Race Recap: McKenzie River 50K, Part III

Well, I did it! I'm sure you thought I would, but honestly, I had no idea what would happen. After all, I started training back in May doing some longish runs on the trail and then I went to Europe for three weeks and barely ran. 

Upon my return, I ran two 12 and 13 milers, fell on Brice Creek Trail and spent the next week and a half recovering with five stitches in my knee. Then I did a whopping three more long runs of 3 hours, 4+ hours and 1 hour before tapering for a week. A strong training plan does not that make. 

So, let's get on with the race report, shall we? 

Friday night I had a work event until about 8:30 p.m. I got home, gathered all my stuff, made my breakfast (overnight oats + pbj toast) and went to bed. 

When the alarm went off at 4:15 I was groggy, but up and at 'em to change, put on the body glide and fill up my water. The manfriend kindly decided to head out there with me and go on his own mountain bike adventure while I ran. It's always nice to have a driving buddy at that hour and then even more so when you can't really move your legs after running 31 miles. 

It was a beautiful morning at Carmen Reservoir where the race started. I picked up my packet, said hi to my mom who woke up at 4 a.m. to come to the race, and said goodbye to the manfriend. We lined up and were ready to go by 7 a.m.

The first mile or so up to Sahalie Falls is always a lot of hiking with 200 runners heading UPhill all at once. 

My friend Chloe was right in front of me and had an awesome first 50K. She and I ran together and chatted for the first eight or so miles, which was nice.

The race photographer was kind enough to allow us to download our photos with his logo on them for free. That isn't always kosher at bigger races, so it was nice of him to offer this. I'm still thinking of buying one and getting it printed though. 

I'm pretty sure this is what photographers refer to as "the golden hour."

Saturday was supposed to get pretty hot (94F), but luckily, the first few hours of the race were perfect running weather: cool and fairly shady. 

Because of my lack of training and the heat, I had opted to run with a borrowed hydration pack so I could have plenty of water. While it was a bit heavier than my handheld, I think it was a good decision. 

No idea what kind of weird face/smile I'm trying to make here, but hi, mom! Thanks for being out on the course to cheer me on and take photos!

Loving the new Oiselle distance shorts

After hiking up the falls, the course takes you around Clear Lake, which is always so peaceful. For the first few hours I had some great mantras going in my head that I had hoped to hang onto for the entire race. Essentially, I was saying variations on "You're running easy, free (watchless), fast and strong." 

If you've ever entered a serious pain cave during a race or long run, you know how important a good attitude can be. My mantra worked for several hours, but eventually, the happy thoughts just didn't do much.

Clear Lake, you're kinda wonderful.

I want to grab a cup of coffee and sit here every morning.

After several more miles of flat with a few ups and downs, we got to the most technical part of the course that contains a LOT of lava rock. 

And because I've fallen plenty on lava rocks, I walked through every section with any amount of lava rock. Overkill? Probably, but I didn't want to bust up my knee again and I had no intentions of placing. 

Blue pool is one of many gems on the McKenzie River Trail. I've yet to jump in, but someday I will. 

Where the trail meets the river are always pretty incredible moments. It was honestly hard not to stop and look at all the beauty around me.

About 3-4 hours in, racers started getting more spread out, so I listened to a few podcasts to just keep my mind focused on something other than the pain. My brain was pretty fuzzy at this point and my body was exhausted, so it helped a bit. 

Aid stations were spaced at miles 8, 11, 17, 22, 25, and 29.5. My stomach was a little iffy, but I managed to take in about 500 calories throughout the race. It's probably not ideal, but I didn't want to barf. 

My favorite food at the aid stations were: BBQ pringles, an Oreo and orange slices. I also ate a Picky Bar that I had with me. I also had the volunteers fill up my water a few times. 


At the final aid station (29.5), I could have sworn I should have already been at the finish, but likely my snail paced jog and exhaustion skewed my perception of how fast I was moving. One of the volunteers dumped icy cold water on my head, which felt pretty great as it was pretty warm by this point.

And finally, about a half mile from the finish, I saw several funny signs that the race directors put out. This was my favorite.

And finally, another very serious running photo as I sprinted to the finish line. I was so relieved to be done.

And I had a little dirt on my legs (and face) to show for it. 

I promptly told the manfriend as we headed back to the car never to let me sign up for one of these 50Ks again. I may already be reconsidering that statement. 

This finisher's shirt definitely wins as the best race shirt I've ever received.

And finally, the stats. They may not be pretty, but it is what it is. For reference, in 2011 I ran a 6:23 and in 2012 a 5:32.

Overall time: 6:22: 48
Pace: 12:19
Female Place: 40/71
Overall place: 128/183
*The fastest woman finished in 4:02 and didn't even carry a handheld water bottle! 

I'm happy I survived without a big fall, but I'm also a bit disappointed knowing what I could have done with better training. This week, I've felt sore, but not super sore like I am when I really RACE a course.  Now it's time to rest up and get ready for a hilly adventure at the end of the month! 

Of possible interest: 2011 MRTR Race Recap & 2012 MRTR Race Recap


Leigh said…
Congratulations Lauren! What a beautiful place to run
What a gorgeous place to race! Congrats on finishing the 50K!
I know you aren't pleased with your time, but considering all that you had going on this summer, I think you should be proud for finishing as some would have used the injury as a reason to not do the race. I love all the photos you shared. You are so 'in the zone' in that one towards the end. It looks like a stunningly gorgeous place to run so I am glad you had some great scenery to keep your mind off the pain!

Can't wait to see you 2 weeks from tomorrow!!!
Girfriend - no matter how you cut it,w walk it, run it, survive it, etc - a 50K is an accomplishment and crossing the finish line is a win! Super impressed you were even able to crawl through the last few miles, much less manage a run (even if 'slow'). ;) If nothing else, this was a great training run for Berkeley! ;)
Lindsey said…
Huge congrats! I agree with Lisa, considering everything you had going on and your injury, you should be proud of finishing! A 50K is FAR (can't even imagine) and it's something not many people will ever accomplish.

I love how supportive your mom is of your races.

The trail race you are doing in a couple weeks looks fun! One thing I love about the bay area are all the eucalyptus trees.
Amber said…
WAY TO GO! I'm so impressed that you finished despite your less than stellar summer of training. That looks like such a gorgeous race too!

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