If you don't look off to the sides, bears aren't there.
If you don't focus so much on the trail infront of you, you don't see snakes...
Maybe that noise I just heard was just some other runner falling into rubbish or maybe it's a bear?
Well no bear and no snakes sights during this event, which is a win in my eyes!
World's End Ultra Marathon.
Location: Worlds End State Park, Pennsylvania
Elevation gain: 6200+ft
Course conditions: Wet, Mud
Nutrition: 2 liters water, 4 oz coke.
Looking back at all the ultra marathons I have ran (over 30 finishes) closer to over 40 If you want to count the few DNFs and a few distance switches. Besides the point, out of 30+ ultras I have ran, Worlds End is the toughest, most challenging course I have come across for the 50k distance, and to make the race even more brutal, we ran it in a heat wave.
Rewind to 2 weeks prior. I got an email that my name was selected off the waitlist to be a participant. I was hiking with my dog Tinny at Eales Preserve when I received the email. I had the Cayuga 50k that weekend, which would be back to back weekend 50ks. I was unable to run Cayuga due to a family (dog) emergency, so getting into Worlds End really just worked out.
I've been having some knee issues due to a clumsy error on my part, so I wasn't running much the weeks prior in hopes my knee would just immaculately heal. The night before Worlds End, my knee was killing me, I thought, "yep, I am not going tomorrow". I even stayed up late and watched Dirty John, worked on my book and ate 3 lipton noodle soups.
Finally, took melatonin and passed out. I woke up early, and look at that, my knee is fine. (Musta been the Lipton).
On the road! 1.25 hour drive to Worlds End State Park.
Zero Cell Phone coverage (to be expected).
I was a little intimidated and nervous before the race, I've trained for the distance but not the climbing, so I had no or low expectations on how I would race, nor did I even know what I was about to endure. I also, am not in the race shape I believe I can be, 12 weeks as of now that I began training again so my mental preparation was not there.
Today's goals: no breaks, no aid stations, no quitting.
When I say no breaks I mean no just stopping and chilling I know ill be walking (alot). I've been focusing alot of my training on carrying my own fuel, I don't like wasting time at aid stations so I only stop if it is absolutely necessary.
Challenging course due to gain as well as rocks, routes and Mudd so the Plan: Run when I can: flats, descents that are runnable. Walk when I have to: climbing hills, technical portions.
The first 3 miles, for me were the most challenging. I was feeling ok only I was having a hard time adapting to the course, I was walking up rocks, I did not do much hiking in my training, so this was an eye opener in what I need to do regarding my training for future ultras like this one. My most technical 50k I have ran in the past was approximately 4600ft Worlds End is over 6200ft. I had over 20 runners pass me in the first 3 miles, I started to feel like maybe I should just had in my bib at the aid station and call it a day. Luckily, I was able to talk myself into hanging on and to see how I would feel in the next hour or so.
I started to "warm up" around 9 miles, running was feeling a little more effortless, as effortless as running up mountains can be that is. I was catching up to those who passed me over the next few miles.
The course is challenging yet in ways it gives you breaks, I ran when I could 9:00-11:00 min paces when the trail was runnable.. The hiking portions is when I was struggling, I was learning as they would come to not try to run them, I would exhaust myself. Most of the descents were too steep, top rocky or too muddy to run, so hiking down them is all I could do. My paces in the race were between 9:00 minutes and 18:00 minutes.
Falling was a must, no choice here. Keeping an eye on my footing was getting easier, foot placement was my main focus, getting hurt out here is not an option.
2nd Lady and I kept bouncing back and forth, I kept catching her at aid stations, she was using, I was running through. I only stopped at one for a 4oz cup of coke bc I wanted to add flavor in my mouth, I had only been drinking water today.
The heat/humidity was brutal. But luckily it did not affect me. I only took in 2 liters of water and 4 oz of coke. Which is not exactly alot but I was well hydrated coming into the race. I've been training myself to hold my own and train mostly off water. It is working out well for me.
Getting lost was a fear, watching my footing my head was down alot so I would get easily turned around, best thing to do is look up and find a flag.
My knee held up until mile 20, the pain would come and go and then I started to think maybe it's all in my head.
Last aid station and approx less than 4 miles left to the finish. Those last 4 miles were the miles to show your toughness. Pure sunshine, in 90* Temps.... I ran as much as I could those last few miles until I got to the last mile or so, that was a descent, not runnable, not for me anyways. I was sliding down walking.
I finished 3rd lady, 11th overall and in 6:34.
Finger Lakes 50 Mile July 3rd.