This is the second year I have run the Antelope Island 50 Mile Buffalo Run. Of all of the days of the week, this was the best day for the race. It had snowed all week before, and it snowed for the next week after.
However, the day of the race was perfect. The trails were mostly dry, the sun was out, and after 10 am I was in short sleeves.
I arrived at Striders Running store in Layton around 6pm to pick up my race packet. Because I was the first to register for the race this year, my bib # was #1! There are some benefits to being OCD :) After picking up my bib it was off to East Canyon to try and get some sleep. I was with Jeff and the kids, and we went to my parents house for the night. My mom took the kids so they could go to a family party, and Easter egg hunt the next day. I managed to get all my drop bags labeled and sorted, and got to bed by 9:30pm. Then I tried to get some pre-race sleep before getting up at 3:30am.
At 4:00am Jeff and I headed out to Antelope Island. When we arrived at 5:30, I wasn't sure about the temp. But after warming up by the can fire, I was ready. The pre-race instructions were confusing as usual..... go this way, turn that way, and then go that way some more..... and we were off at 6 am. I had wanted to make a goal to get under 11 hours this year, but the semester has been crazy and my training runs have been lacking, so I didn't know how hard I was going to push it.
I was surprised how much easier the first 6 miles were for me this year. All the core training has been good for my uphills. I have been boxing for about 6 months now, and that has helped my running a lot. When we got to the Elephant head trail, I decided to be backward and do the second loop first this year, and the first loop second. It was a fun switch up, and actually made the trails less crowded for me, since most people did it in the correct order :)
After finishing my loops (about 13.5miles) I decided I really didn't feel like listening to music. My head is so over stimulated with school. I had not listened to it up until that point, so I dropped my Ipod in my bag, and ran the whole day in silence. It was nice.
At mile 20 I got to the White Head trail station, and took off both of my long sleeve shirts. I applied sunscreen, but I should have has someone else get my back, cause I missed a large section, and ended up with a pretty bad sunburn.
I was glad to only have the 2 mile offshoot that we had last year 1 time! That is where all the mud was. The rest of the trail to Lower Frary was very nice. I got a little mentally defeated at mile 23 this time. I didn't feel physically bad, but I felt a sudden desire to go back to bed. But I kept going after realizing I could walk the rest of the way and still make it under the 12:30 time limit. I did not walk the whole way, it was just a mental game that kept me into the race. I never drop out of a race once I start, even if I don't feel like running it. At lower Frary I made a shoe change. That was nice. I made it from Lower Frary (mile 27) to the ranch (mile 32.5) and there Jeff met me. He had been volunteering at that aid station all day. From there he paced me to the finish.
We made it back to Lower Frary, and I was happy to be within a 1/2 marathon distance to the end! I picked up the pace quite a bit from there, and I got to mile 45 at almost exactly 10 hours. Jeff thought I would get under 11 hours at that point, but I wasn't sure how fast I would do the last 5 miles, because they took me more than 1 hour last year. But this year, I felt stronger at the end, and was doing fine. As we went around the point, I passed a girl. She was actually what speed me up even more. I wasn't really competing, but when I wanted to pass her the first time, she was blocking the trail and not letting me pass. This irritated me, because it is common courtesy to let someone pass who is faster than you. I passed, and with in a minute she speed up and passed me. I could tell she was determined to stay ahead of me, but also that she was burning out. I let her stay ahead of me for about a mile, but when she slowed down again, I had to pass her, and being sick of the game, I sprinted the last two miles.
I think I did the last two in about 19 minutes, which gave me enough of an edge to finish the race in 10:59:05, under the 11 hour mark! And a qualifying time for Wasatch 100. I qualified last year on the Grand Slam, and 3 50's in 12 month rule, but not under the 11 hour rule :) I don't think I will do Wasatch this year, but it was nice to hit that milestone.
I did not make it into the grad program I was hoping to get into for fall, so I will have a lot of time to train this year, and work on my time. I am planning on going to Africa for about 6 weeks in January/February to climb Kili, and do research in Congo. This fall is going to be a big change because I will not be in school full time, and it has been my life for the last two years. I am going back to take one course, and do research. I will spend the rest of the time running, and writing my book. Because of school, I have cut down my practice, and while I may take a few clients now in the fall, it will probably not be a lot, and so it will be different.
But it won't be totally not busy. In fact it may be more busy, just less structured. I am going to apply to 6 grad programs 3 Social Work and 3 Psychology programs. I am hoping to get into the Social work programs, because I really just want to get an MSW and then eventually pursue a Doctorate in Anthropology. Because one of the programs I am applying to for the MSW requires the GRE, I decided I might as well just apply for the Psych programs and see what happens. The psych programs are a lot more competitive, so I have a better chance with any of the 3 MSW programs for 2010 anyway. I am grieving not getting in this fall, but it has opened up a lot of doors for me to do other work that I want to do, and the African experience will be a one of a kind experience.
My next race is Squaw Peak in 61 days. That will be the most challenging course yet.