I’ve got to start out this race review by stating how much I loved this course! It was a complete blast running the rolling hills outside Booneville, Iowa.
This race was *almost* 100% gravel roads with a little bit of concrete and a little bit of B Grade roads tossed in for grins. I don’t think there was a flat spot on the course but it wasn’t as hilly as running around my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa so I felt right at home with the hills.
I’d run UP the hill then, Wheee!!!! all the way down…knowing deep in my heart I’d pay for the downhill with another uphill but that’s what makes hills fun, right!? #EarnTheDownhill
I was having a blast!
Due to COVID, we had staggered starts for social distancing. My start was one of the last ones for the 50k distance. Our gun time was 7:20 am.
I was excited! My body was doing it’s little twitchy thing where it says, I am so ready to run!
I was expecting a strong race but I had not anticipated how quickly the weather would warm up. Goofy weather! We received an email for the RD yesterday stating this was the 2nd hottest race they’ve ever had. YAY?
We’re going to have to do a little backtracking here and discuss things that happened way back in March. The reason we’re going all the way back to March is to bring you up to date to my doctor’s visit yesterday.
When MFH and I returned home from my 100 Mile race back in March, we started feeling off? I lost my sense of taste/smell. MFH was just totally wiped out. Bear in mind, this was before they discovered that the sense of taste/smell was part of COVID symptoms. Everything we were feeling was easily explained from traveling and me having run 100 miles in 31 hours.
A little while later, learning about the new COVID symptoms, we were suspicious that maybe we had caught COVID? We decided that we really didn’t feel THAT bad and it was probably just travel/race related and kind of forgot about it.
During our trip to Mississippi this past July, we visited my parents on a Tuesday. Two days later on Thursday, my dad had a mandatory COVID test for an upcoming colonoscopy (lucky guy, right?) and it came back positive! He had ZERO symptoms so he was super surprised.
Still, he called us right away because he wanted us to know that, Oops! I kinda infected y’all!
These things happen.
This time, MFH and I got very sick. I mean, we felt awful!!! Because we knew my dad had tested positive, we went and got tested. We both got negative results. We figured we’d just caught a bug somewhere?
Back to the doctor’s appointment yesterday. I asked if maybe the past two summer races where I had heat related problems could be COVID related? He said we probably really did have it back in March and then again after visiting my parents. The reason for the negative test result was due to having enough antibodies in our system to cause a negative result. Now, I don’t know beans about this stuff but that’s what he said so I’m sharing it with you.
Many of you know that with our move up northeast to Iowa, we moved into a house without AC. We didn’t think it would be that big of a deal because the heat/humidity in Iowa doesn’t compare to the heat/humidity of Mississippi. What we didn’t count on was this summer being a very toasty summer for NE Iowa.
My training this past summer has been very challenging. I’ve seen my pace tank. The runs have been very, very hard. Zero energy. Poor sleep. Rapidly climbing RHR, showing I’m not recovering well from my training. It’s been difficult.
Discussing this with my doc, he said that the lack of AC was a huge contributor to the past 2 races. Not being able to cool down after the B2B long runs…my body has just been a little furnace all summer and the internal temp has been climbing. When I had those past 2 ultras, trying to increase the intensity of the runs has made my body simply shut down.
This past Saturday it literally shut off the lights!
The first hour or so of Saturday was such fun running. It was still cool. There was a little bit of shade. It was wonderful!!!
Then the furnace started and the shade disappeared for the rest of the day. Gotta love summer running, right? Still, this course was so pretty, who cared if it was getting a little warm! I saw people playing polo, a few slithery running buddies, one deceased raccoon (RIP) and a discarded pregnancy test.
Thinking of all the possible scenarios of that pregnancy test kept my mind occupied and entertained for many miles!
MFH (My Favorite Husband) drove passed me on the way to the mile 10 aid station. He hollered out the window, Hey sexy! You’re running strong! I was excited to see him at mile 10. He had my Tailwind Nutrition on ice, cold mineral water for a drink and a quick kiss for the road. It was great!
We reloaded my hydration vest for everything I’d need before meeting him again at mile 21. I had gloriously cold Tailwind and an ice pack for the back of my hydration vest and then I took off!
