September Stats (Rewind)

Miles Run - 157.56. My highest mileage month of the year!! Obviously almost a third of that is from my 50 miler. I really do like the RLRF program, even IF it isn't actually making me faster. I think it IS making me stronger.
Races Run - 6 (1 50 miler!, 1 20 miler, 2 half marathons, 3 5ks)
PR's Set - TWO!! Of course my first 50 mile and 20 mile races were PRs since I've never run that distance before.
Minutes of Plank - 120. Yes, I spent TWO HOURS the month of September doing planks. I think I'll stick with 4 minute sessions for next month. It's still tough the last 45 seconds.

October is going to be a CRAZY month:

So yeah. There's that. LotsAndLots of running. But. The good news is that today I was able to run for 3.76 miles without my legs giving out. Do not feel anywhere close to 100%, but feel pretty recovered from my 50 miler. Woot!

Augusta 70.3 Part 3 The Run

Augusta 70.3 Part 3 The Run       
The Augusta run consists of two loops though the “main” street of Augusta.  It is all paved route and the road conditions are good. 
Me day dreaming about a beer.

The race support was great.  The typical ice, water, Poweraid, gels, etc were handed out (although they were being pretty stingy on the ice).  The really nice item being handed out was the cold sponges.  They were great to shove down your shirt and keep you cool.
The weather during the run was probably in the low 90s.  It was overcast almost the entire run which kept the heat down.  When the sun did pop out if got hot quick.
Me with a dumb look on my face.

It did start to rain later in the race after I finished.  I made the mistake of keeping my phone in my race bag without being in a ziplock bag.  So after I was finished I quickly ran 1.2 miles back to transistion to put our cycling computers and my phone in a zip lock bag.  As soon as I did this it stopped raining (go figure).  I than ran another 1.2 miles back to watch Bonnie finish her first 70.3.  It then started raining again so my adventure paid off.
With the above 2.4 mile phone saving adventure, the 1.2 mile walk to the swim start and a 1 mile bike ride to the car my 70.3 really was a 74.9 :-).  Would that qualify as a HIM Ultra?

Bonnie's Tri With Sway coach having fun.

There was a great deal of the Augusta residences that came out to watch and support the runners.  It was nice to do a HIM that had people cheering you on during the entire run.  It is really hard running to a silent or non-existing crowd.  That’s when you really have to dig deep if you dislike running. 

Several Orlando based tri groups were in the area cheering people on.  Bonnie’s group stayed the ENTIRE race cheering for everyone.  
Triston dress up as Buzz Tri-Year.

Mr Buzz Tri-Year

Another strange Augusta-ism (other than the showgirls, church and bar) was a 24 hour barber shop you pass during the run.  If you think Walmart is strange at 3am, I wonder what types of characters show up at a barber shop at that time.  I found a story about the barbershop on the internet here.  It sounds like a man working hard to make an honest buck in a tough economy.  I respect that…but I still think it is a little strange.

Mr YMCA chearing us on.

The weather did turn for the worst near the very end of the race (near cut off time).  There was a tornado warning in the area that forced the race officials to close the race early and pull runners off the course.  One of my friends was one of the runners pulled off the course with only 1 mile left.  She did get her medal but was really upset she did not truly finish the race. 

I look like I am flipping off the cameraman with my left hand.

The run started off with my legs dead.  They were very heavy and it took about 1 mile to get them back into running condition.  I tried to stay in the sub 10 min/mile pace.  My PR on a plan 13.1 is 1:56 so I was hoping to get around a 2:10 finish.  I walked just enough to get the feeling back into my legs.  I pushed through the pain and monotony of running and finished the run in 2:18:01 10.32/mi. It also helped that one of Bonnies team member's husbands had two cold Fat Tire beers waiting for me at the finish line.
Overall Augusta was a great 70.3 and I would gladly do this race in the years to come.  Everything about the race was great.  I really have nothing I could say negative about it.  I would highly recommend this 70.3 to others.  It is a speed course with very little challenges.  It is a great first 70.3 for anyone. 
I finished the entire race in 5:57:18 (a sub 6 hour 70.3).  That was my goal.

Looking good and feeling strong

Bonnie and some team members showing off the bling.

