Jeff and I arrived in the Tri-Cities (Eastern Washington) the day prior to the race. I spent the entire drive feeling anxious about the fact that I could sense an oncoming cold (the one that our son had been battling all week). The night before, I began getting a super sore throat and then felt super weak on my shakeout run.
After we checked into our hotel, I wanted to check out the course. For those traveling to races....ALWAYS do this. Obviously, you don't have to run the entire thing but this will give you a rough idea of what to expect. Also, it's fairly important to know exactly where the starting line will be and how long it will take you to get there. I'm not a morning person and there is no way that I'm getting up a minute earlier than I have to.....and I'm not a huge fan of standing around waiting for the race to start. Races don't start early.....what's the point of being there an hour ahead of time? I'd rather have the nervous poops in the comfort of a real bathroom, thank you very much.
The only thing that unnerved me was the heat. The Tri-Cities is a desert....there is NO tree protection. The race website states, "This region is unique in that there are very few native trees so a person can see for miles in all directions." The temperatures were in the high 70's, which can be brutal without any shade especially when you're coming from North Idaho during a time of year when 50's feel downright tropical.
Pictures below were taken by the race photographer of the course....
We started the race with a long climb....perfect for warming up! I came within inches of being hit with a flying tumbleweed .... one of the many that almost brought about my demise. I remember looking to the person running next to me and saying, "Did that just happen?!?" They just laughed.
I'm not one for writing out play-by-play recaps....and I doubt that anyone wants to read one. I'll just give the highlights...
The course was an out-and-back that consisted of running up (and down) three mountains....and then doing the same in reverse.
|Elevation Profile via Garmin|
I got caught in what I would refer to as a dust / sand cyclone that lasted for at least two miles. Running in a dust storm is not what I would call pleasant. You would have to alternate running forwards and backwards just to get a break.
The weather was just so fickle that you had to laugh about it. I've found that laughing in the face of a challenge makes it easier to conquer. There was absolutely no portion of this race where I was not confident about a finish. I felt amazing the entire time....Well, as amazing as one can feel running a 50k.
I carried a 20 oz bottle with a concentrated Tailwind mixture (2.5 scoops)....I refilled the bottle once. In total, I consumed maybe 500 calories of that? Other than that, I drank Coke at two aid stations + plenty of pure water (at least one cup per station).
Physically, I began to suffer once I reached 27 miles but I wasn't miserable. I was able to sprint (somewhat) to the finish.