Coming into this weekend, I had a bit of left knee pain, which I rested and had worked on by good ol' Dr. Wisner. I was pretty confident in my training and in my plan to cut my race short and take the DNF if the knee caused any sharp, persistent pain or caused me to alter my stride in any way. Limping for 62 miles would cause more trouble than it's worth.
|Obligatory pre-race gear layout because duh|
What Actually Happened
At the turnaround, I wasn't particularly efficient with my time, and the aid station workers fumbled and struggled opening, filling, and closing my hydration pack, so I basically ended up doing a lot of that work myself, losing a decent chunk of time. BUT, they were super friendly and were doing their best. I need to look into new hydration bladders that aren't a pain in the ass to open and close. Any recommendations?
|The thumbs are lies.|
My stop at the start/finish area was once again, fairly inefficient. I refilled everything that needed refilling, drank my ginger beer, and changed my shirt(a new Lululemon tee that the Leawood store manager gave me for free after my 6 hour fatass at #fakeseawheeze2019). I got out my phone, texted an update to Delaware, hit play on the tunes, and headed back out.
The music was an immediate relief from the drudgery of the past 15 miles. I felt mentally light and was distracted enough that I was moving well. At some point during my first mile, I glanced at my watch for a pace check and HOLY SHIT I was dropping an effortless 10:30 min/mile.
Um...ok. I can work with this. I was past 50K and conservation wasn't really a priority. Besides, isn't this why we Don't Go Out Like An Asshole? It's so we can Come Back In Like An Asshole...or something? So yeah...I decided to go with it. Not wanting to be a complete asshole, I decided to shoot for 11:00-11:30 min/mile and just see where that got me, for as long as it lasted.
It lasted for the majority of the next 15 miles, and I started PASSING FOLKS! All that self-doubt and worry of the first 17 miles spent at the back of the pack drifted away in the most satisfying way. Checking on the people I was passing, I'd ask how they were doing and if they needed anything. Mostly they just said they had gone out too fast and were suffering. A few words of encouragement and a fist bump, and I was on my way, leaving them in the dust. It felt absolutely bonkers amazing to be settling into my best running of the day AFTER THE 50K mark...well past my longest run of the year. And to be fair, the Katy Trail is flatter than pancake flat. But it still felt nice.
Delaware just barely missed me at the last aid station before the turnaround, so he met me at one of the many places where the Katy crosses the highway, joining me less than a mile before the Bernheimer turnaround. I was still cruising pretty well as I put away the music and prepared to be entertained and slave-driven by one of my best friends.
My pace stayed rock solid with Delaware up until the last 6 or 7 miles, when my left calf began to really tighten up and start to hurt. This is the same calf that has been my Problem Area for the past 3 years, requiring constant maintenance ART by Dr. Wisner, so it's really no surprise that it was the first thing to go as I approached the end of my day. I'm just glad it lasted this long.
As the calf got worse, I alternated stretches where power-hiking was legitimately faster than running. Delaware kept me on task, limiting my hiking stretches to 5 minutes apiece before making me try running again. Sometimes, things would feel loose enough that running was economical, and we'd stick with it for a mile or so. Sometimes, the calf was bad enough and running was painful enough to alter my stride and we'd settle back into hiking. He also kept an eye on the horizon for runners to pass. He'd spot somebody up ahead and we'd agree they needed to be behind us, so that provided some good motivation for several unlikely stretches of good running.
|Millie waits to greet us at an aid station|
|Pinkies up for ...buckles?|
|But don't bother LOOKING strong. Look like a jackass instead.|
|One of these things is not like the other.|
|Laughing like a damned idiot|
|First buckle in over 4 years!|
Thanks for reading!