The hard earned bling

Diamond the Dragon

One day Kitcat came home from school with four beautiful abstract, textured paintings. (They have different shaped 'combs' which they drag through the wet paint to create the texture.) I thought they were beautiful, but my camera batteries were still charging and I didn't get a chance to photograph them. I really wish I had, though, because Kitcat then proceeded to cut these gorgeous paintings into circles and triangles.

"What for?" you may ask. Well, just like many other times that Kitcat has brought home seemingly unrelated items for a craft project (such as Isobel the tissue-box cat), she had a very clear objective in mind. She intended to use the textured painting shapes to make "a dragon."

After cutting out all the shapes she thought she would need, Kitcat proceeded to draw her "plan" on A4 paper.Then she found some cardboard and had a go at making her 'real' dragon. (This is slightly larger than A4 size.)She wasn't happy with her attempt. She didn't want to waste her textured-paint shapes on this supposedly substandard piece of work. It was too small, and the textas didn't make the right colours. The pink cardboard looked wrong. It just wasn't what she had imagined, so she begged me to mix up some paint and find a bigger piece of cardboard. (Just as well I hadn't quite got around to throwing out that last packing box, as one side of it proved to be exactly the right size for Kitcat's dragon.)

After a lot of pencil drawing (and rubbing out) Kitcat was finally ready to start painting. She waited impatiently for the paint to dry so she could start gluing on the textured shapes. This is her final creation - Diamond the Dragon. You can see she used the textured paint triangles for the spikes along Diamond's back and tail, and the circles for the scales.(Her teacher wanted to enter "Diamond" in the local Show, and at first Kitcat was happy with the idea. When we went to The Show, however, we couldn't find "Diamond" anywhere in the education pavilion. Kitcat seemed quite upset. However, when I took her to school the following Monday I found out that when the time had come for the teacher to fill out the entry form, Kitcat had had a sudden change of heart and decided she didn't want "Diamond" to go to the show after all. Apparently she thought she would not get her special dragon back again afterwards. But then she had forgotten about that little detail and, somehow, still thought "Diamond" would be on show at The Show.)

Diamond stayed at school for the rest of Term 3 and, during story writing lessons, Kitcat wrote this:
"Diamond is very sparkly and she likes playing with playdough. She loves that. Diamond lives with me and she likes painting too. She has heaps of scales and spikes. Diamond went to the bush with us. She played hide and seek with me. After that she played in the leaves. She loves eating fish."

Bag full of cozy

Well, despite the GORGEOUS day (seriously, go outside, now!), you know that fall is here. It's time to put away your party clutches and mini satchels, the days of just needing some sun screen and lipstick are pretty much over. I absolutely love the start of this season, with foggy morning, unpredictable skies and crisp breezes, but it does call for some planning ahead. I also love big soft purses that are perfect for toting your scarf, sweater, tea mug, umbrella and depressing book that you mean to start reading as soon as the weather is dreary enough. Vintage purses seem especially well suited to this time of year, be it one with gorgeous woven detailing, a classic structured shape, or warm '70s brown tones. The shop is amazingly well stocked at the moment with bags of all sorts:
By far the prettiest backpack I have ever seen (and I've seen a ton). Thick suede leather with lovely embroidered detailing.

I am so in love with this tote-perfectly over-sized and slouchy, it's crazy mix of multi-pattern woven fabric, embossed pleather, and knock-off Birkin style makes for a LOT of look-I would totally pair this with my houndstooth coat just to give people a headache.

Francesco Biasia leather tote with wonderful woven leather detailing. Perfect for work, school or just looking important.

The perfect tote for a day of leaf collecting, and it easily holds a bottle of wine. C'mon, you gotta stay warm some how!

Fabulously over sized doctor bag in cognac brown embossed leather. The thick clips on the corner takes it from cranky grandma to edgy socialite.

Perfectly sized for day or night, this coated canvas speedy has a precious herringbone print, smooth tan leather trim and the most charming tag-line; ' "WHY" will be suitable for you, the active people of today'. Isn't that nice to know?!

Just because you missed Oktoberfest doesn't mean you can't continue to promote beer drinking.

I mean, come on, it's wearing a sweater!!!

These darlings and many more are waiting for you at Half Pint!

