Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rocky Raccoon 50 miler 2010 Lap 2: Girl Down

As I headed out into my 2nd lap, I saw my friend Kim Sargeants Mom. She was at the race cheering on her daughter. I have met Mrs. Sargeant several times including at last years Rocky Raccoon.

She is really encouraging and knows just what to say as you are running along the course.

I know Kim from Umstead 100 (she gave me lots of advice my first Umstead which helped me as I finished my first 100 miler)

Kim always is dressed up really nicely and always has her make up nicely applied. I wish I had the courage and knowledge to wear make up in a 50 or 100 miler!
As I headed out of the main aid station (start/finish), I saw a pair of husky dogs. They were so cute and so sweet.

I ended up spending a few minutes petting both dogs. They reminded me of my previous dog who was a Samoyed, Snowball.

I offered the dogs my bib/chip since many husky's are accustomed to running far distances. Alas I was not able to convince the dogs or their master to take my place on the course. Although it did sound like the dogs would have been happy to keep me company for the 16.67 mile lap.

Heading into the Mardi Gras aid station a volunteer insisted on taking my picture.

It is funny I have a bunch of pictures of other runners, the course and some self portraits but I definitely lack pictures of myself standing along side the course so this offer was greatly appreciated.

In just a few moments another volunteer was going to snag me and take my picture in front of the Mardi Gras themed decorations. Then after that picture I was going to be roughed up a bit and forced to wear mardi gras beads for the remainder of the race:-)

The Mardi Gras Aid Station has super enthusiastic volunteers dressed up with beads and boa's in the spirit of Mardi Gras.

They were so festive and encouraging (just like all the Rocky Raccoon aid stations).

I really enjoy hanging out at all of the aid stations, although I did not spend super long at any aid station other than to grab some treats and beverages.

But I do really appreciate all of the kind volunteers taking such great care of us runners. Without them, I know I could not run 50 miles!

Lap 2:

After a brief visit to my drop bag to take off my jacket, grab my sunglasses and get mentally ready for my second lap it was time to head back onto the course. I was really excited about the fact that I had just run 30 minutes faster than 2009 so had a huge buffer and was on track for a sub-10 hour finish.

Heading back out onto the course I was lucky enough to see lots of friends. Everyone looked so good. It was a great day for a run with bright sunshine and nice temperatures. I still had my gloves on but had only one pair of pants and two long sleeve shirts. I was pretty proud of this lack of layers but would have been so much happier with 75 degree's and sunny!

My friend Rhonda from Umstead, Mike from VHTRC, Paige & Geoff and a bunch of others all were heading towards the start/finish finishing their first lap. I saw a bunch of new friends whom I met during the first lap as well and cheered them on.

Because of all the folks running facing me and cheering & chatting with them, I was very well entertained for the first section of this lap. Pretty soon I was arriving at the first aid station. I felt really good and just grabbed a quick cup of gatorade, some coke and a handful of treats including pretzels, banana's and M&M's. Heading out of the aid station I was excited to see my Garmin was suggesting I was doing a pretty solid 10-12 minute mile pace. I was running strong and feeling great.

Heading towards the Dam Aid station I continued to see runners but now it was the leaders of the 50 and 100 miler. My friend Jamie was looking super strong and was in good spirits. I saw my friend Melanie who had changed from the 100 to the 50. She was running super fast and was looking good. Meredith another 50 miler who I have briefly met was also running strong. I am afraid of Meredith because like my mother-in-law she is a Nutritionist/Dietitician. I worry nutritionists can smell the Snoball's, Twinkie's, SuzyQ's on my breath and will yell at me for this dietary transgression.

Continuing on I hoped that I would arrive at the big puddle and be alone. Then I could gingerly scamper around the mudpit going as far off course as I so desired. Although there were runners lurking around I was able to walk around the puddle. I would guess each mudpuddle took me at least 4 or 5 minutes wasted trying to keep my feet neat and tidy.

