Saturday, January 5th, I had the... opportunity to go to West Virginia and run a 50k called the Frozen Sasquatch. It wasn't called the Frozen Sasquatch for nothing. When I arrived there with my flip flops, I saw that there was snow on the ground... and it was 21 degrees. It was a pretty cold race. I raced with my shorts... which made my legs... pretty cold. Fortunately, I had underarmor so my upper body was okay. This 50k was a double loop. The first loop was my 'test loop' where I would figure out what the trails were like, and the second loop would be the actual race. I finished the first loop in about 2:20, and they told me that I was 5th place. I was pretty happy with myself (especially considering that I hadn't run the last week and a half) and felt like I could keep on going at about the same pace, if not faster. I made the mistake of not properly fueling up and drinking pedialyte after finishing my half that when I pushed myself on the second lap, my legs started cramping up.
Now the first lap started at 8:00 am so the whole course was pretty much frozen. I went through the course running on the rigid trails with tire tracks that were frozen solid. It was pretty tough, but not impossible. I just had to make sure not to run on the ice patches which was pretty slippery. However, the second loop was harder. The course that was once frozen and rigid started to melt a little bit and the trail became a little bit muddier. As it became muddier, it was harder for me to find a proper place to place my foot and so I kept on slipping. At one point, my right foot slipped and I almost fell off the ledge. Fortunately, I twisted my body (a major twist) and somehow managed to catch myself with my left foot and kept on going.
On my second lap. I was excited because I was 5th place, and so I forgot to take in some electrolytes and energy and kept pushing through. Around mile 23, my legs started cramping up, and I knew I had put myself in a terrible position. I had passed the 4th place person, taking his spot, but pushing myself too fast, I went through my electrolytes a little too fast, causing these cramps to happen. As I went pass the first aid station, I grabbed some M&M's to give me some energy, hoping that it would boost me, but they didn't have anything with salt so I kept on going. Cramps were getting more severe by then and I was passed by two other people. I stopped at the next aid station and sat down and ate a lot of chips. I talked to the guys there, thanking them for their support, and after a drink of water went on my way. I started slow as it was uphill, but as soon as it leveled up, I started to jog again. It was pretty tough, but as I went on, the cramps slowly disappeared. I was fortunate that I put in the salt that I needed, but the thing was that I messed up on my dietary plans which can't be undone. I would have to deal with it.
I pushed myself after that and managed to finish the race as the 6th place runner, and ran the race at about a 10:10 min/mile pace. A decent place, but I could have done a better job had I worked on my nutrition. Next time, I know that I need to make sure I'm taking care of myself and constantly take in the electrolytes that I need so that I wouldn't run (no pun intended) into this problem again. I finished the race with a lesson learned. Now I'll have to make sure that I don't have to learn it again. Gotta train for my next race soon!
(and a side note... due to my lack of planning, I didn't sleep that night and drove from 1am to 7am from TN to WV, ran the race, then ate, drove an hour, slept, drove the rest of the way home. It was a very long day)