If your foot has been hurting for months and hurts so bad that after 1 hour of running you can hardly walk on it, what do you do?
A. Go to the Doctor and do exactly what he tells you.
B. Go to the Doctor get a Cortisone shot and get fitted for orthotics, then back off running until the orthotics arrive.
C. Go to the Doctor, get a Cortisone shot and fitted for orthotics, then compete in a 24 hour race 2 days after the shot and follow that up with a 50K trail run 14 days later.
Well, if you are me the answer is C. In hindsight, C may not have been the correct answer to choose. So this is the story of the Double Chubb 50K.
I was talked into signing up for the DC 50K by my friend Val, she is an experienced Ultra Marathoner and convinced me that I needed to do my first Ultra. Of course things always sound so good 6 months before the event. And this is one of those events that fill up in just a few hours so I had to enter right away. Of course I did enter and Chuck and Patrick did also. This was Chuck’s first Ultra, but Patrick had done a few Ultras in the past.
We all had a training plan, but I really had a hard time getting my log runs in because the timeframe for the training was right in the middle of the competitive Cheerleading season, and since my daughter is a cheerleader, I was spending most weekends out of town at competitions. This really made it hard to get my long runs in. I was getting a long run in about every third week. Now I know that is not enough. My longest run before the event was only 23 miles and I struggled to finish it.
The next problem was my foot, I had been having problems with it for almost a year now. I finally went to the foot doctor and he said he could have me fixed up in a few months just by putting orthotics in my shoes, but for the short term to help with the pain, he gave me a Cortisone shot and said to back off the training until my orthotics were ready. Ha Ha, now that is really funny because I had a 24 hour race two days after I got the shot and this race 14 days after that. So guess what I did, I ignored the doctors advice and competed in both races.
This is the way my mind works, first I paid for the races, and I didn’t want to waste the money. Although, my foot was hurting so bad the week before Chubb that I thought about not competing, but then I saw it, all finishers would get the coveted belt buckle, Ultras always give belt buckles and I don’t have one, I wanted that belt buckle really bad, so I decided I could push myself through this.
So race morning came, I picked up Patrick and we headed out, we were thinking we were lost on the way to the race, but then we found the park. Imagine that me being lost, who would have ever thought that, (be quiet Chuck). We checked in and headed straight for the bathroom, it was just one of the many trips I would make before the start of the race. So we sat around discussing why the bathroom stalls didn’t have doors and how come the toilets never flush good, you know pre-race talk. Chuck and I both smeared some kind of cream his foot doctor gave him on our foot, he told me it would make my foot quit hurting, so I was willing to try it. We walked to the starting line and were standing chatting with Val the one that talked me into this and with a couple teammates from the Metro Tri Club, Pete and James when all of the sudden everyone took off running, I said is this the start, no one really knew so we just took off with the rest of the crowd.
We headed up a steep hill on the road for a short distance and were funneled into the single track. I felt pretty good my foot was feeling ok. I ran past the first aid station because I was carrying water and hadn’t drank much and I was also loaded down with Honey Stinger. I could still see Chuck in front of me going into the woods by the river and then I lost him. I came to a section where the trail went straight or right, but there was no sign saying which way and I couldn’t see anyone in front of me. I yelled to the 4 guys behind me, asking which way, no one knew so we went straight, after about 5 minutes we knew it was the wrong way and turned back, so I added close to a mile to the first lap.
The route was two laps, but I broke it into 4 lengths because my mind could handle that better. At the first turn around Pat was about a mile in front of me and Chuck about a half mile. My foot had started hurting at 1 hour and 6 minutes into the race, so I just decided to deal with it because even if I had to crawl I was finishing the race. I made it back to the start and hadn’t walked at all until the last hill at the finish line, it took me 4 minutes to walk up it. I came down the hill and ran past the finish line to start the second lap, I made a stop at my drop bag and ran into the bathroom to do some girl maintenance. I had the girl thing going on, you know the “P” word. When my girls and I talk about the girl thing at home, my son puts his hands over his ears and says he can’t hear this and that we are scaring him for life. So for those guys reading this, sorry if this is scaring you. You know its hard being a girl sometimes, not only do we have to deal with the cramps and backache, but the whole maintenance issue during a long run is really inconvenient, but I guess we learn to deal with it. So out of the bathroom with a quick stop at the aid station and I was off.
I have to tell you this, the volunteers at the aid stations were some of the best I have even seen, as I was running into the station they were filling my water bottle and getting me anything I needed. My hat is off to these people, they were all so great.
I was about 18 miles into the race and the leaders were passing me on their way back to the finish, it was kind of depressing to know I still had 3 hours or so to run and they would be finished in 30 minutes, but I kept trudging on. I wanted that belt buckle bad. I saw Patrick about a mile and a half from the turn around and then Chuck about a half mile behind him. Chuck stopped and said, I’m not sure the belt buckle is worth this. I had to agree. I was happy to know that Patrick and Chuck didn’t really have that much distance on me. I made it to the turn around and talked to a couple guys there, they said it was going to take 3 hours to get back, I could hardly believe that because my slowest leg was 2:03. So they took off in front of me and quickly lost me. I was really starting to get depressed because if they were thinking 3 hours then I was way slower. I kept going and by the aid station I had caught and passed them. About a mile from the finish they caught me, but that was ok, they were talking about breaking 8 hours and since I was thinking it would take me 7:30, I was going to be happy with 8 hours.
I came running out of the woods to the road and saw Patrick running in front of me, I yelled at him and he turned around and as we ran he showed me the belt buckle, it was pretty cool looking and I decided then that all the pain and suffering was worth it. As we ran down the hill to the last half mile section of single track, Chuck pulled up in his van and said when I finished he would taxi me back to my van which was about a mile away from the finish. This was the best news I heard all day. I hit the last loop and had 12 minutes to make it to the finish if I wanted to break 8 hours. Patrick said he wouldn’t be running that last hill with me and said good luck and he didn’t know if I could do it in less than 12 minutes, but he would see me at the finish. I knew that I was going to do it, I ran that loop in 8 minutes and finished in 7:56. Patrick and Chuck were yelling at me to hurry up when I was coming down the hill into the finish, little did they know I was on a dead run, it just looked like it was slow motion.
Through the finish line I came, I received my belt buckle and got a ride back to my van. It was a good day. Will I do it again…. NO, but of course I say that after every hard race, so I guess we will see at some time in the future. Oh as for Val she had been sick and injured before the race, so she dropped down and did the 25K. I’m not sure I’m listening to her the next time she tells me I need to do some freakishly long race.