DNF - Palo Duro Trail Run 50-Miler, Palo Duro Canyon, 19 October 2013


37.5 miles finished in 9:02

This was my goal race for 2013 and I trained long and hard and traveled a long way to get to the starting line. Unfortunately, the finish line didn’t materialize for me.  After running three 50k races in the past 18 months, I was anxious to step up to another distance and I chose the Palo Duro Trail Run for a couple of reasons. One, it felt nostalgic and comforting to try something big and new “at home.” Two, I have hiked hundreds of miles in the canyon and I wanted to run somewhere familiar for a change.

Packet pick up took place on the night before the run at WTAMU, my alma mater. We were treated to a pasta dinner and a course overview. There was also a man there known as “The Ancient Brit” who is 86 years old and a friend of the race founder. He came to give a speech of encouragement to the runners and to present a proclamation to the park service from his home city of Westminster, England. It was pretty cool to hear about his experiences and the dinner gave me time to hang out with local runner friends and meet some new people.

Race day started cold and dark. With a start time of 7:00 and sunrise at 7:40ish, we spent the first few miles running in the dark with headlamps and flashlights to guide us. The moonset/sunrise over the canyon walls was glorious! I’m sure that is every runner’s favorite part of the race.

The PDTR course consists of a 12.5-mile loop; the 50-mile runners are to complete four full laps. There is an aid station at the midway mark (you pass it every six miles), plus two others. For the 50-mile run, there is a hard cutoff of 4:00pm to continue to the fourth loop; there is a hard cutoff of 12 hours to finish. I was hoping to run each loop in about 2 1/2 hours, but I was slower than that. After the first two loops/25 miles, I had a deficit of 12-15 minutes. That was cutting it closer than I wanted, but I felt confident going into loop three that I could finish another 12.5 in about the same amount of time and easily make the 4:00pm cutoff time.

In fact, loop three began quite well. I felt stronger during the first few miles of that loop than I expected to and was enjoying myself and the run. But around mile 30 I felt something in the back of my left shoe. Thinking it was probably a piece of grass, I simply reached down and ran my finger around the inside of my sock to dislodge whatever it was. That worked for a hundred yards or so, then I felt it again. I reached down and ran my finger through my sock again. I repeated this several times and then it felt okay, so I ran on. However, about another mile further, I felt a sharp pain in the same spot. I was forced to stop and take off my shoe and sock. I found what appeared to be a small twig, about half an inch long, very smooth and very thin. It was kind of woven through the sock threads, so it took a minute to get it untangled and pull it out. I put my sock and shoe back on and continued on, only to feel the same pain again a short while later. I was forced to stop and take off the shoe and sock again, where I found a another very tiny piece of the twig embedded in the fabric.*

It took far too long to solve the sock problem—I knew I had used up most of my deficit—and I started to panic. I tried to make up the lost time over the next couple of miles, but only succeeded in wearing myself out to the point that I was having trouble running at all. My heart rate was skyrocketing (not helped by the 40-degree temperature change from 31 to 74) and my feet were beginning to hurt. I had to take a bathroom break at the last aid station and by that time I was reduced to shuffling along, running in only short spurts. A running friend who had agreed to pace me on the last loop found me on the trail at about mile 36. He pushed me and I pushed myself, but I arrived at the chute at 4:02…two minutes too late to be allowed to continue.

I didn’t cry. I wanted to, but I held it together. I called my husband and texted my mom and a couple of friends. The RD gave me something to drink and I rested for a little while before going to pick up my drop bag and heading for the car.

Time to regroup and try again.

What Went Wrong


I should have had some. I almost bought a pair before the race, but I thought of them at a time it would have been cutting it close to get them shipped. I did go to REI a couple of days before I left for Texas, but they only had the tall ones and not the short ones for running. I read a number of blogs about the PDTR and looked at every picture I could find from previous years and didn’t see gaiters very often. That led me to believe they probably weren’t needed. I also didn’t see many gaiters on runners at the race and having hiked in the canyon often, I’ve never had anything get into my shoes besides dirt. I brought extra socks thinking I could remedy the dirt problem by switching between loops. I should have worn gaiters and I will not make that mistake again.


