Twisted Turkey 50K (My First Ultra)
I decided to sign up for this race about 4 days before the event. It had been on my mind to do when I found out about it 5 weeks before the race but I don’t like to commit to races anymore because when I do I seem to get a stress fracture or stress reaction EVERYTIME. Especially since I had just spent from the end of July to the end of September NOT RUNNING because of a “stress reaction” in my hip I was not going to screw it up. Instead of finding a training plan and being a slave to it I just kept with what I was doing but added a long run… so I literally ran only 3 days a week leading up to the race.
Two of the days were 8-10 miles, one being speed work then the third day was a long run which topped out at 27 miles 2 weeks before race day. The rest of my training consisted of 2 hour bike intervals, elliptical intervals, stairclimber intervals, and some kind of strength/plyometric session with weights for an hour or more, kettlebells, box jumps, row machine etc. and yoga. I also decided to sign up for a powerlifting meet two weeks after the race SO I was doing 3x powerlifting sessions a week too! I knew my endurance was there with these epic workouts, I just didn’t know if the running muscles were going to last.
The best part of going into this race was NO PRESSURE! I have never done a trail race, never done this distance and wasn’t specifically training for it so I knew it was going to be FUN!
I also did the one thing I tell all my runners NOT TO DO and I had new trail shoes and new nutrition for the race. I never eat during long runs but I knew I probably should here so I bought the huma gels with chia seeds and one 2x expresso clif gel (good thing I did).
The race started totally mellow with the race director gathering everyone up and saying “it’s going to get muddy” then yelling GO! I jumped out with the front back and we went from a grass field to single track right away….to say the course was TWISTED doesn’t even begin to describe it… it was dizzying! Up and down, round and round. By MILE 3 my quads were SCREAMING from the steep uphills and downhills on ICE… slipping and sliding. I face planted about 1.5 miles into the race but was VERY thankful that I went with trail shoes instead of my nothing Brooks Connect with NO traction….
The first “aid” station was at mile 2.5ish (who knows, it was so twisted the Garmin couldn’t keep up) and it was a table set in the side of the soccer field we ran around with water gallons and cups… SERVE YOURSELF… I had a huge smile on my face… this is hilarious… then I went to run around the soccer field (the only flat part) and HELLO 20mph WIND in the face… at around Mile 6 there was a huge ICE POND… it looked like it was solid but we couldn’t tell… there were 4 of us up front and the 3 guys went first and I followed… WE ALL BROKE THROUGH… SOAKING ice water up to the ankles UGG… I thought it was going to be the end of me… but by the time I finished the first loop everything was DRY again…. Thank you Innov-8 Trail Shoes and Injinji Trail 2.0 Socks! My first loop was the slowest 10 miles I have ever ran in my life but also the FUN-IEST (yes it’s a word) at this point I knew about how long it was going to take me to finish… NOT sub 4:00 like my long run predicted (when I did my 27 miler I qualified for Boston at 26.2 running a 3:17 and finished in about 3:25 at HILLY Waterfall Glen… so I thought sub 4:00 piece of cake… This single track craziness was not WFG!)
So I had 3 gels and decided I would do one every hour which worked great…. The second loop felt much better because by then I knew where I was going (first time around I took a few wrong turns for about 100yards or so and had to back track) BUT the second loop got warm and it was MUDDY! I was sliding everywhere making it VERY NERVE wrecking going down hills and by this time my quads were cramping every down hill and my calves were starting to kick in from the sliding. I knew I was lead female and behind 3 guys but it was SO TWISTY you would catch glimpses of the next place female through the trees but have no idea how close she was to you also nerve wrecking.
At around mile 5 on the second loop the 3rd place guy came running back at me and I told him he was going the wrong way but he insisted it was right (WRONG… he ended up finishing supposedly in 3rd place ahead of me and ‘did all the miles’ but he missed the pond crossing for two of the loops which slowed everyone down by at least 10 minutes as you tried to figure out the best way to not get soaked); Anyway… the second pond crossing I made it halfway across dry and thought I was clear to go and took a leap onto what looked like solid ice…. It was NOT…. Foot through the ice, soaked and fell on my BUTT!
Again I was dry by the time I got to my final lap…. Final LAP YEAH! It was HORRIBLE! I fell 3 more times, it was soooooo muddy you could barely run….at this point I think the race director said about 40% of the field had dropped out, only doing 10 or 20 miles….and every muscle in my legs were screaming from being overused… at mile 6 I thought I was developing a stress fracture in my right foot because my shin and calf were sooooo tight. But I made it to the line in one piece. First Place Female, 4th Overall (but I’m going to call it 3rd because of the course cutter)…. My muscles felt like I had just run the fastest 5K of my life even though my heart rate during this race averaged what it would on a typical training day. I chatted with the race director for about 20 minutes waiting for the 2nd and 3rd place females. They were about 10 and 20 minutes behind me. Then I got my reward… homemade caramel sauce and two granny smith apples to make myself a caramel apple.
SO CUTE! We also get engraved medals with our names but those are coming in the mail. I drove home and massaged my legs the whole way home which I think helped A LOT… then I jumped in an ice bath followed by an Epsom salt bath and the marc pro for 45 minutes. The next day I could not walk down the stairs straight. EVERYTHING felt like a ROCK but I moved around a lot decorating the house for Christmas and crafting. By Monday I was on the spin bike doing intervals for 2 hours, a hour kettlebell session, and powerlifting so I would say I rebounded well.
It was a GREAT experience. I am HOOKED.
So fun, so interesting, such nice people! I loved every muddy twisty minute! Next up… 50 miler? I may just have to forgo this Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier and see what I can do in the ultra world…