Three Things Thursday

You know how after a race you kind of get in a funk? Well. Here is apparently what I do. (Keep in mind, I've run 1/4 mile since my 50 miler).

1. Spinx Runfest Half Marathon - October 29

2. Big Hit Half Marathon - October 30

3. New Years Double - December 31 & January 1

I plan on doing my own "Goofy" - I'm registered to run the 1/2 on New Years Eve and the full on New Years Day.

4. (Bonus) - I am seriously SERIOUSLY considering signing up for a 100 miler in Moab. Someone stop me. Please. I'm going off the deep end :)

Augusta 70.3 Part 3 The Bike

Augusta 70.3 Part 3 The Bike
After getting out of the water and removing all the “seaweed” I ran to the wetsuit strippers.  The wetsuit strippers were two young girls who got quite a kick out of pulling me around and removing my wetsuit.  Honestly, I think they thought I as hot.  ;-)

Breaking the seal in the morning leads to issues.
This is how I felt.
(All the water fountains in Augusta where purple for the race)

Out of the wetsuit and into the bathroom!  As any triathlete knows, once you break the seal in the morning it’s all downhill from there.  I spent most of the prerace morning in the bathroom.  Normally, I never have to go back to the bathroom after the race starts.  That’s what the swim is for (oh like you don’t do it also) but I do not care how much I tried I could not mentally break the seal in the wetsuit.  So I had to make a pit stop after being stripped.

Speaking of being stripped, this is something you only see in Augusta,
a strip-joint next to church next to a bar. 
How convenient!

I took my time in transition.  I put on sunscreen because my German/Dutch ancestry makes me a vampire and I burn by merely walking into the sunlight.  Put on sock, shoes, etc.  This race I was proud of myself because I remembered to take off my cleat covers before getting on the bike.

!Off I go!

Off I go on the bike.  The GA road conditions suck. There are lots of potholes and uneven terrain but the minute you cross into SC the roads are great.  Apparently GA does not put the money into keeping their roads very nice.

At a snails pace

The ride was mostly rolling hills.  No really steep hills.  It was nothing an average cyclist could not handle.  Almost all of the race was pretty, country roads and was well policed by volunteers and police officers.
There were four aid stations, each about 18 miles apart.  Water, Poweraid, bananas, PowerBars, etc were handed out.
What was annoying were all the people cheating.  It looked like the Tour de France with all the pelotons that were passing me.  I could tell who the “best” age groups where because each wave of pelotons where by age group.   There was not an official to be seen.  During the entire race I only saw a judge 3 times.  Most of these cyclists believe it is not cheating if they do not get caught.  WTC really has to fix this issue. 
Man I look old! I'm only in my lower 30s.
I need to double check in I am the right age group.

One peloton nearly took me out by clipping my front wheel.  I yelled some “kind” words to the cyclist.  When he turned around I have him a “salute”.

Throwing the Ronnie James Dio horns!

Later in the race I found out one of my friends hits some sand/gravel and crashed.  The cyclist behind her was so close that she ran over my friend when she went down.  Luckily she suffered only a cracked helmet and minor scrapes and was able to continue on with the race and finish.
One interesting sign during the race was “Get off my roads and go home!”  Apparently, this guy did not like the race going on on “his roads.”  Sorry buddy WTC just signed a agreement with Augusta till 2014. 
The ride went good.  I average 18.85mph (with the hills) and finished at 2:58:16.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

It's been three days. I put on a cute outfit. I tried to run. 3 minutes later I stopped. Guess 50 miles takes longer to recover from than I thought.

PS. I liked the skirt so much I wore it all day. I at least changed my shirt though.

Augusta 70.3 Part 2 The Swim

Augusta 70.3 Part 2 The Swim

The swim in Augusta is unique.  You must walk or be bused 1.25 miles upstream from you transition area.  You then swim downstream the entire swim.  There are also no turns during the swim.  It is straight downstream with an exit up a boat ramp at the end.  Needless to say it is a FAST swim.  Someone said you could float a paper bag to the finish line in 45 minutes.  I believe it because there was enough trash in the river to test the theory.   

