Trial of Miles: Leona Divide 50k Recap
I'm not gonna bullshit you. This race wrecked me.
After the OSR30 and a pretty solid training block, I was confident about going into the race. Then I got hit HARD with a nasty sinus infection. It knocked me out for a solid 10 days. (BTW, after that whole ordeal I am a huge believer in the neti pot. It was the only thing that gave me any relief). I still wasn't feeling 100% so I decided that I would drop down to the 50k instead of doing the 50 mile. I thought I would do a strong 50k instead of a struggle fest 50 miler.
From the start of the day everything was off. I left my hotel late and the drive took longer then I thought so I got to the start with about 10 minutes to pick up my bib and go to the bathroom. I got my bib, pinned it on and took one look at the line for the porta potty and knew that there was no way I'd be able to use it and start on time. My tardiness also meant no time to warm up or listen to my perfectly curated playlist to get me amped to run. I then realized that I had forgot to bring my GU Roctane BCAAs. Also, there was no cell service in the valley so I couldn't text Chris to let him know that I was ok. UGH. I hate not doing my pre race rituals and it definitely mentally threw me for the day.
The race started and it was beautiful running into the mountains with the sun rising. It was around 55 degrees which felt amazing. You are on pavement for about two miles before you actually hit the trails. When I hit the trails I felt good. They were beautiful, non technical single track trails that you could actually run, big change from the trails I've run back east. Then we started to climb. I slowed to a power hike and plugged up the mountain. I could still feel the lingering of my sinus infection as my breathing got heavier. I definitely wasn't ready for this elevation. I felt silly thinking that from running the bridges I would have been ready for the 6500+ elevation that the race ended up having.
I flew downhill after the steep ascent. I felt like I was flying. I managed to get a signal at the top of the mountain so I was able to text Chris and let him know I wasn't dead and decided to play some music to try to get in the zone. I hit the aid station, refilled my Ultimate Direction bladder and my Maurten bottle. I fueled solely on Maurten for the race and it was a good choice. No cramping, no nausea, everything felt good.
The race was two out and backs, so I turned around and headed back up the mountain again. Going back up was painful. The sun was starting to shine pretty bright and I felt dumb for not wearing a hat. I tried to keep my negative thoughts quiet and focus on how beautiful it was and how lucky I was to be able to come out to California to run. I kept thinking about everything I had read about in "Brave Athlete" (Definitely recommended reading) I debated on dropping at the next aid station but knew I would regret and that I was just being a brat. I hustled through the next aid station to the next part of the course.
The second out and back was super winding and exposed. The sun was starting to beat down and my goal of finishing in 6 hours was slipping away. Have you ever tried to do math in an ultra? Nothing makes sense haha. Also, my hands started to swell. This has happened before and I have no idea why.
I hit some low points but managed to get some signal to text Chris that I was feeling like shit and he said he was on his way to meet me at the finish. Knowing that Chris was going to meet me energized me. I was done with the race and just wanted to see him. I hauled ass the next 7 miles just to be done.
Running through the finish felt amazing. The race had some great finish food. It's nice when a race promotes that it will have vegan and gluten free options. That vegan Subway sandwich was straight up HEAVEN.
Leona Divide kicked my ass, but I loved it. Even though I wasn't happy with my time it definitely inspired me to be more consistent with my training, incorporate more strength training and to get back on the trails more often. I mean, it's probably a good idea to train on trails if you are planning on running on a trail.
Even if the race didn't go anywhere near what I wanted, I'm glad I can turn my losses into lessons. Time to set some new goals and find some new races.