|Pre-Race. Thumbs up. Like the Fonze|
I had the pleasure of having some friends along side of me at the race: Janet Smith, who rode up with me and who won this damn thing two years ago; Matt Morse, who's family is part of my running club [as is Janet] and who are also avid Picklers. My fultra marathoning riend Juliana was there along with my one of my old Drexel engineering classmates - Anh Dong - who is one hell of a triathlete and an Ironman. Some other Delco RRC members took a ride up mid day: Cheryl, Jen and Bill, and they paced Janet through some of her laps. We had the tent set in the little "tent city" sprawling across the Liederkranz compound and really settled and made the place our home for the next 12 hours.
The Play By Play:
The course is a 5 mile loop with a little bit of everything - including a water/beer stop half way through each lap. Apparently, this was a new/ modified course from the year previous. I really can't comment on whether this course is good/ bad relative to last year's course, but I heard a few people say that it was a bit tougher. From my perspective, it was a b*tch.
First half the course was up. Not like a straight shop up, but definitely alot of elevation gain over the first two miles. Take a look at the course elevation map.
We started with an uphill start out of the parking lot of the Liederkranz, onto a paved road for maybe 60 yards, then up a grass hill, then a straight, flat shot down a small residential street and then a dog leg into the woods via one of the local's backyard.
During that first lap, there was alot of walking for the first two miles because we were bunched up in a big group. When we finally hit the single track, we all settled into a single file stream of runners, and when we hit the hills, we all walked. . It reminded me of my old mountain bike racing days, where the field would start together in one big blob of riders, and we'd get a hole shot into the woods off the line. The hole-shot was typically an all out sprint to get positioned prior to heading into the meat of the course, because once you're on the single track, you're stuck in line behind the rest of the clowns in front of you, at least until you've had the chance to pass where and when you can, as the slower riders start to drop off the pace.
Anyways, I dont like uphill starts. I dont mind running up hill - I've actually been getting better at it over the course of the summer, with all of the hilly trail running I've been doing - but uphill starts KILL my calves to the point where they are SCREAMING for mercy. So the only saving grace that I had on the first lap is that we took alot of walk breaks.
Once we passed the 2 mile-ish mark, the course levels out and then ultimately starts descending back down to the start/ finish area. Years and years of mountain biking has given me the ability to read a trail at speed better than most trail runners, and it was evident: on the first lap, I passed a couple of people taking it easy going down some of the steeper hills which made up for some of the time lost during the first half of the lap.
I felt fine on the 2nd and 3rd laps. I felt a little light headed after the 3rd lap, and I took way too long of a break - nearly an hour- before I headed out back out for the 4th lap. For the rest of the laps, I kept the breaks under ten minutes before heading back out for another dose of fun. I saw Janet come in for at least three of her laps, and she'd be right back out in the door. Friggen amazing.
After that third lap, I was checking my heart rate every five minutes and it was pinging over 100 bpm. After sitting still for40 minutes, it should have been much lower. I was eating fine, and hydrating very well - if not over hydrating. This might be a bit TMI for most, but my urine was a good color so I ruled out dehydration. I figured it might have been due low sodium/ electrolytes so I hammered down some potato chips and my friend Juliana gave me a couple of Electrolytes - and I took one dose between each lap for the remainder of the race.
|Note the banged up Knee on J. Took a nasty one at mile 9|
Oddly enough, she was complaining about being light headed as well. It was hot and I didnt expect it to be that warm that day, and since I've been doing most of my training since the dead in the summer in the cooler weather, I think the heat caught up with me. The first lap was ridiculously muggy to boot. I was DRENCHED after the first lap and I sucked down nearly two bottles worth of water. I had decided to go with my hand held bottle rather than my trusty Nathan Hydration pack, at least for the first lap to see if the Nathan pack was really necessary for a five mile loop. After the 2nd lap I made the switch to the Nathan because the weather kept getting hotter and hotter, and I was sucking down nearly three-quarters of a bladders worth of Gatorade/ water mix (2/3's G-ade to 1/3 water).
Things got quiet after the 1st lap - the field was super strung out. There were points where I didnt see another human soul for miles at a time. Every once in a blue moon I'd catch a group in front of me and run with them for a bit.
Big Foot got in ten laps before the angry villagers chased
him back with pitchforks.
Very conversational pace - most of us were bull shitting most of the time and I think alot of people tend to be more like me; mentally, I like having people around me to occasionally shoot the shit to break up the mental monotony. Plus, I like having someone to chase/pace.The leaders would pass me every once in a blue moon, running like they just started ten minutes ago, not six hours ago.
|After Five Miles. Still Smiling|
|After ten miles. Who looks like shit? This Guyyyy|
|The pre-race crew at Camp Wannalickahoochie chillin before the rac|
|Me after another ten minutes at that beer stop....|
And finally, to hit the exact 50k distance, it was a quick trip back into the woods, hit the 50k turnaround point, and back to the Liederkranz.
The Miscellaneous (Nutrition, Gear, etc)
Nutritionally, I think I had everything dialed in as best as I can. This isnt my first rodeo, and I have been doing this long enough to know what works and what doesnt work. I dont think I could keep enough fluids in me long enough to keep my electrolyte levels up - I am a heavy sweater. So thank the sweet baby Jesus in the sky that my friend Juliana let me poach some Electrolyte tabs off of her. But I think I over did it on the 5th lap, because I couldnt stop peeing for about two hours after the race was over.
I kinda got sick of PB&J and Gu after my third lap, so I started nibbling on chips, gummy bears, and believe it or not, half a hamburger between each lap - but I still banged down a GU about 4 miles into each lap. I stayed away from any caffeine throughout the race, especially after that third lap when my HR was pinging on the high side. I hit 300 mg of Advil after every other lap (about every two hours).
I changed shoes after the first lap. I started out with my heavier Cascadia trail shoes, not knowing what to expect. Between the sweat and pouring three cups of water down my back at the rest stop, my shoes and socks were soaked, and rather than chance a blister, I popped on my road shoes, which held up surprisingly well in terms of my stability. I felt no worse in those shoes than I did my trail shoes, which is saying alot considering that I was dragging my feet like a caveman later in the race.
I ran with no music. I am not surprised. I like running in the woods without music. I gave it a shot on the 5th lap, but it was distracting me, not helping, so I gave it the boot. This has happened before in both of my previous marathons - the music tends to take away from my focus, rather than take my mind off the fact that I am in pain.
I saw some crazy shit out there and I saw some very impressive stuff as well. Like this young lady who has to be a good six months preggo out there on the trails. I heard she did three laps running/ walking. That kid is going to shoot out of her and punch the doctor in the mouth.
|Thats one bad b*tch yo|
|Word has it that John offered to take these two back his tent to show them how its done|
And in Summary....
- I ran the 50k which was my goal )although I have to admit that after my fifth lap, that 26.1 distance was looking very tempting. But, I started my sixth loop and passed the 26.1 turn-around with an "ah fuck it" in my head)
- I was hydrated, if not over hydrated.
- I didnt injure myself.
- The event was a blast and I had a ton of fun - lots of friendly faces at the race as well.
- Lots of food
- My facocta hamstring was on fire for the first ten miles. This has been a nagging issue for me especially in the last couple of weeks, but it seems like once I get a couple of miles in me, and I stop and occasionally stretch, it seems to ease up. I saw my ART guy earlier in the week and I am going to pop into to see him one night this week as well.
- The first half of the course was [mostly] up.
- The weather was warmer than I anticipated.
|Post Race, All smiles. And my AWESOME PICKLE PRIZE FROM MY GIRZ|