Race InfoLocation: Caesar Creek State Park, Waynesville, Ohio
Date: Saturday, June 25th, 2016
Distances: 50k, 50 mile
This was my peak race for Burning River and the second 50 mile race I’ve ran.
My first 50 was Rocks and Roots in February 2016, where I made a variety of mistakes. Mainly nutrition related. Leading up to that race stress and worries began to build. Being inexperienced, I overpacked my drop bag with unnecessary items. Despite feeling full, my calorie intake was way too low. The final 20k, I was delusional. It took months of reflection for me to figure out what didn’t go right at that race.
This time my mindset was different, as were the conditions. Summer heat advisory instead of winter mud. A few days prior a tornado tore through the park, potentially canceling the race. Certain areas were still considered unsafe due to unstable trees. My Burning River training plan dictated a 50 mile weekend - that was going to happen with or without the race. Yikes. Thankfully, two days prior the course was rerouted and the race was back on!
But…I felt indifferent, not even nervous-excited. Before it started, I just wanted the weekend to be over.
This race had to go perfectly, otherwise it meant I wasn't ready for Burning River. All the fun was sucked out before it even started. I was also pressuring myself to finish to complete the 200K! No Way!! Race Series I had mentally committed to earlier in the year.
The course consisted of 2 loops for the 50k, and 3 for the 50 miler. At the starting line, I tried to get last minute advice from the veterans around me. Within the first mile someone said hello, we started talking, and instantly clicked. We had brief spurts where others would join us and people kept asking us how we knew each other. For the entirety of her race (and 2/3rds of mine) the conversation flowed. She was completing her first 50k on a whim.
Two laps flew by despite the never ending supply of hundred year old trees to climb over, under, and around. At the second loop's midpoint aid station, volunteers swarmed us asking if we were okay. I wondered if I really looked that bad, after all, it was pretty hot out!
It turned out, the previous 10 people had all been stung by wasps. I learned later that our followers had been stung as well. Miraculously, the wasps must not have been very interested in us.
The path looped around a lake. Any time it was in sight I saw boats scattered on the water. I kept asking myself why I didn’t pick up a more relaxing hobby.
“Boating could be a great lifestyle change for me,” I thought. Maybe I should buy a boat. But I digress.
About 6 miles from the 50k finish we were climbing over a section of particularly thick and troublesome brush. I lept off a downed branch and nearly stepped on a snake! It was at this moment my tired brain processed the shouts I heard a few minutes earlier. "SNAKE!" Clearly the heat was starting to get to me. We crunched out the last 6 miles for Kate’s first 50k!
Now I had to face the reality that I still had an additional lap to go. Luckily pizza had arrived, so I ate a slice and took one to go.
A small pain in my feet grew worse. Every step was painful and they ached all over. Many tears were shed.
I had to call my boyfriend for moral support around mile 42. "I'm going to finish but my feet hurt" was the depth of the conversation.
At mile 46 two cheerful individuals asked me if I wanted any food. I told them thanks, but my eyes were set on the finish line pizza. I had to keep moving.
Eventually I stumbled out of the woods and finished. Everyone seemed disappointed to see me, as most were waiting on loved ones and friends. The first thing I did was grab my pizza, then rip my shoes off. There weren’t any blisters on my feet but, holy cow, they hurt. As I sat eating my pizza I heard someone say, “that’s the girl who said she just wanted pizza, I’m glad she got some.”
Clearly I’m making a name for myself, one pizza slice at a time.
In the following days, my feet were covered with blood blisters all in between my toes. I’ll spare you the images…
Up until this race my Altra Superiors had performed well in numerous 50ks and countless miles of training. I ended up buying the same shoe a size up, and I’m hoping that will fix the issue. It was pretty odd nothing happened until race day. I think I blame the heat.
Read the Race Report from 2017 Here