W. CAITLIN SMITH

DOULA, PILATES, YOGA, DANCE, ART, TRAIL RUNNING

Sunday, December 6, 2009

North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler

It started to sink in after Germany that I had one race left for 2009, my first 50 miler. I felt both unprepared and over raced walking into Miwok 100k back in May. I was glad things were slowing down in the end of the year and that my races were not every other week, but more like once a month. I also made a very conscious effort in the past month to rest and to take care of my body especially as I had bouts of burn out. As December 5th approached, I felt incredibly grateful that my body felt good and that I felt strong and confident.

When I showed up to the start yesterday, I was ready. Then I heard both Kami Semick and Lizzy Hawker were out due to injuries. Part of me was disappointed not to have them as well as Susannah Beck and Chris Lundy there (also out due to injury). But when a race falls so late in a season I assume it is bound to happen. When the race started I just stayed smooth and relaxed, realizing I could run my race. I didn't have to chase or prove anything. I could enjoy the fact that I was healthy and be grateful that my body could carry me those 50 miles.

Joelle Vaught and I stayed close in the first 9 miles and we got to spend some time chatting on the way up Bobcat. Then it was Sean Meissner and I chatting (or maybe just breathing and running) as we headed up to Pantoll. I looked at my watch and I was in disbelief I was rolling into Pantoll at 2:32 as I had estimated a 2:40 arrival. I felt good and relaxed, so just went with it. The next section was challenging, not physically so much, but mentally. Even though there were people close by including Joelle, we were somehow spread out just enough that it made me feel alone. On the out and back on Coastal it was great seeing the lead guys cruising back in. I started looking forward to being back at Pantoll, seeing my crew, and meeting my pacer, Peter. That is when Jesus Campos who had been right with me a good majority of the race reassured me to keep it up. I took over the pace and lead us into Pantoll. I arrived somewhere before 4:30 and Peter and I took off down Bootjack. I still felt good, but happy to have company.

As Peter and I came close to the Tourist Club, I met the guy that does Journeyfilm. He had met my brother at the Banff film festival where my proud brother told him to get some clips of me running. That made me smile and then we were off towards the Dipsea trail. As we approached Muir Beach I started to crave more downhill and flat, but of course that meant climbing. We did some fast hiking and Peter was great at keeping me relaxed and confident. My stomach wasn't so happy coming into Tennessee Valley, but at that point I had to say fuck it, only 6 miles to go. I was so happy to have that downhill after Marincello and looking forward to finishing! I finished first women in 7:38 and overall felt good. Joelle came in 2nd in 7:53.

I am incredibly grateful, for my crew, for the amazing people and support in my life, for running strong and smooth, for trusting myself and my abilities(although this is constantly getting tweaked), and for the most incredible year. I never expected to have done what I did this year, but I did and that makes me smile.

As hard as it will be, I've committed to taking 2 weeks off, so that my body can rest up from 2009. In this time I hope to figure 2010... any suggestions for particular races are welcome. I'll be sticking to 50 miles and less.

19 comments:

Old Man said...

$$$$weet win!

trudginalong said...

Congrats on a great win, the Sageburner 50K is a fun race with some fast locals (and I believe at least one of your LS teammates) in Gunnison, CO. A long way, but worth it...

Sara said...

Congrats on an incredible year indeed, and what a way to top it off! Keep living your dreams and having fun! Looking forward to seeing what you do in 2010.

La Duc said...

Congrats on yet another victory, you looked very strong coming into Pantoll both times. Enjoy that big fat steak dinner, it's on North Face.

Happy Resting...David

willgotthardt said...

Two weeks off(?)...yeah good luck with that.

Well I know where you started, I know where you're at, and I have a good idea where you're headed.

You have amazing talent Caitlin, no limits. A fine & eventful year...well done. It ain't ever easy, but it's pretty f'n great.

Cheers, Will

Buzz said...

Great job, capping an amazing break-thru season.

And people don't like to come out and say it, but I think winning $10k is great!

Lastly, here's some 2010 races to consider:
http://mountainrun.wordpress.com/

ultrarunner (Brian Philpot) said...

Great job !! Kick Some Butt!

Charlie said...

Great job on your 50! Being from Oklahoma, I must of course suggest running some of our races: If you are looking for a great marathon, the 10th anniversary of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is in April. If a timed ultra is of interest, the 2nd annual Oklahoma Ultrarunning Championships are in October. Choice of 6, 12, 24 hours.
www.okcmarathon.com
www.24thehardway.com

George said...

Catlin what a amazing year you have had. The rest is well deserved! Just look at all the injuries you cited in your post...
Anyhow as I have mentioned before the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs would love to have you challenge our course.

saschasdad said...

This is the time of year that I always take 2-4 weeks off. Your body needs it...it will be a much needed and deserved rest.

It was great running with you for a bit. Congrats on a great race, and season, Caitlin! Oh, and remember to check out the different races you get to choose from...then choose Chile in Oct - it's gonna be awesome!

Scott Dunlap said...

Wow! A perfect cap to an amazing season. You've got two weeks to pick out your faves for next year. I say go big and go White River 50. Pick at least one where the best will be there, so you can prove (yet again) that you're one of them.

I would also suggest thinking about 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials. You've got the speed. Just for the shwag and bragging rights alone, run a qualifying time!!! ;-)

Best, SD

David Ray said...

Congrats on the win! Enjoy the rest during the holidays. I'm looking forward to more good stuff in 2010.

coach ken said...

Caitlin,
Congratulations! You did an amazing job out there!!

I have to second Scott Dunlap on White River... The course is beautiful, fun and challenging. It's an incredibly well put on event, with great people and greater support. The prize money wouldn't hurt either!

All Day!
~Ken

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

congratulations from one town over!!

Gretchen said...

You've had an amazing season, Caitlin! Congratulations on the entire year. It's been so inspiring to watch unfold. Thanks for keeping the blog and sharing your insights with us.
I'm sure you'll have many great races next year, but my favorite is my local race - the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance races. Beautiful and challenging! Devon has the cr in the 50M, so I'm sure she could give you her thoughts on it.
Whatever you decide to put on your schedule, have fun!

晚上 said...

好文不寂寞..................................................

Julia Harpston said...

Hey Caitlin,

Been reading your blog for a good few months now, you’ve really an inspiration to people who wanna get into running like me! I’ve created my own blog about Compression tights and stuff about running and sportswear. Id be really appreciate if I could get a message back and also if you could link to my blog http://compressiontights.blogspot.com/ - the name of the blog is Compression tights
thanks,
your effort inspires me :-D

tri-sportsgirl said...

Caitlin, I was a pleasure this year meeting you and having the opportunity to run with such an amazing talent. Congratulations on your races, the way to look at life, and on being the incredible you. You are so inspiring to me and I hope to race with you more in 2010!

rodio said...

Very impressive performance ! France is waiting for you. Le Tour du Mont-Blanc, le Tour du Mont-Blanc ! I dream Krissy, Lizzy and you together on this race !