The dock you had to walk down

People getting perpared for the swim start.
We visited the swim start the day before to get the lay of the land.  The swim start is on a boat dock.  There is a walkway the extended about 25% of the way across the river.  To start the race you have to walk to the end of the dock and jump off.   It is a “in the water” swim start.  You float or sink till the cannon to go off.  Then you swim like a mad man downstream with everyone kicking, slapping, touching, poking, etc. you (a typical Ironman swim start). 
"Seaweed" aka hydrilla

The river water is slightly dark and is full of “seaweed.”  (It kills me to say that as a former freshwater biologist but it is a term everyone will understand.  The “seaweed” was a mixture of hydrilla, eelgrass and human trash).  As you swam in the river it would get stuck on your goggles or smack you on the face.  It was kind of strange but not all that bad.  I wish I had the picture of my friend whose swim finish photo has hydrilla hanging from her swim goggles on the swim exit.

Swim start with everyone crowded behind it.

My swim wave was #6 and it started at around 7:45.  This meant I had to hall butt to swim start and had little time to enjoy the experience.  Bonnie was one of the last waves and looks like she had a ton of fun (see photos) waiting around (regardless of the amount of complaining she did about having to go last). 
I wish I had a photo to prove this but someone in my wave was wearing nothing but Ironman (the movie) underwear briefs.  I do not know how he got away with it.  It was really strange.

Sample Ironman briefs

Another strange moment was right before the swim start we all had our dark green swim caps on and was starting down the start ramp when some 20 something asks “is this the green start wave?”.  That kid gets the “here’s your sign award of the day.”  Everyone around had a good laugh about it.  The only person who responded said “no this is the pink cap wave start.”

Somewhere in the picture is Bonnie swimming.
It's like a "Where's Waldo"

The swim was great for me.  It was fast and I set a new PR.  I completed the swim in 28:01 (1:28/100m).  It was all downstream and in a wetsuit so I had a great advantage over my other 70.3 swims but I will take it as a PR.  :-) 
To be continued…

"Getting ready" for the swim

Bonnie ready to go

Bonnie and T before the swim

Maintenance Meals

For me, I am thinking that I need to view every meal as a "maintenance meal".  Yes, I can splurge when I give myself permission every once in a (long) while, but for the most part, I aim to have my meals:

1. Small in portion
2. Balanced in healthy fats, protein, complex carbs & nutrition
3. Every 3 hours or so

And to drink LOTS of water.  Water is SO KEY to losing weight and maintaining a good weight and health!  The days I've forgotten this and not had much water have really affected my hunger level as well as my energy level.  I am trying to keep that water bottle by me at all times and chug away!

Here is a one of my meals from last week:

A little cup of low fat cottage cheese with fresh pineapple along with half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on my own whole grain wheat bread.   Yum!  (No, I did not eat the sandwich with the fork!)

What are your favorite "maintenance" type meals you can share with me?

Bear Chase Trail Run 50 Miler (Race Recap)

Lakewood, CO
Sunday, September 25
Ultra Marathon #2
Weather - SUNNY, very slight breeze in the morning, cool temps at start, HOT (mid 80s) at the end

"Never Say Never" - Justin Bieber

**Warning. Super duper long.**

I'm not sure WHAT I was thinking when I signed up for the Bear Chase 50 mile trail race. I mean. I sorta read the website. I sorta glanced at the elevation profile:

I sorta looked at the course profile. I mean. I should have realized what I was doing. But. I often do things without REALLY thinking about it. So. I registered. And other than building my mileage base a teeny tiny bit (I started the RLRF marathon program at the beginning of August), I didn't do ANY specific training. No trail running. No runs longer than 20 miles. And yet. I found myself waking up at 4:50 am on a Sunday morning and heading out to the lake to run FIFTY MILES. Seems unbelievable. I hadn't even been really THAT stressed out about it. Which seems weird. I mean, I remember how worried I was for my first marathon. And my first 50k. But this? I mean, it was just too insane to even think about.

So we left the house at 5:10 am, for the 25-30 minute drive to the lake. We get there in plenty of time, especially since we ended up being able to park like 50 feet from the start/finish area. SCORE!! It was still SUPER dark. A bit windy and chilly, but since it was still dark, we knew it was going to warm up.

