|The Angry Owl crew with Dean |
(missing a few in here)
I started my 50k trek back in July when I knew I was healthy enough to take on more running and begin to run again for me. I started with wanting to lose 10 lbs (that I had gained over the year post stroke) and just begin making more of an effort than I had been to make my health a priority; including eating healthier. We had some friends running a 6 hour race at the first annual Angry Owl Ultra Marathons, then learned they were including a 1 hour race. We for sure could do that Chris and I signed up for this race. It was a 1 mile loop at Bush park; run as many laps as you can in the allotted time. We knew I couldn’t get more than 6 full miles in, so we did 6 laps and then helped our friends run a few more after that. We took off for a few hours then came back to watch them finish up their 6 hours. I was inspired by watching my friends run for 6 hours, and the other competitors out there, and thought, “hey, they did it, and many others who didn’t fit the mold did it, I could do that!” So I made the decision to sign up for a 50k.
|One of many fun trail runs at |
|25k Condor race|
I searched to see what was coming up in the fall and found Autumn Leaves 50/50 (a 50k and 50 miler) at the end of October, beautiful scenery, flat, and generally good weather. Yep this was going to be it! I talked Julie into signing up to, and soon her husband followed suite. We trained often up at McDonald Forest, near Corvallis, and enjoyed the trail running up there. Chris and I also had signed up for a 25k here, the 25k Condor race, so we got familiar with the trails Jerry, Julie, Chris and I ran up here often throughout August and September, definitely a great place to do trail running that is somewhat close by to us. We had many enjoyable training runs here, with fun pictures, meeting fun people along the trail, and enjoying each others company. Chris and I raced the 25k Condor on October 1st and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great trail run, that was well put together. The day was perfect and the trails were kind to us; definitely one I will do again. Throughout our runs this summer, we used our Orange Mud packs, the Endurance Pack 2 liter and the Gear Vest 1liter, that kept us hydrated and all our goodies with us; yes I ran with bacon a couple times!
Training continued mostly on my own after this as Chris twisted his ankle pretty good at work. He had to stay off it as much as he could, so he didn’t run much again until the week of the 50k. I ran a few long runs on my own with the dog, but probably never ran quite long enough for some “good” training for a 50k. Nonetheless, I ran what I did and was ready to tackle a 50k on October 28th, 2017.
On the morning of the race, we woke up at 4:30 and left the house at 5:15. We got there plenty early to get our race numbers and do our regular pre-race rituals. The morning was cold, clear, and crisp. The stars were shining bright as we started the race at 7am and headed out on the course; the first of five 10k loops at Champoeg State Park. We were greeted on the trail with a beautiful sun rise out of the east horizon and amazing morning sky show. The race route was 80% paved trail, and 20% dirt. The course was key shaped loop with and out and back like route. We were never alone on the course, which was fun because we could be inspired by those who were just rock’n it and keep each other motivated as our mind games played with us. We saw one of our fellow Orange Mud ambassadors, Anthony, as well, which was fun to see, even though he didn’t have the race he was hoping for. He fell at mile 43 (he was running the 50 miler) and re-injured his ribs...definitely not a fun time, but he continued to inspire us nonetheless.
I was feeling pretty good for about 3 and half loops, staying hydrated with my handheld Orange Mud bottle mixed with Tailwind and using the aid stations for other fuel, but then I really began to feel some aches and tightness in my right leg. But what was really bothering me, was the tingly, weak, and slight numbness of my left leg...this is mainly from my post stroke pain that just is inevitable. This wasn’t something to keep me from stopping though. I tried to keep running through the uncomfortableness by doing intervals, but it just wasn’t working. With Chris by my side, he said, “let’s just walk, so then you will for sure finish and not kill your body.” He was right. I had to put my pride aside and remember what my goal of this race was and what it meant to me...to FINISH and inspire others that anything is possible. So that is what I did. I walked the last 9 miles and when was all said and done, I didn’t feel bad about it. I finished in 6 hours and 30 minutes for my first 50k. I FINISHED and became an ultra runner! It definitely wasn’t easy, but I was glad I did it. Jerry and Julie both met their goals and did awesome! They continue to inspire and motivate me to keep up with my running.
So will I do this again? At this very moment, no, haha, I might stick with 30k and under for a little while. I want to train within my means of my life that feel good to me, so that is the plan; stay in shape with yoga, running, and weight training. I am forever grateful that I have the ability and opportunity to run and will continue to do so as my body allows.