Mt Taylor 50K RR:
Oct 27 -- Friday (day before): Decided to get a short 3 miler 'shake out' run on trail near home. There's a decent hill for about 1/2 mile up, got to the other trail, ran another 1/2 mile, turned around ..... down the hill. All the while, I'm feeling grateful that I'm at least 'healthy' (knee is a chronic issue), had no injuries, feeling great ....... then I ROLLED MY LEFT ANKLE!! I screamed and held onto the nearest tree. REALLY?!? That's what you get for 'praying' I didn't hear the 'crunch' of the ankle bone ...... stood there for a few minutes, started to walk, felt ok, then jogged and walked the rest of the way home. Immediately, got bag of ice and wrapped ankle, elevated it for almost 2 hrs. I'm already late in leaving for NM ...... I had my running and camping stuff packed and in car that morning. Took quick shower, put on ankle compression sleeve that I bought last month. Then I drove to NM, about a 4 hr drive. It's dark by the time I got to the race briefing already in session at the Knights of Columbus location, I missed the pasta dinner though. Carpooling is strongly advised and I don't want to drive my car to the race location due to the need for high clearance vehicles. Picked up race packet and a RED "I need a ride" sticker that I put on my shirt. At the end of the briefing, the RD asks for raise of hands for runners still needing a ride. I'm the only one, A female runner offered and as we exchanged information, she asked where I was staying. Told her I am camping. She invites me to stay with her at the hotel...... just like that!! That's the great thing about trail runners. Told her "I will only if you let me pay half." As she checked into hotel, I went to store to buy food I can microwave since I missed dinner. Iced my ankle as I ate and we talked. Got our hydration vests ready. It is "Jen's" first ultra, she is from Albq, NM, late 40s. I'm excited for her!! As it turned out, we ran Pikes Peak marathon in August!!
Oct 28 -- Saturday: Got up at 4am, ate light breakfast. Ankle is feeling ok, slightly swollen but no pain. We followed each other to the end of the paved road to Mt Taylor, about 13 miles. I parked my car. There are other runners who are asking for ride to the race location and we got another female runner. The other female runner decided to take her SUV and picked up 2 other runners. It's still quite a ways to the race location, followed the volunteers' direction to park and I was SO GLAD I didn't drive my car. It was so ROCKY.
Put on hydration vest and headlamp but Jen forgot her headlamp so I let her borrow my small flashlight. We made our way to the start. Got our drop bag ready for 16.5 mile AS (which is the start/finish location). The race bib has our number and the profile of the course is also on the bib but upside down so we can look down and 'see' where we are. Pretty COOL!!
6:30 am - race begins. It's still dark, around 40 degrees, perfect!! The breeze kept me chilly so I wore my pink windbreaker. It's a gradual incline for about 1/2 mile, then it starts to get steeper. I should have gotten my trekking poles!! It's in the car! Ankle is feeling ok but I will see how it feels at halfway point. Passed the first A.S., and we are still climbing. Around 3.5 miles, the sun peeks over the mountain tops. Just incredible!!
Finally the first 'summit,' then its slightly downhill, then up again, then down, then up, up, up......then down again. Around 10 mile AS, Jen catches up with me. My ankle is swollen so I have to loosen up the laces as it feels 'tight' on top of my foot and making it feel numb. I'm overly cautious on the downhill especially the technical portions. I slow down ALOT. I told Jen to "go, and run your race" ........ We get to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT)and follow that till we turn to the 16.5 m AS.
I need to sit down to redo my bandages for my blisters and re-lace my left shoe ........... but the volunteer who had my drop by keeps telling me to "not sit down" ....... "you don't want to do that, it'll be harder to get up" ..........kinda irritated me.....I knew he meant well. Anyway, I saw Jen leave as I sat down, ate, redid my laces, dropped off headlamps and windbreaker and gloves. I lost time here but I wasn't worried about it. I caught up with a female runner with trekking poles, she is a fast hiker!! I kept up with her by walking and jogging till we got off the CDT, onto forest road, then up another gradual hill. I'm jogging and suddenly my hamstring muscle cramped!! OMG!! I dropped to the ground, tightly holding the muscle area and begin massaging it. That HURT!! The female runner kept going but yelled if I want some pickle juice ........I yelled "no, thank you, I'll be ok" The 20 A.S. is about 1/2 mile away. I walked and reached the A.S and the whole crew swarmed around me. The female runner told them what happened. I gave permission for one of the male volunteers to massage my hamstrings. Lost about 10minutes here I had the best frozen hydrating Popsicle!!
From here on, it's up to the 11,300 summit, Mt Taylor. And I mean UP, UP, UP, UP.........for about 1 mile, it's straight up. My ankle is swollen but I keep moving. Finally a reprieve of slightly flat portion that I jog/walk till another incline. It's steep and switchbacks ..... endless. You can see other runners hiking up ........
Finally the summit!! It's cool and breezy. A volunteer is sitting in a lounge chair and offers to take photos. So I had one with a ridiculous grin, HAHA!! Then, I sat down and ate a couple of pickles and hydrated. Then it's down, down on pretty rocky, technical portion to the 25mile A.S.
Ankle and knee are not happy. I ate watermelon with salt and refilled my bottles and took off. It's a loop and we return to this A.S. before the last 2 miles to the finish. It's down, down, down on pretty hard forest road with small rocks ...... the bottom of my feet are pretty sore but I kept running, passed about 5 runners ..........till I got to another hill. It's steep for about a mile, OMG!! It seemed endless but I powered on. Stopping for thirty seconds now and then to stretch. Finally the last A.S. Grabbed a couple of watermelon and dipped them in salt and kept jogging up the hill.
Reached the top of Heartbreak Hill .........and the downhill, holy cow!!........it's REALLY steep and technical with deep narrow ruts, combined sand and small rocks......... for a just a short portion. I tried to walk but the gravity of the steepness pulled me and my ANKLE ROLLED AGAIN!! It made me fall and my right calf seized/cramped up ..........I screamed as I grabbed hold of the calf muscle and squeezed it. I was in that rut for awhile till calf muscle calmed down. I was so mad, I screamed at myself to "GET UP!!"
Then I laughed as it reminded me of the commercial "I've fallen and I can't get up" .............
I was surprised to NOT see any other runners. I shook it off and walked to make sure my ankle was able to go on.
I lost about 10 minutes here........
I started to jog and ankle felt ok.
Those were the LONGEST 2 miles to the finish. No other runner passed me.
I finished around 9 hr. 11 mins.
Overall, My goal was to finish upright. Between 8 hrs.15 min-8 hrs. 45 min. OH well.
I made it.
This was tougher than Pikes Peaks IMO.
Jen finished about 30 minutes ahead of me.
We were both happy with the effort.
Blisters were did not pose any problems. YAY!! Tummy issues were at a minimum.
Trader Joe's provided post-race meal. The ICY can of regular coke was just amazing!!