Sunday, January 6, 2013

PHUNT 25K+2 recap and some football

On Friday, I said I couldn't make the huge decision about which distance to choose for this weekend's free trail race - 50K or 25K. While I appreciate all the feedback, it was pretty much split down the middle, so ultimately no help. While I was sorely tempted to be all badass and come in here with a recap like "I did the 50K, bitches!", I don't know how I let myself become delusional enough to think that was even a possibility.

The race didn't start until 9am, so I got to sleep in until the very reasonable race morning hour of 6:40. I enjoyed about 30 minutes in the porto-potty line, then continued my JFK tradition of sprinting to the race start.

We didn't get bibs, but I did get this: 

Nothing like starting a race with an emergency
phone number to inspire confidence

The race was on gorgeous trails, and there were some leaves covering up rocks and roots, and a lot of mud, but overall the course was really runable. I was having one of those "11 minute miles feels like sprinting" days and by mile 5 I was exhausted. The race didn't have many big climbs but it was nonstop rolling hills. 

Executive decision: I'd run the 25K and tack on a little bit because my training plan called for 18 miles (the graph says 17.5 because somehow I accidentally paused my Garmin for half a mile). 

Near the top of one of the hills

There was also a lot of running through fields and random grassy areas
All the runners were asked to bring a food and drink item for the aid stations (approximately every 5 miles) and I thought this was a fantastic way to put on a race. I'd much rather show up with some cookies and Gatorade than pay a huge fee for yet another tech tee and medal! I really wanted to bake something but I had some grades to enter and some errands to do Friday night and plus I was freaking exhausted from working three whole days last week. 

During the race, I ate: 

  • a delicious oatmeal craisin bar some talented runner made
  • an orange slice
  • a piece of chocolate donut 
  • pretzel M&Ms
  • a few sips of orange Gatorade

 I like my races on the wild side. In addition to eating home baked goodies, here are some other fun trail aspects that you just don't get from road racing.

  • At one point I entered a "managed hunting area" and couldn't see a single other person or sign of human life, but I did hear gunshots.
  • The race was extremely well marked and yet somehow I ended up lost with a random group of runners. Since I wanted to add on miles and they had maps and seemingly a sense of direction I wasn't too concerned. I just pretended I was one of them and after all sorts of backtracking we followed the trail we were on until it intersected with the course.
  • There were a ton of stream crossings and they slowed me down like crazy. Usually I don't worry about it and just splash through, but the temperature was 23 at the start and not predicted to get above freezing. I wasn't trying to lose any toes to frostbite.

Other than running the first mile or so with my JFK buddy and coworker Matt, and chatting with a few ladies around mile 15, I pretty much ran the whole thing in silence. My upcoming marathon doesn't allow headphones, and even though I made it 50 miles without music I still love rocking out to Ke$ha from time to time. I had headphones in my hydration pack and wanted to bust out my iPhone so bad but I forced myself not to, to build up mental stamina or something. I've never run that far without music or company and I certainly haven't run nearly that long (3 hours and 36 minutes) without it!

Proof that some of the race was, in fact, in the woods.
I got to the finish line at about 16 miles and really didn't want to keep going. I only needed two more miles but at the rate I was going that was kind of a big deal. Naturally I got lost again in the woods, and then emerged from the woods and started running across the field the wrong way, away from the finish, and had to stop and turn around. While I was doing this I ran directly into a pricker bush. I didn't think much of it at the time (I was focused on my embarrassment about looking like an idiot) but I guess it got me.

No trail race is complete without battle wounds.
Finally, 18 brutal miles were done.

Usually I'm not hungry until a few hours after I run but after this race I couldn't get a hot dog in my mouth fast enough. 

It's hard to tell, but half that dog is gone.
I ate the other half on my short walk to the car and just bit right into the generic oreo, without even bothering to twist it apart and lick the cream separately. That's some level 10 hunger right there.

Since I left the race nice and full, I was actually able to stop at Wegmans on the way home and grocery shop without putting my entire life savings at risk. I had leftover homemade hot fudge and heavy cream from my peanut butter stuffed hot fudge cupcakes, so clearly buying ice cream and making an epic sundae was my only choice.

Sundae and fuzzy blanket - Saturday night of champions
On Sunday, I did an easy half hour on the elliptical and then did Jillian Michael's No More Trouble Zones (the whole thing - I usually do an abbreviated version of only the first four circuits). Then things got really weird. I watched an entire football game, and paid attention, and liked it. This happened once before, but that was when we attended the game in person.

The game was the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Colts, my sister's favorite team, and since I live in Baltimore and am technically a Ravens fan, she'd been laying down some twitter trash talk. I don't know what happened but I guess the family rivalry got me revved up and watching the game turned out to be fun, especially since the Ravens won. Eric even said he liked watching it with me and didn't mind that I asked him stupid questions every 10 seconds. 

I am adding an item to my 2013 resolutions: I will become a true Ravens fan and enjoy football. I'm about 97% positive that adding meat to my diet helped immensely so by next fall I should be ready to embrace the sport whole heartedly. 

Believe it or not, my nasty runners feet helped too.

Anyone else ever done a free race? Would you want to?


  1. I would love a free race with a potluck and I'm sure becoming a meat eater will increase your love of football. Ribs, chicken wings, meatballs just saying nothing better than football food. Really I just like football for the beer and appitizer spreads.

  2. I can't think of any better way to describe level 10 hunger than not twisting apart an Oreo. Your writing style speaks to me.

    Yes I am commenting on your Blog at 4:01am. You should feel special.

    1. Wait til you have the twins. You'll do all your blogging at 4am.

  3. I would love a free race! I have plenty of race shirts and medals...give me free food any day!

    Congrats on 18mi! I did 10 trail miles this weekend and it just about killed me. I hadn't run double digits since my fall marathon...geez, I forgot it is hard! ;)

  4. I would do a free race, especially one like that. Nice job getting lost and finding someone with a map.

    Great job getting in your 18 miles!

  5. I've gone grocery shopping after long runs before, but I am usually more concerned about getting hypothermia in the freezer section than buying all the things!

    Did they have real timing for the race even if there were no bibs? I can't say I've even heard of a free race before.

  6. Good work on that trail run. I want to do a trail run with real trees (shade!) and leaves on the ground.I would totally do a free trail race. I like the BYO aid station snacks. Ive done long group trail runs but the good food is back at our cars, not along the course. How did no one comment about you not getting a hotdog in your mouth fast enough? Not even Kari with a "that's what she said"??

    1. Don't worry, a friend took care of it on Facebook, but I agree - I worded it that way for a reason!

  7. I'm impressed that you liked the hot dog!! Took me a while before I could munch on those.

    I am soooo happy that I was able to help you enjoy a football game!

  8. Free races are the best kind. Potluck is a great idea for the aid stations. Look at you becoming a football fan!

  9. I am not sure I could ever run without music and no go completely mad!! Awesome job!

  10. i know it was a free races and all but hydrox cookies?! oreos are a must.

  11. Woah, nice race! Was the hunting area actually on the course or was that when you were lost?

  12. What a cool race! I'm with Sarah^ - was the hunting on the course?

  13. Hot dogs? Football? Do I know you?

  14. Excellent music free training, and trail running, and getting lost twice, and getting injured. Completely awesome.

    And that doesn't even count the hotdog photo!


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.