I am most excited to share this race recap. Thinking back on the Croom 50k, I am full of gratefulness for running, the ability to run, awesome people to run with and the great outdoors. It was an awesome race filled with good people and a butt naked man pooping.
Recap of my first running of the Croom 50k here.
Things weren’t starting off in my favor for this race. I just started my woman week and had an irritating splinter in my foot that I couldn’t get out. I couldn’t get into a positive state of mind so I just looked forward to enjoying nature. My motto wasn’t the typical inspirational phrase.
“Let’s just get through this to get to the shower at the end!” I kept thinking.
Everything changed when the race began. There were 250 runners competing in 50 mile, 31 mile and 16 mile distances. The 50-runners began at 6am and the rest of the runners gathered by a small start line at 7am.
We all ran the first several miles together until the first aid station at mile four. I kept close to the group; I love keeping my eyes on the runner’s feet in front of me and not having to focus on following the trail markers.
For this race I carried a small water bottle filled with 1/4 coconut water/heed and 3/4 water. Having fluid with me at all times allowed me to take in small amounts throughout the race, eliminating some stomach troubles when I’d drink a lot at one time.
Throughout the entire race runners would run together in small groups. They’d run at the same time and walk at the same time, single file, usually without speaking a word. In yoga they talk a lot about the importance of your energy in a class and how every person encourages the others’ practice. I saw this so clearly on the trail: some people were committed and giving it their all and they gave me energy, but I found it harder to keep the energy when people would get discouraged or walk.
The course had some soft sand but was mostly narrow to slightly wide trails covered in leaves, pine needles, pine cones and roots galore. Lots and lots of roots. I only had one good fall!
The course was one 15 mile loop. 50 runners did three laps, 50k runners did two and 16 mile runners just one. The first 10 miles were relatively shaded, fun miles. There were a few deep ditches we had to run down and climb back up but nothing too tough. The last five miles were less covered and straight up hill, straight down hill and so on until a steep climb to the finish line in the last mile.
I typically walk quite a bit during runs. Sometimes it’s because my legs are tired, sometimes it’s because I’m bored. During this race I decided I didn’t feel like walking. I wanted to finish early and I wanted to finish strong!
I ran the first 20 miles without any walking breaks. Here’s the surprise: it felt better than walking! Ha. I think I’m on to something. I included more short walk breaks toward the end of the race at some of the uphills.
The best part of the race, by far, was the naked pooping man. Along the course there was one crater-like ditch in particular where the course markings led you down the ditch (the shortest route) but also had a hidden route around the ditch (the longer and less noticeable option).
On the second loop I decided to try going around the ditch. By this point I was hazy and noticed a person farther ahead.
Then I saw it: a man (further description withheld for privacy purposes) standing tall with his pants around his ankles wiping his behind. I had no idea what to do so yelled “I’m not looking!!!” as I ran by, shading my eyes from the scene.
Only, instead of letting me run off and trying to leave the mutual embarrassment behind us, he stopped me to apologize and chat about the course. Best. Moment. Ever.
Finally I had hit the home stretch. Running up the hills started getting to me and I wanted to be done. Before I knew it I could see the finish line through the trees and I sprinted to the smaller, quieter trail race finish line. I finished! I PRed! It felt so good to be done and to also be proud of the run.
I finished in 6:21:13, a 12:18 per mile pace. I finished 45 out of 78 50k finishers and 7 out of 8 finishers in the female 29 and under age group.
In 2010 I finished the same race in 7:11:20, a 13:29 pace and 49 out of 67 finishers.
That’s a 50 minute PR!
I think there’s something to this walk-less-run-more thing that I might start adding to my training
This was my third marathon since my accident seven months ago- and this one was an ultra. I’m so thankful that I’ve been strong enough to do so much of what I love when so many told me I’d never be able to run long distances again. I feel blessed and I feel strong.
What does your favorite course look like? Do you prefer road or trail runs?