Fifteen minutes until the start
We sat in the car and waited until about 6:05 before using the bathroom. Using the port-o-potty in the dark is TERRIFYING. By the time we got back to the car we had to apply our sunscreen and get our drop bags ready. I still wasn't freaking out. Have I mentioned that 50 miles is just not even comprehensible?? We drop our bags, L makes another bathroom stop. And then, we barely have enough time for a few pictures:

Still pretty dark!
We started back of the pack
So. How do you mentally prepare to toe the line of a FIFTY MILE RUN??? Well. You just go... I wanted to start in the back, mainly to pace myself well. I mean, for 50 miles, I do NOT want to tire myself out.

Yes, that is Marshall Ulrich in green. He only did three loops...
We were pretty much in the VERY back, but we settled into a pretty decent pace, following 4-5 other runners. The course was pretty well marked, but if you weren't paying attention, there WERE lots of splits in the course. So it was even more important in the beginning that we were following other runners.

Miles 1-3.2 (36:46)

The course is really nice. Shaded, wide and beaten down trails. This is going to be nice later in the afternoon when it starts to heat up. Even though L and I were running "together," there is a lot of single track, so we can't run side by side. Pretty uneventful first few miles. Feeling good.

Look how clean my shoes still are!

Miles 3.2-7.8 (55:18)

First lap there is only fluid at the aid station. No big deal. The course is "green" so since I only have one small bottle on my belt so I had purchased a hydrapouch for my electrolyte drink. This thing was AMAZING. I am notorious for messing with my belt and it just clipped right on and I swear I never even noticed it was there. Grabbed my drinks and off we went. So. Where is this major elevation change? A few ups and downs, but we haven't encountered anything yet. Not too long after we get passed by the super fast 50k'ers. This was tough, on the single track we had to jump off the path. One girl fell... I stopped to make sure she was ok, she said she was. And off we went. We leave the nice tree covered path and enter the first of the barren wasteland... We see a ginormous mountain. And what looks to be... people on it. Yep. There it is... We run to the base and then we are walking. It is steep. The insane super crazy fast people waste their energy and run up it, we walk. Some conversation with a random guy who has also run Greenland. We agree this section of the course is similar to the crazy hairpin uphill around the 4 mile mark of Greenland. We make it to the top... and REALLY narrow & rocky single track with a slight downhill. Literally you would fall down the side of the mountain with one wrong move. Hard to go fast. Get to the base and and we enter a tree covered area by the golf course. I misread the sign about the river crossing. (This is when reading course profiles might be helpful. The sign said "Three River Crossings" - I read it as "Three Rivers Crossing") There is a nice cool breeze I would describe as "cave wind." We run by the golf course, up a small incline and then down a steep, wide, rocky decline. We then arrive at the river crossing. At the time I thought it was THE river crossing, turns out it was the FIRST river crossing. Deeper than we thought:

Toward the middle it was upper calf deep
Squish, squish. We are in another wooded area, wider path. Then we come across a second river crossing. Huh. That was unexpected. This one was not as deep. 

Crossing #2

More running through the woods, a pretty muddy section and then... ANOTHER river crossing. I'd argue the third was the deepest. 

Crossing #3

We come out of the water, a short run and then hairpin turn onto pretty much the only paved section of the course. Golf course on the left, houses on the right. Jog all the way up to the second aid station at Fox Hollow.

Miles 7.8-10.1 (31:47)

Use the port-o-potty. It is placed on a hill and I almost fall in. Terrifying. Dump the sand/gravel out of my shoes. Use some hand sanitizer and grab a handful of skittles (oops, thought they were M&Ms and a pretzel, refill my bottle and head out. A wide open space of skinny single track. One pretty big hill fairly close to the aid station, and then lots of little uphills and rocky downhills. The downhills are really hard, I feel like my ankle keeps rolling. Then along a creek and I'm running off to the side of the trail, discovering it is easier to run in the longer grass. Keeping a good pace.

Go around the bend and see a skinny trail along the road and the next aid station.

Mile 10.1-12.5 (29:58)

Grab more food and fluids and then head out, we cannot believe we have only covered 10 miles. This is insanity. We are still with a decent sized group of people and then we make a 180 and see... YET.ANOTHER.HILL. Blech!!! This hill is steep. No attempt at jogging/running up this. And of course... what goes up, must come down. Skinny, rutted single track down the back side. Through a wide open barren wasteland, another 180 turn, down a wider trail. Back up (again), and then a turn, across a footpath and a few zig zags. Gradual downhill, and then... we are at the street! HUGE downhill, around the parking lot, past the boat ramp, through the parking lot and athlete village and...

