Friday, February 13, 2015

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud - My recent lack of motivation and surprising success at the Orca's Island 50k

Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud!

Before we dive into the glorious mudbowl that was the 2015 edition of the Orcas Island 50km, let's step back a few months so that we can apologize for our lack of riveting blogging material.

Cascade Falls along the race course
I'll attribute my lack of writing to a few roadblocks I hit in the final months of 2014:
September - My failure to complete REDFAM left me rather disappointed (Probably not the best way to recover from a big race, but I'll keep dreaming!). 
October - I had to work the weekend of the Cultus Lake Giv'r take 30, which left me further unmotivated. 
November - I chose to go for the short 12k Phantom race to work on my speed a little (I've previously done the 19k and 24k). My ankle was giving me a bit of trouble so I wore my ankle brace, unfortunately this resulted in my right leg going numb for the latter half of the race (Is it worth stopping to take off your ankle brace in such a short race, or do you just suck it up?). I still set a PB for the course - so it's not all bad!

Hardly events to brag about - and nothing I was motivated to write about at the time.

In December we had begun training for the Orca's Island 50, and we'd rang in the new year with a solid 15 mile long run distance.
If I thought the end of 2014 was frustrating, the start of 2015 brought in a whole new bag of surprises.
I started off the year feeling a little tired/dizzy. I had myself convinced I was iron deficient right up until the doctor told me I had a low platelet count. This led to a few more blood tests, and a whole lot of worrying. Needless to say, with the start of January came very little running.
After a few more visits to the doctor I was assured that everything was fine and I could run along as usual (it was probably just a nasty virus).  This left me a whole two weeks to train for the race! Who needs to taper? We'll just train through it and hope we survive!

View from Mt. Constitution - the highest point in the race
Had to go back the next day for this view!
With at least one 18 miler under my belt in the last few weeks, we headed over to the island the night before the race. Had we been a little more prepared, we may have managed to get on a ferry that got us to the island before 11 PM. Lucky for us when we got to the island all the campsites were full too! Thankfully we had set up a nice little bunker in the back of the new outback to snooze in on the ferry and we were able to park right next to the race start to get in a good six hour sleep (Who can actually sleep the night before a race, anyways?). Not me! The pouring rain all night was not a sleep aid. 
We woke up to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof, and with little time invested in training for the race there was VERY little motivation to get out of bed that morning.
Somehow I managed to pull myself together, pull on a rain jacket, and start the race. 
I did not regret this decision.... yet.
The first hour of the race I was a small child stomping through mud puddles without a care in the world. And then the first uphill came. The uphills were relentless, and the downhills were so mud-logged none of us knew whether we were running or skiing.
A few hours into the race I had a pretty good idea this was going to be a full day affair. And then the uphill came. The real uphill. By this I mean straight uphill practically crawling through the mud, and just when you think its over you turn the corner, look up into the sky, and see people. WAY. UP. THERE.

I don't know how I kept going. But I do know a good part of my motivation was knowing that if I finish I can say I've done it and I will NEVER have to do it again. Never again until next time, right?!
Zoomed shot of Mt. Baker!
I don't remember what I ate, though I'm confident it wasn't near enough. However, I do very clearly remember the second aid station, where it was announced someone had gone to the hospital as they had fallen and been spiked with a branch. 
I managed to only fall once the whole race - but I did have several Matrix like near-fall events.
I would like to thank the nice runner who lit a fire under my butt at 12:25 when he says "I think the aid station cutoff is 12:30." I ran the next few miles a lot faster than I needed to, at least until I realized that was the cutoff for the previous aid station.
After nearly 8 hours of sliding around in the glorious mud, I crossed the finish line!
I still can't believe I did it!! Not too bad considering our longest training run was about 3 hours!

At the end of it all, I have to say I would go back, despite telling Chris I'd never do another one of these when I crossed the finish line (what's the definition of insanity again?). I would hope for a little less mud next time, but what's the fun in that?!

I left Orcas island motivated as ever - and ready to plan our next running adventure!

Let's go lets go lets go!!!

1 comment:

  1. great post. I love your post in this blog. thx you for sharing.