The 2 weeks leading up to the Bluff I was stressing out about how and if I would be able to finish this race. The fall from Nipmuck Marathon really bothered my knee and I was sent to physical therapy from my MD. I literally ran 10 miles total in the two weeks before the race- I felt lost, out of shape, heavy, stiff, and fearful for the race- NOT a good way to go into a big race!!! I tried stretching, strengthening, ice, e-stim, ultrasound, McConnell taping, kinesiotaping and I just prayed something would work!
So race day arrived and I was nervous! I told myself to just enjoy the day and whatever happens, happens. It was supposed to be a clear, fall day in the 60s. The tree's were in full fall color and the course was beautiful. I knew the climb to the Bluff Head was trecherous but it would be totally worth it that day!
I arrived early and ended up sitting in my car until the last minute because it was so cold! Once I went to the Starting line I ran into all the Bimblers- everyone was so upbeat and excited for the day, it instantly put me at ease and into a great mood. Once the gun went off I fell in line with some other Bimblers and we immediately started chatting about life and races- this is why I love running trails- you would never see this kind of friendship and commradery in any other races or competitions! After running with several trail friends, I ended up alone on my up to the Bluffs Head. I made it up to the top and stopped for a few seconds to enjoy the view- and it was worth it! The pictures don't do it justice.
The start of the climb up to the Bluff's head
So far, so good with my knee- I popped a few ibuprofens just in case but I was feeling really good. After the top of the Bluff, it was a tough section- not because of elevation or tough trails, but it was ROCKY and the leaves covered everything. So I basically stubbed my toes about 1,237 times. OUCH! But before I knew it I was at Renee's Way- with great volunteers in some beautiful costumes! Always makes me smile :)
I grabbed some normal M&Ms and pretzels and a Mt Dew and was on my way... but that's when trouble started. All of a sudden I had some major cramping and GI problems. I knew I was on track to beat my time from last year, so I wanted to keep up my pace and continue on. But the more I ran, the more 'side trails' I had to take- very frustrating to have to stop every 30 minutes or so. Looking back I could have taken 15 minutes off my time! Oh well- guess it was just a bad stomach day for me!
I met up with Rob while I was pretty down on myself and was being pretty negative. He was so positive and up beat and so happy to be there that it really helped me out. I came out of my negativity and started realizing that we are doing something most people can't even imagine and I actually enjoy doing it! We ran together off and on for the rest of the race- and I pushed myself to try to stay with him the rest of the way. I ended up finishing just behind him and finished an hour faster than my last years time!! I couldn't believe it! I am now very excited and less nervous about the Mountain Masochist 50! Thanks to all the fellow runners pushing me forward, the happy, helpful volunteers and the great Mr. Bimble for putting on this great race! It was my first ultra and I hope to be running it for years to come!