric had made it his goal to beat them- I may have done the same ;)
As we went down, down, down the trail I picked up the pace a bit, which was probably a mistake. As we started up the steepest hill, which compared to what we run on around here really wasn't any different except the higher altitude, I just felt... off. Dizzy. ExHAUsted. Lethargic. I had left Eric behind on the downhill, but he quickly caught up to my struggling self and I made sure he kept going and didn't wait for me. We ended up running together for awhile, but as we started heading back down again, I got my second wind. I wouldn't see Eric again until the finish line.
At one point I must have felt TOO good, because I was running so *fast* (for me) that I missed a marked turn. I didn't even realize it until I ran into 3 people coming TOWARDS me, letting me know I had also gone the wrong way. I couldn't believe I'd gotten lost in another race! Of course it was uphill all the way back to the spot where we went off course! The girl in the group of 3 was visibly upset about the turn of events, and just had a really hard time getting her mojo back. I ran with her for awhile before pulling ahead.
If that weren't bad enough, I got lost again RIGHT before the finish. The instructions said we were going to be making a left turn, and there was course marking tape on a trailhead sign, with a trail that went left... unfortunately, we were supposed to go straight, the left turn was just a littttle further up. Ugh. This one didn't cost me as much time because I was suspicious that I had gone the wrong way, but probably a good 10 minutes still.
I wanted so badly to have a good race after taking my sweet time in Jemez, but I still had a GREAT time! Tori was there at the finish and introduced me to some friends she had made from Boulder who immediately gave me one of their chairs and a beer while we waiting for Eric to finish. He had some problems with his knees on the gnarly downhill, but he finished strong and I was so proud! I was super proud of Tori too- she also got lost but finished a tough half marathon!
As it turns out, we left RIGHT before Craig finished the 50 miler. He totally, utterly rocked it, he never ceases to amaze me with his stubborn running. :) We got to catch up with him and some others at the free breakfast the next morning- pancakes and eggs mmmmmm. Thanks to the race director and volunteers for an awesome time! Can't wait for the next one :D