At the beginning of this year, I planned out all of my races for 2013. At the top of my list, was running my first 100 miler. When I was considering what other races to do besides the 100, I knew I needed to avoid burning myself out running a ton of small races during 100-mile training.
The Forget the PR Mohican 50K fit perfectly into my training schedule. And even better, the race shares a lot of the trails I will be running during my goal race, the Mohican 100. I was excited to finally run this race and from what I heard, it would be a tough, long training run for me and a good race.
My boyfriend and I decided to get a cabin at the campground for the weekend. I really looked forward to spending a weekend in the woods, with no cell service and to just get away from my busy life back home. Saturday’s weather was beautiful: sunny and warm and all I wanted to do was hang outside once we got the Mohican. We made a campfire, had dinner, made s’mores and went to bed early as the race started at 7:30 the next morning.
Forget the PR is a race exactly as it sounds. Unless it’s your first 50K, you’re probably not going to PR. The cutoff is 10 hours (most 50K cutoffs are eight hours). The course is tough, hilly, rocky at some points and on Sunday, it was full of mud.
Race morning was warm and as the start grew near, it started raining, which didn’t really stop all day. I went in not expecting a fast race. I had already PR’ed twice at the 50K distance this year so far and knew that if I stuck to running an even pace, shooting for an even split and stayed steady, I’d place high and have a good-for-me time.
I started off slow, talking to the other runners around me. I met two women who were running their first 50K and realized that I had helped one of them at my store a few weeks ago!
Early on in the race is “Big Ass Hill.” And exactly as it sounds, it’s a big ass hill that seemingly doesn’t end. I had heard stories about how awful the hill was and how long it lasts. I don’t know if I’m just getting better at hills or what, but the only thing that really sucked about it was how hard it was to grip with the mud.
The middle miles of the race were pretty uneventful. I ran hard, passed a lot of runners and had problems with swollen hands. I tried to increase my salt intake to taking an S-cap every half hour, but by the time I hit the mile 17 aid station, I couldn’t bend my fingers, so I had to have the volunteers put endurolytes into my hand (still salt tablets, just a different brand) at every aid station.
When I reached the mile 23 aid station at the Covered Bridge, I wrongly assumed the worst of the race was over and I could just start running the last 6-7 miles harder than I had been, guaranteeing a sub-7:00 finish. What I had totally forgotten about was that most of the next four miles would be rocky, muddy and very technical. It even included the awesome “hand over fist” climb, a straight-up root climb that you have to use your hands on. Thanks to a long stretch of road after the root climb, I made up some time and finished the loop in about 55 minutes.
After coming back to the Covered Bridge aid station, I had two more cups of Coke and decided I really needed to start moving if I wanted a 6:59. Usually after coming through this aid station the second time, you have to go through the Mohican River instead of over the bridge. Much to some runners’ chagrin (not mine!), the RD took this portion out since the water was too fast and too high that day.
I didn’t see many people in the last few miles, but did catch some 25K runners on the last major hill. As I kept moving, the sound of the road was getting closer and closer and I knew I was almost done. Finally after sliding in the mud down a hill, I hit the road, could see the campground and I took off.
But unfortunately, when I got to the road, my watch said 6:59 and there was no way I could make it to the finish line before the clock rolled over to 7:00. I finished in 7:01:05, with a big smile on my face and happy to be done with the race. But, I felt like I could keep running and keep moving, which is exactly what I wanted. My first 100 is only six weeks away and after FTPR, I’m more ready than ever!