Was it the dirt or the altitude or both? Yes! I had a great deal of trouble breathing throughout the race. I train at sea level and the race is about at 3000 feet. I thought three days of acclimation would be enough, but maybe not. Also, when I first switched on my headlamp, all I saw was dirt floating through the air. I was worried right away, but knew there was nothing to be done about it. I had to cough repeatedly during the run to clear my lungs and get a full breath. Altitude I can be mindful of in future races; dirt, maybe not so much.

Panic Due to Garmin Stoppage

I might have made the cutoff if I’d had a better idea of what overall pace I was running. Temperatures warmed considerably during loop one and I removed my arm sleeves before starting loop two. I wasn’t careful and didn’t check my Garmin, so it was awhile before I realized that my left sleeve had hit the stop button and I was no longer timing myself. I had an idea of how I was doing based on time of day, but I was fatigued and had difficulty doing the mental math to get a correct read on overall pace. Not knowing the average made it very hard to determine how fast/slow I needed to go to finish the third loop before the cutoff. After the shoe debacle, I could only tell that I had used up a lot of time, so panic set in and I sabotaged myself by pushing too hard.


I think with a better uphill strategy I might have actually completed each loop in 2 1/2 hours or less and not had to worry about time at all. I know it is accepted ultrarunning practice to walk up hills and then run the downs and flats; however, I think I am probably not walking uphill as fast or as effectively as I could be. I had this same thought a couple of months back on a particularly hilly course, but I didn’t improve much (I don’t think) between then and now. I think this will be an ongoing challenge and I plan to look for expertise from other runners.

What Went Right


The Tailwind really worked for me. I was a little dehydrated at the end of the third loop, but that was my fault for not drinking enough and not taking advantage of plain water at aid stations. I was getting plenty of calories, though. I never once felt hungry. My stomach was never sloshy or upset. I never felt like I was going to bonk at all. I had some Justin’s Nut Butter early in the run, as usual, but after a few hours I didn’t want anymore of that and I stuck to Tailwind only.

Pre-Race Dinner

Pre-Race Dinner

The Ancient Brit

"The Ancient Brit" addresses the runners.

Ready to Run

Ready to run. 

Headlamps at the Start

Headlamps at the start.

Moonset over the Canyon Rim

Moonset over the canyon.


There was a little bit of climbing.


I was having so much fun.


The rock “belonging” to Red Spicer, the founder of the race. 


* I think the object in my shoe was a cactus needle of some sort that burrowed into my leg. When I finally got home and took my sock off for the last time, I found a large painful blister running alongside my achilles tendon. It was filled with white liquid and burst when I tried to wash it. The wound continued to get worse over two days and then began to heal.


Staten Island 6-Hour Run, Silver Lakes Park, 21 September 2013


29.2 Miles Finished

The Staten Island 6-Hour was my first ever timed race. Sponsored by the Richmond Rockets and the Broadway Ultra Society (of which I am now a member), the run took place at Silver Lakes Park. In my head, I divided the 1.67-mile loop into four parts: the downhill, the dirt path, the concrete, and the final stretch.

From the starting line/timing table, there was a big downhill then slight uphill that was about a third of a mile. At the end of that section, the course ran alongside the outside of the park. Next to the asphalt path, there was dirt, so I ran on the dirt through that whole section, which was about three quarters of a mile. Then there was a stretch of concrete sidewalk along Victory Boulevard. It measured .2 miles and was uphill. Then after that the course turned back into the park for the final half mile of the loop.

(During the final half hour, we ran a smaller loop that was .8 miles. That loop crossed the lake and had nice views, although it had no shade and a killer hill at the end.)

I consistently walked the uphill concrete section and ran everything else, so I got regular walk breaks and didn’t get bored with the course. In fact, I think the course was just about perfect. The day was mostly overcast, but there was enough shade that I didn’t have to put on a hat until late in the race. I was really hoping to squeeze in 30 miles, but I ended up with 29.2 and was pleased with it. They gave trophies to the people who went more than 26.2, so I ended up with 15th place among the women and received a trophy. (It’s my first running trophy!) There was a mix up at the end where they didn’t call my name to get an award and I thought they didn’t have the right distance for me, but it turns out my name was just overlooked on the list of winners.

