Monday, February 15, 2010

After the Rocky Raccoon 100/50 Mile Trail Race

I loaded my gear in the car and drove back to the Comfort Suites to wash the trail smell off. Hilde and her friend Dorrie were posting pictures of Hilde’s blood blistered big toe on Facebook when I got there. We talked for a few minutes and they left me so I could have the room to myself as long as I needed it. It really felt great to get in the shower and let the cold water run on my legs for a while. I chose not to take an ice bath, because I had stopped walking hours before. I think the ice bath works better for me if I do it within an hour of stopping.

After the shower, I called Hilde and she and I went to the after race breakfast buffet and award presentation. We also had to remember to pick up Hilde’s drop bag. Joni (not from CA, from MD) had also asked us to pick hers up since she would not be going to the breakfast. The catered buffet meal did not disappoint! The fare included: scrambled eggs, seasoned hash browns, crisp bacon, sausage links, biscuits, pancakes, warm syrup, gravy, fresh fruit, sweet rolls, orange juice, apple juice and coffee. I ate a little of everything! There were lots of firsts and an extreme example in the award presentation… the oldest 100 mile finisher was 78! Oh, btw, I had forgotten my cell phone at the Dam Road aid station. One of the volunteers saw me and let me know that the aid station captain, Lynnor, would bring it to the breakfast. I am sure that when the phone rang and Lynnor answered it: “Maryann’s phone”, that Mellody was really shocked. Anyhow, when he gave me back my cell, he commented that I smelled a lot better after my shower. LOL

We finished eating and headed back to the hotel so I could sleep for a couple of hours. I was very restless and really only slept for about an hour before getting up and trying to organize the post race mess I had created. We made a pot of Q50 dark roast coffee and chatted about the race and the trail conditions. We were discussing going out for dinner, then chose to just stay in. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (my usual choice for a quick easy meal) followed by an orange for dessert. We were really planning to eat heartily at the hotel breakfast buffet before heading to the airport in the morning. I was having a really hard time focusing on the task of packing my things for the morning drive. I wandered back and forth for a while, first working on packing one bag, and then the other… It seemed that I was just going in circles. Finally I sat down again and thought about what I was trying to accomplish. Hilde was laughing at me and when I finally sat on the floor to stuff the smelly clothes from the race in my bag, she commented that’s what she had been waiting for… to watch me roll them up into a neat little stinky package. I said to heck with that and unceremoniously crammed them into the small overnight bag so they would not stink up the rest of my gear.

We set the alarm for 6:30 and woke up hungry! Hilde had prepared me for the nice breakfast buffet at the hotel. They served fresh made Texas waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, pastries, juice, coffee and an assortment of other goodies including fresh fruit and yogurt. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I ate everything but the yogurt! We packed up the car and headed out. The big joke between Hilde and I… she kept asking me if I wanted to walk down the stairs or take the elevator. HA HA!!! While we were on our way to the airport, Hilde’s husband called her to say her flight had been cancelled. Wow, I really hated to leave her at the airport, but she assured me she would be fine. She called me later to say that she had been able to catch a flight home later that afternoon, so was not stranded at the airport for longer than a few hours.

I really had a great time with Hilde! Funny how you can meet someone online and since you have mostly the same interests, get along just like old friends! Another online friend, Sherry, introduced us, online. Maybe someday I will actually meet Sherry in person, too.

Post Script:

Now that I have had a week to think this over while rehabilitating and icing this knee and foot; it seems as if I have come to another crossroads. I started this distance walking journey with a marathon. Marathon became easy, so I graduated to 50k. I love the 50k distance, so I tried 50 miles. The next milestone is usually 100k, but I passed that with this last attempt to walk 100 miles when I dropped out of the race at 72.22 miles.

My long term goal is still to become a US Centurion. I am going to borrow the definition from Ulli Kamm:
Rules for Centurion in the US are
- USATF certified course (or other official certification)
- Racewalk judge(s) present, enforcing rules
- Walking in "competition" = more than 1 walker going for the 100 miles
- Event announced as a Centurion event
- Separate Centurion division in case it's part of a running event
- 100 mile point marked/certified in case it's on a loop course
Of course it is more than just the walk… Centurion is a state of mind.

So, to that end, I think I may be done with trail racing for a while. I am organizing my thoughts during this down time and will put together a new training schedule that will make me a stronger racewalker. I plan to have my one of my kids go to the track with me after a couple of weeks of training to video me from the front, sides and back while racewalking and work on what needs working on. As usual, I am sure it will be the push off from the rear and that will take a lot of work to improve. I will need to do lots of drills in addition to walking many miles in training. Improving flexibility is also important.

I know I have the endurance and mental capacity to complete 100 miles, because I was still feeling great mentally and physically, save the knee, at the end of 72 miles. Since a Centurion walk is typically held on a flat looped course, there is no need to hurt myself on hilly, tree root infested trails. I am, however torn up about making this choice because I really love being out on the trails!

Ok, enough.


  1. Thank you Maryann for sharing your experience with us! I LOVE to read your race reports! Take care of yourself, and very soon you'll be ready to rock again! :). And... I'm 200% sure that you will be reporting that you are Centurion Maryann very soon! Go Maryann Go! :). Hugs from Uruguay, your nbr one fan: Ale

  2. Not that I have attempted to trail walk...I cam but imagine how much more difficult it would be to walk compared to our "normal" race walks. Tree roots and uneven ground would play havoc with the most fittest of person. I know you will make a centurion, I can hear the determination in your writing and if you can wak 72 miles over tree roots and uneven ground and in the dark....a flat daylight course will be a walk in the park for you.
    I met my friend Alice on a bulletin board for the World Games. We emailed for 6 months and then I met her face to face at the Games. We got on so well that she actually flew out from Australia to NZ to cheer me on for the NZ trial race. She says....strangers are just friends you have not met yet. lol

  3. @Ale... you know you made my day with that pre race text you sent me! Thank you so much for your support!

    @Nyle... when you come to the US to race, you better believe I will be there to cheer you on... you and Tammy are going to be the racewalkers to watch! and, you are so right about strangers being friends we have not met yet!

  4. Thanks for the race report, Maryann! I loved reading about it and am really amazed at the fortitude it takes to do this. How is your knee healing? I hope it's doing better. I second what Nyle said about becoming a centurion --- you can SO do it!!! Just keep working on your RW form and your endurance. Hmmm, not that I know what it takes, seeing as how a marathon is my longest and I'm not likely to do more than 50k :). But I really do think you have what it takes. Heal up, work that technique, and you'll be there soon.