Third weekend of racing in a row and it was definitely another success. We made the trip into a girls weekend and met up with my coach, Lisa, and three of her other athletes, Meredith and Patricia, who were running their first 50k, and Julie, who was running the 20 mile race. We ended up making the drive up in right around 5 hours, WAY ahead of Mark’s prediction of 8 hours (he was not very confident in our long distance driving abilities, but we proved him wrong!). Then we checked into the Holiday Inn and then went to the pre race dinner. I was a bit worried about what there would be to eat for dinner in a small town like Bishop. I definitely did not want pasta at the pasta dinner (not paleo duh), but luckily the restaurant that was hosting the pre race dinner turned out to be really nice and we were able to order dinner off their regular menu. Whew. I ended up getting a super delicious raspberry salmon salad and a side of sweet potato fries (carbs!). I had a good time chatting with some of the other runners who would be racing the next day and of course my mom had to brag to everyone that I was doing Badwater because thats just how she is. We then waited a bit for Marie (the RD) to raffle off the quilt that she had made, but of course we didn’t win. Then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the next morning.
Saturday morning we all met in the lobby at 5am to head over to the race start. The whole morning my mom kept asking if I had all my various items I needed in order, if I went potty, if I ate enough for breakfast, etc. Finally I had to say, “Mom, you do realize that I have run races without you before right?” I know she is just trying to help and be supportive though. I love you Mom 🙂
The race started at 6am and it was definitely as hard as I had remembered it being last year. The race starts at an elevation of about 4,400 ft and during the first 20 miles, it climbs all the way up to 9,400 ft. So 5,000ft of gain in 20 miles… which is perfect Badwater training since it will be about the same amount of gain in the climb up from Stovepipe Wells to Townes Pass, except for this climb was all in soft sand! I swear it seemed like there was even more sand this year too. Despite it being a very slow climb, I was still having a fun time and I was in a much better mood than I remember being in last year. I think probably since this year I knew what to expect.
The first half of the race continued to be pretty slow. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel great, I just had a hard time moving up at that high of elevation and also in that sand. The plan for this race was to pick things up when I had about 22 miles left to go. Once I hit the aid station at mile 29, I started to pick things up a little and started to pass a couple people. There was still a little climbing to do but I tried to push myself a little harder until I reached the mile 35 aid station and then I threw on some good jams and gave it everything I had in me for the rest of the race. Luckily the rest of the way was primarily downhill. I opened things up a lot and passed several runners on this section. However the lower in elevation I got the hotter it became and I got pretty dehydrated. My stomach started to hurt so bad and I got super naseaus. But right after the mile 41 aid station I passed the 2nd place girl, putting me in 2nd and so I knew that I had to keep the pace up and not be a baby if I wanted to keep my placing. I was hoping the 1st place girl wasn’t too far ahead and maybe I could catch her too, but it never happened.
I came into the finish in a time of 10:29 for second place female and 12th overall. I was 30 minutes slower than last year, but it was also a much hotter race this year (and I swear more sandy too!). After I finished, I also found out that Julie had set a new course record in the 20 mile, Meredith won the 50k and Patricia got 3rd. Every single one of us girls had podium finished in our race! You know you have a freaking awesome coach when all her athletes podium finish.
This week has been spent mostly recovering as I am leaving for Western States training camp this morning with Mark… 32 miles Saturday, 19 miles Sunday and 22 miles Monday. Last epic training weekend in May, although I’m sure Ill have some good runs in June as well.