Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My First 50 Mile!

Race Report from LPTRunner Melinda Pedersen...

The morning of the Ice Age... I had everything ready to go and Lance drove us to the start. We got there in enough time to chat for a bit and take in everything before starting my first 50 miler. Everyone had bunched together at the starting line and then I heard my step-mom Debbie and step-sister Karen come to wish me good luck. Later in the day, Debbie ran the half marathon and Karen ran her first 50k.

My dad had his video camera and called out my name as I started and Lance had the camera in hand snapping pictures. The many miles of training was now in full stride.

I started my 50 miler all cheerful and ran with many familiar faces here and there. Ashley Kumlien shouted out my name from behind, knowing the sway of my ponytail. I had more comments about my ponytail throughout the race, as one runner said it was hypnotizing. Kind of funny. Julie and Sam were easily heard between their laughs and Sam’s booming voice.

When I completed my first 9 mile loop, I was all smiles even though there was 41 miles to go. I had to go to the bathroom but there was a line, so I decided I didn’t want to wait and went to my drop bag first. I returned to the bathroom and there still was a line. I skipped using the toilet and decided to go at the next one, which for some reason, I thought was at Horseman’s 6.5 miles away. However, I forgot about the out and back to Rice Lake first. There was a porta potty on the way to Rice Lake by Highway 12, but again, there was a line and I didn’t want to wait (Note: It wasn’t until mile 26 where I gave into waiting in line and I got to use the bathroom!). I grabbed what I needed at the AS and kept moving. Aaron Schneider had commented on how good of a pace I was running. And thanks Aaron for giving me some S-caps at mile 26, since I didn’t pack enough.

At mile 20, I felt the runner’s high. People kept commenting on me smiling, especially the volunteers as I crossed road sections. I was a very happy runner at this point. One of my favorite parts of the day was seeing the lead runners on the out and back. This race is neat for the aspect of actually getting to see all the people I know. I also appreciated all the volunteers helping out and cheering me on as I passed, including Marty, Rick, and Brad. I know those are just a few of the many that helped out and I thank all of you.
At one point, I came to a road crossing and was stopped due to a vehicle and noticed another runner stopped on the other side. I realized it was Cassie Scallon as I began crossing. We gave each other a high five and kept going. The energy from other runners on my first 50 was inspiring.

I made it to Rice Lake feeling good and realized somewhere around mile 23 that my body started feeling some discomfort. Before mile 30 came, I was feeling some great pain in my right leg, particularly around my knee. I had a bruise on my leg as well and was feeling pain around that specific spot. The pain got so bad, that it hurt to even lift my foot. I started taking it easy. I thought to myself, “how am I going to get through 20 more miles?” The low hit me.

All these thoughts of “why did I sign up for a 50? I will never run another 50.” People started passing me like crazy. Craig Swartwout came up behind me and asked how I was doing. I told him I was feeling it. He wanted to know exactly what was going on so he could help. He gave me some wonderful advice to help with the pain and also with nutrition. He told me to find his daughter Aimee and his wife Mary at Horseman’s for some spray. I know Aimee from graduate school and besides her helping me at the AS, it was nice to have her and her mom cheer me on every time I saw them.

I only had Ibuprofen in my drop bag. Before I reached my drop bag, Brandi Henry from Illinois (who I’ve gotten to know over the course of training runs) offered me some Ibuprofen and later I found Troy Malinowski, who gave up some of his Aleve. It helped get me through some of the pain. My stomach was doing well, so I kept popping the Ibuprofen as the pain increased. I knew I just needed to suck up the pain and keep moving. Tina Heil came up behind me and we chatted for a few minutes before the next AS. I had felt a bit defeated but her upbeat presence helped.

When I was on my way to Emma Carlin, the turnaround, a runner coming at me told me that I only had 6 minutes to the cutoff, so I ran my hardest. Later I found out that I still had 30 minutes. I stayed at the AS four a couple minutes and moved forward. When I reached Horseman’s again, I had 6.5 miles left. I was feeling much better mentally, but was struggling physically.

Cobbie Behrend came up behind me and I shouted out “hi Cobbie!” I told him that I was going to stick it out with him to get me to the end. I knew it was close to the cut off and I was still determined to finish. Cobbie was very motivating and would say, “ok we’re going to run to the yellow and then walk.” I went with whatever Cobbie did. I was determined to get to the finish. With 1.5 miles left, Cobbie said he was going to take it easy.

I came up to the last little AS and was asked if I wanted anything and I politely said “no, I just want to finish.” I slowly ran my way to the finish and found so many people there cheering me in and I had no idea with being close to the cut off that there would still be so many people!

After I finished, all the thoughts about whether I would run another 50 slipped away.  I will for sure do another in the future.

I have to thank my family for their wonderful support, especially Lance. He’s not a runner, nor will he ever be except 90 feet up and down the basketball court or on the base paths, as he tells me. He has been my biggest support throughout my training process. He encouraged me to run when I didn’t feel like it. He got up at 4 a.m. to see me start, watch my first loop, and leave to coach a double header in Oconomowoc to only return and wait for my finish. My dad and Debbie have always been a wonderful support system since the day I started running and I have Debbie to thank for the inspiration of running. Karen and I have gotten to know each other more through the course of running. Also, my mom had never been to one of my races before because she lived in Florida. She now lives in Wisconsin and was able to see me in a race for the first time ever. It was especially wonderful she saw me at my first ever 50-mile race.

I have all the LPTRs to thank with their positive attitude and their company on long runs. I’m especially grateful for all the long runs José Villegas banked with me. I’m not sure how I would have made it through so many miles without him. My pup Jax was always ready to run miles with me as well. His tail said it all!! Jeff Mallach put together a stellar race. Thanks to Angela for helping put together a training schedule and the wonderful motivational pieces the week of the race. The best one being, “keep moving forward.”

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