Picky AmBADASSadors

Time to Race Again!!

50K on the west side of Mt Hood

Still so so pumped about how Sunday came together. I finished in 5:43 - so much faster than I thought I could, especially with some snow along the route. I was 47/180 overall and 19/87 for the ladies. Other times I've run 30-31 miles (1 official race, 3 times down Wildwood trail in Forest Park) I've always been about 6:30-6:45. The 50K race I ran about 18 months ago had a similar elevation profile (less aggressive downhill) and I ran 6:39. So this PR was WILD!! The first 10 miles had most of the elevation gain and I felt strong. I was actually passing people going uphill - novel for me haha but awesome. My legs didn't rebound quite as well as I'd hoped after the climing and I found myself having to mentally perservere and figure out how to find a new gear...12-14 or so was a grind even though they netted downhill. I thought back to one of my long runs where I did 15 min hard on a hill and my legs felt similarly on some nice cushy rollers afterwards. It gave me confidence they'd bounce back if I kept moving and fortunuately they did. I went to my go to - Taylor Swift - to zen me out and she came through for me and helped get me into a headspace where I was more relaxed and found a groove. After mile 20 it became a pretty mental race...having only long runned 14 continously, it was a bit of unknown territory for my body in the last 8 months and it had to remember it could do/had done this before. There were some sneaky climbs from 20-25 that were tough. Lots of walking, but just kept moving and reminded myself at this point I had time in the bank so I could still hit my goal if I just kept moving and my splits actually weren't terrible and were evening out with the downhills. There was an aid station at mile 25.5 and from there I put on my "we're not fucking around tunes" and set out to finish the damn thing. The last 3 miles were a BRUTAL downhill...we lost over 2100'. I was audibly squeeling and oofting as my knees and toes took the beating. It was hard to move quickly and stay in control and not slip on loose rocks. The finish line was separate from the after party area so I was thinking I'd be all alone when I finished and was waiting for the shuttle, but they had let my hubs hang around for 45 min or so and wait for me which was an awesome surprise to have after all those miles.

Overall, I think my biggest wins were improvements on climbs (and the confidence that I could go after them!) and more efficient aid stations (TGF Kylee and all those nutrition tips...it saved me so much time) and fueling during the race. I was averaging about 11:17 min/mi through the first 10-11 miles which was a huge shock for me given all the gain. Once I had that behind me, I knew Sunday could be special and it was so fun to keep clipping off miles and thinking about adding/using time in my bank cause I thought I would be over 2 hours 30 min at that point but I came in under 2 hours. I honestly can't say I'd do much differently next time running the same course. Maybe take the climbs in miles 8-10 a little slower so I had more in the tank for the downhills after, but not sure that really would have netted me much extra time. Already starting to think about August and all the extra climbing and time I'll be on my feet for that race even though it's the same mileage...it's supposed to run more like a 50 miler because of the terrain so my time will definitely be slower and that's okay. Another type of challenge to tackle. This was a great mental milestone, if anything, to put in the memory bank and remind myself I can keep going even when things feel shitty and I want to stop. There's always more in the tank. Oh, and I can't tell you how many times I said to myself..."the hay is in the barn....go get some more and use it, it's there for a reason" to myself as I was almost crying because I was equal parts exhausted/so damn proud of how awesome my race was unfolding. But if I have to put a number on it, I'd say I almost cried joyful/exhausted tears about 7 times in the last 10 miles.

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