Saturday, December 18, 2010

12-18-10 Pigtails 50K

My third consecutive run here, second on this version of the course. Severe windstorm predicted for the night before almost had the race cancelled. 70% chance of rain and temps in the mid to upper 30s. Four of us carpool to the start and have to stop a couple of times to clear branches from the road. It is very gusty and cold as we get ready for the start. I had struggled over whether to wear shorts or long pants but just a few minutes outside confirmed that I should go with the tights. I can always take them off and wrap them around my waist if I get super hot, but at the slower pace of the ultra I don't see that happening. I will wear my rain coat over my Maniac jacket (manufactured by Brooks) and should be fine...with hat and gloves too.

Its much easier to come back to a race for the second or more time, knowing the course and what to expect. Of the 137 who registered for the race 103 make it to the start line. I probably know half of them and it is always fun to see and later to commiserate with fellow Marathon Maniacs. We all get commemorative beanie hats that are super nice. I'll have to wait till the finish to see what style finisher's medal RD Van (Pigtails) Phan has made. They are always so unique and fun.

Start - Find M761 and we start off in the early morning light along the short out and back of the pipeline trail. Then over the Cedar River on the road and onto the long trail.

Mile 5.7 - First aid station. Stock up on fluids. Move along.

Mile 8 - I am on a PR pace. Feel fine but I know that I will slow at some point. No real time goal, would be nice to beat last year's time I guess. Big tree down on the trail, have to climb around it.

Mile 14 - Have felt the wind at my back off and on for a long time. Now I turn around and have to run into the wind for the next 8 miles. Its not so bad, but at times I can feel it zapping my energy.

Mile 16 - Bob Dolphin sighting.

Mile 21.7 - Back to the staffed aid station. Marathoners continue on straight to the finish. 50K runners go up a hill on a side trail for a 5 mile out and back. A person could decide right then to only do the 26.2, even if they had registered for the 50K. I am getting tired and a little nauseous, but I'll continue on as planned. Kimpossible who has been with or mostly a little behind me all morning had registered for the marathon but here at mile 21.7 makes the crazy decision to add five miles to her race. Awesome!!

Mile 22 - Struggling now. Simply out of energy and having a little stomach cramping. M761 moves ahead and will go on to run a PR. I remember two years ago, it was our first 50K. Neither of us knew the full course and with the small group and absolutely frigid temperatures we decided to take it easy and also stay together the whole way. Last year we ran together. M761 tired near the end and I guess that I could have beat her, but I stayed with her and pushed us only hard enough to beat the time from the previous year. This year it is good for her to work for a fast time. We know the course and are safe among a much larger group of runners. I start leapfrogging a guy named Everett and I could just stay with him if I feel like company. At the turn around I see the Kimpossible and the Lone Wolf are not far behind at all.

Mile 26.7 - Back to the aid station. I make myself eat something. Despite an upset stomach I drink some Gatorade and eat a "fun sized" snickers, some potato chips, a fig newton and then drink some warm cider. I actually feel better after that. Time to set a finishing goal. If I can hold a 12 minute mile I should get in under 5:30 and that will beat last year's time by a few minutes. I jog for a while and take walk breaks quite often. Easy to be under 12/mile, I hold it closer to 11s.
Mile 28 - One familiar Maniac passes me and then Kimpossible. I have no motivation to try to keep up, I just stick to my own plan. Snow starts, then rain, then snow then more rain. Wet and cold but trudging along fine.
Mile 30.5 - I remember last year that there was a small road crossing just about a half mile before the finish. I decide to hold back and just keep slogging along with walk breaks until I get to that road then I will push hard to the end. But the crossing never appears and next thing I know I am at mile 31.1 and can see the finish just ahead as I round a bend in the trail. Too bad, I could have cut a few seconds off my time, but I am happy to have set a goal five miles back that I have easily achieved.
Mile 31.1 - Finish. Wet but happy. Nice medal made from a pink poker chip. I am left wondering how much farther I could have kept going at that pace. I do not want to register for a 50 miler just yet, but I would like to do a timed 12 hour or 24 hour race just to see how long I can run after hitting the wall. Perhaps I will get my chance to find out next year.
2010 - 40 races, 16 marathons or ultras
29th of 39

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