This last weekend I traveled to Kansas City, KS, for my 3rd running of the Psycho-Wyco Run Toto Run 50k. This is a fun, well-organized race that provides a great training goal and opportunity for a change of scenery in the middle of a Minnesota winter.
I had been checking the weather forecast leading up to our departure on Friday before the race and it predicted dry and warm conditions. I was excited to run in the sun and on dirt trails!!
After working part of the day on Friday, Matt and I hit the road for the 7-hour drive to Kansas City. We arrived about 10pm that night. It didn’t take long, and I was in bed with the alarm set for 5:30am.
The alarm went off and I started preparing my drop bag and gear for the day. Breakfast was coffee, a banana, and vegan chocolate shakeology. It was a quick drive to the race start where I picked up my race number and this year’s hoodie. The weather was chilly – high 30’s at the start. I was in shorts and tank top with a wind jacket, knowing it wouldn’t be long before I needed to stuff my jacket in my pack.
|At the start. M. Leis photo|
The course is a 3 - 10.3 wheel-measured loops – my garmin came up short each time, but based on how much the trails winds and loops around, I’m not surprised garmin couldn’t keep up. It’s a very hilly course with the back half of the loop being harder than the first half (in my opinion.) The aid stations are close together and well stocked. One aid station had home made cookies that were fabulous! Thank you to the volunteer that made them!! I asked for one on each loop!
The first loop went quickly and within 3 miles I had my jacket off. It was going to be a warm day. I made sure to drink plenty of water and sip on my hydrate electrolyte replacement drink regularly. I finished the first loop in exactly 2 hours, right on my estimated pace. I refilled my hydration pack with water, grabbed another bottle of hydrate, a couple bites of nutella tortilla rolls and I was off to start loop number 2.
I find the second loop of this course to be the most challenging because you know that you still have one more loop to do and there is a certain level of fatigue you start to feel as this loop drags on. You know you have to do every hill again, and you know the temperature is going to continue to rise. It becomes a mental game. I was starting to get warm, but in no way was I going to complain about the heat! It was time to keep hydrated and sweat it out! I have been dealing with some chronic calf tightness that presents itself as ankle pain. I knew I was favoring that ankle some on the climbs because my right quad was getting extra tired. I slowed a little on this lap and finished in 2:14.
|Climbing up the dam with another runner. M. Leis photo.|
|A nice downhill to stretch the legs. M. Leis photo.|
By the third loop, the remaining 50k runners are fairly spread out, so I ran the bulk of this loop completely solo. I popped in one ear bud for a little music pick me up and focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat. On the climbs I could literally feel my pulse in my head. I knew I needed to be mindful of my effort and continue to eat and drink regularly. I was starting to fade and my pace slowed a bit more, but I was still running a few of the non-technical sections, but I was ready to be done. I saw Matt a few times on the course; he was like a ninja, hiding in the woods with his camera. I knew if I spotted the car, he would be close by. I saw him just before the last aid station. It was a great pick me up before the last 2 miles and 3 big climbs to the finish. I managed to wrap up the final loop in 2:24. I was hoping to have finished the last loop a little quicker, but overall I’m happy with how it went.
|One final time up the dam. The runners were pretty spread out by now. M. Leis photo.|
|One last crossing on the third loop. I wasn't feeling as graceful this time around! Mile 90 photo.|
|One of the many climbs on the course. M. Leis photo.|
My official finish time was 6:40 – 4 min slower than last year, but that is ok. Not every race will be a personal best time and even the same race from year to year can have drastically different conditions. I also felt like I went into this race a little under trained for ultra trail running. I have been doing a lot of cross training since really focusing on my personal training business the last few months. Teaching group fitness classes, continuing to ride horses and helping clients one on one has left me with a little less time and energy to focus directly on my running. But it’s all good – I’m so grateful to be able to do all of those things! Having the opportunity to help others lead healthier lives, and run long distances and still ride a few horses is truly a dream come true. I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds.
Until next time!!