Overall, I had a fantastic time at this race and would definitely recommend it. I plan to run it next year and/or try another timed race between now and then. It was also the perfect complement to my 50-mile training. I got to push myself a little bit while having a supported training run and good company. I met several people who were super nice and I’ll look forward to seeing them in the future, too.




Starting Line Instructions


Outside Loop (dirt path)


Inside Silver Lakes Park (final stretch)

Wildcat Ridge Romp 50k, Wildcat Ridge WMA - New Jersey, 10 August 2013


10:40:00 Finish

I registered for Wildcat Ridge thinking I could use it as a training run for the 50-miler I’m working toward in October. I planned to “take it easy” and estimated I’d finish in about eight hours. Wrong! I worked my butt off and finished in 10:40. I felt like I did my homework on this one: I carefully read the race director’s description of the course, I looked online for photos and videos of the course (found a few, nothing threw up a red flag), I studied the course map, etc. None of that prepared me for what I actually encountered during the event. I’m learning this will probably be the case for every trail run I ever do. :P

Wildcat Ridge has some serious technical trails. I would guess I was only running about 3-4 miles of every 10.5 mile loop. (I think I might have been able to run a little more if I had been wearing a more cushioned shoe. I did see some Hokas on the course and I was jealous.) I spent most of the time picking my way over rocks and there was a lot of climbing. At least two sections were steep enough that I worried my running shoes were not going to give me enough traction to get up and over. I had to use my arms a lot to pull myself over and around trees and to use trees and rocks for balance. (Also, I had to touch moss, which grossed me out.) I did quite a lot of hiking and climbing at one time, but that was a very long time ago!

There were a few water crossings, a little bit of mud, a couple of short sections of paved road, but what I will remember about Wildcat Ridge is the rocks. There were just so many rocks. My ankles are sore and my feet are bruised (and yes, my shoes have rock plates). The course had some gorgeous views of a reservoir and a pond, plus there was a lookout point right before mile four. I also had good company for most of the run and met some really interesting people. 

After I realized how long it was taking me to negotiate each loop, I really wanted to quit after two. I had been out for 6+ hours and I was exhausted and my feet really hurt at that point. My husband (aka Team Norma) was there for a pep talk, so I headed back out. That third loop was HARD. I didn’t think I was ever going to finish. I kept losing the trail markings. I wanted to cry at mile 29. But I also kept thinking that I would be out even longer for a 50-miler and I needed the mental training for that, even beyond the physical training. I’ve never been so glad to see a finish line!

As far as races go, I’m glad to have this one under my belt, but I probably won’t do it again unless I move somewhere that gives me frequent access to mountain trails. Unless you have a lot of trail experience that includes a lot of climbing, I wouldn’t recommend this for a first ultra. But if you are looking for a challenge and you have tough feet, this is a race you will definitely enjoy!



Start line


Splitrock Reservoir



Trees and rocks and water to climb over, trying to reach those blue ribbon trail markers.


Hibernia Pond


There is an aid station at the top of this rock.


Me trying to get to the aid station at the top of the rock. I was likely cursing the rock.


New friends Barco and Katherine.


Gorgeous view!


So many rocks…

Run Buff 5k, West Texas A&M University, 13 April 2013


32:12 Finish

On vacation, I had the opportunity to run a 5k with my sister-in-law and her friend.  Both had run 5ks before, but not without stopping or walking, so they both had a goal to run the whole thing. I had a goal to have fun and get a good run in. The race was called the Run Buff 5k and was sponsored by the West Texas A&M University women’s cross country program to raise money for scholarships. 

On race day, it was hot, windy, and stormy.  The race was delayed for about 30 minutes while we waited for a thunderstorm to blow over.  The wind, however, did not diminish.  We spent a full half of the race running headlong into 40+mph wind.   The course ran alongside the western perimeter of WT’s campus, then headed east for about a mile before winding back to the north and west—full sun, no shade.  Most of the run was on asphalt; the rest on concrete.


