I will start right away on Saturday morning, race morning. It was a very cold low 40 degree morning in the Kettle Moraine State Park but excitement was very high among the competitors. I had this set as my "A" race for the year and I really wanted to PR at this event. Training was solid throughout the year and I had tapered well so I was ready to just let loose at this event, I was ready to crash and burn if thats what it came to but I wanted to put it all on the trail. Knowing that runners, especially ultra runners are their own worst enemy on the trails I had 2 solid pacers and a great smiling crew chief to cheer me up at all the aid stations. Waking up at 3 am for a race that starts at 5 is never easy because it gets your emotions going really early in the day. I was freezing when we got out to the car so I had on 3/4 tights, a long sleeve shirt, and a great running jacket for clothing, Skora Bases on my feet for the start. We all huddled near space heaters placed by the start line and waited for the man himself, Dean Karnazes to come out and give us all a little pep talk before the start. He is a very cool guy by the way but more on that later.
We take off and I am surprised that no one takes off like a bat out of heck, I mean it was 5 in the morning and pitch black so I get the being cautious thing. I took off at a good pace and I was confident that I had prepared well. I really noticed a change in temperature once I got into the trail, I was over dressed and had 6 miles till I would be hitting the aid station. I unzipped the jacket, exposed my wrists to stay cool and most importantly picked someone to run with. I had been running next to a girl that won the girls division of Land Between the Lakes 50 miler, my first 50 mile race, so I knew she was a great runner and I would PR if I could stick by her as long as possible. We ended up running together into the first aid station and I made my move from there, early in the race I know but I wanted this one bad, and decided that I needed to stay in front of her and pick up some more runners. Really I felt great, my shoes were climbing well and flying down the hills with ease.
As soon as the sun came up and there was light I was into some of the crazy hot fields in the park. There was a lot of moisture on the grass which soaked my shoes early on but really they breath well. I didnt see crew for aid station 2 or 3 so I was just continuing to push my pace in great anticipation for my crew to rock. I had two water bottles in my hands loaded with 2 gels in each and S Caps in my back pocket. I managed to get down one gel after the 3rd aid station but that was it until I hit my crew at the 4th aid station and got a slim fast down. I just couldnt handle gels in my stomach so I obviously need to learn my body more nutrition wise but today was not the day for that, I wanted to be fast.
We had to wait around for a while to see the results so I tried talking to some of the reps and what not to kill time. My dad came up and told me the results and I was shocked, I wanted to see it for myself to believe that I had broken the 8 hour mark. It felt amazing to push that hard and have success in the race.
Never wear a watch when you race, its a great training tool and nothing else. (Thanks for that info Travis)
Eat more calories during the race.
Write a word on the bottom of your shoe that only you know about, it will drive you to achieve great things.
18th overall, 3rd in my age group