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Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race - RunUltra Marathon

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Marquette, Kansas
United States
KS Ultrarunners
76F / 24C
Total Time = 12h 59m 50s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Drove up to Kanapolis State Park after work Friday and went to the pasta party and got my packet. The race director gave a speech about the race which mostly made me feel better about not getting lost and I talked to a guy who had done the race before who made me feel more confident in general.
Event warmup:

Arrived early at about 6:00am, checked in, dropped off bags and stayed warm by a huge fireplace. Heard a similar pre-race speech from the night before (Except for some reason hearing that the mid-point 6.5 cut-off was the only "hard" cut-off somehow made me think that I would still "finish" as long as I made that cut-off and kept moving. Apparently that was just referring to being a hard cut-off as far as being pulled from the race. This messed with me a little during the second loop when I had to unexpectedly kick-it up a few notches to finish in time.)
  • 12h 59m 50s
  • 50.66 miles
  • 15m 23s  min/mile

I'm very happy with my pacing for this race despite the fact that we made it in with only 10 SECONDS TO SPARE. 12:59:50 with a hard cut-off of 13 hours to be an official finisher. I say we, because I hooked up with Dave at about mile 3 and we eventually decided to stick together for the long haul. I reigned in my competitive inclinations early in the race and let a lot of people pass. Usually the early miles of a race seem to drag, but the first 5 seemed to pass really fast. I must have been well below lactate threshold because I talked A LOT during the first loop. The time flew and at the first stop at the manned aid station around mile 12 I felt like I had barely ran. Even when passing it for the second time after what's considered the difficult part of the course at mile 18 I was great. The longest part of the race was from the water crossings to the marathon finish/turn around. I was really disappointed when we came the the creek and the photographer wasn't there, but he was at the next even deeper one. The stretch from there to the turn around, partially ran on deep sand, seemed to take a long time, but I'm glad it prepared me for that stretch the second time through. I knew what to expect which helped I think. The pre-race meeting had strongly cautioned about getting caught up at the turn-around aid station. Only about 1/2 of the people signed up for the 50 miler traditionally even leave the turn-around, but most of those who do finish. We left the turn around at about 6 hours 25 minutes. The only runner we saw on the second loop was someone heading in at the unmanned aid station and a girl making her second stop at the manned aid station as we were leaving it for the first time. Before we left the station, a volunteer was on the phone with home base and waved in out direction saying something along the lines of us being the "last ones". No shame in that :) I thought we were cruising along very well on the second loop. We were still only basically walking during the hills. After the second aid station Tony the course "sweeper" started running behind us picking up the course markers. This really was kind of unnerving trying to stay ahead of him. He started prodding us after the second stop at the unmanned aid station telling us we needed to "Push". I thought we WERE pushing. We were RUNNING which I thought as fabulous 42 miles into out first 50 even if we were running kind of slowly. We splashed through the remaining water crossings. I had to stop for a rock in my shoe and Dave had a foot cramp, but other than that we chugged ahead. My Garmin died about 1.5 miles from the finish, but I thought we had plenty of time. Tony started yelling for us to pick it up. I was singing at this time trying to keep Dave with me to the finish. He was fading, but we had stuck together so long I didn't want to leave him behind. We had a glorious run (UP A HILL) to the finish. Pushing it hard for the entire last mile probably. Tony told me later that we were running 8:30 minute miles near the end. That's almost my 5k pace. Not bad for the end of a 50 miler. Right after finishing it was a little iffy if we had made it before the official cut-off. I was to the point that I was pretty proud regardless. My Mom was a little freaked out because someone had turned the timing clock around, not a good sign. After a few calculations the RD said we'd made it with "10 to spare" I thought minutes, but then he clarified it was SECOND. Very humbling and kind of scary. If we had walked just even ONE more hill or slowed down just a tad on our sprint to the finish we would've been over 13 hours.
There was an older man I didn't even realize was in the race we passed a few miles before the finish who crosses the line a while after us. I don't think he made it in under 13, but don't have the official results yet. I was kind of hoping for "dead last finisher" myself.
What would you do differently?:

I had a solid training plan although the taper seemed a little long. I'm not sure I could've been better prepared for where I'm at as a runner.
Post race
Warm down:

