So we left off when my car battery died. We stupidly left the car ‘on’ so that we could keep warm, but technically the car wasn’t started, so we ended up draining the battery in order to keep our butts warm. I wasn’t too stressed, I mean we were surrounded by hundreds of people and cars, so I knew someone would be able to help us rather quickly. It was time for me to head over to the exchange and I (guiltily) left Derek to take care of the car issue.
Lucky enough, within 15 minutes, he not only found someone to help out, but he jump started the car, left it running and was able to come talk to me for a few minutes before Lauren came in.
Emily and I easily spotted Lauren sporting our Team Watermelon colors and the first thing Lauren said was “oh my gosh, be careful”. She looked overwhelmed and happy to be done, I definitely took her advice and immediately put my head in the game and took off into the woods.
Miles 1 – 5
I started off running at a pretty decent 10 min/mi. pace, but almost right away there was a giant
mountain hill to climb, so I stopped and walked, which seemed the thing to do. I didn’t see anyone run or even bike up the hill! I remembered in a pre-race email I received that it was highly recommended to walk up the hills, but while I was reading it, I kind of brushed it off thinking these emails were mostly meant for the hardcore 50 milers, but here I was walking up the first mega hill.
By mile 2, I felt tired! I couldn’t believe how winded I felt and how many hills I had already hiked up. I was starting to wonder how I was going to make it through 19 freaking miles! I absolutely could not believe the people around me were at mile 35 of this, who were these people?!
After the realization of how hard this race was going to be, I knew it was time to step up my mental game, after all, I had to finish this thing, I couldn’t just stop or else I would just be stuck in the woods. I guess you could say that was my motivation. I ran whenever I could and walked up the giant hills. At this point, the mud wasn’t too bad, but I did have a couple close calls where I grabbed onto trees to make sure I didn’t fall. At about 60 minutes in, I had only covered 4.5 miles! What?
I started calculating just how long this thing was going to take me and was hoping there would at least be some relief later on in the course. The first 5 miles were filled with single track trails of death. Okay, that’s dramatic, but I felt so trapped, like I couldn’t run free and it was sort of driving me crazy. I was dying for some open space!
Miles 6 – 15
Running on single track trails means you have to be super aware of your surroundings. You have to pay attention to your footing, what’s ahead of you, what’s behind you and all while trying to run down this super narrow and twisty trail. I was always listening to who was was coming up behind me because if it was a bike, I stepped to the side, or rather in the bushes, to let them pass. If it was another runner, I would gauge to see whether or not they wanted to pass. There was a lot of leapfrogging with the runners and bikers especially since it was so up and down.
At mile 7, I got the relief I had been waiting for! A wide open dirt road!!! Yes! I ran a glorious 9:21 minute mile and loved every second of it. After that it was back to 13+ minute miles.
Once I reached mile 10, I celebrated that I only had single digits left! If I had made it this far, I can make it all the way. One mile at a time…
At mile 12, I was starving! I brought 3 packets of Gu with me, but I had already eaten all of them! I couldn’t wait until the next aid station, I was going to stuff my face!
Picture above was taken around mile 15 and I’m clearly walking, but I love that you can still see a smirk on my face. Probably laughing about how ridiculous this whole thing was. There was an aid station at mile 15, I stopped, drank a bunch of mountain dew because it tasted amazing, ate half a banana, a bunch of pretzels, and possibly a few other things. I also refilled my water bottle and after that I felt pretty refreshed. Less than 4 miles to go!
Miles 16 – the FINISH
The mud at this point was ridiculous! It had been raining almost the entire time I was out there, and the hills weren’t the only thing stopping me from running. I had to walk at times because the mud was so deep and slippery, I definitely would’ve fallen if I tried to run through it. I thought I was going to slide down the hills at certain points. By the end, my pace and time really did not matter. I was just trying to get through this thing. I was tired, my body was incredibly sore and I just kept thinking that I am so glad the marathon I’m training for is not a trail race.
Around mile 16 or 17, I saw a sign on a tree…”Can you taste the beer?” I literally said “fuck” out loud and laughed! Seriously, that was just what I needed to keep me going, the little push to keep me going those last couple miles.
Then, before I knew it, I saw another sign that said 1.5 miles to go! I was so, so happy to see that! At that point, I thought I still had almost 3 miles to go, my watch kept messing up, so it wasn’t real accurate. They had little signs every half mile from there on out, and even one that said “Smile for the crowd!”. I COULD NOT WAIT TO BE DONE!
The last half mile is so zig zaggy, it was kind of torturous. I could see the bottom, but we kept running back and forth. Finally, there was a straight shot to the finish line and I had been running in back of these 2 people who slowed down at this point and possibly hugged someone? I don’t know, but I was just like screw it, get out of my way, I am sprinting past you! Sorry, I was kind of cranky and ready to be done.
DONE! I just finished the hardest race of my life! I felt so happy to see everyone there waiting for me; Lauren, Emily, Derek (my husband and our amazing driver), and Evan! God, it was such a good feeling to be done! My mind and body was shot and all I wanted was a beer.
Celebrating!!!! And hey, we placed 3rd out of 7 female relay teams! Pretty cool 🙂
If you couldn’t tell, this race was intense. This race doesn’t make me want to stop road racing and become a trail runner, but it sure as hell gives me a ton of respect for all for all of those crazies running the full 50 out there! Although I was miserable at a few points during the race, I definitely do not regret running this. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do another trail race or two in the future. Not sure if I will see the Vermont 50 again next year though 😉
The team celebrated and recovered by going to Harpoon brewery, which was conveniently close by. I drank a beer, ate some greasy food and we all had a great time just hanging out! This was another fantastic weekend full of great memories and friends! And don’t worry, Derek and I stocked up on more Grafton cheese and beer before we headed back to NYC.
I just wanted to give a huge shout out to Derek! He was our driver for the
day weekend and he not only had to wake up at 4am on Sunday, but he dealt with 3 crazy girls and did it all with a smile. Thank you!!! I love you and owe you big time 🙂
I finished my 18.8 miles in about 4 hours. My fastest mile was 9:21 and my slowest was around 17:xx. It took us a little over 9 hours to complete the whole 50 miles. To say I was sore the next day is an understatement.