As many of you already know, I am attempting my second 100 miler in less than 2 weeks (eeeek!!!). I’ve been getting in as many solid training runs and races as I can possibly squeeze into my already hectic, non-stop schedule and am feeling pretty decent about where I’m at with my training. On Saturday, I completed my last long run before the big race weekend: the Armstrong Woods 50K.
My whole reason for signing up for the race was because it was taking place in one of the most amazing, beautiful parks I have ever had the pleasure of running and hiking in and of course the fact that I love Guerneville, the cute little Russian River Valley town where the park resides…oh and let’s not forget how much I love Boon (the delicious restaurant where we ate both our pre and post race meals).
When I signed up, I didn’t anticipate just how hot it might be. Or really remember just how steep the climbs are through the park. I figured it was one last, casual training run. And boy was I wrong! It was not only blazing hot but also a super technical, super steep course. It was also super beautiful, untouched or “primitive” as the race director pointed out a few times. Parts of the trail were so heavily overgrown with big, beautiful wildflowers and weeds that it was almost like running out of bounds. I also loved the fact that we got to jump in the creek a few times – there were more than a few water crossings where there was nowhere to step but in!
The 50K course was the 30K + 17K + TBD. On my final loop (the 17K), I was on round two of the steepest, hottest climb and it was only steeper and hotter than it had previously been and thought how nice it would be to dunk my head in the creek. At the very next water crossing, I found myself stripping off my hydration pack and jumping in, dunking my head, my hat and my entire body into the small creek. It felt amazing. By the time I was out and back on the trail, we were descending back down towards the finish area. On the final 2.5 miles to the finish before the TBD 1.6 miles I passed what I figured must have been the first female. After realizing that, it was balls to the wall. I made my way swiftly down the hill, got instructions for the TBD part of the course and literally sprinted the last 1.6 flat miles around the base of the Redwoods. I was so tired and so done in by the heat that the minute I had both feet across the finish line, I got down on all fours and totally puked. I heard people saying, “great job, you’re the first female..oooohhhh” as they look over and see me crouched over and puking. Oops.
For more on this race, check out my race recap video: