I have to thank everyone who donated to my cause to raise money for the NSPCA by running 50-miles in San Francisco's Headlands run. I want to recap the day and let you know what it is like to run 50 miles of HILLS. When I decided to raise money for the NSPCA I thought I had to do something that would catch peoples attention. I thought a 50 mile run would certainly do that. I picked the Headlands run after looking into several 50 milers. I picked the Headlands knowing, I would have some hills but what I encountered was THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE. I do not say that casually because I think I have done some pretty tough things in my life. I have done several Ironman races and this run was far more difficult than any Ironman. I paddled across the Molokai channel in Hawaii with a group of girls in an outrigger canoe and this was considerably more difficult. Fifty miles in itself is a hard task but add 10,000 feet of elevation change and that adds a whole new challenge.
I woke up 8/8/09 feeling rested and ready to go. I get there and pick up my race number and chatted with a few other crazy people. This race is called Headlands 50 and 100. Not only do they have a 50 miler but there are people crazy enough to do 100 miles. I had a goal of finishing in 10 hours. I quickly realized I was the rookie at this event. Everyone I spoke to had done several of these. I tried to get a few last pointers as we walked to the start line. I noticed that everyone had these things on their ankles and I inquired about what they were. They keep things like rocks from getting in your shoes when running on trails. Since I hadn't ran any trails in preparation for this race I did not even think about that problem. I didn't run any trails for several reasons. Most of my running is alone or with my dogs and I don't feel comfortable running trails by myself. There are also not a lot of trails in Las Vegas. The few that we do have require driving to get to and that wasn't convenient for me.
As we started the run I noticed most people started out walking (we were going straight up a big hill about a mile long). I was trying to jog up it until I realized I was the only one jogging and everyone else was walking! I decided to follow the pack and walk. After about a mile directly up hill I began to jog. The hills in this run were the steepest hills I have ever seen in my life. The ups were as bad as the downs. The hills were miles long. About 2 miles into the run I had to adjust my goal of finishing in 10 hours to just finishing! I made it to mile 25 in 5 hours. I thought that was pretty good considering the hills. At about mile 30 my quads were really beginning to hurt from the downhills. Everyone seemed to be able to run fast downhill except me. I guess this was from not training enough on hills. The downhills were harder for me than the uphills at this point. The next thing to go were my toes. I could tell my toenails were going to fall off because they began to hurt every time my toe touched the front of my shoe. This really sucked because I still had about 16 miles and at least 1/2 of that was downhill. Every step downhill was so painful. I just wanted to be done! At 8 miles to go I began to think I was going to be able to do it. Normally I could run 8 miles in just over an hour. This eight miles took me 2 hours! About a mile to go and I was looking down at the finish line. Yes, I was a mile up and had to go all the way down to the finish. Each step felt like a knife going into my toenail! I made it to the finish in just under 12 hours.
Today my quads are so sore. The thought of sitting down, getting up, or stairs is frightening! I find myself waiting until the very last minute to go to the bathroom, if I have to go. I am pretty sure I will lose 4 of my toenails.
On the bright side I raised almost $3,000 for the NSPCA in Las Vegas. I am so happy and thankful that everyone was so generous. The run though difficult had the most breathtaking views I have ever seen. It was amazing and I will have those images in my head forever. I sometimes wonder why I do crazy things like this. Ultimately I am not happy unless I have a challenge and even though I pushed my body to its limit I did something that most people couldn't even imagine doing.