Immediately after the race at least, I think that's the best I've ever felt. No nausea, not really even tired. Miraculously after 13 hours of gummies, my stomach felt 100% A-ok, My feet were a bit battered, but I'd been ignoring them for about 10 hours already so no big deal. I took my shoes off and the cold pavement on the picnic shelter did feel good on them. The Diet Coke I had tasted pretty good too. Food did not however sound good. I asked about the advertised sandwiches (which had already been cleaned up) and the volunteer offered to unpack the items for me, but I told her I didn't really want to eat one, I just wanted "to look at them". Another runner heard me and commented "You just ran the 50, huh?". I thought it was pretty funny.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

There were a lot of hills. I found myself wishing there was a sign at the bottom saying "Run me" or "Walk me". I wanted to be sure to conserve energy, but it was a little hard to decide which ones to run and which ones to walk.
I did get a rather severe headache at the beginning of the second loop, but can't say it necessarily slowed me down. I drank 60 oz. of water in the 8 miles before the first water stop so I don't I was dehydrated, but probably missing my customary caffeine. I took a caffeinated Gu and had about 8 oz. of Mt. Dew at the manned aid station and it helped some.
The course conditions were perfect. No mud, sunny, warm, but with enough wind to stay cool. This was really the best-case scenario for the course. I do think with more experience and mileage I could go faster, but I'm very pleased with my performance for this run.
No disappointment, no regrets!
I can't quantify how much it helped to run with someone. Dave pushed when I might not have and I pushed when he might not have. I know it made a difference not being out there alone.

Event comments:

This is one of my favorite run courses so far. I'm very excited to have finished, but also very humbled by the distance because I felt we had ran so well under perfect conditions and BARELY made it in under the cut-off. THe volunteers were great and everyone was so supportive. I thanked Tony for his help afterwards and he said he was prouder of helping us push it in than anything he's done recently... and of course thinks I should run the Heartland race and that I could even be ready for the 100 by October.

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Last updated: 2011-04-01 12:00 AM
12:59:50 | 50.66 miles | 15m 23s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
The RD lists the race as 50.66 miles. I actually thought it was funny that with that much course no one had figured out a .66 mile short-cut to even out the mileage. I ate a rotation of sour gummy worms, fruit smileys, and Sharkies with a Salt Stick pill every 1/2 hour (total 250-300 calories) only deviating for the Gu and Mt. Dew to help the headache and not taking anything the last 30 minutes so I could push the pace without anything in my stomach and I wouldn't have been able to slow down to fiddle with the packaging anyway. I know "technically" 300 calories per hour is pushing what a person should be able to absorb without stomach upset, but mine felt good the entire time. WAY better than during either Ironman I've done.
Course: This really didn't look like Kansas. Lots of hills, canyons, sand and grass. Two waist-deep water crossings and several shallow just-enough-get-a-foot-wet water crossings.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-04-04 11:02 AM

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Subject: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race

2011-04-05 4:30 AM
in reply to: #3428767

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race
That's amazing!!! It looks like a beautiful course, and to have run it with one other person... you two shared something really special together. Congrats!!
2011-04-05 10:40 AM
in reply to: #3428767

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Roswell, Georgia
Subject: RE: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race

AMBER!!! I am soooooo proud of you! I got your text way late that night and showed it to Dr. Speedo bragging about how awesome my friend is.

8:30s at the end! 10 seconds to spare! You are my hero - super congrats!

2011-04-05 10:48 AM
in reply to: #3428767

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Kansas City, MO
Subject: RE: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race
Congrats on your Ultra! 50 miles - that is so impressive. It's hard for me to imagine doing a race that long. Great accomplishment!!
2011-04-07 11:19 PM
in reply to: #3428767

Vienna, Austria (temporarily)
Subject: RE: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race
Congratulations on your finish and way to stick in there!
2011-04-09 8:45 AM
in reply to: #3428767

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Subject: RE: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race
That is crazy, great race report.

Darn near equal splits too, which on a 50 miler, that is awesome.

Good work.

Good luck training for the 100 miler!

2011-04-10 5:51 PM
in reply to: #3437366

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Subject: RE: Rockin' K Trail Marathon & 50 Mile race
Yeah, the race director after my finish kept saying, "You darn near needed negative splits to have finished in time with when you left for the second loop" like it had never been done before Laughing.
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