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.


  1. Sorry you had to cut the run short! Have you seen a dr.? It could be runners hematuria?
    Are you going to Isle du Bois again? I am, my first race since Hells Hills in April.
    Have a great day!

    1. I just read your link and yep, that's what is sounds like I had! I was afraid it was something serious. After massive hydrating, the pain and discomfort was gone about 24 hours later. I waited a few days thinking that maybe I'd nipped it in the bud but then the next Wednesday started feeling little twinges so I went to the doctor and he gave me antibiotics and said that it was probably a UTI or bladder infection. It might not have been though. And I feel great now. It just came out of nowhere!

      And yes, definitely running Isle du Bois! I only signed up for the 18K this year. Which distance are you running?

    2. I'm glad you're OK! I'm running (hopefully more running than walking) the 54K. I thought that 50K seemed sort of long last December! See you there! Maybe I'll make some date balls to try on the run!

  2. One more thing--you are going to post a recipe for your date balls, right? :)

    1. YES! Thank you! I totally meant to do that! Will post right now. :)

    2. I posted the recipe's at the bottom of the post. Thanks Paul!

  3. You certainly do get around! Didn't you just run Palo Duro? So sorry you had to bail on the rest of the race, and glad to hear everything's okay now. I used to camp in Tyler State Park when I was a kid in Girl Scouts years ago, and now that you say it edges out Palo Duro I'll definitely have to do some running there.

    1. It's a great race, highly recommend! Congrats on your first 50K at PD! I ran PD, but treated it as a training run and just had a fun camping weekend. Even so, a little burned out from traveling and racing.

  4. Wow, what an adventure. You still sound so positive especially after having to stop. But it sounds like it's a good thing you did. I guess even with all the best efforts some days just aren't going to happen like you planned. Love the potato pancake idea. That sounds like it would taste so good!

    1. Thanks, Jen! Loved your last post with the trail pictures. You sure do live in a beautiful place. :)

  5. Those date balls sound DEELISH!!! I'm going to try them on some runs. I think I'm getting tired of gels and other trail foods.
    I'm really sorry the race turned out like it did, but I'm glad you had the guts to stop when you needed to (even though I KNOW how hard it was). Proud of you!
    And that trail... OH MY- it's gorgeous!!!!! :)

  6. Where did you rent the cabin from?

    1. Hi there,
      We rented the cabin at Whispering Pines RV and Cabin Resort.