Saturday, November 8, 2008

Rocky Raccoon 50k/25k trail race

Just want to put in a quick review of the Rocky Raccoon Trail race in Huntsville.

Let's just say it, I did it again. I just pin on a number, and the race is on. Even though the marathon was just 6 days ago, I did this 25k trail race in 3:36:21for an average pace of 13:57.6. There were some really tough, hilly spots, and lots of tree roots to reach up and grab you. Thank goodness I didn't do anything more than trip and keep going.

It was a beautiful cold clear morning. We got to the race site so we could watch the start of the 50k race at 7am. The 25k started at 8 am. The first mile was on a paved park road, then off into the woods we went. As I stated in the daily thread... I know I was supposed to be taking it easy, but as soon as I pinned that number on my shirt last night, I started thinking, hmmm... I wonder how fast I can walk on the trails?

Even though we had some rain on Wednesday, the trails were thankfully dry. It looked like there were walking bridges over all the boggy spots, so no muddy shoes or wet feet to contend with.

Over all, it was a fantastic race, plenty of volunteers at the aid stations (there were 4) and they were well stocked with all manner of goodies. The sports drink was Heed, so I chose not to partake. I always bring my own along. The volunteers were very helpful and encouraging... they were eager to fill your water bottle, or pour you some coca cola if that was what you wanted. I think they even had some powerade for those who couldn't drink the Heed. Of course there was beer at the very first aid station. I couldn't believe that some actually drank it.

I never dreamed I could walk trails at the pace I was going. I kept thinking I was going to burn out, but I was able to finish strong, even though the mile 14 and 15 were mostly uphill.

It was a real treat to have a quick leg massage after the race was over, then I had my recovery drink. Which is, in case anyone has forgotten or hasn't been informed... Iced non-fat quad shot latte with 1 tsp of raw sugar. I always begin to feel better immediately after I drink it. I just want to say I had a fantastic time, and a great race.

"If you are content with the best you have done, you will never do the best you can do." anon. Maryann

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bass Pro Shops Marathon - 2nd Round…

The expo was small but the people were friendly. Kashi had a wonderful display set up and I got a free 15 minute pre race yoga class in. The gave me a free Kashi t shirt and a yoga mat. I talked to the massage folks and they told me they would be there til 3pm, so I decided I would take advantage of the free leg massage after the race.

I didn't catch up with Kim (my cyberfriend from Arkansas) and her DH on Saturday . I missed her call when she got into town, and I was hoping to run into her on Sunday morning before the race.

Sunday morning, I had my alarm set for 4:30 am. I wanted to go to McDonalds for my usual pre-race sausage mcmuffun. I was trying to race light, without the camel back and without the waist pack. So, I left part of my mom's key ring in the house, and lo and behold, the car wouldn't start. There is some sort of security thing that lets the car know that you are approaching and automatically turns off the security system. So, I went back in the house and woke up my uncle. I thought there was something wrong with my mom's car, it was just my ignorance… Anyway, no Mcdonalds… I ate a clif bar and drank a cup of coffee. Maybe I shouldn't eat McDonalds pre-race…

I was scanning the crowd, walking through Bass Pro Shops, and I saw Kim. Kim said MARYANN, I said KIM!!! I was so excited to meet her. Her DH was there also. We got acquainted and they took some photos.

About 15 minutes before the race start, I ate a GU chocolate. All I was carrying was my handheld (I bought an aluminum and filled it with water) and my sling over the shoulder 32 ounce bottle of electrolyte drink. Gu's in the handheld holder, clif shot blocks in one pocket and clif bar in the other pocket.

I know Kim has told you she is short, but man is she speedy! We walked together for the first 4 miles at faster than 12:30 pace until the half split off. I saw a lady racewalking ahead of her and I told her to catch her. She said she planned to reel her in!

After we split off for the full course, I never expected to see Kim again. I expected her to go on home after she was finished with the half.

I was still feeling great, so I kept my pace well under 13 mpm, even though my plan was to alternate 13 and 14 minute miles in order to finish under 6 hours… There was a nice lady who wanted to chat. I tried to be polite, but finally begged off and left her behind. Right here, I should comment on how beautiful the course is in Springfield. The trees were all changing and the color was magnificent… yellow, orange and red with evergreen mixed in. Most of the course is on what the park board in Springfield calls the greenway trails. There is almost no traffic to contend with for the entire race. I highly recommend this race to anyone who is looking for a fall race. They still had an 8 hour time limit, and the weather has been really great both years.

I passed back and forth several times with a couple of Galloway run/walkers and a couple of 50 state marathoners. One lady had done 207 marathons!

Did anyone see the promo video from last year's marathon? I saw the photographer along the course and I yelled to him… Do you remember TEXAS from last year's marathon??? He said yes… He caught me on tape on the course, then looked for me to interview me again after the race. I asked him what was the deal… why did they give me so much air time on that video last year??? He told me it was great to have the celebrities there, but Bass Pro Shops is hosting the marathon for people like me. So, that is why they want people like me on the advertisement.

At the half split, 2:47:??, I was still feeling great, but I knew I had been going too fast. I kept telling myself to slow down. I tried at that point to get back to the plan and I did slow down considerably because the second half was 3:02... There are some hills on the course and the worse one is a green walking bridge over a highway at mile 19, that you have to cross again at about mile 24. I only had two miles over 14 minutes, one with a potty break and once I stopped at 21 miles to get my bearings, eat a gel and talk to two nice young men in uniform who were volunteers on the course. One of them told me he just started his training for the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon next year.

When I came around the last turn, the first person I saw was Kim… I was so thrilled that she and David had stayed to see me finish. That was a special treat! Also my mom and my aunt were there. Funny, the announcer called out the names of the three people who finished ahead of me, but didn't call out my name. I don't know what that was all about, but from the pictures, my racewalking form was still pretty good at the finish. It even looked like I had a straight knee at the end.

Bib name Place Div half chip clock pace
74 MARYANN RAMIREZ 294/318 F4549 F 2:47:26 5:49:32 13:21

Anyway, I never expected to beat last year's time on that course by 16:49, or 39 seconds per mile. I totally amazed myself, and just don't know what to think. I am entertaining thoughts of finishing the Desert Classic in January in 5:30 because there is only one turn on the course, the turnaround.

Sorry if this report bores you to tears. If you choose to skip over the details, so be it. I just had to get it out of my system tonight.

Well, here goes...

It's better to be CRAZY than LAZY!