|Dan, Bruce and myself were also best color co-ordinated VHTRC;ers.|
The course is an out and back; not my favorite type of race course, but at least, with it being a new course to me, I would know the second half!
|This is the tunnel under I-90. A little more scary at night.|
The 100K course stays almost entirely on the Centennial Trail, which is permanently marked with the carsonite trail markers.
Early in the race, I got to chat with a nice man named Jim, I believe from Missouri. This was his second 100 mile race. Jim stopped at Elk Creek, for his crew and to get a foot massage, and I didn't run into him until my turn around.
This is really a tough trail. For people who know about "The Ring", which is the Massanutten Trail Loop of 71 miles, I found this really comparable with gains and ascents. Except this trail is not rocky like MMT at all; so therefore there is no reason not to bomb the downhills. Alot of running involved!
|My Garmin data|
It's a big climb right out of the AS, and sure enough, I have a wild Gary spotting! I finally catch up with Gary Knipling, he's been in front of me all day. But Gary is running the 100 mile, and rightfully conserving energy, whereas I am still trying to hit as close to my 7 1/2 goal as I can.
Woo hoo! Finally my turning point! Time is now 7.54, so I am a little behind on my time goals.
One of these runners is Jim! He is doing the 100 miler, so we get another runner to stop and take our pic, and I wish him well for his race.
I get back to Dalton Lake AS. I know I need to regroup, as I've really gotten parched on the climb, and have a Big Climb out of Dalton.
The AS workers are so great. They look at me, and remark that I really need some sunscreen. Oops, I do not have any. The AS workers go and get some, luckily a spray type (with my poison ivy, I don't want to touch my body!) and spray me down.
Starting the climb back out from Dalton Lake. I was smart with both using my hydration vest and one hand held. I pulled the Buff mainly over my head and used the handheld full of nice ice cold water to keep pouring over my head.
I stop at the next aid station to wrap some duct tape around a blister on my heel. I continue down the trail, and am startled to see the Crooked Tree. Huh? Did I miss an AS? I pull out my piece of paper. Oh, the last AS I went through was the Crooked Tree AS. Oh good, the next AS is Elk Creek!
I've got my music stashed in my hydration vest, but the rule (my self imposed rule) is to not get it out until Elk Creek, which I do.
At Elk Creek, I gulp down down my Sweet Tea from my drop bag, and also grab a 1/2 sandwich from AS. This is a big amount of calories to get into my stomach, but I do have a climb, but I am still getting a big of a low spot with this climb
So I turn on my Zune. On the playlist, the first song up is "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".
Hmm. Maybe not the best song, about a shipwreck on the Great Lakes, where I am pretty much at a low spot. I skip ahead.
Okay, Jimmy Buffett "If I could just get it on paper" and then Lisa Loeb "The Wake up Song" I am getting into a better groove with the climb out of Elk Creek.
It's also getting later and later. I've gotten out of my low spot, and once I climb up from Elk Creek AS, there is a huge long section of downhill, runnable.
I get to Bulldog AS, just barely stopping there, I'm still working on my water from Elk Creek, and I'm trying to get through as much trail as I can before dark. I was still hopeful I could meet my second goal, which would be to finish at 10 pm-which is when I told my husband to come pick me up at the finish line.
It gets dark on this last stretch , and I have to turn on the light. I get to the last AS, in a very good mood. The AS workers try to tell me I am first female, but I know better. I grab two cups of Coke, for the last big climb.
The last hill isn't that bad. Except it's not the last hill. It's hard to remember terrain way back from 16 hours ago. There are a bunch of little hills on my way back to Sturgis. The last two miles are a bit frustrating, as there are much less course markings-just some pink flags after we leave the Centennial Trail. I know I take the concrete bike path, but I am hoping there aren't two concrete paths, because I'm not really looking up from the ground. A few more pink flags and maybe some flagging into the stadium would have been helpful; I wasn't sure what entrance to go into to finish on the track.
I finished in 17.09. If I was a better spinner, I would just say I finished 2nd female, 11th finisher overall. But I am too self deprecating to just leave it at that. I was 2nd of out 3 females, and 11th out of 19 finishers. Pretty mid pack finish, that I am okay with. I am no longer a totally back of the pack runner. I've got alot of work to do, to work on speed. So, as soon as I give myself a few days to recover, it's time (again) to clean up the eating, weight loss is an easy way to gain a bit of speed.
I still haven't decided whether I had a "good" run or not yet. I met Goal #1-finish the race. The rest of my "race" goals, that I either had before the race or developed during the race-I didn't meet. I was a bit disappointed to not finish under 17 hours. Oh well, it is what it is.
I did greatly enjoy the Black Hills Ultra. Nice trail, nice course, very friendly and helpful volunteers! Now, I don't think I would advice the 50 mile/100K or the 100 mile for a first timer, it's definitely a tough course! And beautiful!!