Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Superior 2014 was calling me back...

Race Report from LPTRunner Jodie Taylor...

I finally returned to Superior. It’s been three years since my debut at the Superior 50 mile. It was my first 50 mile race and I was just as nervous with butterflies this time.  My last long race was in 2012. I hardly ran in 2013 and this year I had planned on running more but injured my hamstring at the NK50K last winter. Prior to the NK50K, Marcel and I had been training in the snow every weekend and were feeling great. Of course we had runner’s high and immediately signed up for Superior when registration opened in March.  We did the same thing the year before and ended up not going, but this time we were determined to go no matter what!
It took me 2 ½ months for my hamstring to feel almost normal again, so my running was light. Needless to say, I was feeling set back in my training. By June I was ready to get back into training and started it with a good 1,000 stair climb on Wilson’s trail in Hong Kong.
Then Marcel and I then got serious about our training and made a 10 week training cram (plan). He did what he could in the little free time he had each week. I am fortunate that I work for a company that encourages us to work out sometime during the work day. Thus, I decided that I wanted to have “fresh legs” for Superior. I have gone into every race over trained and had some type of tendonitis or mild strain that I’d just brush off and pay for it afterwards.
My training involved a lot of road cycling and mountain biking with some trail running and stair repeats. At first I was doing lunges for 40 min but decided that wasn’t working the right muscles. Stair repeats at Atwater Park became the go to spot (as Marcel stated in his race report).
In addition, I completely changed my eating habits this past January. At first it was an “OMG I’m approaching 40” response; but now my new eating habits feel like the normal way and my old eating habits just feel wrong.
As we neared the race date, the more nervous and doubtful I became.  The question kept running through my head, did I train enough? Did I get enough miles in? Did I run up enough stairs? Did I ride my bike too much? Do I have the mental toughness that I had 2 years ago? (@ Hellgate). But at the same time, I was excited about going back to Superior and running on the beautiful Superior Hiking Trail.  “Jodie, just have the willpower of when you were 16 plus the wisdom of when you’re 50” (hopefully I’ll be a little wiser, but I dunno).
I had to remind myself not to panic and do something rash that would cause injury before the race.  So my race strategy was to have “fresh legs” for the race.  And keep a sane mind and eat/drink right and NOT wash my face with HEED at mile 39.5 and NOT have rocks in my socks (aka blisters).  My plan was to go slow and steady and get it done. I was determined to finish so I could wear the T-shirt!
Marcel took off from the start as expected; I can’t hang with him in long races. In fact, I haven’t been able to run with him in a race or beat him in a race since 2012.  I ran with Deb and Mary off and on throughout the race.  They are a lot of fun and keep moving. Mary was awesome with setting the pace.  There were several times she kept me going. (And if you didn’t already know, Mary Gorski is a bad ass ultrarunner!)
Most of the trail seemed new to me because apparently I had repressed my memories of the race in 2011 other than a few painful and torturous ones and the photos I took.  Thus to my surprise there were a lot of runnable sections! Aside from the many giant mud pits that slowed me down, I think I could have finished the race a little sooner. However, I did have a Superior 50 mile PR, by about 1 minute. Ha!
But the best thing about the race this time, other than finishing it, is that I finally had a 2nd wind, 3rd wind, 4th wind and so on. In all of my other races I usually burn out and really struggle towards the end. This time, I kept getting little surges of energy in each section of the race. 
Anyway, I have never felt this physically good after a race, and am excited to return to Superior in 2015 (this could be runner’s high talking).
Congrats to Marcel, Mary and Deb for running great races on tough terrain and many thanks to Angela, Tina and Matt for their awesome support and volunteering at the aid station.  And thanks to Mary’s Mantra that kept me laughing “Jodie’s got fresh legs, Marcel draws pretty pictures, Deb bakes, [Mary’s got jokes]” I altered the last part J

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