Sunmart Ultramarathon 50 mile and 50K
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Sunmart Ultramarathon 50 mile and 50K - Run
View Member's Race Log
The race began at 7am on a cold Texas morning (24 degrees), there were 200 some participants started the run that morning. The run for the 50 miles was on a 12.5 mile loop around part of the Huntsville State Park, we would be doing this loop 4 times. The "we" in that sentence would be myself, Trixie (Lisa from MI), Fit (Shannon form NC), and Q (Jeff from FL). Our plan was to stick together and run the race together as far as we could and make it together. This was a single track trail (only enough room for one) for pretty much the whole way. Usually running is not that hard, trail running is harder than running on the road because you have to be looking down all the time to watch your footing, jump over roots, stumps, tree logs, ruts in the trail from rain errosion, sticks, and other hazards. We would run almost single file, sometimes two side by side when we could, yelling out hazards in the way, "stump", "jump to the left", "bridge", and "hole". We would constantly be tripping over roots, stumble and catch oursleves. The first aid station was about 2 miles out the trail and these things were awesome. It was like a buffet table for runners, there was all kinds of drinks, snacks, sandwiches, sweets, and even boiled potatos with salt. We (the 4 of us) hit the first aid station and took in some fluids, I think I grabbed a few crackers and we were back on our way. By this time the pack was starting to thin out a little more as everyone was working on their plan for the race. As we raced along we took turns talking and singing songs from TV shows (anything to keep your mind thinking about the long day ahead). I stumbled about four times on roots but caught myself before I hit the dirt. Finally at mile 6 someone fell, Shannon bit the dirt... After making sure she was ok, we all laughed and admired the new cut on her leg and the blood running down her leg. She got up dusted herself off and we kept going. Around mile 7 we had to climb a hill and I made the remark that the hill would be a tester about the 3rd lap. The distance between the 3rd and 4th aid station was 4 miles and that was a long 4 miles in the woods. 5th aid station and it was time to eat something good so I filled up on pbj sandwiches and some oreos, I also took time to go to the potty. Next was a 3 mile stretch where we wind our way thru the woods and then back to the start/finish to cross a timing mat; then we start the whole thing all over again.
When we started the second loop I noticed my right ankle was starting to hurt and I said to myself, this is going to be a problem. On the way to the first aid station we all continued to talk to each other and a few competitors that we would either pass or they would pass us, we would ask where they were from and exchange plesantries. From mile 14 on I began to drop back a little and began noticing my hamstring on my left leg was starting to hurt. I knew this is where all of the fun would begin, the mental battles. I put on my head phones and began to look for some good music on my IPOD. I kept Trix, Shannon, and Jeff in sight and would catch them at the aid stations and then they would be off again only for me to catch up later. Going up the steep hill again was harder this time, I knew the next time would be far worse. When I made it to the 5th aid station I took a little longer to try and stretch my legs, I ate a little more and filled my water bottle. As I made my way back to the start finish to complete mile 25 I passed the gang and we high fived each other. Crossing the timing mat to start my next lap, I stopped at the aid station and filled up water and drank some doctor pepper; I was hopping for a little caffine to brighten my spirits.
Lap 3 began with me seeing Aaron and Andrew, Aaron was doing the 50K, running with the American flag; which is his thing. We high fived and I embarked thru the woods. People we very stretched out on lap 3 and there was not many opportunities to chat with other runners; so I spent most of the time with the ipod on. Got to the 2nd aid station and filled up on supplies, my hamstring at this point felt like it was ready to seperate from the back of my leg. I felt fine if I could do a run/shuffle, the problem was that you had to negotiate so many obsticals it was hard to keep the shuffle going and I would have to jump or stretch my gait out. Right ankle still bothering me and I was afraid as weak as it was that if I landed funny on a root, my ankle would twist and I would break it. I began to make compensate for my ankle and I would change my stride. Going from 2nd to 3rd aid station I saw Trixie and Shannon, I noticed Jeff was not with them and made a comment that the wheels were coming off for me, Trixie said Jeff was the same way and he was not too far ahead. By this time I have a very funny shuffle and could only manage a good run for about 3 or 4 minutes, then I would have to walk. As I was walking up a hill I talked to a really nice guy that was carrying a walking stick and taking his time. I finally passed Jeff as I was gettting close to the 3rd aid station and the tunr around. He looked about as bad as I felt...
