Saturday April 28, 2012 was the running of the Leona Divide 50/50 (50k and 50mile) I was in for th 50k while Tim Duffy was in for the 50miler. Heading into this event my longest run was 17 miles so I was a little behind on the longest part but I had some consistent 40 miles weeks and was feeling good about that. Not only that, training with Tim at Boot Leg Canyon out near Boulder City, NV. proved to be well worth it.
Since I have been back in the running game and working 2-3x per week on the TRX Suspension trainer and adding in RIP Training along with Plyometrics my leg strength has been feeling good and I have been experiencing less and less irritation in my hamstring and glute, but it's still there a tiny bit.
We left for Lake Hughes, Ca. on Friday, about a 4-5 hour drive stopping for Starbucks along the way. Once we were in Palmdale, where the hotel was located, there was time to grab some lunch, get checked into the hotel, rest up a bit and then head out to packet pick up. The start of the race was about 25 minutes away and when we arrived it was well organized and sailing through the packet pick was a good thing. Immediately both Tim and I notice the great Ink n Burn race shirts we received which totally made up for the more plain easy going pottery circle finishers medal we would receive upon completing the race. Tim and I decided to take a walk up the trail from the start line to get an idea of what was in store being as the course immediately started uphill. After a short walk we realized the fire road would be okay and of course there would be some climbing and were more worried about how crowded it might be with all the runners. Of course being slower than Tim he had more to worry about as getting stuck behind a slow pack could eat into time early on.
Once we checked it out we headed back to the hotel area and grabbed some dinner then heading to settle in and prepare for the race. Lights were out by 8:30pm for me as the 3:30am wake up call would come fast. In the morning all things were a GO and after some Isagenix shakes/oatmeal and a bagel with peanut butter we headed out the door to the race quickly noticing how cold it was with the wind blowing. I was wearing my IntelliSkin shirt, with my Isagenix shirt on top and had a zip pull over hoping that would hold me through the colder morning. I decided on carrying my Octane Camelbak being as the first aid station was about 8.5 miles from the start and just didn't want to run out of water if I had just carried my hip belt, turns out I would have been okay all day long with just my hip belt carrier, oh well.
At the race site it was pretty dang cold with the wind blowing and we both made our way to the bathroom. It was nice to be nervous and jitters were flowing but that did cause a queezy stomach which is not fun. I haven't been at race since Javalina on Nov. 2011 on my last dnf at mile 46! so that was in the back of my head that I needed to finish this race. Once the bathroom break was over I headed back to the car to wait for the start but then had to go again so I went back and got in line and I soon heard the sound of 10 Minutes till start time. Based on how fast the line was moving, I figured I may miss the start. By the time I got to the front of the bathroom line there was 2-3 minutes till starting and I said Oh Well, I will miss it by a couple of minutes, TCB first! Luckily, by the time I went down to the start the gun went off about 20 yards from me getting there but then had to dash to the side of the road as 300+ runners were heading right for me!!! I managed to get on the side of everyone and I was one of the last 2 or 3 people to cross the start line! Off we went. UPHILL.
The uphill wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and the pack moved along pretty steady. The fire road provided plenty of room to pass and move up and so I did. The uphill fire road went on for about 2.5 miles then eased up and short sections where the grade turned up some but not bad. It wasn't as cold as it was at the start and I soon rolled into Aid Station #1 (7.5miles per my garmin) got a quick refill and off I went on a short uphill climb talking with Badwater racer Shannon Farar-Griefer. Then it was soon back to running and making our way on a single track which was nice although the group was still somewhat bunched together so letting others pass was a little tight.
The single track went on for a the rest of the race, well, except the last 4 miles when I was back on the fire road, but the single track dove in and out of corners, over small downs and rolling hills, brush, rocks and grass, it was nice. At about mile 13 I had to make like a bear and find as much woods as I could as my stomach was just not happy. By the time I finished, I managed to have a cramp in my abs and foot from bending over on the side of a hill and had to sacrifice a dirtygirl gator to finish the job, good thing those gaiters are silky soft!! Any back on the run I was feeling much better!! and came flying into Aid Station mile 15ish.. I refilled my bottles, grabbed a couple of snacks, my Red Bull and off I went. I looked at my time leaving the aid station and I was at 3hrs 22mins so I figured being half way I would make to finish about 6:45-7 hours.. little did I know!
As soon as I left I crossed the road and back on the single track and it immediately started going up!! and UP and UP!!! shit, for 4 miles it climbed with just a slight level the last 1/2 mile into the turn around aid station at mile 20. It was a long grind it out climb, steep in sections but definitely no letting up till the aid station. I knew my finishing time of 7 hours was slipping away and would be much long, and on top of this climbing, I had all the fast 50kers and 50 MILERS coming at me so I would move over.
Finally, reaching the top I refueled, took a seat for about 5 minutes and then headed off back down the climb which was great because it was all down hill! I got back down pretty quickly and was feeling good, tired of course so I grabbed some espresso beans and other chocolates and headed back up the other side. This wasn't as steep but just as much work because I was tired. Finally, reaching aid station at mile 28 ish, I drank about 5 cups of coke because my stomach was feeling a little weird and coke always seems to help, weird! I then headed off for the last mile climb and then all downhill to the finish!
As I was running downhill I was really starting to run out of gas and stopped to walk a couple of times but then would hear other runners behind me and one even yelled out "come on, we're almost there! it's all downhill, you can do it!" So I took off running with her as she passed but I only lasted about 1/4 mile and walked again. I then recalled how far I was from the finish, about 1/2 mile so I sucked it up and just ran, coming into the finish line was great because there was a nice set up of the finish line and tables and lots of people cheering. It was great to be done!
I got my medal and some water and sat down for a few minutes. I then went to get some finishers food, although greatly prepared chicken fajitas, it was just way to spicy for my stomach so I passed. I went back to the Tim's car, moved it closer to the finish line area, changed clothes and drank a Isagenix shake, much more enjoying.
I then just took a little nap and waited on Tim to finish out the 50 miler. Once he was done we drove back to the hotel, then went to eat and grab a beer. Later that night some kid pulled the fire alarm and Tim asks "are you going out" I said, No way, dude, unless I smell Smoke or hear the Firemen, I'm staying in bed! haha..
Once morning arrived, we simply packed up and headed back to Vegas. It was great trip and always great to run with Tim. Leona event was definitely a fun race and great support, the shirts from Ink n Burn are Top Notch! and the course was nice!
Next up Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim training run.