Well, gang. I did it. On Sunday, I ran my first ultra, a 50k as part of the Labor Pains 12-Hour Trail Endurance Run in Reading, Pa. It's set up on a five-mile loop, so you can stop and rest at your "camp" site between each lap. i snapped a picture after each of the first five laps, and then after I finished (to get to 50k, you had to run a sixth lap then a little bit out and back to get the last bit of mileage).
I trained most of the summer for this race, a combination of road running, trail running, hiking and weight lifting. I lost a week in July due to an eczema outbreak, and that worried me. I felt like I'd lost my momentum, and I had no idea how Sunday would go. I had a change of clothes in my bag, including hiking shorts, and I figured that if I was really struggling in the last lap or two, I'd just change into that and walk, but I was still running and had speed in my legs during that lap and at the finish (so proven when I nearly ran over a little girl who crossed into the finisher chute – and yes she was yelled by race officials and quickly went back to her mom). The entire thing took me eight hours, seven minutes and 19 seconds. I finished about in the middle of the pack of people who did the 50k that day – 22nd out of 50 women, 11th out of 26 women in my age group.
Why so slow? You may ask. Trail running is a completely different animal than road racing. The course was up and down and all around, and on a trail with rocks and roots. We had to climb over a stone wall and a guard rail as part of each lap. I walked parts of it. Almost everyone did.
Fun day. The real winners of the day each ran 65 miles over the 12 hours that the course was open. That I can't imagine. But hey I said that about marathons, and ultras too. As this is two days post race, my legs are a wreck. I'm going to take a little downtime to let them recover, and then it's putting together some sort of training to get ready for the New York City Marathon. Yikes.
And in case you think this was all smiles, here's how I looked the day after the ultra.
I will have an updated book tour for you next week! (Dates: locked. Details: still need to be ironed out). Until then: on Saturday I'll be running with the Raritan Valley Road Runners on Saturday morning. Hopefully my legs will work again by then.
What I'm Reading
I finished Diane Meier's The Season of Second Chances, which I liked more than I thought it would (the conceit of losing a boyfriend/job and then moving somewhere different to renovate a house is somewhat overused, but it worked here). Now I'm onto Arthur Miller's essay collection Echoes Down the Corridor. I read his autobiography Timebends a long time ago. After listening to the You Must Remember This podcast series on the Blacklist, I thought about reading it again, then found this at the Battery Park Book Exchange & Champagne Bar (I got the Meier book there too). I'm just into it. So far (not surprisingly) so good.
What I'm Watching
I finished Indian Summers, which was great. High recommend. I then re-watched two movies while working last week: Working Girl and Clue. Both: great. Clue wasn't so good as background to working because I…stopped working to watch Clue. I just started TK. It's pretty dark, and I'm not sure I'm in the mood for dark, but we soldier on.