Finally I am able to sit down and give you a full fledged recap from my 50 mile race! It was quite the weekend running along the gulf coast. I got a crazy dark tan (that I am now paying for…YES black people can get sunburned believe it or not), hung out with some of my Dallas Dirt Runner friends, and met LOTS of new fun people. Basically, race weekend perfection! Let’s recap a bit, shall we?
I made the 5 hour drive down to Surfside Beach on Friday…it was typical traffic getting down there but pretty much smooth sailing.
I absolutely love me some beach views (I feel like the sun and the water are my two favorite things in the universe) so I was super excited to do some running in a new place. Plus, with this race being sea level of course it is super flat. After running in Utah just a few short weeks ago this was just what I needed. I am also still in training for Brazos Bend 100 so I needed the mileage. I checked in, grabbed my race number and super cute fanny pack. Gotta love this.
Also my friends who came down to run the race made dinner that night. Vegan spaghetti with all of the fixins. They had their RV so they cooked up a good meal. It was everything. And hello, I will never EVER pass up a free dinner. Especially from runners who know good food. Yes.
I car camped, right on the BEACH since there was a lil campsite for us to set up shop. If you know trail runners at all you know they are super good at the whole camp vibe. I mean, they really do have it down to a science. Like GLAMP style. That is glamorous camping for those you you unaware. Me, not so much. I’m still learning. But it was great camping out there knowing I had so many other folks around me and there were porta potties and stuff around plus public showers.
My 50 mile race started right on time at 7 AM. The course was a 20 mile loop, so we did that twice, and then an out and back 5 miles to hit 50 for the day. That made it crazy easy because duh, you cannot get lost. Not even if you tried real hard. Plus, seeing all of my friends and being able to high five people as you go was just perfect. I loved it so much.
We started out with temps fairly warm in the high 70s, but lots of cloud cover and a light wind that kept you going. DANG it felt good in the morning. But I tell ya, as soon as that sun hit. It was game on. The sun came out with a vengeance and it did not let up. ALL DAY. Hours upon hours of running with the sun beating down on your face and back. Now that, posed a real challenge. But, like any experienced ultrarunner will tell you. It is all about that relentless forward motion. Shuffle if you must. Whatever you have to do. You keep your mind tough as nails, smile though pain, and keep it moving. There is something about that pain too, that being in the extreme highs and the lows, that keeps me coming back for more of the ultra distance.
I hit mile 30 and felt like this was the lowest point of my race. I reached an aid station and kind of saw stars for a second. I knew it was my blood sugar that dropped because, this has happened before at ultra races in these kind of extreme conditions. I immediately grabbed a salt pill at the aid station and had to park it and cool off for a few minutes. The aid helpers as well as a DDR friend were right there to assist with salty and sweet things. I grabbed some fuel, regrouped and was back on my way. My feet were heavy and I felt icky, but my spirit and mind were in it. So, I told myself…suck it up buttercup and keep it moving. Because that is what you do when you are invested, when you are in the game. Don’t stop. Get it get it.
My DDR friend saw me (her husband was out there also running) again and she told me that I looked way better and gave me some encouragement. It was just what I needed so I kept trucking. I hit the 40 mile mark and Rob Goyen (awesome race director from Trail Racing Over Texas) looked at the stats and told me…”CHELSEA you are doing great. You are rocking it. Keep going.” He didn’t tell me what place I was in. And I was glad for that. I kind of knew I was doing well placement wise but didn’t want to hear it at the time. I wanted to stay IN MY RACE. So I was happy he just gave me just enough info for me to keep moving. With that relentless forward motion.
Man, that last 10 miles felt like a death march. Again, the sun was beating down. The beach views were perfection. The beach itself was still open to the public, so there was lots to look at. People driving their cars up and down the packed sand. Random folks cheering me on. Mostly drunk folks. Hey, it was Saturday afternoon on the beach. But they were very kind drunk folks and very supportive. I even saw HORSES! Not sure what the horses were doing there. But that was fun. I never really got bored because simply there was so much to look at. Just hot. And humid. And tired. But, every time I got caught up in my pace slowing down because it was so hot or trying to calculate math in my head…the waves were there. Beach waves and sounds of nature to remind me to stay in the moment. To enjoy the water, the sand under my feet, the people all around me. Reminding me constantly to stay in the moment. To stay in the mile that I was in. And I did just that.
I saw that finish line and picked it up and finished strong. Rob looked at me and said “You did it! 2nd place female overall!!” and gave me my hip and groovy purple sand dollar for being a top finisher and my medal. Gosh those medals were so colorful and pretty. Of course I had to grab a pic.
So, overall great day at the Orion Ultra. 4th 50 miler down, another top finish win and keeping the training going strong for Brazos Bend 100. YES.
Stay present, run free. Run the mile you’re in always. Don’t get caught up in numbers. And DO YOU. Forever.
Why? Because nothing and no one else matters when you do what you love.
How was your weekend? Did you run a strong race or run you are proud of?