AKA the race I should have considered being a DNS (Did Not Start). I did this one a few years ago while experiencing non-stop nausea from a birth control pill and to be honest I remember very little from it because I was in a haze of misery. This year I had signed up for the 50k and training was going fairly well until I incurred an injury at work–tweaked the piriformis which went on to affect my entire right leg from the glute all the way down to my calf and radiated around to the shin. The shin had me the most concerned because I initially though it was a stress fracture because I couldn’t even apply fingertip pressure to it. Fortunately that faded after a few days, however the glute to calf pain did not. Throw in a raging case of plantar fasciitis in both feet and my training has been FUBAR and non-existent since the 8th of June with the last long run being a 10 miler on 4th of June!
So being the stubborn arse I am and not wanting to completely ‘waste’ my $50 I opted for the 25k route again knowing that the SAG wagon would always be an option if things went even further south. For those unfamiliar with the Full Moon it is run at night on forest service roads in the Oachita (pronounced wash-ih-taw) National Forest and its tagline is heat, hills, and humidity! It definitely lives up to it! Add in dusty, loose packed dirt roads riddled with rock plus copperhead snakes, tarantulas, and other native wildlife and it’s an adventure all runners should experience at least once. The aid stations are awesome with lovely volunteers looking after the runners and walkers brave enough to take it on. This year the turnaround point aid station for the 25k had a disco ball lighting the way and it was surreal in the way the beams played across the trees and dust motes. Again, thank you to those who gave their time and encouragement.
I quickly learned that my INOV8 running pack which was perfect for UK ultra conditions is not going to work in the Arkansas heat and humidity, it has too much coverage and doesn’t ‘breathe’. Ended up ditching it at the mile 4 aid station and carrying my handheld of Tailwind until on the way back when I collected it back for the 4 miles to the finish. Was wishing I’d just left it there for the lost and found though! Fuel was the small bottle of Tailwind, crisps (potato chips) and watermelon with a chaser of pickle juice at the turnaround, then orange slices, crisps, and a small cup of 7-up at the 12 mile mark. I should have foregone the 7-Up though, it wasn’t flat and I drank it too fast so any running I was doing ended about 1/4 of a mile from that station! Developed a gas bubble which wouldn’t go away and I could no longer take any deep breaths. Prior to that point I was power hiking the ups and overtaking people on the downs (I don’t have much fear when it comes to bombing down the hills even in uneven conditions) but it was game over for any running whatsoever for the last 4 miles in. Note to self, avoid gulping the carbonated stuff from now on, sip it like a fine gin or in my case some of Aldi’s own.
One handy thing I learned is that Off Active bug spray makes for a damn fine anti-chafe agent as well as keeping the nasty biting critters at bay. Zero chafing except for on my toes from the loose bits of gravel that worked its way into my shoes thanks to being unable to find one of my Dirty Girl gaiters–if anyone wants to gift me an early Christmas gift, a set of those would be quite nice 😀
Last night’s kit included the Team Beef Arkansas singlet, Brooks Cascadia 10s (which are due for replacement), Brooks Night Life cap (also due for replacement) and shorts, SureSport calf compression sleeves (a groupon special from 2013), Silva headtorch, Inov8 running pack, and Tailwind in Caffeinated Raspberry Buzz. The swag from this year’s race included a technical vest, 25th Anniversary water bottle with finisher’s ribbon, 2 tubes of lip balm, Hammer Nutrition gel, and a fantastic finishers all you can eat breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, and pancakes plus awesomely stocked and staffed aid stations.
Event pictures courtesy of the awesome Arkansas Outside, grimaces courtesy of moi
My stats–fairly dire! However I gutted it out and finished and while my time was approximately 26 minutes slower than 2011’s time, the course this year was also 16.2 miles versus 15 for that one and no, I did NOT get lost. Considering the injuries and lack of training I am counting it as a win (PS avoid gulping the carbonated drinks during!).