On Sunday, June 11th, I did Echo Valley 50K… but it turned into a 60K at 37.2 miles. The race course was a lot easier than my previous 2 50Ks, Deception Pass 50K and Sun Mountain 50K that I PR’ed both of those races even with the added 6 miles finishing in 6:58. I highly recommend this race if you want a much easier course or to PR! Evergreen Trail Runs is also awesome!
I carpooled with Carol and Liz out to Lake Chelan. Two years ago Carol and our friend Venus took a trip out here when Carol did the 50K and I did the Half Marathon. This time the tables were turned, I was doing the 50K and Carol and Liz were doing the Half Marathon. We had an amazing weekend. It is a great get away. Dinner is served to the athletes for a discount at the Vin du Lac with a delicious wine selection to take the edge off the race evening jitters. Our hotel had a hot tub. And Lake Chelan is a very refreshing ice bath recovery for after the race. I also enjoyed a great big omelette breakfast the morning after the race at the Apple Cup Cafe.
We got up to Echo Valley early for a nice race start of 8 AM. I was testing out wearing a running skort I had for this kind of distance since I think that’s what I’ll stick to for the 50M since it’s supposed to be hot. I’m worried about chafing with shorts for that kind of distance. It worked well – had no chafing except for from my sports bra so lesson learned for my 50 Miler to put some Vaseline under there since the Glide didn’t cut it for the whole 60K. The first mile and the last mile of the race are the same since you do the Kids Run 1 Mile. The next 3 miles I felt like I struggled. My heart rate was all over the place and I couldn’t settle into a pace. I realized later this was because this was the only spot where we were actually doing elevation and then everything pretty much leveled out except for a couple spots but everything was a very gradual incline, no need to ever hike. It was all completely runnable which after doing Sun Mountain 50K was just amazing and strange.
At Mile 9, Liz passed me for the Half Marathon (they started at 9 am). Speedy Gonzales. And I knew Carol wouldn’t be far behind. Both had some encouraging words and it was good to see them. At this point I saw and talked to a woman who would later sentence me to doing a 60K that day instead of a 50K. She said, “We’re almost done!” To which I responded, “Um, I have just 21 more miles to go.” Perhaps she thought I needed more miles that day later when I saw her volunteering at Mile 19 because of this comment.
The race went pretty fast. I was averaging around 5 miles per hour which to me for trail running is pretty awesome. I couldn’t believe it would be possible I would finish in 6 hours. I saw Jerry a lot on the course taking photographs. I got confused by the aid station at mile 10. I somehow missed seeing it come back from a loop and didn’t see another table with water until mile 16. I decided to fill up my pack again at this point just in case I had trouble finding aid stations or water tables for later, but of course I couldn’t miss the big aid station tent at mile 19/25 where I was happy to re-apply some glide and stick a blister bandaid over a callus on the ball of my foot that suddenly started hurting around mile 25. I had bad blisters on my foot from Sun Mountain 3 weeks prior that never really got to heal. The blister bandaids really helped. I only wished they were bigger. Where can I get some wider ones for the 50M in 2.5 weeks? 😉
At Mile 19 at the aid station, there were 2 guys also refueling. The volunteer at the aid station said we didn’t need to come back to the aid station if we didn’t need to after finishing the loop. I took off before they did, but we leapfrogged for a bit heading up to this beautiful 4 mile loop with a great view of Lake Chelan in the distance, but I lost them after they started walking. I took a picture of the incredible view. That loop was completely flat and I sped through it, came on back down towards the aid station. The lady who must have run the 10K I saw on the course who said “We’re almost done!” was volunteering at the bottom. The arrows weren’t clear and I couldn’t figure out where to go next. She said, “You have to go up there.” I was confused. I wasn’t sure if that was the way I just went or if I had gone up a different way, but I listened to her and headed up. I did the entire loop again thinking it was a different loop with the same view … until I got to the sign to go back down with the same exact name I saw before and then I realized it – I just did the same loop again. Here I am at Mile 29 and I get down to the aid station and it was completely taken down, the water and nutrition were all packed up. My watch at 1:30 PM. I thought it wasn’t supposed to be taken down until 3:15 PM according to the race site. I told the 2 men there what happened and asked if I could have some water, which way to go, and how much further they estimated it to be. They estimated 3-4 miles. It was a bit more than that I later learned. Thankfully, one of them walked me up to show me where to go. Looking at that sign without the distance marker, I would have never figured that out.
At Mile 30, the sweeper came running up and high fived me. I told her what happened, that I did the loop twice and kept going. At Mile 31, I twisted my ankle. It hurt so bad. I couldn’t even bare weight for a while. Then I was finally able to walk again. I texted Carol to tell her what was going on cos I thought they must be wondering why it’s taking me so long and that I twisted my ankle. Finally, I was able to run again but it hurt like a motherf’er. Then my watch died. It somehow already powered down to 70% before the race started. Lesson learned: charge that thing all night before the race. Count on using both my Garmin and the cell phone for the 50M. I started tracking the miles with MapMyRun on my phone. At Mile 35, I see 2 volunteers cheering. I tell them what happened (I guess I was a bit annoyed and in some pain) and they said, “Your only about 7 minutes out!” 7 minutes my ass. It was 2 more miles. It was so frustrating at that point because I could see the parking lot, but couldn’t cut through if I didn’t want to DNF yet I knew I was well past the 50K mark. So whatever, I chalked up my pain, and kept going and then got to the 1 Mile Kids Fun run finish. There was a lot of cursing here. And a lot of pain. And then before I knew it, I was through the finish line with Carol and Liz’s cheers and got some ICE and BEER. Ice and beer is all you need when you hurt like that. I was pretty proud that I beat both of my 50K times on a 60K and with a twisted ankle the last 10K. Take that! I can pretty much do anything. Just not an Iron Man or a 100 Miler. Ok, maybe one day.