The organizers called the race a fun run, but it was timed and there were prizes for the top finishers.  What they didn’t have:  WATER.  I was shocked that there was no water on the course.  I’ve never run a race longer than two miles that didn’t have at least once water stop and on a hot day in full sun I would especially expect to see one.  But my shock at the lack of a mid-race water stop couldn’t compare to my shock at the lack of water at the finish. NO WATER AT THE FINISH. I can’t imagine what thinking went into that decision.  There wasn’t even a water fountain or water hose nearby.  I went inside the student center, stole a paper cup from the coffee shop, and had to walk into another part of the building to find a water fountain.  (Sorry about the theft! The coffee shop was closed or I would have bought one and they were just stacked up there, so…)  Also, I did notice some of the schwag bags had empty water bottles, but mine did not.  I suppose it’s possible the RD expected finishers to use the empty bottle to get water from a fountain, but if that was the case I’d be sure every single bag had a bottle.

Anyway, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a good time.  I did. It is not stressful or difficult for me to run 5k, even under-trained, so I wasn’t ever in danger of keeling over from dehydration.  I enjoyed running with a family member for a change.  My SIL and her friend both ran the whole distance, so they met their goals and that made me happy for them.  I would run this race again, but only if I had a drop bag at the end!


Cherry Tree 10M, Prospect Park, 17 February 2013


1:49:31 finish

I was completely unprepared for this race. That combined with high winds and windchills in the single digits did not make for a great race. I finished ten minutes slower than my 10-mile PR (which was set at this same race back in 2011).

If not for the wind, conditions would have been great.  The most comfortable part of the race was standing in the start corral, which was in a sunny spot protected from the gusts.  I saw a friend at the start and ran with her for about a mile—too fast, honestly. 

Once again, the Prospect Park hill proved to be daunting and I was defeated by it.  I don’t know any way to run it better except to run it more, and that’s really not a priority at the moment.  I’d rather be running off-road!  

Prospect Park Track Club (and the race direction of Michael Ring) organized an excellent race and this remains a favorite of mine, even if today’s effort felt like a #fail.  :)  Ask any Brooklyn runner, and they will name the Cherry Tree as the race with the best giveaways.  No shirts!  This year we got gloves from Trailheads, which were very welcome for such a cold run.  I wore the gloves under my mittens and my hands stayed toasty.   

Two thumbs up—again—for the Cherry Tree 10 Miler!


Lining up to start


Awesome gloves


Finish line

Staten Island Trail Festival 50k, Willowbrook Park, 8 December 2012


7:23 Finish 

It was a perfect day for a long trail run:  in the 40s, overcast, and slightly drizzly.  I got to Willowbrook Park about half an hour before start time.  Bib pick up was fast and it got pretty cold waiting around after that, but I chatted with a really nice woman for a bit before getting last minute directions from the race director.  About a hundred runners lined up at the start line; only about a fourth were signed up for the 50k.

Packet pick up:


Course map:


Most of the first mile was pavement, then we were in the woods.  We had been warned to expect mud and there was mud almost right away—sticky, swampy mud.  It wasn’t terrible.  Messy, but not terrible.  The course ran through some of the parks that make up the Staten Island Greenbelt:  Latourette Park, High Rock Park, and Manor Park.  I’ve run in the Greenbelt before in summer, when it was lush and green, but running in the fall is unbelievable.  It was a feast for the eyes; I couldn’t stop looking at the sparse beauty of it.  I want to go back and run again—more than once—before the winter is over.


