I was pretty confident I could complete this 50K even though I have only been running around 40 miles per week and 4 days of running. When I started again in March with a training plan, I hoped to increase my mileage further at this point, but I lost motivation after running one 67 mile week and my plan fell apart. I decided to refocus on weight lifting to strengthen my upper body and core and go ahead and run this 50K with less mileage and possibly try to increase for my next marathon.
I drove to Kansas City the morning of the race, leaving at 4:45 am and arriving around 7 am. I picked up my packet which included a shirt, mug, and a Trail Nerds sticker. I brought a small cooler for my 3 bottles and had filled them with Succeed and ice. Each was stocked with a sweet and salty bar and a Accel Gel. The plan was to start with one and then pick up one each loop. In between, I would refill at aid stations since they were serving Succeed. Definitely better than that Heed crap. I have run the February version of this race 3 times, and the summer version is a different course.
The race started at 8 am. I wasn't sure which direction we were heading, but I was in front. My plan was to keep the pace under control and not start too fast. We headed out on the same trail as the February race. The 20 milers were also running at the same time and the 10 milers would start an hour later. I started off at a conservative feeling pace. The temp was already above 70 and quite humid. Several people passed me and I would pass back. The first 3 miles had several shoe sucking mud areas that had been trampled by horses. The course deviated at around 3 miles and then was different than the way we ran in February. I ate my bar at about 45 minutes. The trail was very runnable for awhile. I felt like I was holding back and took easy on the hills. I walked a lot of the hills since they were too steep to run. Even some of the down hills I took it easy as they were quite rocky and I wasn't feeling too sure of myself. I stopped only at the aid station at about 5.3 miles to refill with more Succeed. I had the last bar at about 1 hr 30 min. The last 2 miles were cruel with hills and more mud, but I finished the first loop (10.4 miles) in 1:44:21. I did not want to finish it any faster than 1:40 so met my goal. I was happy to see the loop was longer than the one we ran in February. I don't know why I was happy about this considering the difficulty, but I guess I like to get my money's worth.
I stopped at my drop bag and drank half of my 32 oz Powerade Zero, and picked up a new bottle. The ice cubes had stayed frozen, but the temps were rising quickly. I wasn't dehydrated yet since I actually had to pee at the start of the 2nd loop. Also, took a Succeed cap about every hour. As the temps went up, my pace slowed down. One guy that I passed had his shoe sucked off in one of the muddy sections and had to stop to get it back on. At about the middle of the loop, I suddenly realize I am flying through the air and not sure what happened. My left toe kind of hurt so I guess I must have hit it on something. I fell down and kind of bounced up off my right knee and was back running. I was a little muddier, but no blood and nothing hurt. I refilled with Succeed again at the aid station (probably about 16 miles) and Sophia talked me into taking a piece of watermelon before taking off. I think passed three 50K guys the second loop and was passed by 2. I also passed quite a few 10 milers so was good to see some people. There was a long section in a grassy field that was flat, but I had to stop and walk part of it since it was hard to breathe in the hot sun and felt like my heart rate was up. The last mile of the second loop I was beginning to feel the heat starting to get to me even more. My head was pretty clear for the first 2 loops, but by the end of the 2nd loop, things were starting to get fuzzy and I had to concentrate on moving forward. I finished the second loop in 2:05:43. I didn't have a goal this loop other than to keep moving.
Drank the rest of the Powerade and picked up a new bottle. Took off with another runner beside me for the final loop and someone told us we were 7 and 8th overall. He was running stronger and ran ahead and said he may see me later. Next thing I know, the first and second place women are passing me like I am standing still. I keep moving but it gets harder and harder to run. Legs actually feel pretty good but motivation to run is not great unless completely flat or down hill. However, if it was flat too long, I would have to stop and walk since it felt hard to breathe if I ran too long. I stopped again at my favorite aid station and had watermelon and they refilled my Succeed. After running through the longer grassy area in the sun and up the hill, I caught up to the guy that started this loop with me and he was walking with about 3 miles to go. I walked with him briefly and he said he would likely walk to the end. I told him I thought I could still run a little and wished him well and took off. My brain felt a bit fuzzy this last loop so don't remember things too clearly. I do remember thinking there is no way I want to consider doing this again and how could I have ever run any further than a 50K as crappy as I was feeling. I was really looking forward to getting to the sign with 1.5 miles to go and the final hills in this loop were extremely difficult to climb. Some guy flew past me in the last half mile, but didn't care since he was obviously having a much better day than me to finish so strong.
I finish the 3rd loop in 2:31:07 and was surprised it wasn't worse. Overall time is 6:21:11 and placed 13 out of 59 overall. The temp had gotten up to 90 degrees and I must have been more dehydrated than I realized. I can't push myself when I get dehydrated. If I had been wearing a HR monitor, I am sure my HR would have been high since it felt high. I didn't want anything they had at the end to eat or drink other than a cup of water. I found a faucet to wash off my muddy shoes and legs. It took me about 5 minutes to untie one of my shoes. I had no desire to stick around in the heat so got in the car and left. About 15 minutes down the road, I am getting cooled off and am suddenly very hungry and thirsty. I stopped at the first place I could find - Wendy's for a burger, fries, and lemonade. By the time I got home I felt pretty good but took awhile to get to rehydrate.
Looking back on this 2 days later, I think the main issue for me was heat, not drinking enough, and lack of training. I drank over 150 ounces of fluid over the 31 miles, but it was not enough for the heat. After 10 am, I didn't pee again until 6 pm after I got home. My legs were really not that beat up since the heat slowed me down and I ran about 5 miles on the trail one day after the race.