Ten Junk Miles Racing Stewart Tunnel 50 Miler
Stewart Tunnel 50 Miler
After deciding I would support my mother in her first marathon, I needed a new “A” target race for 2019. I don’t really find the marathon distance to be as challenging as it once was and I had run a 50k in the past. So I needed something a little more. I’m not ready to try triathlons again, after having Lucy. So I focused on running a new distance. After searching for a race I came across a convincing Facebook post, I decided to ask around about the Stewart tunnel race in Belleville, WI. After talking to a couple of seasoned veterans I decided why not I’d go a head and sign up.
As a Christmas present I purchased “Running your First Ultra by Krissy Moehl”. I haven’t followed anyone plans to except ones that I’ve wrote myself for several years. It was interesting to try something new. My plan started technically Feb 28th my February, March and April training went very well. May and June were more difficult months, back to back long runs and recovery miles just doesn’t feel well for me. My calves started to talk to me a lot. I tried not to listen. I spent most of July looking for light at the end of the tunnel. Finally, we arrived to New Glarus on Saturday for my 50 miler weekend. We checked in and out to my surprise I had a large support group again. Actually this makes me feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have a bunch of crazy family members who literally came to Virginia to support me in March, came to devils lake a month ago, and now we’re here with me today. It’s actually incredibly humbling. Race morning came and not knowing what to expect I knew I just needed to through in my all. The race started, my technique going is was to start off easy and see how far that would carry me. My longest distance to this point was my 50k (31 miles). However I hit two weekends that within 24 hours I ran 36 miles.
Aid station #1 - Mile 5.5
The race started to well I could tell I was nice and controlled I could still comfortably talk with my aunt. I had a great mentality and physically felt well. We went into the Stewart Tunnel which was a little intimidating. It was very dark and longer than I expected- 12,000 feet long in fact. I decided mentally I need to count aid station rather than miles today. Getting to Aid Station one was pretty awesome we saw a lot of the 100k and 100 mile people coming back into camp. It was hard to try to keep myself from having too many emotion watching them. Just knowing physically what they have endured and that I was going “shorter” than them.
Aid Station #2- Mile 9
I still felt really great I seemed to be going ahead of pace about 11 minutes miles- the pace that was required for 12 hrs is 14:40. I felt like I wasn’t hanging around the aid station to long grabbed some coke and headed out again. I still felt very mentally and physically well. I was still on track and thing were going well. Aid station 2 even had fresh bacon so I grabbed a piece, and headed back on out.
Aid Station #3 - Mile 13.1
Typically that is my mental halfway point but today that was only 25% done point. Thinking I was only a quarter of the way through was mentally intimidating. However I still felt physically very well. Plus I got a mental boost from seeing my family. The aid station captain warned us that this was the longest distance between aid station. So we made sure to eat well and stock up on water before we headed out.
Aid Station #4 - Mile 20.5
Well the aid station #3 person was kidding it was a long time. I think the hardest part was the trail was under construction and we got re-routed onto the Highway. The black top was hot and hard on my legs versus the nice tree covered trail. The heat was once again getting to me. I kept feeling myself slow down to a trot. But finally, I made it through to the next aid station. I stocked up on some ice and water. Despite filling my pack with all Ice water it got all warm and really nasty. I resorted to using my water bottles for the remainder of my trip. I saw my family once again and things were feeling great! Happy to get in and out of the aid station with ease.
Aid Station #5 - Mile 25
My aunt and I made it to the halfway point in this race. Whew! Such a huge mental burden was lifted. We were half way done. I told my aunt that she should leave me. I could start to feel my physical condition slip and didn’t want to hold her back at all. I didn’t want to be the reason why someone wouldn’t finish a race. We split up and proceeded on.
Aid Station #6- Mile 29.5
i was very excited I came about 10-15 minutes ahead of the “cutoff” time. My physical condition wasn’t getting any better and started to take some walk breaks. I just tried to stay ahead of the game with my eating and drinking. I didn’t want to be underfueled and ruin my chances of finishing. My mentality was still pretty awesome.
Aid Station #7- Mile 37
I arrived here around the cutoff time but the aid stastuon captain told me I was safe until the sweeper would catch me. I had pretty much settled into a hiking pace between 15-15:30 min/ mile. I could not believe how stuck my quads felt. I incorporate a lot of strength, so I feel as if it wasn’t a strength issue. Maybe I should have done some kind of mobility work to try and help my quads out. I feel like it just was general fatigue you know from running a lot of mile..
Aid Station #8 - Mile 41
My mentallity was really started to wain. I saw my family and was broken down into tears. I was almost positive the aid station was going to pull me. I was almost starting to prepare concession speech. But just kept repeat you are stronger than this! My family asked in my honor if they were going to pull me and helped me change my shoes and socks I was hoping that changing them would make my feet feel better. At this time my feet felt so swollen and they were beginning to split. They hurt so much I couldn’t even take the ridges in the trail from the bike tires. My mother could hone into my struggle. My mother who was totally unprepared, changed her shoes took off her blouse and paced me in her tank top, regular bra and dress shorts. So I’m not sure which was more impressive her unselfish act or me finishing the race. Having my mom there was the much needed mental uplift I needed. She kept telling me jokes and keeping me happy reminding me to eat and drink. I actually started to feel better except for my feet. My feet hurt extremely bad.
Aid Station #9- Mile 44.2
We left my Dad, Paul and Lucy this was my home stretch, I was really going to get to finish this race today. I was going to get to check this off my list. The amount of joy I was feeling was outweighing the physical pain I was feeling. My quads felt no lift. My feet hurt unbelievable bad. I couldn’t even step in uneven ground spots without wincing a bit. We went through the tunnel which my mom also thought was creepy. About a mile past the tunnel the sweeper had caught us. I held back tears and asked if I could please finish this race? He looked at me and said “Of course you get to finish your race, I’m just making sure your safe!” My heart rose up high again. I was going to do this today. I told my mom I was going to run again. When I crossed the bridge and stairs, I needed that strong finish. I ran in giving the race director a giant hug. Finding my Aunt Therese and my family, I couldn’t help but cry, after what seemed longer than child labor it was finished!!!!