My first weekend in Santa Fe was kind of a disaster, training-wise. I tried so hard to find a nice, long, difficult run to do and kept getting foiled, ending up with 2 separate runs totaling 11 miles and 2500 feet of climbing. Thumbs down. To make matters worse, my runner's knee was not improving, so my first week of work I took off running completely- 5 days with no running! Eek! I also wasn't able to move into my apartment yet and was renting out a room on airbnb. So many strange things!
Friday after work though, I drive down to a place called Cloudcroft in southern New Mexico, 4 hours away. It ended up being this adorable mountain town, sitting at 8600 feet of elevation. The race would bus us down to Oliver Lee State Park at 4300 feet (cactus) and we would run up to Cloudcroft (cloud), 32.5 miles and 8500 feet later (website says almost 10,000 feet of climbing?).
Once again, I had Hardrock on my mind, and after 5 days off I was very nervous about my knee, but totally determined to not only finish this race but get 18 miles in the next day as well. Time for my first 50 mile weekend!
The shuttle ride down I was completely wiped out from my first week of work and lack of sleep, but everybody in our van was fun and we had some great conversation. It was so dark though that I wouldn't know any of them if I saw them again!
Before the race began, the guy who sat next to me in the van got up and sang the most amazing national anthem! He totally killed it! I asked him after the race if he was a professional, and why yes, yes he was. Soon after, we were off, immediately climbing a long hill.
The race went about as I expected. I didn't try to pass anyone on the climbs, and just kept it fairly easy always with "18 miles tomorrow" playing in my head. I chatted with some people I ran with, but I also spent a lot of time alone on the trail with my thoughts.
At some of the aid stations, I would take out a baggie I brought and just fill it up with salty snacks, and eat while I continued to hike. It was nice not to have to stuff my face and hurry off!
The altitude got to me right at the half way mark, and I had a very unpleasant headache for 16 miles. It definitely sapped any desire to run from my mind and I got a little down thinking about Hardrock. "How in the heck am I going to survive Hardrock if I get a raging headache just from being at 9,500 feet?" Talking to Tori last week she helped me remember that I was probably not used to the elevation yet, but I also know Hardrock is going to hurt in many ways, and I'll just have to suck it up, Buttercup.
As I tend to do lately, I picked it up in the last 5 miles. I was ready to be done, drink some lemonade and get my 4 hour drive home done so I could sleep on the floor in my new place and get up for another run! After crossing the finish in 8:50:32, 7th female, 3rd a/g and talking to some nice ladies at the finish I did just that.
For some reason, my SI pain that I've dealt with in the past was pretty bad after the race. I don't think sleeping on the floor or all the driving helped either. I could barely walk around without limping (and oh my god the STAIRS!), but I woke up early, drove out to the trails, and got my 18 miles in, through sun, snow, and a grapple storm! I was just as slow as during the 50k, but so happy I stuck it out and got it DONE!
I may not be getting the training I want in for Hardrock, but at least I'll have this one 30/20 weekend! Next up is Jemez 50 miler!