Underfoot there were a lot of different trail surfaces.  There were a few short sections of pavement and one of packed grass (my least favorite).  There was a stretch of cinder trail that was part of a multi-use path.  There was a great deal of leaf-covered trail (with rocks and sticks underneath).  And then there was the mud.  The swampier parts had nifty wooden walkways:


The course is mostly single-track and there was a good deal of climb and descent.  In fact, I was surprised at the elevation change.  I expected to climb, but I didn’t expect to climb as much as I did.  There were both short, steep (slippery) climbs and long not-quite-as-steep climbs.  I was impressed with the trail markings, although I still did manage to run off the trail twice in nearly the same spot.  That happened around mile 26 (I think) on the second loop and I was starting to get really tired then and just missed a turn.  And then right near the end I panicked because the volunteers that had been pointing us in the right direction were gone and I thought I was repeating a section of trail and I backtracked and then decided I was probably going the right way. I was very disoriented for a little while.

There were aid stations at the start (loop) and three other points, just about four miles apart.  There was a good variety of food available (although I would have killed for apples and oranges instead of bananas).  They also had Coke, water, PowerAde, and Red Bull.  (I discovered something delightful called a Bagelful at the last station. mmm  I tend to get very hungry after mile 20, so the Bagelful might not be as delightful under normal circumstances.)  


Photo by Staten Island Athletic Club

Heading back into the woods:

Photo by Staten Island Athletic Club

My only complaint was traffic, which is the fault of whoever laid out the park, not the race coordinators.  There are roads that cross through the park periodically and 50k runners were faced with crossing those roads 14 times.  Most of them were okay, but there were at least four that had a lot of traffic.  I am estimating 15-20 minutes were added to my time from waiting on cars.

Overall, I had a really great time.  It has been a long time since I’ve run a race and really been anxious to sign up again.  I will definitely keep running this one each year and recommend it to others.  Big THUMBS UP to the New York Adventure Racing Association!


Brooklyn Marathon, Prospect Park, 18 November 2012

Finish Time 4:59:53

This race was HARD.  lol  I did not train on enough hills to do well on this course, but I survived and had a good time.  The weather was perfect for a marathon—40s and partly cloudy.  The race had about 500 runners, so it felt just right and definitely not over-crowded.  

The course consisted of two lower loops of Prospect Park (about four miles total), then six loops of the entire park.  If you have never run in Prospect Park before, the big loop is roughly half uphill and half downhill; there is very little flat.  

The most loops I’ve ever done of the park is three (during the Cherry Tree 10-Miler each winter), but I managed to hold on pretty well through the fourth loop.  My heart rate was pretty high after the fourth time up the hill, so I chilled out a little bit on the downhill, but it wasn’t enough.  I hit the hill for the fifth time and just didn’t have it in me to run up it again.  I walked the hill on the fifth and sixth loops.   My overall pace dropped quite a bit from that and I squeaked in just seven seconds under the five-hour mark.

Overall I enjoyed the race quite a bit.  It was like doing a long training run in the park, but with people cheering.  There were some really great spectators the entire time I was running.  Sometimes if you’re slow people drift away before you get done, but there were people cheering the entire time I was running.  

Since I was walking already, I stopped to take a picture of these people with their pots and pans:

They also had this great sign, which was still true, even if I was walking up the hill:

This marathon was my first long race to wear my fabulous Altra Intuition 1.5s.  I ran in the original Intuitions from March until October, then switched to the newer model just in time for my last long training run.  I highly recommend them.  

On the course:

Here is Mike’s DIY Team Norma hat:

NYCRuns puts on a good race and I’m glad I ran this one.  In addition to the usual post-race Gatorade and bagels, each of us got a tiny cheesecake and the fancy medal.