I think I'm saying, holy crap, we are only done with ONE??
...we cross the line for loop #1.

Loop 1 - 2:33:43

Mile 12.5-15.7 (40:01)

Stop at the bag drop. Grab more gels and a new piece of gum. Reapply sunscreen. Get more food/fuel, and then off we go. We are pretty much alone this time around. We start running, and after a few minutes, we wonder if we went the right way... We come across the right path, but yeah, we went the long way. Oops. L starts running a bit faster.

I stop to take a quick picture, and by then L is really too far ahead. I can't comfortably chase her on the trail. She is not turning around to make sure I'm behind her. She waits for me at the aid station, where yadda yadda, we refuel.

Mile 15.7-20.3 (59:45)

The course is not closed and there are other people out and about. I come across some horses (yes, horses) and then turn a corner and she is gone. She is so far ahead of me that I can't see her :( I keep going, but at a comfortable pace. I use this time to make sure I get a shot of the mountain that we have to run up:

See it in the distance? I promise, it's huge. Probably two minutes after I take this picture I trip over a loose rock and fall. Into horse shit. Yeah. Not something I ever thought I would say mid race. Sucks even worse because I don't want to contaminate any of my stuff. So no water, no wiping the sweat off my face. Just grumbling about how dirty and smelly and gross I am now. And I'm not even halfway through the second loop...

Flat barren part of the loop right before we head up the mountain, and there is this sign. I find it amusing:

I see L coming up from the middle of the base headed toward the mountain. Turns out she started chasing some random people out for a morning run and went the wrong way. Oops.

Head up the mountain AGAIN and take this shot of the lake:

Notice that there is not ONE cloud in the sky? Yeah. It was HOT. So we struggle up the hill, scary single track along the side of the mountain and back down again.

I have like 4 pictures along this section but I'm not heel striking in this one...
Get to the sign announcing the riverS crossing and no cool "cave wind" this time. Boo. The river crossings were even BETTER this time around. Got to clean up my arm and legs from some of the dirt and horse shit. Exit the woods, head back up the paved path and arrive at Fox Hollow.

Miles 20.3-22.6 (36:27)

Use the bathroom again. Almost fall in again. Dump the sand/gravel out of my shoes again. Refuel again. (Sensing a pattern?) Off we go... it's getting INSANELY hot. Melting. Still some people on the trail. Hot. Tired. Feeling ok, but man, this is taking forever. If I could actually look off the path without fear of tripping and falling, it would be a nice view:

Mile 22.6-25 (34:12)

L stops to use the bathroom, I refuel and hang out to wait for her. A guy sits down on the medical cot and says he is quitting. I think he is joking, he was ahead of us. Nope, he is not kidding, he is done. The volunteers have already arranged for him to take the short cut back to the start. Hmmm. We walk off together and are still with a small group of runners. Up that other stupid gigantic hill. Scary, skinny, painful single track down the backside. Hot, hot, hot through the barren wasteland. Up that hill, around the corner, across the bridge, yadda, yadda, yadda... L runs off ahead of me, I can't/won't chase her.

But look! Still smiling after 25 miles!
Cross the line, still feel... as good as can be expected.

Loop 2 - 2:50:21

Halfway done
Miles 25-28.2 (45:24)

Grab more gels. Grab new gum. Reapply sunscreen. Refuel. Blah blah blah. Start off again. Yep, we had taken a wrong turn the last loop. We laugh about how we got confused. Course is pretty well marked, we should have been paying more attention. We run past a group of cyclists waiting on a picnic bench. They are trying to be inspirational telling us we have already run a marathon so we are halfway there. Yeah, yeah. Best part was the little toddler with them. The kid kept yelling "you guys are nuts!" Hilarious. L stops to use the bathroom. I tell her I'll keep going (walking) and she can catch up. I use the opportunity to "tweet" for the first time ever in a race...

There are a group of people ahead of us. Wow. We thought we were alone on the course. Yay for people!!

