Thursday, October 25, 2012

Whispering Pines 50K Race Report

Whispering Pines was my goal race for the year...the biggie in my mind that I really wanted to do well at.  I wouldn't say my training was perfect and ideal, but I got most of it done despite the very hot Oklahoma summer and fall.  (if you can call temps in the 80's & 90's "fall")

Peggy, Melissa, Beth and I took Friday off to head to Tyler, TX.  We stopped in Paris, TX for lunch and to play and take pictures.  They have a cool little Eiffel Tower there and lots of cute historic houses.  We made it to Tyler and found our very cute cabin we'd reserved at Whispering Pines RV and Cabin Resort.  As soon as we threw our stuff in the cabin we headed 10 minutes away to Tyler State Park to check out the park and the trail.  Tyler State Park is GORGEOUS!  Tall pine trees and rolling hills.  The only worrisome thing was the and humid.  VERY humid!  We walked about a quarter mile of the trail we'd be running in the morning and were all pouring sweat just from that.  Yikes!
Eiffel Tower...Texas style!

My girls!

Me enjoying the view from our cabin

Our cute lil cabin

American Beauty berries were everywhere along the trail.  Pretty!

The beautiful trail preview on Friday night

Love me some tall pines!

After a delicious dinner at BJ's Brewhouse in Tyler was headed back to the cabin and turned in early.  Saturday morning we made it to the park early and picked up our SUPER AWESOME Whispering Pines race shirts made by Tasc.  LOVE all of the Endurance Buzz Adventures shirts made by Tasc Performance.  Soft bamboo, v-neck, women's specific shirt that fits perfectly and the designs are always so cute.  We set up our drop bags and chairs and got ready to go.  For the 50K the course was three 10-mile loops. Peggy, Melissa and Beth were running the 25K and they ran a modified loop and one full loop.

I struggled a bit from the very first mile.  Couldn't catch my breath and felt like I was sweating a LOT more than normal.  I had on my Nathan Intensity hydration pack and felt like I did good with staying hydrated (but apparently not..) and eating.  I brought some homemade date balls and would eat one every hour, nibbling a little bit at at time.  Best trail food I've found yet! They hold together, even with me cramming them in my pocket repeatedly and the taste is perfect.  Slightly sweet, but not overly sweet like gels.  They have all healthy "real food" ingredients and the dates give you an instant boost of energy.  I did bring some potato pancakes in my drop bag and had one before starting my second loop and those worked well too.  I'm feel like I made huge progress on figuring out the nutrition aspect of racing ultras for me.  Still gotta work on the hydration part...

Can you tell I'm having fun? :) 

So the first loop was uneventful other than it was humid and I was working a little harder than I normally do for being that I'd ran less than 10 miles.  I came into the start/finish, got a high five from David Hanenburg, the RD and grabbed a potato pancake, filled my pack and drank a few small cups of Coke.  I started noticing on the second lap that something didn't feel quite right.  I had an overwhelming urge to pee but could hardly pee at all.  This went on for a few miles and then I started peeing blood.  I called my friend Nancy and asked her what to do...should I go out and walk the third lap and try to drink TONS of water?  Should I ask the medic what to do when I got back to the start/finish?  Should I stop?  She is a very experienced ultra runner and also has a medical background and she said STOP.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Just stop.  That there is no race worth permanent kidney damage over.  And I knew she was right but damn it was hard.  Although tired and hot, I wanted to finish so bad. I had drank approximately 150 ounces by the time I finished the second loop which is a lot for me, I don't usually have to drink nearly that much for a 20 mile run.  So strange that not only was that not enough, but I was peeing blood!  I only took one S! Cap and maybe I should have taken more, just not sure.  I felt like I was hydrated pretty well going into the race.

When I got back to the start/finish, I asked David for the medic and told her what was going on.  Both she and David both said that I was done and needed to hydrate and go into town for some cranberry pills and Azo.  We stayed for a few more hours and got to see Cindy Luttrell, David Sooter and Danny Ponder finish the 50K.  My friend Katie ran the 25K, her first trail race EVER and WON IT!  Everyone was so happy and excited for her.  She's our speedster!

The course was beautiful!  It's the perfect course to me..sections that had some hills, some flats, some technical, some non-technical...all incredibly scenic and pretty!  I really enjoyed every second out there, even with the pain.  I loved the race so much that I think it's become my new favorite race.  :)  It even edged out Palo Duro!  I will FOR SURE be back next year for another go around.
The crew--David Sooter, Katie Hudson, Beth McCombs, Melissa Stone, Peggy Wood and I.

EBA had a wonderful post-race meal as usual...veggie or chicken tacos.  I had the veggie and it was DELICIOUS! They had crates of fresh plums too.  

David Hanenburg and his wife Wendy put their heart and soul into these races and it shows.  It's more than just a race, it's an event that you look forward to.  And you come away from all of their events with a happy memory, no matter how your actual race went.  The aid station volunteers were awesome, every single one of them. David H.'s Mom was helping all day too..hard working family!  Thanks EBA for another great event.  You guys rock.

If you would like the recipe for the date balls, it can be found HERE.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Potato Cake Experiment

This weekend is Whispering Pines 50K in Tyler, TX and I could not be any more excited! A long weekend with friends running through a pine forest for hours on end?  The perfect weekend!

I am thinking of trying something a little new with my fueling for this race. As much 'real food' as possible and the least amount of sugar is what I'm aiming for.  Nothing crazy-- I know potatoes work well for me in ultra's so I am going to cook up a big pot of mashed potatoes tonight and put them in the refrigerator.  Tomorrow I'll mix in some coconut milk and an egg or two and form some potato cakes that I will cook in a sprayed skillet.  Tucked into a ziploc bag I think they will work well in my drop bag that I will have access to twice during the race. I'm thinking I can grab one and eat it on the go.  Instant carbs and a little protein with the egg.
Potato Cakes. Photo Credit:

I've already figured out that a banana wrapped in a gluten-free tortilla with almond butter and roasted sunflower seeds works well for me before a long run, so I'm adapting that a little bit and going to substitute a sweet potato pancake for the tortilla.  Too much fiber?  We'll see...  Any thoughts?

There will be oranges, bananas and PB&J's at the aid stations, and I'll take some GU and Sport Beans along in my pack in case I get in a bind and need sugar.

Have a great weekend..and happy running.  :)