What a race!!! I am still on cloud nine. My friend John and I went back for our second annual Drummer Hill 50k yesterday. This is part of my training for the Vermont 100 so I used this race as a back to back long run block. Friday morning I went out and ran twenty hilly miles on dirt road/trail combo. It was pouring rain and in the low 50’s and my cold quads took a beating. When my alarm went off at 4 a.m. Saturday to head to the race I was worried because my legs felt stiff and sore. I foam rolled and did some mobility work and hoped for the best.
Drummer hill is a tough course. It is rocky, rooty, twisty and has over 4,600 feet of elevation gain. Some people in the race were dong shorter distances so I made sure to hold back in the beginning and let them get ahead of me. On the first lap I realized that I was running a lot of the steep sections that I had resorted to hiking in the past year. Once again I forgot to turn off auto pause on my watch so the time that I stopped at aid stations was not being added to my watch. When I ran this race in 2017 I barely broke 7 hours. My quick mental math told me that I went out way too fast, I was on track for a sub 6 hour!?. But I felt good.
The only thing bothering me was my new hydration pack. The straps were chaffing the skin off of my neck. It is a different shape than the older model and does not fit as well. I thought about ditching the pack but it continued to get hotter and I didn’t want to rely on aid stations for water. I tucked my bandanna under the strap and tried to ignore it.
I finished lap 2 (about 15 miles) I grabbed some water and grapes at the aid station and heading back up the steep hill. I caught up with the guy ahead of me and realized it was this guy Scott that I knew. He is usually hour ahead of me in races. Did he lap me? Did I go out too fast? Or was I just having a really great race? I hung in with him for the whole next loop. His conversation and laughter kept me distracted and moving at a good clip. We took turns smashing our feet into roots, tripping over rocks and at one point he rolled his ankle pretty bad. He decided to drop when we passed the start/finish line. I had one more loop to finish this thing. The heat had come on strong, I think it was in the high 80’s and so many spots on the trail were full sun and no longer shaded. A sub six was out of the question but I figured I could still try to keep it under 6:10.
I made it up one of the steep hills and the people at the aid station tent offered me an icy rag. I was so hot and it was the most heavenly thing to have a cold cloth to wipe the salt off of my face and chaffed neck. It gave me a little boost. It wasn’t until the last few miles that my legs really started to complain. My goal was to run this race and leave my legs fresh enough to run ten miles the next morning. But I also had it in mind that I might be in the top 3 females so I did not want to back off of my pace.
I hit the final aid station with just a few miles to go and this awesome volunteer Suzanne jumped in and ran to the finish line with me. I was so thankful for her company and conversation. Despite a few terrible sound effects I hung in there and crossed the finish line in 6:04! 52 minutes faster than last year. I was the 3rd woman and 6th person across the finish line for the 50k. My buddy John finished shortly after and we got to sing happy birthday to him at the finish line because he was turning 50!! This amazing woman named Yuki who is one of my running heroes came in 2nd woman and put things in perspective in her race write up:
“Drummer Hill 50K trail race was THE MOST challenging 50K I have ever done in my life. I had no idea what I was in for when I woke up this morning. To put this in perspective, I have done the Pineland Farm 50K in 4hrs34min and the Fall Classic 50K in 5hours. This 50K took me 5hrs48min and I was pushing the pace to the best of my ability. My legs felt like they were on fire within the first mile. 🔥My average heart rate was 175bmp and went up to 207. The ascents and descents were both steep and technical. Heck, this whole course was full of roots and rocks. My anthem for the day was “Focus, don’t fall”and it worked even though I tripped a dozen times which was jarring. I’m mentally and physically exhausted from this jaunt in the Woods, but I freaking loved it!”
I also passed some of my racing costumes on to her because she is wacky like me and likes to dress up for races!
I managed to go and run my ten miles this morning and felt good! Tired but more from lack of sleep than running fatigue. I ran jut under 95 miles this week.
In my mind this is only the beginning. Next up is Vermont 100 and for those of you who missed my big announcement, my heart is focused on preparing myself for Infinitus 888k (No typo, that many 8’s) next Spring. It is known as one of the toughest races in the world and I want a shot at it. I am not getting any younger but perhaps I am getting stronger! I am getting saddled with a $10,000 dental bill this year. (no typo, that many zeros) So I am doing a fundraiser to help with the expenses of this huge race as it is currently beyond my means . Please check out my GOFUNDME link below for details and message me if you are interested in crewing or pacing! Thanks for following my journey!