Still appreciating the scenery. Sort of. It's shaded but the sun is coming through the trees and it is DAMN HOT. Roasting. L is running ahead of me again a bit. Where on earth is she getting all this energy? I'm tired. Two of the women in front of us stop to use the bathroom. I have a little bit left in me, so I'm determined to run as fast/far as I can while still in the shade.

Trees on one side, empty space on the other... I kept expecting some of the 3-4 people we passed to come running past us, but it never happened. Caught up to a girl "jogging" (more like walking with jogging arms), and passed her right before the Pelican Point aid station.

Miles 28.2-32.8 (1:10:29)

By the time we are refueling the "jogging" girl is coming up. She tries to cut a corner around the aid station. They make her turn around and go around. Heh. I ask what time the cutoff is to start the last loop. They say they don't know. Off we go. Woman chases us down to tell us it's 3:00. O.M.G... is this EVER going to end? I'm so tired. HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE THE CUTOFF? WE ARE GETTING SLOWER. L still running ahead of me a bit. Not fast enough so I can't stay with her. Through the last of the wooded area, back in the barren, to the base of the stupid, stupid, huge mountain. !!!!! Up we (slowly) go. Another first. I send super whiny texts to J about how tired I am. By the time we get to the top, start jogging, we are getting passed by more of the 50 milers. Hard to jump out of the way with a cliff on one side and a mountain on the other. HOT. Run out of water this loop. SO THIRSTY.

Come to the river crossings. Man. This is awesome. I love these. Exit the wooded area, take off my shoes halfway up the path. My feet feel AWESOME with no shoes on. I decide to walk in just my socks until the Fox Hollow station.

Miles 32.8-35.1 (32:12)

I have to sit on the cot to put on my shoes. They seem concerned. I ask what happens if we don't make the cutoff. Told that if we don't cross the line by 3 we will be pulled off the course. OMG. NO WAY. I HAVE NOT BEEN RUNNING ALL DAY TO GET PULLED OFF THE COURSE. I suck it up and start to run. L is struggling. She tells me her knee pain is back and that it feels like it is going to explode. I tell her we have like 57 minutes to go or we will have done this all in vain, and what does she want to do. She wants to keep going. So we keep going... as best we can. By the way, the song "Friday" by Rebecca Black is an AWESOME race song (although I have the Glee version). Totally pumped me up.

It is at LEAST a billion degrees out. Maybe more. I have never been so hot and thirsty and tired in my life. Super super super super SUPER happy to see the next aid station.

Miles 35.1-37.5 (32:38)

The volunteers are super nice at the aid station. I am super grumpy because I don't think we have enough time to get back to the start. They cheer us on and tell us they "know we can do it." Annoyed. Refuel and head out. Stupid hill, skinny single track, 180, wider trail. We come across two men that are STRUGGLING. One is sorta trying to jog, the other has literally given up. He is stopping after the 3rd lap. I'm disoriented, have no clue how far until the start area. We have 12 minutes. J is texting asking if we have made it to the start area yet. Do not respond. Irritated. Volunteers from the last aid station come by on a bike and tell us we can do it, we have a mile to go.

WTH. I can't run a 10 minute mile right now!! I'm about ready to cry. I cannot believe we are not going to make it. Screaming. Then, all of a sudden I see the street. I have never been so happy. Come down the bottom of the street and start heading toward the boat ramp... and J jumps out. OMG! He has never come to a race! Gives me the boost I need (and a kiss) and off I go. We cross with literally, less than 5 minutes to spare.

Loop 3 - 3:00:45

3/4 of the way done... barely made the cutoff!
Miles 37.5-40.7 (58:40)

Immediately mixed feelings. I mean, I would have been pissed if I would have missed the cutoff. But I'm so tired and now I still have another loop to go. Grab GU, gum, cake Icy Hot on my thighs, apply MORE sunscreen. Refuel, and we walk off... Literally, we are walking. My legs hurt SO freaking bad. Unsure I will ever be able to run another step. We probably walked about a mile. Try to jog here and there, make it maybe a tenth of a mile and then stop again. How are we going to do this??? The best part of the last loop is commenting on how "this is the last time I will see you ____." insert TONS of profanity. I was kind of looking forward to the aid station more than usual because L's boyfriend had volunteered. We hadn't gotten a picture of the two of us yet, and I was going to have him take one.

