Eagle Up Ultra — Part 1

Waaahoooo!!!  It is officially 2 weeks post race and I’m ready to get back out there and start full-time training again! I just have to decide what race to go for next! 🙂  I had a fantastic time out in Ohio for Eagle Up Ultra.

I headed out-of-town bright and early Friday morning around 6:45am.  I wanted to give myself plenty of travel time and chill time since the race started early the next morning.  I had the car packed IMG_0124and ready to go Thursday night…a little excited maybe?! 😉

The drive wasn’t long at all.  I ended up pulling into the park/start area around noon on Friday.  That gave me plenty of time to set up camp, rest, go to packet pick up and have my pasta dinner! 🙂 This was my first time taking on an ultra completely on my own, which I figured would be interesting, ha ha.  Luckily, I had practiced a few times putting my new tent up on my own and figured out the best way of doing it.  I made sure to have a tent that I could stand up in, instead of my small two person tent I normally use for camping.  I knew after running for hours on end, stooping down to climb into a tent would be virtually impossible for me to do.  In that same thought, I did not use an air mattress.  IMG_0133I brought a cot that I could simply sit down on and then lay down…..no squatting and bending down for this girl!! lol 🙂

It was a beautiful day except for the humidity!!  Once I got everything put together, I pulled my cot outside the tent and laid down to read a little.  I enjoyed having some quiet time to myself, but to be honest with you….it was hard to not get caught up in my thoughts being there alone.  I had to continually stop myself from stressing and worrying about the coming morning.

I decided to get up and wander around rather than drive myself crazy!!  Here are some pictures of the start area, the canal and my race goodies! 🙂

The next morning I was up and at ’em in no time!  I was ready to do this! Woot!  When I first got up, the sun hadn’t risen yet, but by the time we were lined up at the start there was no need for a headlamp.  Yay!  I hate wearing a headlamp, ugh.  The temperature was already up to 66 degrees and it was going to be in the mid-70s most of the day.

The course for this race is a 5 mile loop that follows along Canal Fulton, cross a bridge and back up on the other side.  I really enjoyed the course because it was just short enough that I didn’t have to lug everything with me and it didn’t seem like forever, but just long enough that I wasn’t getting bored with the route.  The other aspect of the course that I really enjoyed was the fact of once you returned to the start area, the course wound through the camping area.  img_0146So, all the crew members, spectators, volunteers and family were all there watching you run through.  Many people cheered and offered up high fives along the way.

I kept a pretty consistent pace of about 11-12 minute miles for the first several laps, which was right on target.  When I was about 3 miles from the 50K mark, it began to rain.  The rain started off as a nice cooling drizzle, but it did begin to get heavier.  As I ran, I weighed my options.  I knew that I was getting close to the start/finish area where the main aid station and my camp were.  I could stop, change into dry clothes and wait for the rain to slow down/stop or I could just keep going.  I knew that part of the reason I chose this race was the time limit…… there really wasn’t much pressure because 24hrs is plenty of time to run.  At the same time, I know my competitive nature and need to go faster and PR.  In the end, I chose to be smart and took the break.  I changed into dry clothes and shoes.  I even took the time to stretch and roll my muscles out.  I hung back at my tent for about a half hour/forty minutes and then made my way back to the start.  Just as I got back to the start/aid station…..what did I see!!  LUNCH! YUM!  Oh my goodness, there was a BBQ restaurant there catering lunch.  There were homemade mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, BBQ chicken and pork.  I had them put it all in a little bowl and chowed down!  Seriously, that was the best food!  Ha, ha, ha!  It was probably just because I was so hungry, but either way, delicious! 🙂

After eating, I headed back out on the course.  I decided to take the start of this lap easy to let my food settle.  I walked for about a half mile before I felt ready to run again.  I figured, I had plenty of time, so no need to go making myself sick going out running right away!  ECD74E2C-DC22-4666-ADE5-5BAA6CAED1EC

So far, I was feeling pretty good and confident.  I didn’t really start feeling the tiredness and achiness in my legs until I hit 40 miles.  This definitely got me thinking.  Originally, I had wanted to see how far I could go in the 24hr time frame.  There were several distance options for this race: 50K, 50miles, 100K, 50k/50miles (81 miles total), or 100miles.  I had thought about trying for the 50/50 or as close to it as I could get.  The closer I got to 50 miles, the less and less I wanted to go past a 100K!!  I really did a lot of thinking and debating about whether I should push on or stop at 100K.  I think the biggest deciding factor for me to stop at the 100K distance was being there alone.  If I had crew and/or pacers, I think I would have chosen to keep going.  But, honestly, up to this point, it was hard enough doing this alone.  Luckily, the group that was camping beside me had offered to help me during the day which was a wonderful help.  But, I didn’t want to fully rely on them, as they were there already supporting other runners, it just didn’t feel right to me.  IMG_0252

My focus then became one mile, one lap at a time.  I would force myself only to focus on the mile I was in.  I decided I wouldn’t make my final decision until after I reached 50 miles.

 

 

 

 

……to be continued…..

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