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Defiance 50k - RunUltra Marathon

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Tacoma, Washington
United States
Tacoma City Marathon Association
55F / 13C
Total Time = 8h 16m 4s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

I had been dragging the entire week before. During the drive from Clarkston, WA to Tacoma my throat started hurting, my head was stuffed up and I felt overwhelmingly fatigued. No wonder the last week had sucked... I was getting sick. We stopped at Fleet Feet Sports in Bonney Lake for packet pick up, and got our really cool running vests and sweatshirts. I paid a little extra for the sweatshirts, but the 50k racers all got a running vest instead of a t-shirt... really nice surprise! We picked up a pizza at Garlic Jim's and went to our hotel to check in for the night. Got up at 6 a.m, ate a slice of pizza, fixed a cup of coffee to go, and headed out to Pt. Defiance Park.
Event warmup:

We found a parking spot at Owen's Beach (the race start/finish), and walked down to the beach. Visited the restrooms and waited for the race start.
  • 8h 16m 4s
  • 31.07 miles
  • 15m 58s  min/mile

Wow, what a journey this one was! My plan was to use this as a training run to practice pacing and nutrition for the 50 miler I'm doing in December. So, the plan was to walk the uphills and run the flats and downhills, just take it easy and try to finish without needing a ton of recovery, since I planned to train right through this. Only thing I had to be mindful of was the 1 p.m cutoff for leaving on the 3rd loop. I knew it would be close without pushing my pace.

The first loop, I had the usual issues with my tight soleus/calves for the first 5 miles, then they relaxed and I was able to pick up the pace a bit. I knew the first loop would be right around 2.5 hours, so I needed to make up some time on the 2nd loop, which I thought I could do now that my calves were happy. As I approached the finish (start of the 2nd loop) I was confused as to whether I was supposed to run through the finish or around it. I couldn't seem to find anyone around me who knew so I ran through, still a bit confused and hoping I did the right thing. I ran right past the aid station, so had to back track to find it and was a bit discouraged that I had wasted precious minutes that I really didn't have to spare. I filled my bottles, stopped at the port-o-let and headed out for the 2nd loop.

The first few miles of the 2nd loop felt pretty good. They were mostly uphill and now that my calves had relaxed that was much easier, but I wasn't making up much time. I wasn't feeling well and my legs felt heavy and hurt. My hamstrings ached my feet were killing me, and I just felt awful. My pace slowed, and I saw a 16 minute split on my Garmin. Dammit, I needed to average 14's to make that cutoff and I knew I couldn't make up the extra minutes without really pushing the pace. I needed to keep this easy, and honestly, didn't know if I could pick it up given the way I felt anyway. Another mile went by with another slow split, and I thought "no way will I make the cutoff" and at that point 5 more miles to go sounded a whole lot better than 15 anyway.

I convinced myself that it was just a training run and 30k for the day would be good. Having given up on making the cutoff I started walking more, every part of my legs hurt, and I started feeling really disappointed that I wouldn't finish 50k. With a couple miles to go I was getting a little weepy about it, ate some more gel, in case it was low blood sugar. My legs, feet, and head felt thoroughly DONE, but I was wishing I felt like this as I was coming into the 3rd loop rather than the 2nd. I was so disappointed, but "it is what it is". The last mile was almost all downhill so I ran it in.

After crossing the finish (end of 2nd loop) I asked the race director if I got a finish for the 30k, since I had missed the cutoff. He said, "You could do that... but the sweeper just left... if you catch him you can go ahead and finish..." Right then, the sweeper came back and said, " We saw her come in so we thought we'd wait" I asked him if I had time to fill my bottles and use the port-o-let. He said "no pressure, we'll wait for you." Awesome! I was going to finish 50k today!

I filled my bottles, visited the port-o-let and was off again. As I passed the sweeper, he again said, "no pressure, just take your time." I think he was worried I was gonna blow myself up, since I was so happy to be given the second chance to finish. The pain almost disappeared entirely and my head was back in the game. Besides, I did want plenty of space between me and the sweeper, I didn't want to hold things up. I ran to the stairs, about a mile from the start, walked up the stairs and started power walking the hills. The thought briefly crossed my mind, "10 more miles... how am I going to do this", but I pushed it aside. I was now committed to finishing this and I just kept moving forward.

Once again, I learned what a huge impact our mind has on our ability to keep going. I need to remember this during the 50 miler when things get tough. If you had asked me at mile 16-20, I would have sworn I didn't have another 10 miles in me, but I did. The few people left at the finish line, including my awesome hubby, gave me lots of applauds and cheers. I was so grateful to them for allowing me to finish. DFL... who knew it would be so sweet! :)
What would you do differently?:

Nothing... I learned so much during this run, and that's what I was there for.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed some snacks, thanked the race organizers, and drove to Starbucks for a Salted Caramel Mocha.

Event comments:

Beautiful course through old growth forest. The course was very well marked, the aid stations and volunteers were excellent. I was extremely impressed with the race organization. I would do this one again, and I don't often do a race more than once.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2011-08-29 12:00 AM
08:16:04 | 31.07 miles | 15m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
loop 1 - 2:29:49 loop 2 - 2:59:13 Loop 3 - 2:47:03
Course: 3 loop course through Pt. Defiance Park. Mostly single track, a set of stairs, about 1,090 ft of ascent and descent per loop. 2 aid stations- one at the start/finish and one at the 5.25 mile.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-10-19 12:13 PM

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Silverton, Oregon
Subject: Defiance 50k

2011-10-19 12:53 PM
in reply to: #3730091

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Subject: RE: Defiance 50k
Great job Roni!  Way to gut it out.  It's funny that you went into the race wanting to learn one thing and ended up learning something else albeit just as important.  Rest up - you will be more than ready for CA!
2011-10-19 3:58 PM
in reply to: #3730091

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Subject: RE: Defiance 50k

Wow, after reading that I feel kinda stupid for thinking the 6 miles I'm supposed to run after work is a long way and I can't make it. Way to suck it up and finish. Thanks for the motivation. :-)

2011-10-24 4:40 PM
in reply to: #3730091

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Santa Clarita
Subject: RE: Defiance 50k
Nice RR and Tough mental race , well done on the finish . I really like trail running.
2011-10-25 5:05 PM
in reply to: #3730091

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Defiance 50k
Awesome job pulling off the mental toughness to finish! 
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