Finally the day arrived Saturday, March 8th. No rain, blue, sunny skies expected with race temps of 65-70 degrees. This was going to be partly a redemption run for me and part a test of strength. See last June I had signed up to do the Q50 Ultra race at the 5 mile distance but the drive there was an absolute fail read here. Plus the past few weeks I have been dealing with an IT band issue and only been able to run one day a week, no more than 3-4 miles before discomfort hits. I had no intention of canning this race. Pure determination was going to have to get me through those 13 miles and up those hills! Luckily I am pretty determined. My daughter agreed to come and volunteer which I was thrilled. I realized afterwards she had never seen me do a long race plus my only trails were back in 2012 and only 5k in distance. Nothing like what I was going to face today. We picked up my friend Betsy who seemed up for the challenge and we drove the 90+ minutes to the race, parked and started prepping. We got there a little after 8am and the race start would be at 9:30am. The 50 mile Ultra race already started at 7am. They would have to do the same loop we were doing 4 times!! I could not fathom. Our race would also be joined by the Marathoners doing the loop twice, again I did not envy them but I was in awe of both groups. My daughter Alaina quickly went to work as a volunteer helping out in the bag area in the meeting room. Francine and Stephen found us before the race meeting (they would be doing the Half as well). Cesar Torres the Q50 race director was a bundle of energy and excitement. He was making sure all the runners knew what to do and was well prepared for the day ahead. You had to carry a whistle for an emergency, no headphones were allowed, follow the pink & orange ribbons on the course to guide you, carry your own water, absolutely no littering and there would be a couple aid stations on the course. He introduced the inspirational Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios who were today’s guests for the race and then shortly after Cesar led off the kids race. He really likes to get EVERYONE involved and enjoy nature at his Q50 races no matter your level. It’s all about having a good time.
Then it was time. I put my phone away and was ready for what was ahead. My farthest trail run ever and one I was completely unprepared for. Cesar again reminded me no worries, just enjoy. I started towards the back and let the more experienced runners lead the way. The course was well marked as promised and was actually drier than expected considering all of the rain we have had lately. I was told to walk most of the inclines but they seemed to be never ending. There was very few flat areas and some had sand, rocks and tree roots so you had to constantly watch your step. As I made my way mile by mile I was taking in the views and thankful for such a nice day as well as such a scenic route. Once again race adrenalin had kicked in and I was going at a decent pace. I wore my knee brace to keep it in place during this challenging run and took a pain pill at Mile 5. Fortunately Francine gave me some salt around Mile 9 since the temps were warming up a bit and I forgot to pack some. Mile 12 gave me quite a surprise and much needed to get my through to the end. Alaina was there cheering and directing runners. She said I was doing great and didn’t have much farther to go. That got me through the next couple of hills to get towards the finish which Cesar was there waiting. He said “Come on smiling princess, Looking Good!!” and gave me a high 5 as I crossed the Finish at 2:33. I received my finisher prize which was a custom frame (pic below). I retrieved my fresh clothes and shoes from my car to change into before heading to the meeting room for the provided snacks, jambalaya and drinks. Once again I accomplished something I didn’t think possible. I was quite relieved.
My friends did equally as well. Some of the Marathoners had come in by the time we were packing it up to leave around 2pm. I wanted to stay and wait for the Ultra’s to come in but that would be a few more hours. Later in the day I caught the updates and pictures on Facebook. For some it was their first Ultra. They picked a good one to do. Even my daughter said on the way home she would like to go back and do a Trail race there. She asked about their upcoming schedule. You can check it out here. We will definitely be back. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the runners on the trail. Everyone was cordial and looked out for one another. It was different from what I had experienced with road races. It was a welcome change. The people involved with putting this race together are all remarkable and devoted to putting on a great event. I would highly recommend a Q50 race for anyone interested in trails and a good time.
Here are a few of pics from the day:
Now to recover 🙂
Do you prefer road or trail races and Why? I now have the Trail bug and can’t wait to do another.