Realize that just keeping moving isn't going to be enough. We can't even walk a pace fast enough to finish in 3.5 hours. Running by now is literally torture. My legs ache. No one is behind us. We are pretty sure we are the last ones that made the cutoff. Blech. Do not see L's boyfriend at the aid station.

Miles 40.7-45.3 (1:14:43)

Cannot take any more of this heat. I think I am going to faint. Pretty sure I am not eating enough, but been so stressed with the cutoff times that I don't have time to eat, much less chew anything. All of a sudden, we see L's boyfriend monitoring one of the major turns. SUPER quick picture (hurry, we need to make the cutoff!)

We really were out there. Really!!
Get to the wasteland before the mountain and we actually see someone at the peak. Maybe we aren't so far behind after all. We need to make up some time after all the walking at the beginning of the loop. We actually jog the whole side of the mountain and downhill to the sign for the crossing. Mostly to a run/walk, the best we can. The river crossings are freaking amazing, and when I get to the paved section I walk without my shoes again. Seriously. Feet never felt so good.

Miles 45.3-47.6 (41:05)

Hear the volunteers - "Yay, the twins are here!" (We don't correct them). I ask at the aid station what happens if we don't cross before the "course closure" at 6:30. She says it will be a DNF. I am devastated. We have come SO far. I know we only have like 5 miles to go, but I really don't think I can do it. I grab a half a banana, and we do an even more pitiful run/walk then before. This time I am texting with Heather. Thank you Heather! It really helped motivate me to run for the bling (seriously, I'm not being sarcastic). L then tells me she hates me and wants to choke me. I don't really blame her. I'm pretty miserable too. If I had the energy to do the jig when I saw the last aid station, I probably would have done it. Too weak.

Miles 47.6-50 (32:32)

We thank the volunteers. They tell us we look pretty damn good for having run over 47 miles. Thanks. We feel... as good as can be expected? We actually had made pretty good time the last loop, and I was "mostly" confident that as long as we jogged at least half of the last section that we would be able to finish in the time limit. Up stupid gigantic hill, down steep single track. The sun is FINALLY behind a cloud (gee, thanks) and the diminished blinding sun helps a bit. I finally start to think... holy shit. I am going to ACTUALLY RUN 50 MILES. L is ahead of me and I make sure to tell her that I have nothing left and ask her to make sure not to leave me in the dust so we can cross together. I see the street and sorta tear up. OMG.

We feel like we are running really fast. We can hear the announcer (yay, there are still PEOPLE AT THE FINISH LINE!!) We jokingly ask the last course volunteer if there is a shortcut... no, not if we want to run the full 50. Fine. Around the boat ramp, through the lot... and thanks to L's boyfriend, here is a video of us "running" to the finish:

Loop 4 - 3:27:23

Official Time - 11:52:20
Overall Place - 53/80 (Only 54 finishers, 26 DNF)
Division Place - 13/14 (Includes DNFs)
Gender Place - 16/22 (Includes DNFs)
Lap 1- 2:33:43
Lap 2 - 2:50:21
Lap 3 - 3:00:45
Lap 4 - 3:27:23

I hit the lap button on my iPhone. Collected my GINORMOUS medal. All while making the comment... "I may never run again." I was psyched to see that there was still BEER!!! The guy gave me two :) I had J take a finish line picture of me and L:

Yep. I can SMILE when I am done running FIFTY. FREAKING. MILES.

So. What are my thoughts? Well. This was by FAR the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Even while I was running, the thought of actually RUNNING 50 miles seemed impossible. I don't know if I just never thought I would be able to do it. I don't know if I thought that if I just tackled a little bit at a time that I "might" do it. But we did it. We finished with 7:40 to spare for an official time. There was still one runner behind us, and she is still listed in the results and got a medal, even though she finished almost 15 minutes after the cutoff. 100 people were originally registered. Only 80 started. And only 54 finished. I think that makes me pretty damn awesome.

The volunteers on this course were AMAZING. Always running to meet us to ask if we needed anything, always being supportive. Definitely couldn't have done so well without them! And the course itself? I'll admit, tough, but pretty amazing. I might be back next year... but maybe just for the 50k...

I recognized someone I friended off Facebook, and we chatted for a few minutes before we headed off to pick up the kids.

FYI. I can barely move. But I promise... I'll be running again. Soon.