Virtual Cowtown Ultra aka Solo 50K

In light of Cowtown’s races being canceled last week, I promised myself to run my own 50K in hopes that Cowtown would honor it.   The 5K and 10K  had also been canceled on race weekend and the runners for those races were offered a virtual event to compensate them.  To my delight, I received an email on Monday, March 2nd that Cowtown would indeed offer a virtual for all the race distances.  I was thinking about it for the rest of the week, my 50K route.  Would I run laps in my hood?  Would I head out to this park in my town that has a short running path and also include a route through the town?

As my virtual race day approached, the weather took another turn.  We experienced “wintry mix,” sleet, frozen rain or whatever you want to call it on Wednesday night.  On midnight Erik took a picture of the snow that was on the ground.  The neighborhood was silent and it had already been announced that the kids would have no school on Thursday because of the snow.  There were about 3-7 inches of snow on Thursday and my work had a 2 hour delay.  What did that mean for my Friday virtual?  My plan was to head out in the morning after I took my boys to school, one boy starts at 8:30 am and the other at 8:45.  Unfortunately the snow that was melting on Thursday afternoon was going to refreeze on Friday and sure enough the boys had a 2 hour late start.  I thought I’d wake up early and run for one hour before taking them to school and then finish afterward.  Unfortunately there was still ice on the ground so I had to wait it out.  I ended up heading out close to 10:40.  It was really cold so I had wool socks over my running ankle socks, a hoody over my Cowtown tech shirt, leggings, and sweat pants on top of them.  🙂

I took Rusty with me for the first loop of my run.  We went at a good easy pace.  Rusty likes to pee on everything that sticks up from the ground but it was a good run for the dog.  We ran 3.87 miles before I got him home.  I peeled off my wool socks and my sweat pants and headed back out for the other part of my run, it’s a 7 mile loop with one repeat around one of the 1/2 mile blocks in my neighborhood.  It was so sunny and bright out which was a nice change from the previous cloudy, cold, dreary weeks.

After 10 miles I went to the house, left my sweat shirt, refilled my bottle, ate a GU and headed out for 10 more miles.  I was still feeling good. Then at about mile 16 I felt cramping in my calves.  I continued on, walking and running using 2 min run 1 min walk intervals.  Sometimes I did a little more running but i stuck to the plan for the most part.  I knew I had to eat, the cramps in my legs were from a lack of fuel.  My nose was running alot and I knew that it was contributing to my dehydration.  I knew that based on the time, I would finish my 20 miles, and then I’d have to meet Justin at school.  I finally made it home after doing a few repeats up and down my street to make an even 20 miles.  Restroom break..again, Gatorade makes you pee alot! I grabbed my sandwich and my extra water bottle and began walking and eating to the school, about .7 miles away.  I got to the school and the “walkers” weren’t released yet.  I ran up and down the street some for a few short repeats until I noticed my little long haired 11 y/o walking towards me.  He smiled and waved and I met up with him.  He informed me as we were about half way home that he hadn’t turned in his homework assignment because they had testing and he “forgot.”  Being the mom that I am, we turned around and went back to the school.  I waited for him at the entrance while he ran up to his class to turn in his work, hoping the teacher was still there.  It felt like I waited forever when he finally came down the steps and we proceeded to walk back home.  We had to jump over a ditch covered in water and mud because of the melted snow and we made it into a challenge, “Who can jump the farthest and without touching the mud.” We both lost both times we jumped the ditch.  We had agreed he’d get his bike and join me for part of my run.  Never expect 11 y/o boys to keep their promises, when we got to the house he decided he wanted to skate board.  He got a new skate board for his birthday last week and hadn’t gotten a chance to ride it outside.

I headed out alone again with all the little repeats I’d done I actually had already completed 23 miles!  I’m not going to lie I wanted to quit, I was tired, and this was taking alot longer than I’d thought!  My knee started hurting and I was feeling defeated.  I began walking more and figured I’ll finish it walking.  🙁 Before I knew it, I noticed my Garmin died.  I don’t know how much time had passed but I started my RunKeeper app and went to the house, gave Justin my watch to charge, and continued.  The app kept autopausing but I knew the route.  I had already gone 26.5 miles and when I gave Justin my watch RunKeeper said .3 miles.  26.8 so far about 4 miles left so I went the route I took Rusty on and added an extra mile just for good measure.  I was doing math in my head as I added up the routes and the miles, which made time go by fast.  Before I knew it I was done!

I came home and saw the kitchen with back packs, lunch bags, food items, and dishes.  I asked the boys to please pick up their things and jumped in the shower.  My husband got home from work shortly after and began making dinner.  I was pleased.

Lessons from today:

1. Fuel!  I had oatmeal for breakfast around 9am which sustained me but I didn’t eat my banana or all of my gu.  I ate half a bag of my electrolyte bites but that was it.

2. Hydrate!  I didn’t have enough to drink and I think it was because it wasn’t that hot so I wasn’t sweating that much.  It was an oversight but when my muscles cramped I knew.  I was very tired and really wanted to stop so I could literally go to sleep.

3. Get more sleep!  Especially before a long run.  I was not getting to bed early this week and on Wednesday night before my 50K I stayed up really late and woke up early only to leave for work late because of the snow.  Driving in the snow in Texas is exhausting in and of itself!

Lessons learned that’s for sure.  April 4th is my marathon, The Irving Marathon.  I hope to speed up a bit during this race.





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