Monday, October 23, 2017

Gate2Gate 50k

Race:  Gate2Gate 50k
Date: October 21st, 2017
Finish Time: 6:32 hours
Distance: 31.44 miles
Overall Total Climb: 1112 ft
Elevation gain: 848 f

"The northern portion of San Felasco is home to miles of high-quality single-track mountain bike trails, open fields, and rolling hills. Our course incorporates all of these stunning characteristics. After the first 5 miles of the course, runners will transition into the double track hiking and birding trails of the southern portion of the park. The southern portion of the race will follow the blue trail loop back to the connector between the northern and southern areas of the park as runners return to the start.

Runners competing in the 25k will complete the circuit once and 50k runners will complete the circuit twice."

I signed up for this race and Jacks 30k as my back to back long training runs for the week. 100 mile training involves a lot of long runs, every once in awhile it's nice to have aid stations set up and that race atmosphere to mix things up! I went into this race with a goal to come in between 6-6 1/2 hours. I wanted to push myself without killing myself since I knew I had another race the next morning. I didn't do any research and just assumed it was a semi-flat Florida trail race. BOY WAS I WRONG. This course was all rolling hills. Up 100 ft, down 100 ft. Up 75 ft, back down 75 ft. We took off and it was sing track trail at the beginning, then after a couple miles it opened up so people could fall into their own pace. Their website states the course is about 60% double track, 40% single track and over 80% being well shaded. I agree with this! The course was beautiful, and a fun course to run, but it was much harder than I expected. I ran the whole thing solo, and seldom saw other people on the course. I was worried with 300 people signed up between the 25k and 50k that the trails would be very crowded but this wasn't the case. The first 2 miles or so seamed pretty congested, but everything opened up not long after that and I was able to fall into my own groove. 

Long rocky uphill/downhill
I passed the only porto-potty on course at mile 4 (and again around mile 12), and the first aid station around mile 5. They had a 1970's VW van out there playing music, it was a great pick me up. I didn't stop here to refill my water or anything and just continued running. The next aid station was around mile 8 (the half way point of the course). I had about half my bottle still so decided to continue through and not stop. This was a mistake. By the time I got back to the VW aid station again I was on empty and borderline dehydrated - already! I filled up my water and took in some electrolytes and continued. The 5 miles between that aid station and the finish line/50k turn around involved about 2 miles of single track, and 2 miles of power lines with rolling hills. I hit the power line section with no water and it was a long, hot portion of running. The 2 miles felt like forever. I hit the finish line area to turn around in 3 hrs 5 minutes. I wanted to be done and just wait for my husband to finish. I didn't, I turned around after a few minutes of regrouping and headed back out.

Long uphill climbs in the sun
I headed back out and around mile 20 I passed my amazing husband who was at mile 12 approaching the 25k finish line. This was his longest trail race ever and he was smiling as I passed him on the trail! I felt so proud and excited for him! He was looking strong. This gave me some momentum and I powered on! This 2nd loop felt so much easier than loop one did. I think I knew more of what to expect and made sure my water intake and salt was on point for the rest of the race. There was one hill that was probably the biggest on course and it was all rock. It was a hard climb up and tore up my legs coming back down.

The end of the loop you are running in single track trail, and it comes out onto the main dirt road. You run down the road to the start/finish line. Right before I came out of the trail I stepped on a big pile of spanish moss (I was too tired to try and jump over it). The moss was covering a stump and I ended up tripping. I couldn't save myself and went down! My 2nd time EVER falling on a trail and I did it 0.3 miles from the finish line! Gah! I was so frustrated, not only about falling but I landed in more of the nasty spanish moss, and was covered in dirt. My quads were on fire, and my legs felt like jello but I finished. 6 hours 32 minutes. I was darn proud of that time after being on the course. The coolest part was running into the finish line, the Race Director Patrick was standing there with his arms open ready to embrace you with a hug, and personally give you your medal and 50k finishers hat. This was really cool! He made you feel so important for finishing the race in that moment. We hung out for a little while after the race. They had food trucks out there and music playing, everyone was just hanging out talking about the race ect. After a bit we decided to head home. After all, I did have another race packet to pickup!  


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