Monday, June 15, 2009

Deepwater 50 - Farragut State Park, Idaho

I decided to run the Deepwater 50-Mile Trail Run this past weekend. It was a new trail race in the beautiful Farragut State Park in northern Idaho, just a bit over an hour from home. How could I pass it up?

I had heard through the running grapevine about this race and it sounded good. It was part of an adventure racing week, just one of 25 different races. Since I don't swim well (and the water is still freezing) and I don't mountain bike well (because I'm scared of falling), I decided the trail run was the right thing for me - if it wasn't too technical for my wimpy ankle.

Gunhild and I ran a loop of the course the week before the run. I decided then that I could give this a try. There was one long rocky section by the water but lots of very runnable trails over rolling hills. It certainly was beautiful there.

I woke up pre-dawn, and picked up Gunhild (she ran the 1/2 marathon) and met some friends at the start including Ali who was running her first 50-miler.

Eight runners turned out for the 50-miler. There were many more in the shorter distance races, but still few people overall. Guess the economy is affecting us all in many ways...or maybe it was the lack of advertising for this great venue.

It was perfect! Few people, lovely trails, turquoise lake, sunny skies with a few scattered clouds. Thunderstorms were predicted but it sure didn't look like they would appear during the 10 or so hours I expected to be out there.

It was nice and hot. I like the heat. BUT what I wasn't prepared for was the humidity! Gads! Just three miles into it, my body was slimy and my clothes soaked with sweat that wouldn't evaporate. It really wasn't all that humid but the temp rose into the 80s and, well, my body just wasn't prepared for it. I haven't run in humidity like that since I lived in Chicago. I kept praying that those predicted thunderstorms would dump on us to cool us off. About three rain drops fell in the afternoon...and that was it. The dampness preferred to just hang out.

The course was five 10-mile loops plus a little extra to make it slightly over 50 miles according to the RD's pre-race briefing. Nice. More trail for our money!

I made mental notes of all the places I could stop to dip some water along the way. There was a very fast little stream of crystal clear cool water that ran along the trail and, starting with the second loop, I stopped there to douse my body at each passing. Ahh! It was the only "cool" on the course as the aid stations were unmanned and just had water and sports drinks and gels laying out for self-service.

I drank at least two water bottles per loop and I took a few Thermotabs along the way for sodium replacement. I knew I could get depleted quickly in this kind of weather. Despite my vigilance, I started to cramp up pretty good just 20 miles into the race. My quads, my calves, and even my neck was cramping (because I am a wimp on the trails and spend too much time looking down for rocks and roots).

I started to feel whiny when the cramping started; I had 30 miles left to go and it was only getting hotter. At the 25 mile mark, I failed to pick up my cramping leg and I caught my toe on a rock and SPLAT! I went down. I started falling forward, arms outstretched, but instinct caused me to turn to my side to avoid hitting my face on the trail. I landed on my right side but the side of my head still thumped the ground pretty good. I sat there for a minute and got back up, still a bit shaken. I hate falling. I took inventory. Nothing was broken. The right side of my body was covered in dirt. I started to brush it off but the slimy sweat caked in on. I left it and tip-toed more carefully into the aid station. I refueled and carried on. I had a headache. I was grumpy.

I struggled from there with constant cramping, especially in my left quad. Every time I had to lift my leg up over a branch on the trail, my muscles threatened to seize on me. I started running AROUND the branches. I forced a smile and shuffled along. I felt better when I thought of my promise to Tim to come home "spent" so I just kept running. No one's ever died from muscle cramps.

I was so glad to see the finish line in under 10 hours, just glad to be done. I was surprised at how beat up I felt. I held onto Gunhild's shoulder and we took the steps down to the lake to soak in the cold water. Delightful! I was feeling better already!

Ali finished in just over 10 hours. We all hung out for a bit, I ate a nice salmon meal and then drove Gunhild home.

While I ran, Tim road his bike 110 miles, so when we were both done, we shared stories of our adventures, rubbed out each other's sore feet and got some good rest. I thought I was going to be immobile the next day but was surprised to feel pretty good. We went to Cat Tales, a zoo here in Spokane that rescues big cats from people who think that baby lions and tigers are cute for the first year.

Here's a picture of Zamba. He's the retired MGM lion. Check out that mane! King of Beasts, yes! Gorgeous, huh? Walking around the zoo did us both good and the cats were awesome. It was a great birthday weekend.


AnthonyP said...

Amazing - you made it through 30 miles of constant cramping and still nailed a great time. Congrats.

Journey to a Centum said...

Taking a fall can suck all the fun out of a run. At least for a while until you recover. Just today I was practicing some falls with a roll on a local playground that has a soft foam surface.

Looks like a great birthday weekend!

Backofpack said...

I am afraid to say this out loud cuz I'll jinx myself...but I haven't fallen on the trail yet. I've stumbled and windmilled and caught myself numerous times, but have not yet bit the dirt. I'm scared of it too, and it slows me way down. I admire you for sticking out the run to the finish, tired, hot, crampy and grumpy - might want to add stubborn to that list!

I guess I need to ask my goofball husband about the playground practice. First I've heard of it!

Backofpack said...
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Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Hot, cramping and still fast? Way to go! I'm impressed.

I only seem to have cramping problems in races too - I'm lazier in training, maybe that's why? But, I make generous use of tums while racing, in addition to salt. It seems to help more than salt alone. What do you think?

Love those big cats! I will have to visit sometime. My cats are all small, but they think they are big!


Lisa B said...

Hi Cynthia,

My cramps were from dehydration. Even the next day - after hydrating a lot - I was still 3 pounds down. I do take Calcium supplements regularly and since you don't really lose Ca while running (it gets redistributed from stores/bones), I don't think it's really necessary to replace it. The carbonate will act as a buffer, so that's good in any case. Salt is certainly helpful to prevent cramping. But in the end, in my case here, I was just good ol' simply dehydrated!