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Beyond Limits Ultra - 48 Hour

April 8, 2022

Mountain Center, CA

138 miles, 2nd woman, 3rd overall
Making that young thang chase me down

BLU is put on by the same people who host Jackpot. And I have wanted to do this race for a few years. The venue is a summer camp so there are cabins within feet from the course.  Archery, canoeing, farm animals, large toads, flat soft dirt trails, and a kitchen on site where they cook regular, gluten free and vegan meals.  Really a great venue for a multi day.  

The course was a two mile loop that you got to complete as many times as possible during the race.  There was a 72 hour, 48 hour, 24 hour and 50K and 50mile race during the weekend.  We started on Friday and it was hot, even at the start I was in a tank top and not cold.  Temperature got up to 80 degrees and fortunately I had done some sauna training as that helped with both the heat and the altitude, we were at 4500 ft which is not much but for someone who lives at sea level you notice it.

The course was mostly dirt with one section of deep sand.  I knew that my pace would be slower as running in deep sand wastes a lot of energy so I walked that section each and every time after the first loop.  I also knew I would not be moving quite as fast because of the need to take care of the feet.  It had only been three weeks since my last hundo and some of my toes still had skin coming off them.  My plan was to wipe down my feet, re lube them and change socks every 25 miles.  I say that to myself and often just do not want to stop and “take my medicine.” Well this race I did and it saved me as I only got one teeny tiny blister on a pinky toe. Many others were complaining of blisters due to the dirt and sand getting into their shoes even with gaiters on.  One guy even used duct tape to completely close off his shoes. Take note Hudson, mind yourself and take care of your feet early as it saves you later.

I was running, smiling and just enjoying the day.  Then of course they opened up the archery range and I couldn’t help myself, I stopped.  This is rare for me as I barely stop for long at aid stations. But I actually took off my running back and listened to the instructors and shot arrows at targets for about 20 minutes.  It was a nice break in the afternoon and I hit two bulleyes.  That boosted me up to go back out for more fun loops.  When it got really hot I cleaned up my feet and laid down for an hour to avoid the heat.  The cabins were cool and it felt good to stretch out and lie flat.

Then it went from super hot to cold.  No need for that long sleeve shirt, then light weight coat.  I went straight from tank top to puffy coat. After the hot afternoon the coolness felt good and I was running again after two hot walking loops.  Pathfinder Ranch is out in the middle of no where so the stars were out and it was wonderful.  During the short paved section of the course I would turn off my headlamp and just gaze at the stars and constellations.  I saw a lot of doubles, most stars are in a couple formation or have a twin. In the early morning just before sunrise you could see three planets.  So it was a fun remembering my astronomy classes and enjoying the peace on the course in wee hours.

There were vegan options and I tried everyone one of them.  I didn’t always like them but was glad that they had vegan food.  I ate a lot and still felt hungry.  I am going back to liquid calories and gels early on as it is just easier to run and consume calories.  I need to continue with my UCAN drink as going from too full to a stomach to a growling stomach for more food is unnerving.  I could tell my energy lacking mid loop due to not eating enough.  Ultras are an eating contest as well as a running and walking contest and this seems to reveal itself every time.  I especially think it is difficult to get the calories you need when it is hot.  So I felt right on the edge for most of the race.  Instead of one burrito I would eat two, instead of one vegan sandwich I would eat two.  I think I needed to drink more calories instead of just water and then I wouldn't have had such a big Buddha belly and feel icky about eating so much.  I read that one ultra runner does not drink water, any fluid they drink fluid contains calories.  So this might be my next experiment on myself.

I looked up the results mid race and realized I was in the top three women, cool.  Later I asked my husband to let me know my place, second.  In the wee hours of the first night I looked again, oops first place.  Dang.  Who was that young gal that was in first all day?  Where is she and what does she look like?  We must have been on opposite sides of the course all day because I didn’t see her until the middle of the night.  We kind of played a game.  I would go up two loops then she would come roaring back, running by me fast.  As she did I would say to myself I got nothin.  In other words I am not going to race this gal, she is young and fast.  But she must have kept taking naps because I kept taking the lead, we went back and forth from what I could tell. Then she would get up and run by me as I was walking.  This happened a lot on the second night.  Rumor has it she was stalking me from her cabin bed and only came out when she needed to catch up or pass me.  It was fun because I told myself like I was talking to her, I can do this all night long.  I can stay out here racking up the miles, no problem.  I ain’t giving this away, you have to come earn it.

Finally in the morning she passed me and we walked together for a moment and she asked, don’t you sleep?  I said, not much and laughed as we both realized the game we were playing.  No kidding she would win but she told me she had to crank out some 8 minute miles to catch me at times.  I smiled.  Then she must have taken one last nap and finally ran like heck to pass me then she ran another loop for good measure and we ended up finishing our final loops at the same time.  It was great to play at the front.

The best part of the trip was spending time with Sue.  She is great to travel with and laughs at my jokes.  We have an easy way about us and saw the Salton Sea, Palm Desert, a date farm, etc.  I loved walking her last seven loops to get to her hundred.  She had some ouchy ouch blisters so she was in some pain and continued right on her way to get those darn last few loops.

I only had one hallucination and it was fun.  There was a section in the woods where grass grew over the trail.  Most of the grass was matted down by so many runners.  However there were a few strands still standing tall about a foot above the ground.  Well at night with a head lamp on and with some running time on my feet the grass looked like it went up to my chest.  When I went to move it away it disappeared.  So the next few times running  this section I didn’t try to move it away and saw tall grass where there was none.  Weird but that is how hallucinations go.

At one point I listened to Queen’s song “Don’t stop me now” we’re having a good time, racing car passing by, traveling at the speed of light, make a supersonic woman out of me
It was a very blissful moment and I must have repeated that song multiple times to my running bliss. Music makes a runner happy.

The biggest realization during and after this run was that I decided not to do a hundred a month this year.  My original goal was to complete a 100 mile each month for my 60th year.  But that might lead to burn out, injury and not having as much fun at events that are just too close together.  I’m going skip June and September because well I just wanna.  I figure I can train more and avoid a possible injury by doing too much.  There is some wisdom in old age, maybe.


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