This is my third year doing the Ouachita 50 mile race. People that know me know that typically I do not do the same race twice, much less three times. Right away that will give you a clue on how much I like this race. This race has a fun vibe, and no matter what the weather is like or what happens during the race you know you will enjoy being there.
Keeping with tradition the race start was preceded with Chrissy’s famous “don’t be a dumbass” speech. The basic summary of the speech is you need to have good trail etiquette and follow the markers. If you don’t, you are a dumbass. At six am about 150 runners left pavilion eight in Maumelle Park and headed down the road following flashing police lights. Runners are on the road almost three miles before hitting the single track. The three mile road start is great because it gives runners
room to spread out and avoids bottle necking on the single track.
Shortly after hitting the single track runners reach the climb over Panicle. I love to climb so I was looking forward to this. When I ran this race for the first time it was my second 50 miler and first mountain race. I remember at that time thinking this climb was incredibly brutal. The second year I ran it the climb seemed better. This year after having ran mountain races for three years it didn’t seem as hard. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a good climb, I just have a different perspective now.
After the climb I chatted with several other runners as we made our way to the 50k turn off aid station. It had rained the night before so the
ground was pretty soft and muddy in spots. I was thankful though that the clouds decided to stick around and helped to keep the temperature cool. After the 50k runners turned off I was running by myself. Which personally I like, it gives me a chance to zone out and just flow with the trail. Approximately a mile from the 50 mile turn around aid station I saw the lead guys looking strong coming back. At the turn around, I quickly
filled up my two soft flasks and head back down the trail. I have gotten to like out and back races because it gives me a chance to tell everyone I see good job and encourage them.
It never fails, just when you start thinking this is going well I haven’t tripped yet …. SPLAT. Somewhere around mile 30 the ground was feeling lonely so I gave it a hug and
left a little knee skin behind to keep it company. After my super man on the ground, I got up and did a body check – the knee was bleeding but everything else felt fine so off I went down the trail. I was able to zip through most of the aid stations and only needed to fill up once with water. As I got closer to the finish I started seeing some of the 50k runners doing a great job pushing through to the finish. When I hit the road I was happy to feel my legs still had something left to give and that they would turn over quick enough for an eight minute mile.
Coming into the finish line I was stoked to see the clock and that I had ran almost 20 minutes faster this year
than the last year I ran the race. Chrissy gave me the medals, a really neat cutting board shaped like the state of Arkansas and a hand-made glass rooster. She told me several times how fragile the rooster was. As seems to be my theme of constantly testing gravity, I have yet to win …. But someday I will. I dropped the rooster and it shattered. I remember looking at him on the ground, and thinking did that really happen? Unfortunately yes it did really happen. Like
much of life, there was nothing to do except pick up the pieces. While I was bummed I had broken him, I came to a conclusion. Dropping the rooster and having everything shatter except his legs was a sign that no matter how much I have been broken in the past or will be broken in the future my legs will remain strong and all the other pieces can be glued back together. Upon returning homethe rooster underwent major surgery that consisted of a large amount of super glue. I am happy to report that while the rooster will have many life-long scars he has now made a full recovery and his legs are as strong as ever. This incident also made me realize under no circumstances should I ever try out for the receiver position on a football team, but maybe I should be a surgeon…..
Time – 9h 05m
Place – 1st female, 3rd over all
Nutrition – about 125 cal/hour (mostly Hammer Bars)
Hydration Vest – Nathan VaporHowe 12L
Pre-Race supplements (also taken daily) – Mito Caps, Race Caps Supreme, Endurance Amino and Anti-Fatigue Caps (all Hammer products)
Post race recovery – Hammer Recoverrite and Tissue Rejuvenator