All along this run I kept a careful check as to how I was fueling/hydrating. I didn’t want a repeat of the excessive sweating like in my last ultra a month earlier. There was no way I wanted to risk overheating/dehydrating. Everything was going textbook perfect!
Mile 16 I suddenly felt a little dizzy. I thought, that’s odd and immediately did another check of my Tailwind consumption. Nope, everything was spot on! Weird. The dizziness passed as quickly as it came. A little further down the road was an aid station. It was just a few coolers of water but I used one of my portable cups and grabbed a quick drink of water for just in case that dizziness meant dehydration.
Pretty soon I met up with a guy. He looked like he was struggling a little bit? Little did I know he would play a very important part in keeping me safe in a few miles!
I fell into step with him for about a mile. We chatted. Nice guy! I wished him well and took off again.
Soon, the route took me onto almost a mile of concrete. This was a surprisingly busy stretch of road! The concrete reflected the heat up onto my face. I wasn’t a fan of the concrete at all!
The coolest thing of that stretch of concrete was two deer zipping across the road right in front of me! I mean, how awesome is that!?!
Checking my directions, I saw a left hand turn in about a half mile. Looking ahead was a big hill. Ugh but what you going to do? You steel yourself for the hill, turn off the concrete and start grinding up the hill!
The very last thing I remember is when I turned off the concrete and the heat off the white gravel felt like it literally slammed against me. I was all, Woah! That’s very toasty!!! Let’s get away from this!
The next thing I knew, two people were folding me into a car.
So, this part is weird because what I’m sharing is second hand. It’s what been told to me by the guy who protected me from traffic and the aid station person who got to us before MFH.
Remember the guy I had chatted with a few miles back? I guess I was at the most a half mile ahead of him? The race route, you could see ahead of you a LONG way. He said he saw me start staggering and then just…Plop! He hustled up to me asking me if I was okay? I was unconscious. Not okay.
Thank goodness for my RoadID bracelet I wear when running! It has MFH’s cell on it. He called MFH and explained the situation. Then he pulled me out of the middle of the road so I wouldn’t get hit by oncoming traffic.
MFH was at the aid station a few miles off and knew exactly where we were then the guy explained. MFH hopped in the car to hustle to where we were but before MFH arrived, an aid station volunteer happened on us. I guess she was driving some supplies to the aid station. It was her car they were trying to stuff me into.
About this time, MFH pulled up. My Guardian Angle/Knight in Shining Armor hopped into our car with MFH and the two cars drove to the aid station.
I started coming around during the drive and said, Let me out! I can finish this!!! I very seriously didn’t want a DNF.
She told me, Sweetheart, that man cradled you in his lap and protected you from traffic until help could arrive. Your race is done.
Quite frankly, I was too out of it to argue but I was still a sad panda!
I was a sad panda because of the DNF but I was a bigger Sad Panda because that very nice man had sacrificed his race to help me and also got a DNF.
I was also very grateful for him stopping to help!
Together, MFH, my new running friend and I drive to the S/F to turn in our timing chips and we drove him to his parked car. Before he left, I asked if we could take a selfie. He very graciously said yes. I very carefully hauled my rumpatootis out of the car because I was still very wobbly, we smiled for the camera, he drove away and I collapsed back into the car.
Now, I know everybody has been super concerned about this so yesterday I went to the doctor to get checked out. We’ve already chatted about this a little bit. They did some blood work which came out perfect! They did an EKG which just showed the regular low heart beat of a runner. I think mine was 42 yesterday? Friday I go back for an echo-cardiogram and a little ultrasound on the arteries in my neck. I think that’s as far as he’s going to poke around on this thing.
So, now you’re up to date on where things stand. Unless something wild comes out of Friday’s tests, we’re going to close this chapter of the past two races where I’ve had heat issues. I have the green light to run. It’s also been suggest by the doc that I consider not racing in the summer because I obviously have problems with the heat. Just stick to summer training miles and then race in the cooler times of the year.
No matter what, I run for Aiden who will be 9 years old on the 26th of this month!!!
Happy Birthday, Aiden!!!