As I continued on I heard a familiar voice. It was my friend Richard. During the first lap I had chatted with a bunch of runners but because I was focussed on the ground to ensure I saw roots and other hazards I had no idea who I was talking with. I would occasionally ask folks their names and actually got pretty good at recognizing my friends from behind or from their voice. I had a friend Mike with 2XU compression sleeves who I chatted with extensively as well as a different friend, Richard who I ran some of the 24 hour race around the lake. Richard and I kept up a conversation about ultra's, life in general and how we were doing.

As we continued to chat, I was very excited to be approaching the Dam Aid station. This aid station is filled with super excited and enthusiastic volunteers. My friend Lynn is the captain and is a super nice gentleman with a huge personality! I was happy to arrive and see my friends. After grabbing some gatorade, coke as well as pretzels, and banana's I continued on.

Somehow I got separated from Richard at the aid station. But alas I was content to run alone and watch and cheer on runners heading towards me. This made the loop by the Dam go very quickly until I had to deal with the huge mud puddle. I was able to "draft" off another runner who was working his way around the puddle pretty successfully. We chatted briefly but our conversation was interrupted as he headed off to the 100 miler loop while I completed the 5o mile loop back towards the Dam Aid Station.

As I headed along the Dam I heard a familiar voice. It was my friend Mike from Orlando who was now running with me. He was in really good spirits and was having a great race! We ended up running the rest of the lap together which was so much fun. I learned he graduated from University of Central Florida (the same place I earned my MS in Statistics). He attended UCF back when it was being built and you had to look under your car for gators and rattlesnakes (who knew school could be hazardous?). All of my schools have been fairly well established by the time I attended however, my undergraduate school, Stockton State College used to have classes out of the Mayflower Hotel a hotel/casino in Atlantic City. In addition to our common University, we also both worked for Disney World. This section of the course went by very quickly.

Pretty soon we were heading into the Mardi Gras Aid Station. The super enthusiastic volunteer suggested I should take a set of beads. Of course I was fair game for anything. I ended up being handed about 8-10 beads. I mentioned to the volunteers that the last time I wore beads for an extensive time period I ended up with bruising on my chest and expected it to be the case during RR50. But it was so worth it.

After grabbing some treats it was time to head back onto the course. I was getting excited I had completed more than 25 miles in well under 5 hours and I was continuing to move quickly. Sadly this was not going to be the case for much longer. As Mike and I continued jogging (and walking up the hills) the miles just flew by. We were chatting and having a good time. As we got close to the lake we moving along quickly and happily. Other runners were heading our way so we knew we were getting close to the turn around.

Mike took a stumble. He slowed down significantly and I was worried about him. His stumble/root kick was pretty loud. I offered up an advil to help numb the pain. Oddly enough a runner heading the other way (unbeknownst to me) took me up on this verbalized offer. The poor guy had to catch up to me as I continued running thinking it was someone behind me who wanted my painkiller. But Mike did not accept the offer. We continued running and after just a few moments my toe hit a root and I was flying through the air. But not like superman, more like a clumsy person about to chew dirt.

As I hit the ground I slammed into my hands, hit my hip and skidded a bit. I was down. I stayed down and pondered my options. I could keep lying down and wait for someone to rescue me or even just stay put and take a nap. I waited a few seconds thinking how nice it was to rest a bit and to be off my feet. But finally I realized Mike was getting concerned so I slowly got up and resumed jogging. By this time we both had the wind knocked out of us and neither were overly excited to resume running fast. We jogged for a bit and then once we headed over the ridge to near the road we finally picked up the pace again.

I was pretty bummed out. I had not wanted to fall at all and certainly not this early in the race. And I was all dirty. I HATE dirt!!! My hands were dirty, I had a big slab of mud on my pant leg and I was horrified. But I continued on.

At the main aid station I was not in good spirits. I was my own worst nightmare, covered in dirt. And I had BROKEN a NAIL!!! This was the worst race ever!

After grabbing a few treats and a drink, I headed back onto the course. I did not want to fall again and I had just made a decision that I was going to continue running fast. I had not picked up my good headlamp so I was committed to finish the race before sunset. It was time for my 3rd and final lap.

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