I stopped at the aid station to get a rock out of my shoe, I really didnt want to get up but I knew I had to. I stood and ate a oreo/peanut butter/m&m/ cracker combo and washed it down with some pepsi, tasted good so I ate 3 more; all the while watching one of the aid workers build a house out of crackers, peanut butter, and pretsels.
At this point my legs were pretty much toast, it was a strange feeling because the rest of my body felt fine. My heart rate was in the low 150's (low zone 1 for me) and other than being the normal I am tired after running 27 miles; well I felt fine except for the two stubs I was running on.
The next stretch was the hardest, 4 miles to the next aid station... all alone except when I was being passed by the occasional age group runner finishing their last lap; they looked so fresh as they ran down the trail. At this point I had told myself to walk the hills up and down (so I didnt break my leg off at the ankle on a root or stump) and I would run shuffle the flat parts. It hurt either way, to run or walk it didnt matter. The flat parts looked like hills so I am sure I walked more than I should have. As I hobbled along I did the normal "why am I doing this" stuff, I mean really who in the hell wants to try and run 50 miles; well whom that is sane anyway. As I passed 30 miles I was thankful, I was now in the territory of farther than I had ever run. I was glad to know with every step was a new distance I was pushing my body. By this time I knew I would not make the 3rd lap cut off; they set a time for you to finish the 3rd lap and start the fourth and still have a chance to finish the 50 miles in the 12 hour cut off. I was fine with that, I sat down on a log to stretch out my leg and roll my ankle around; it hurt. All of my legs hurt, I was very tired now but I made myself get up and I started back down the trail to the next aid station. At this point I was pretty much just hobbling along.
Mile 32 (50K), wow that is a damn long way to run. My legs hurt like no ones business, I was tired. I was still 3 miles from the next aid station and I was reduced to a walk, no running any more; my body said no it just would not do it anymore. Out from behind me I began to hear a loud motor sound and I turned to look. Two ATVs were coming up from behind me, I thought to myself; well maybe it is time to bag it. I had made 32 miles in 8 hours and my legs were not going to do it anymore, I missed the cut off so even if I finished to the next aid station all I can say I did was add 3 more miles to the total. When I got to the start/finish they would make me stop and take me chip off and tell me I was done. In my mind I calculated that at my walking/hobbled state that would take me close to two more hours. Did I really want to be out here and punish myself for nothing for two more hours???
When the ATVs got up to me, they slowed. I looked at the guy and asked if he had room for one more, he said sure but they were on there way to check on a guy who was having heart problem just ahead of me. I said great I will tag a long for the ride and then take me to the start so I can turn in my chip. I hit the stop button om my watch and climbed on the back and up the trail we went.
What would you do differently?:
I felt like I had the milage in. I think doing more runs on trails would have made a big difference, I just was not expecting all the jumping and moving around to get good footing. My legs hurt way to early for it to be a "not enough milage issue"
Turned in chip, walked back to car and looked for Chippy, finally found her. Got in car, cranked heater and took a hour nap. got out and went to find Chippy and wait for the gang to finish.
I cant thank Chippy enough for being a jockstrapper, she was great and it was awesome to sit and talk to her while we waited on Shannon, trix, and Jeff to come in.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Run more trail runs
Race was great, aid sations rocked! swag was awesome, just ask Trixie about the new blueblockers she got (she looked hot in them). Volenteers were wonderful also, top notch race! The food after the race wow... had everything to eat, even turkey legs...
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35F / 2C
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Stayed with Aaron (jeepfleeb) and Andrew (bigred). got up went to race site, they had all kinds of breakfast food and I chowed down. Found the other crew Chippy, Fit, Trix, and Q.
walked to starting line took a deep breath, wondered why I was going to try and run 50 miles and off we went.