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A Wacky Winter Weekend

posted Feb 25, 2011, 3:22 PM by Serena GHR Eley   [ updated Feb 27, 2011, 8:14 PM ]
3 GHR members performed outstandingly in individual races the weekend of February 12th .  Yes, the winter training has been working.  Both Jordan and Serena won 50K trail races, while Kate finished 7th in her division (28th female overall) in a super speedy Mardi Gras Half-Marathon (1hr 30min).  The one thing we all had in common was our Zensah performance attire Check out our reviews here!

Psycho Wyco 50K in Wyandotte County Park near Kansas City, Kansas (Feb. 12 2011) -- On the weekend of my first ever 50K trail race, the Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run, nothing went according to plan. A tardy travel companion meant a late departure for the 10-hour drive from Colorado. I tried to play catch-up and got a speeding ticket from a Kansas state patroller. Three hours of sleep at a budget motel later, we pulled into Wyandotte County Lake Park in Kansas City, where eight inches of fresh snow greeted us at the race start - not the friendliest conditions for the longest, wintriest race I’d ever run. I was grateful that, with so many roadblocks I couldn’t control, my Zensah sports bra was staunchly reliable. I had a lot of firsts to worry about: my home-made screw shoes, my handheld water bottle and my mid-race food, to name a few. But one thing I didn’t have to worry about was my sports bra. It kept me comfortable and chafe-free over 50 kilometers of snow, mud and rocks, up and down 12,000 feet of elevation change, and through five hours and forty one minutes of pure trail joy - just enough time for me to finish (and win!) my first ultra.
Rock N Roll Mardi Gras 1/2 Marathon in New Orleans, LA (Feb. 13 2011)  -- New Orleans was a flat, fast course. It was shady as hell and the weather behaved (low 40s at the start, 60s by the time I needed a post-race beer). The wave start let marathoners and half marathoners run together for the first 5 miles before they split, only to reconnect a few miles later for the marathoners - us halfies pretty much had a half-mile by ourselves. It was quiet and not very band-filled for a Rock-n-Roll event, but that made it easy to focus on my pace. The St. Charles Avenue miles were calm and beautiful, while the crowd near downtown was finally, well, there! Although it was a nice course and Kim Smith smushed the all-comers female half marathon record, the pavement after mile 10 was awful. I have small feet and usually slip into cracks/holes without much incident, but I think a size 4 foot still would've been too big to avoid most of the road's issues. The large park where all racers finished offers medal engraving and easy gear-check as well. I'd recommend it for anybody looking to PR, then eat a ton of crawfish after :)
Dances with Dirt Green Swamp 50K in Green Swamp near Dade City, FL (Feb. 12 2011)  --  Currently residing in central Illinois, the thick snowfalls and single-digit-F wind-chills have severely affect my training regime.  Given that 95% of my mileage over the past couple months had been on a treadmill, I was unsure if I could actually propel myself!  (My few outdoor long runs on sidewalks still deep in snow were amazingly slow.  So perhaps I was questioning whether I could propel myself at a decent pace?).  Florida in the winter was a welcome change of pace!  It wasn't especially warm -- probably the upper 30s at the start and mid 50s by the finish -- yet this was far warmer than I had experienced in months and I really enjoyed the sunshine! 
The course was extremely flat, which is unusual for a DWD race.   I felt great!  Yes, 20-to-24 mile long runs on a treadmill do in fact work!  With much of the on-trail sections of the course on sand and the off-trail sections bushwacking through waist-high growth and odd footing, I realized the one weakness that came from too much treadmill training -- stability muscles and tendons.  Achy ankles!

As with any DWD event, racers follow colored ribbons rather than a clearly established trail.  I got lost ~ 5 times, which probably added on a couple extra miles, but the race was so much fun -- I can't complain.  (I did, though, worry about NOT finding my way to the finish).  In fact, the worse part about getting lost was the embarrassment associated with passing the same racers multiple times when they had never actually passed me!   And yes...they had a good laugh whenever they saw me.  Oh well. (Note that the event offered a 10K, half-marathon, marathon, 50K, and 50 miler.  So, many of those I kept passing were 50 milers).  On that note, I met a lot of impressive athletes!

I won (1st female overall and 5th person overall)!  At the finished, I was greeted with a plaster gator skull as my prize and the usual DWD celebration BBQ.

So, I've now completed my 3rd 50K, all in the Dances with Dirt race series.  I am one DWD race away from earning my Bloodied,Boned, Bruised and Burned Series  belt buckle!  I highly recommend the series.  In fact, this is the most fun I've ever had in individual races!
 A quick shout-out to Zensah!  The one thing we all had in common this weekend was our Zensah performance attire! (See our reviews here)