Thursday, March 21, 2013

Old Pueblo 50M

Two weeks later.

After Moab, I basically wanted to crawl in a hole. Starting the year is tough, and at some point I'm going to have to accept the fact that I've been doing alot of stuff. However, I'm still maintaining that busy is my constant, happy state of life.

I went to work on the Friday before Old Pueblo very anxious. I wanted to race. In fact, I love to race. It's when a switch flips in my head from slogging along to "game time" that I get all giddy and excited, especially for a 50 miler.

Last year, I committed to doing this classic Arizona race because, well, I live in Arizona. I also have strong opinions about building the strength of fast female ultra runners in Arizona (and fast ultra runners in Arizona - Hell, I pretty much don't understand why Colorado and Cali have such a stronghold on ultra running - Arizona's a magical place for trail runner - politics, not so much). So, one of my big long-term goals is to up the antie on these races for ladies. I want to put up fast times so that I'll invite healthy competition among women. Let's face it, I'm a big softie for lady ultrarunning. So that's the nuts-and-bolts of why Old Pubelo.

Now, on to the fact that I got schooled! Polly Campbell, who I saw for all of a mile of the race rocked it. I chased her ghost and ran my race, but in the end, I didn't have the gusto she did. Not to worry, though, I like second place - it gives me something to work towards!

Old Pueblo is mainly run on Jeep Roads in Southern Arizona. If you pay attention, you'll see the famed Windmill (if you blink, as most do, you'll miss it). There are some awesome views of wide open spaces.  That said, Old Pueblo isn't Zane Grey; it's not my brand of gnarly. There, I'll say it - I fulfilled my desire to race Old Pueblo.

(Photo by Lisa Kravetz) Check out these views!
My goals for the race were to run a smart, even race (and hey, there's always the whole winning thing). I started my first week of Zane Grey training on Monday, and Coach Ian advised me to not "race" OP. Psshhh...Ain't nobody got time for that! I kid, but I did listen and resolved to just run smart for a while - and hopefully turn on the heat at the end.

Running into the sunrise was awesome! I chatted up the first 7 miles with another runner, but after that, I ended up on my own. Running the first 15 miles was rather uneventful. Once I hit the downhill section, I thought "perfect" time to fly. I was running in second, but, I've learned that second isn't a "hopeless" position. I mean it can feel like this in a ultra - it's hard to tell where people are, but I resolved to just keep working hard. As I started moving downhill, I hit the ground - hard and started gagging (I hit my stomach). Luckily I didn't vomit, but my tummy wasn't happy with the tumble. I continued downhill and hit a fork in the road. No ribbons. Hmmm. I veered left, and I'm glad I did - I guessed right. I hit the aid station and headed out to the windy road - slightly unhill - headed for the big uphill.
(Photo by Lisa Kravetz)

Once I reached the big uphill - this famed, awful uphill - I decided that mental things alone are real. Wait, what? Well, everyone said these miles sucked, but I decided they were fun and I would have the time of my life. So I did. I flipped in some music and enjoyed my suffering - passing some guys in the mix. I thought I was gaining on Polly - and in the end, it was good to stay in this positive mindset because it reality, she was killing it.

(Photo by Lisa Kravetz)
I ran consistently strong uphill and through the AZ trail section, but the heat and the day were weighing on me. I forced down some calories and continued on, alone. As I approached the next aid station (appx mile 38), I fell HARD in front of 4 big guys. Imagine - poor "little girl" falls in front of macho guys. They insisted I sit at the aid station. I asked them kindly to fill my water bottles so I could be on my way. We had a little healthy banter back and forth, and I tricked them to fill my water bottles and ran off. Oops - I'm sure they weren't happy, but I thanked them. After all I had promises to keep and miles before I sleep.

The next 8 miles were blah. Alone, hot, blah. Yuck. I started to get the second place jitters. I knew I was fading, but man, I knew I needed to keep it together - someone could be right behind me. So, I ate, and ran, albeit slowly. I found a friend for a couple of miles and his chat kept me moving and upright. Once we hit the last aid station, I grabbed some coke and sped off. After all I was running scared! I moved as quickly as I could for the last couple of miles - trying to maintain my second place and gain any time that I could.

(Photo by Lisa Kravetz)

Hitting the finish line felt good. I held on to what I had and put together an okay day. It wasn't my best performance, but I had some small victories mentally. So all in all, I was happy with my day.

(Photo by Lisa Kravetz)
Big shout out to some peeps - Lori, Carson, and Carol for putting up with an extra person in their caravan. Carol for lugging some of of crap around. Sabrina, Seth, and those darn awesome kids for being there at the start and finish line (and for getting my but home). Lisa Kravetz was also amazing!! She was out there being awesome and taking pictures! Also, big huge props to Adidas - the support has helped my show up to ultras with some awesome gear and a bit of a swagger!!!!