NYCRuns website

Brooklyn Marathon website

Race Times

9/21/2013, Staten Island 6-Hour Run, 29.2 miles

8/10/2013, Wildcat Ridge Romp, 10:40

4/13/2013, WTAMU Run Buff 5k, 32:12

2/17/2013, Cherry Tree 10M, 1:49:31

12/8/2012, Staten Island Trail Festival 50k, 7:23

11/18/2012, Brooklyn Marathon, 4:59:53

9/22/2012, 5th Avenue Mile, 7:40

6/30/2012, Take Your Base 5M, 1:03:26

3/24/2012, NJ Ultra Festival 50k, 7:11:47

2/19/2012, Cherry Tree 10M, 1:45:32

2/12/2012, Valentine 5k, 28:31

1/28/2012, Brrrooklyn Hot Chocolate 10k, 58:50

12/4/2011, Join the Voices 5M, 46:48.37

11/20/2011, Philadelphia Marathon, 4:50:17

10/9/2011, Staten Island Half Marathon, 2:19:11

5/21/2011, Brooklyn Half Marathon, 2:19:13

4/3/2011, Urban Environmental Challenge 10k, 1:14:35

3/27/2011, Colon Cancer 15k, 1:34:29

2/20/2011, Cherry Tree 10M, 1:40:49

12/11/2010, Peter Rabbit Cross Country 3m, 29:45

11/7/2010, NYC Marathon, 4:47:34

9/26/2010, 5th Ave. Mile, 7:34

7/3/2010, Lamesa Jubilee 5k, 28:35

6/24/2010, Wall Street Run 3M, 27:57

2/21/2010, Cherry Tree 10M, 1:52:40

12/6/2009, Joe Kleinerman 10k, 1:04:09

11/22/2009, Race to Deliver 4M, 38:49

9/26/2009, 5th Ave. Mile, 7:43

9/20/2009, Queens Half Marathon, 2:29:23

7/18/2009, Run for Central Park 4M, 42:17

6/13/2009, NYRR Dash 10k, 1:11:36

5/31/2009, Japan Day 4M, 41:39

5/19/2009, Wall Street Run 5k, 29:47

4/19/2009, Run as One 4M, 45:11

11/27/2008, Turkey Trot 5k, 31:20

11/8/2008, Run for the Barrio 5k, 31:38

9/27/2008, Race for the Cure 5k, 31:05

9/13/2008, Mayor’s Two-Mile, 19:54

8/2/2008, Paul & Mike’s Excellent Mile, 9:07

7/19/2008, Las Fiestas de Amarillo 5k, 35:09

5th Avenue Mile, Manhattan, 22 September 2012

From NYRR.org

7:40 finish

This was my third running of the New York Road Runners 5th Avenue Mile.  The course runs straight down 5th Avenue, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 80th Street to Grand Army Plaza at 60th. 

My PR for this race is 7:34, which I did not expect to beat since I don’t speed train.  My race strategy for this race is literally “run like hell” and hope not to fall down.  I did add a long warm-up this year and tried to relax, finishing six seconds slower than my best time. 

Me at the 3/4 mile mark.

Take Your Base 5M, Coney Island, 30 June 2012

1:03:26 finish

This was my first time to run the Take Your Base 5-Miler, which is organized by the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team to benefit the American Cancer Society. It was also my first race post-injury and it was a STRUGGLE. I was diagnosed with posterior tibial tendonosis in April and did not run for about seven weeks. I was only cleared to return to running (with walking mixed in) about three weeks before the race and I was not at all acclimated to the heat.

Race day fell in the middle of a heat wave.  It was 85 degrees and humid at the start line.  The course took runners from the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium on Surf Avenue to the boardwalk, where we ran all the way to the west end, turned and ran all the way to the east end, turned again and ran back to the stadium.  NO SHADE.  My only complaint related to the race was the lack of water stations.  There were two (one at each end) and I think under the conditions at least one more in the middle would have been better.  

The course passed by the New York Aquarium, which has vending machines right on the boardwalk.  I actually stopped and bought a bottle of PowerAde while seriously considering whether I should DNF.  About that time I saw a runner from my online forum pass by and decided to catch up to him and say hi.  We chatted and ran together the remaining two miles of the race.  I really think I would have quit if I hadn’t seen him.  I was overheated, my heart rate was super high, my foot was starting to bother me, I hadn’t slept well the night before, I just wasn’t having a good day.

Finished with my slowest 5-mile race time to date, but I finished and that felt like a really big accomplishment under the circumstances. 


This was my first race as a member of the Prospect Park Track Club. I joined right before I got injured.

The starting line was in front of the stadium; the finish line was behind homeplate.

Nothing better than walking on the beach after finishing a race!

