Monday, February 25, 2008

Yours Truly 50K (recap)

So, as stated numerous times before, Sunday (2/24) was the Cedar River Yours Truly 50K, my first 50K. The morning began at 6:00am and I was out and on the road by 6:30am. After about 45 minutes of driving I realized the directions I had printed out were a bit incomplete (my fault, not the race directors), they led me almost where I needed to be. In a panic I called my dad in Minnesota (figuring the 2 hour time difference would ensure that he was awake) and asked him to get me he final portion of instructions I was missing via internet (thanks dad!). I arrived at most 2 minutes late, signed in, stretched a bare minimum, and headed out on to the trail.

I was pleasantly surprised to be running along the Cedar River, a place I had never been. The water rushed along to my left over rocks and logs producing a 'babble' as loud as my foot strikes, but within the first mile the river and I were seeming to part ways. Right about at the point where I had given up looking for the river I came across the first of many bridges, passing right over the it, I now had the river to my right and the sound of rushing water once again. This pattern continued over the first 4 miles, river to my left, river to my right, river to my left, and so on.

Before I had even gone 4 miles I stopped 3 times, once, umm, to use the facilities (ie: trees) and once to adjust each shoe. Prior to leaving the house I had the brilliant idea of applying mole skin preemptively to my common problem areas on my arches, I quickly became aware that this was not the best idea.

Just prior to 5 miles came the only "real" hill, and even then, it wasn't too bad. Once past the hill bridges were now replaced by tunnels (including the one pictured below) and the river was replaced by housing developments hidden away in the woods. At 6 and half miles in was Lake Wilderness to my right and at 7.78 miles was the marked turn around. After a quick Gu break I headed back to the start point. All in all, my first full lap (out and back), of 15.5 miles felt pretty good, I wasn't out there to break any land speed records I just wanted to finish the distance and at that point I was feeling fairly confident that I would.

On the first leg of the second lap (the "out" portion) I choose to walk the hill, approaching it I felt fine and I'm sure it wouldn't have been a problem, but the majority of reading I've done regarding ultramarathoning says walk the hills to conserve energy, so that's what I did. By the time I hit the turn around (23 miles) for the second time the fatigue had kicked in. The remaining 7.78 miles seemed epic and unending, I decided I would walk all tunnels and bridges from that point forward (though I didn't stay true to that decision). I clenched my teeth and pushed forward, or shuffled anyway. I told my self 'the longer you walk, the longer you're on your feet, the longer this last.' To my surprise I passed 4 other runners in the final 5 miles, my self depreciating thoughts that I had during walk breaks turned into confidence and pride, there I was, about to finish my first 50K! After rounding a final bend on the trail I was able to see the finish line, I pushed as hard as I could (which didn't amount to much) and finished "strong." My final time was 5:06:07 (9:51 min/mile), and I see it as an odd duck. In the long run (no pun intended) I'm pleased with it, when I finished I was told I was 3rd overall, though some did start later so I may have slipped lower after I left, regardless, I did what I had gone out to do, so that alone makes this race a success.

Here's a map of the out and back route.

Other notes: The night before the race my (better than all the rest) wife made some delicious pasta, I ate 4 large bowls and 2 dinner rolls, in other words, carb loading was a success. (Thanks wife!) /// For being such a low key event, I thought it was organized perfectly, there was a well marked route, plenty of water, gatorade, and various gels at the aid stations, and chilly at the finish! (Thanks Brian!) /// Once again, one of the stand outs of these small races, is the people involved. Both the runners and the race director were incredibly friendly and supportive. The majority of these people know each other by name, yet still manage to make me feel so welcome (Thanks to every one there!) /// When I returned home my wife, my buddy, and I headed out for a huge breakfast (at 2pm) which I really do attribute to the quick recovery I'm experiencing (thanks Bob!) /// In case you missed it, there's a post below showing my mementos. ///

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