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OPSF Ultra 50/50 - RunUltra Marathon

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Owen Putnam State Park, Indiana
United States
65F / 18C
Total Time = 5h 53m
Overall Rank = 1/
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Pre-race routine started with a nice little sit-down dinner at the Canyon Inn at McCormick's Creek State Park with jcash. He drove us to Spencer, Indiana on Friday so that we could be well rested for the early Saturday morning start. I chose a chicken parm dish that really hit the spot, gave in to my sweet tooth by eating a small Snicker's bar, and then spent the rest of the night relaxing watching TV and thinking about the race.
We rolled into the race site about 50 minutes before the start. It was just enough time to set up drops bags, get our bearings about the course, change into race gear, and make a quick bathroom break.
Event warmup:

I didn't do much for a warmup, other than mill around. I just made sure all my joints were working properly with a few high steps and karoake maneuvers.
  • 5h 53m
  • 32.88 miles
  • 10m 44s  min/mile

The first lap is about 5 miles, and took us about 50 minutes.
After a moment of silence, the race began without fanfare. Everybody was chatting away and excited about the potential for the day. A pack of about 5 quick, young dudes formed early on and were several minutes ahead of us, just 20 minutes into the race. Jcash and I were in our own space, and then the rest of field was strung out behind us. We zigzagged through a long stretch of a powerline cut with nettles and thorns grabbing at our legs. In the middle of it, a huge drop-off, also know as "Butt slide hill. Literally like a muddy elevator shaft. I dropped down into it first, with Jcash "encouraging" me the whole way. "Whoa! Go go go!" It would have been embarassing if we had taken each other out, but luckily a crisis was averted. We walked up the hill that proceeded the drop-off. At the top, we could see the lead pack out in the distance, but I half-jokingly asked JCash if he cared to wager about which one of them we would catch first?
We were barely a couple miles into the first loop when we saw that 2 guys from the lead group had been dropped and didn't know which way to go. We caught up to them and consulted briefly, and decided not to follow the random pink ribbons, and instead stay on the road. Good call. The four of us ran back to the start/finish area together and chatted the whole way. This first portion went well except that I felt I was drinking too much too early and my stomach felt sloshy. I backed off the fluids a little bit, but then picked it up again in a couple miles.
I just dropped off my handheld bottle, gloves, and hat and picked up my hydration belt and we were out of there. The four of us rolled along, but little by little, JCash and I built a lead on the other two. We had put some good distance between us when I lead us on a scenic detour of a creek bed. We got to following some old trail markers and it took us off course.
"Hey guys!! Over here. I think we go this way!" The two other guys had caught up to us and helped us get back on the trail. Whew! Good thing trail runners are all good people. The road-running contingent is much more cutthroat. With our little lead evaporated, we set out to re-establish it. And we did. Power walking the uphills and cruising down the descents, my navigational error was a distant memory.
I ate and drank as much as my stomach could handle during this segment, and managed never to get hungry or dizzy. Unfortunately, I had only peed one time at about mile 7, and that would be the last time. I drank my whole waterbottle between every aid station (about 4 miles), and took 2 e-caps hourly, in addition to powerbars, sport beans, gels, pb&j sammiches, pretzels, and bananas. It all hit the spot. The second loop was 13.65mi and took about 2hr 32min.

We came into the aid station together, believing that fresh socks and shoes would be a wise move for the last half marathon. It felt great to lace up lighter shoes, too! At that point, the RD told us that we were running #1, and #2 for the 50k. I was immediately re-energized and ready to hit it. JCash had been battling some stomach issues for a while, and told me to forge ahead.
So I kept right on going, only stopping very briefly at each aid station to refill my water bottle, scarf down a few pretzels and potato chips, and thank the volunteers. It was getting pretty hot out there at this point, though. I was wishing I had more water when I knew I was still one or two miles away from the next aid stop. Once it came into view, though, I dumped whatever water I had left on my head. It was so refreshing!
I was still running strong when I hit the 26.2mi point of the race in 4hrs 42min. I let out a celebratory yelp because every step thereafter meant a new personal best in terms of distance travelled on foot, even if they had to extract me via helicopter. Again I was motivated by breaking through another barrier, and the mental boost was aided by the caffeine in the Cherry flavored sport beans (note to self: that flavor sucked!).
I was anxious to be done, but still moving really well. The sun and wind throughout the morning helped dry out the sloppy sections. But where it wasn't muddy, the leaves were thick, leaving me to guess at whether or not there would be rocks or roots hiding under them. On the upside, though, it meant that nearly every step was cushioned by either leaves or mud. As a result, my knees weren't aching too badly. Of course, I have to give some credit to the handful of ibuprofen that I had consumed.
In the home stretch I was so excited to be done. I saw one person heading out for her second loop, and as she shuffled by, she mentioned that she had gotten lost earlier, but was having a good time anyways. I empathized with her and kinda laughed internally because JCash and I had met this lady the night before and we determined that she was indeed crazy, so I wasn't surprised that she had gotten off course. I suspect it was during those moments that I missed a crucial turn. Dammnit. I guess I had tunnel vision going. I ended up approaching the finish line from the opposite direction, but knew I was all goofed up because I was expected to the course to be a little long and yet my watch read only 31.1miles in about 5:35. In a daze, I stood around with the RD's wife and a couple volunteers, trying to figure out what to do. She said I could be done, and that I'd won. She wasn't sure where I took a wrong turn, though. I couldn't let it go down like that, so we consulted an OPSF veteran named Norm who was sporting a Leadville 100 shirt. He confirmed my mistake; I needed to backtrack about .3mi, then make a left turn. Sure enough, there were plenty of signs and pink ribbons marking the correct way. I just never noticed them. I ran my ass off for that last stretch, hoping that I could still get back to the finish without relinquishing the win. About 15 minutes later, I arrived... again. This time, officially victorious.
The third and final loop was about 14.1mi (for me) and took about 2hr 30min. A solid negative split.
What would you do differently?:

Stay on course? Naw... that wouldn't be any fun!
Post race
Warm down:

An agonizing walk to the car to put on dry, non-stanky clothes. Then a hobble back to the finish to pound some gatorade and donuts.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing that was in my control.

Event comments:

I couldn't have asked for a better first ultra. The directors, course, volunteers, aid stations, friendliness and hospitality were all first class.

Last updated: 2009-10-01 12:00 AM
05:53:00 | 32.88 miles | 10m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 1/
Performance: Good
Course: One 5mi loop to start. Then 2 laps of a ~13mi trail to complete the 50 distance. Terrain was 95% trail. Much of that was single track. What wasn't narrow, was wider bridle trail that had been trashed by a combination of horses and rain. It was also incredibly hilly. Never was the more than a couple minutes worth of flat stuff. If you weren't climbing, you were descending.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-11-09 3:08 PM

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St. Louis
Subject: OPSF Ultra 50/50

2009-11-10 4:43 PM
in reply to: #2505399

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Washington , MO
Subject: RE: OPSF Ultra 50/50
Grats dude, you killed the course! I'm envious of the neg. split last loop. Had a total blast doing this with you. Looking forward to the next ultra together! Maybe the crazy, lost chick will be there too, lol.
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