NJ Ultra Fest 50k, Sussex County, 24 March 2012

Finish time 7:11:47

Since this was my first-ever 50k, I had gotten pretty nervous in the days leading up to it, mainly wondering if I had trained well enough.  But races wait for no one, whether you’ve trained well or not, so I made my way to the starting line bright and early.  

The weather was perfect, in the 50s (and overcast most of the day), and there was no long wait in a corral before we started.  We gathered around for instructions just a few minutes before start time and ran when we heard go.  The course was a 10-mile loop that consisted of a short out-and-back, a long out-and-back, and a circular route through the Sussex Count fairgrounds.  We had been told that there had been rain several days before the race, but the course was mostly dry thanks to our warm, dry winter.  

That was true, but…

Over the course of the day and the hundreds of feet over the trails multiple times, the damp areas of the trail turned into muddy bogs that expanded and expanded and expanded…  By the end, there was a large area on the far side of the loop that had to be carefully navigated in order to avoid your entire foot being sucked down into dark thick mud.  There were several smaller areas that were the same and a couple of small jump-able puddles became large un-jump-able puddles. There was also one large water crossing and several bridges shored up by strips of plywood to navigate.  Otherwise, the trail was made up of an old road and we ran over packed grass a good deal.  It wasn’t a terribly difficult course, but it was a constantly changing course.

The race itself was well-supported, with a full aid station at the far end and a water stop in the middle.  Each loop ended with a run through all the campsites (and applause) on the fairgrounds, then through a building where your time was logged.  At that point runners had the opportunity to eat/drink and use the restroom—a REAL restroom!    

I enjoyed running.  Everyone was so nice.  We were passing each other head-on and so many people told me “Good job” or “Looking good.”  I’m still not sure if this is typical ultra etiquette or if I just looked haggard enough that people wanted to encourage me, but I tried to return the favor and urge other people on.  My legs and feet stayed fresh longer, probably due to softer surfaces.  However, I did have an IT band issue at mile 15 that made it excrutiatingly painful to run for several miles.  By mile 20 it had settled to a dull ache, so the last loop was actually faster than the second one when I was limping part of the time.  I nearly stepped on a snake, I tripped over a tree root, and I will now for sure lose one toenail, maybe two.  But I finished fairly strong and I am looking forward to trying this distance again.  In the meanwhile, I need to do some much longer trail runs.

All finishers were given really nice medals, a tech shirt, and fleece jackets!!!  Of course, it’s too warm to wear it this year, but I surely will next winter.

Things I learned:

1)  Trail conditions can deteriorate quickly and unpredictably.

2)  Orange Heed tastes like watery baby aspirin and it is NASTY.

3)  A little Coca-Cola near the end of a race is a good pick-me-up.

4)  DNFs are common in ultrarunning and I need to suck it up that I will have some.  

5)  When you get tired in a trail run you can’t shuffle along like you do on the road; you still have to pick your feet up.

6)  Sunburn is likely when you’re on the course for hours and hours.  Wear sunscreen!

7)  Beyond 26.2 miles, your entire arms will be hurting along with everything else.

50k runners getting last-minute instructions

Running across the fairgrounds headed for the finish

All done!

Awesome stuff!

Thanks to my precious husband for photos and video!

Cherry Tree 10M, Prospect Park, 19 February 2012

1:45:32 finish

I still love this race.  I fell in love with it in 2010 and I still love it.  This year we had perfect weather, maybe even a little on the warm side, and a new start line.  We also had a fabulous giveaway:

I had been telling my husband recently that I needed a hat with a bill and that would cover my ears (for snow running, if we ever have snow again).  Well here it is!  Last year we got ear wrap thingies and I literally wear mine all the time…like, nearly every run all winter.

The race itself was fairly uneventful.  I had run ten miles the day before, so my legs weren’t exactly fresh, but I was treating the race more as a training run so I wasn’t too worried.  I had a goal time of 1:50 and came in under that.  The finish line seemed slightly less well-organized than in the past, but it could be because I came in so late.  I also wasn’t able to go back to Bishop Ford High School this year for the post-race hot chocolate and festivities; I literally arrived, ran, and left.

Last year this lake was mostly frozen over. You can see it here.

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