If you're interested, you can take a look at last year's recap as well.
Friday night, we grabbed our race packets and headed over to a local church for the annual pasta dinner. To prepare for an ultra like this, I seriously increase my carb load the day before. (I took in almost 300 grams of carbs on Friday!) I can never sleep the night before a marathon. I think I got up to pee maybe 5 times and was up and getting ready for the race at 4:40am. In my camel back, I had:
2 Stinger Waffles: Honey Flavored
2 packs of Clif Gel Blocks: Cran Raz Flavored
1 bag of Extreme Sport Beans with caffeine
1 iPod shuffle: pink
We headed over to the camp grounds a little before 6 am to get breakfast. The Mega starts at 7am so I needed time to drink coffee and digest my breakfast.
Hey! We're totally ready to go! Ha.
I had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, eggs and peanut butter and also peed about 4 times in 45 minutes. (Race jitters or coffee??)
This year, there were 1,000 participants!
On a side note: this picture was posted on Facebook on Friday night:
(This is the beginning portion of the run we do , heading to the mountain. Yes friends, that is a baby bear! I was hoping he found his way back to his mama by Saturday morning! )
At 7am promptly, we were off! It's about a 3 mile run from the campground, through the small town to the trail head. Last year, we ran this portion awfully fast and since we are older and wiser now, we jogged it instead. It's better, in my opinion, to store up energy for the second half of this race since you have no idea how you are going to feel. Things can get really bad, really fast!
We were at the trail head in about 35-40 minutes and you begin a very steep, very narrow up hill climb for about an hour until you hit the first boulder field.
And then, you climb up to the heavens.
This guy did the entire race in a Rugby uniform, carrying a Rugby ball!
We climbed boulders for another hour. I got to the first aid station at mile 10 and we had been climbing and hiking for 3 hours and 40 minutes.
Hello Aid Station!
Isn't is beautiful!?
The sick part of this, is that after another 7 miles, you loop back through this aid station and there were people already coming in from mile 17 when we just hit mile 10. How do they do it??
Last years Mega was almost completely raw, rocky, mossy, terrible trail from mile 10-21. I mentally couldn't take anymore damn rocks once we hit the second boulder field. This year, the course was much more runnable. The trail was actual trail with fluffy mulch on it...what!? Could this be true?? I kept waiting for last years raw trail to come out and play but miles 10-18 were very similar to the trails I run on at home! We crossed the same stream about 6-7 times and saw some really beautiful scenery.
Where am I, Fern Gully??
I felt pretty great the entire time during this race. I ate one entire gel block pack, 1 banana, 1 large cup of trail mix, 1 large cup of chocolate covered raisins and about 4 glasses of Gatorade during the run.
After the second boulder field and the last raw trail descent, we were back out onto the road at 9 hours in. We actually ran back through the town and all the way to the Green Mile! We walked that grassy bit and then ran to the finish line with a 10 hour complete time for Mega 2013!
I came out of that race with one blister and the back of both knees are sore but otherwise, feeling AMAZING!
Things to note:
I did the entire race with out music. There is just something about being completely surrounded by nature and just enjoying it.
My training was right on point. I did all of the climbs with ease and only had two small energy lulls through out the race which were dealt with quickly and passed.
My hands swelled up like two giant baseball mitts. Thankfully, I know this always happens so I took off my wedding rings before the race.
Mentally, I was much more prepared for what was to come so I just went with the flow and really enjoyed my time out there.
We brought walkie talkies this year so we could all keep in contact. They worked pretty well!
Overall, it was an amazing day. The weather was perfect and I spent hours and hours in the woods with my dad and husband and about 1,000 other crazy people.
Will I be there next year???