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Turkey Swamp 50K - RunUltra Marathon

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Freehold, New Jersey
United States
88F / 31C
Total Time = 8h 30m
Overall Rank = 25/45
Age Group = F40-49
Age Group Rank = 5/9
Pre-race routine:

Small race, packet pick up was on race morning. They even had race day registration. I was the second person there to pick up my packet. The course ran right past the grass field that we used as a parking lot and since I was first there, I got to park right on the course. I ran past my car 12 times so I was able to set up my drop bag right there. Worked perfect.
Ate a PB&J sandwich and a piece of lemon poppy seed bread before leaving the Hampton. Had a couple cups of coffee and was very relaxed. Just sat around and chatted with other participants while I waited for the race to start. Absolutely no pre-race jitters.
Event warmup:

None. 31 miles is long enough to include a warm up period.
  • 5h 41m 38s
  • 31.07 miles
  • 11m  min/mile

Spent some of the pre-race time chatting with a lady who had just run the Vermont 100 about 3 weeks ago. Ran the first coule of miles with her. Thought to myself as we were running along that I wasn't taking the walk breaks that I wanted to do. But I was comfortable and we were chatting so I kept on. The problem is that once I fall into the rhythm of just running I don't take the systematic walk breaks and I never did switch to them all day. I ran most of this 31 miles. There was one steeper hill heading up onto the meadow which I walked every time after the second lap and the last couple of laps walked the incline at the beginning of the service road section. Other than that there were some small walk breaks thrown in, with some walking after the aid stations to drink, but mostly running, obviously a few more of those short walk breaks in the last few miles.
I kind of liked the loop course. Although I probably wouldn't do this race again because of it. The loops weren't bad because it took the first 3 or 4 of them to get really aquainted with it, then it became your friend, then towards the end it was nice to know each section well and be able to mentally break it down and just do each individual piece of it until you were done. But if I did it again, I would already know it going in and it would be monotinous rather than making a new friend of the course. Oddly, the loops got shorter and shorter in my mind as I got to know them better. Even as I tired more each lap, each lap seemed shorter than the one before it.
The course was also basically flat with only a couple of tiny inclines. I haven't run anything this flat in a long time. It didn't really bother me just seemed odd.
At mile 10 the lead female runner lapped me. She lapped me again just as I was crossing the mat to mark my 9th loop and she was crossing on her 11th. She was incredibly light on her feet and smooth. Awesome to just watch her run. She finished with an 8:46 pace. The male winner lapped me 3 times and finished with a 7:47 pace. Wow! The were both very nice and joked with me each time they passed.
I felt real strong through mile 16 but I was getting really hungry and decided to stop at my drop bag when I got back to it. I don't even remember what I planned on getting out of the bag to eat but when I opened the bag I seen the PB&J English Muffin that I had put in there in case I was still hungry before the race started. Oh Yeah!!! Yummy!!! Problem: this was meant to be either a pre or post race food, not a mid race food. I was so hungry and it tasted so good that I had eaten the whole thing without even thinking about it. Have I mentioned yet that it was by now high 80s and very humid. Stomach to Judy: "there is no blood available to process these calories that you just threw at me". This was a pretty big mistake. It wasn't disastrous and I was able to work it out, but it did slow me down considerably for a couple of miles and then it is just too hard to get the momentum back. It was pretty much down hill from here. However, this was another lesson learned.
I was at a 10:25 pace at mile 20, 10:43 at mile 26 (4:40 marathon) and 11:00 at the finish. I have been training with slow miles so I have to expect to race slow but it seems like I'm just as tired at the marathon distance going slow as I used to be when I'd run them fast. In early April I did the Umstead marathon which is a much more difficult course than this was and I ran it very undertrained with a very sore foot that almost made me DNS and I ran it in 4:18. Today I was trained and pretty healthy and ran a 4:40 marathon. OK I still had to go another 5 miles today and weather was also a big factor but part of me gets frustrated with that. Gotta keep my eye on the bigger goal.
What would you do differently?:

I had planned to use a 4:1 run/walk for this race. I'm a bit dissappointed in myself that I did not do that. I'd like to have the discipline to do that in order to see how the body feels between miles 20 to 30. This would have been the perfect race to do that. With the course broken up by the service roads and meadows, I could have taken the walk breaks without interfering with other runners. On a true single track trail it is hard to do because you clog up the trail.
I also should have been drinking more. I wasn't way off but wasn't quite there either. I also need to be more disciplined with the calorie intake. Guess I just need more discipline. There I said it. Next time I WILL.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the finish line and got my medal and hat. They had grilled hamburgers and hotdogs and chips but just not much going on at the finish line. Chatted with the guy who finished a few minutes ahead of me and the guy who finished behind me for a few minutes until I felt like I was ready to eat something. Then had a burger and left. The drive from Freehold to Ft. Detrick should have been 3 hours. It took me 5hrs 38min. I only made two quick stops. The traffic was horrible. At one point I sat in line for a full 35 minutes to pay $3.00 for the priviledge of using the New Jersey Turnpike. I hate toll roads. My legs and back were hating it too.
I did drink a cup of coffee and 84 ounces of water on the drive and finally had to pee when I got home. Also drank two diet cokes with my burger and chips at the finish line.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I could say discipline and my race execution. But in fairness to myself I'll say inexperience with the Ultra thing. I just have to experience this thing and learn from it.

Event comments:

This is a good race and I would recommend it. It was well organized and there were plenty of volunteers. The race has a 10 mile, 20 mile, 25K and 50K. I like that they have race day registration. It's nice as an athlete to be able to pop into something last minute if you need to recognizing that this does add complexity for the organizers. It is appreciated.

There were 58 pre-registered runners in the 50K and at least a few more same day registrants. The results only show the people who finished the full 50K and there are only 45 finishers. Hard to say how many started.

Last updated: 2010-07-25 12:00 AM
05:41:38 | 31.07 miles | 11m  min/mile
Age Group: 0/9
Overall: 0/45
Performance: Good
Laps according to my Garmin. 10:12 10:02 10:11 11:03 11:06 10:08 10:10 9:58 10:08 10:30 9:57 10:03 10:21 10:17 11:26 10:17 10:48 10:58 10:18 10:39 11:46 11:14 11:55 11:01 11:47 12:43 12:09 13:03 11:43 12:28 12:13
Course: The course was a loop a bit over 2.5 miles. We did 11 full laps with a shortened 12th lap. Thankfully there was a mat with two very nice ladies about 1/2 way around the loop counting our laps. At times I was very unsure which lap I was on. The course was a nice mix of hard packed sand service road, single track in the woods (my favorite parts), and open grassy fields (my least favorite part).
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-08-12 5:01 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Ft. Myers, Florida
Subject: Turkey Swamp 50K

2010-08-13 8:38 AM
in reply to: #3040819

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Subject: RE: Turkey Swamp 50K

Sounds like you learned a lot in your first ultra.

Impressive pacing throughout.

I love run/walk for longer stuff.
2010-08-15 9:34 PM
in reply to: #3040819

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Subject: RE: Turkey Swamp 50K
Good job.

Re " I have been training with slow miles so I have to expect to race slow but it seems like I'm just as tired at the marathon distance going slow as I used to be when I'd run them fast." I totally feel you on that. I mean I never have gone fast but, going slow is brutal too.

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