Beginners and Beyond

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My Land Between The Lakes Ultra - aka 'A Poor Attempt at Running 50 Miles' (Read 105 times)

Weezer88


    This was my first attempt at running a 50-miler since 2011 when I ran 2 ultras (50K and 60K) and 2 endurance runs (10 hr and 24 hr)  I had so much fun at LBL in 2011 that I signed up for the 50-miler in 2013.  Maybe that was my first mistake. I thought I could cover the distance since I had done so in both endurance runs.

     

    Pre-Race

    Kenji, Rob and I left early Friday afternoon so we could make it to Grand Rivers, KY in order to pick up our packets.  We enjoyed a nice dinner at one of the local restaurants (Patti's 1880 Settlement).  Ask for the bread in the flower pot with strawberry-flavored butter (YUM). Rob and I headed back to the condo after we dropped Kenji off at his dad's RV.  With just about 5 hours of sleep, we were up and ready to go.

     

    The Race

    We made our way to the start line and with a brief talk by the RD (Steve Durbin) we were off.  For the first 1.75 miles, we were on the main highway (Route 453) I quickly sped off so that I could get closer to the front of the pack so as to alleviate getting stuck in the 'conga' line.  We reached the Land Between the Lakes State Park and head up a small hill and proceed back downhill to the trail head.

     

    Loop 1 - Coming into this race, I had only run on a trail a total of one time for a total of about 1-1/2 hours.  Loop 1 was me getting to reknow the course from 2011 and what I should expect for the next 8+ hours.  I followed other runners in the mini-conga lines and would try to pass when I saw a chance.  I would say 'passing on your left/right' before I made my move.  Both Rob and Kenji were way ahead of me yet I was still doing between 8:45 and 9:00/mile.  I chose to wear gloves and arm warmers as it was a bit chilly at race time and ended up ditching the gloves and arm warmers at the end of loop 1 also.  I did stop at every aid station to refuel and refill my handheld. The small little creek crossings (of which there were many) always helped slow me down - whether I wanted to or not.  In hindsight I think I ran the first 1/2 of this loop too fast when I was 7 miles in and the elapsed time on the Garmin read 1:03.  For loop 1, my average pace was ~9:15/mile.

     

    Loop 2 - After spending about 1 minute at the drop bag area at the end of loop 1 to ditch the gloves/arm warmers and switching to a visor, I started out on loop 2 with a Honey Stinger waffle in hand.  I would stop briefly at the individual aid stations to grab either M&M's, pretzels filled w/peanut butter and whatever else looked appetizing.  However, towards the end of loop 2 I noticed that I was walking more than I did during this same spot on loop 1. A landmark that became synonymous with nearing the end of the loop was a huge cellular phone tower that we had to run by.  It was also during loop 2 that I took my first spill.  My foot hit a leaf-covered root and I went down quickly.  Unfortunately it was in an area where the ground was hard and I came down hard on my left knee. The expletives just seemed to flow right out of my mouth as I went down. I dusted myself off and a passing runner asked if I was okay and I said yes. My average pace slowed to 10:45/mile on loop 2.

     

    Loop 3 - After completing loop 2, I stopped at my drop bag again and popped one Aleve as I was starting to notice some groin pain on my left side.  It was towards the end of loop 2 that my mind mentally 'checked out' of the race. I started doing calculations in my head and realized I would be out on the trails for another 4-1/2 hours. I felt like I could physically finish the race, but I wasn't mentally prepared to do it.  Nutrition did not seem to be an issue. What kept me going was 2 runners behind me that never passed me but stayed right within my peripheral vision.  They were running the flats and downhills and walking the uphills.  I started to do this as well.  They even said 'Please don't make me pass you'. We were doing the ultramarathon shuffle (pace ~12:00/mile). I stopped to pee at a porta-potty after about 28 miles.  Everything came out clear (good sign). I was also during this loop that I fell again on my left knee after kicking a rock.  What are the chances that I'd hit the same spot on my knee as before?  100%!

     

    The Finish - I made it to the end of the third loop and told the volunteer that I was going to drop to the 60K. The clock read 6:45 and with the finish being only 1.7 miles away, I really craved an ice cold beer at this point.  Why does it seem like 1.7 miles is SO FAR AWAY after you've ran 35.5 miles?  I was joined by another 50-miler who decided to drop to the 60K and we talked most of the way to the finish line.  He, like Kenji, was using this race as training run for Boston. My pace picked up considerably as I approached the finish. I finished 41st out of 131 with a time of 7:02:31 (11:20/mile average).  Not my best race but I'll live to race another day - preferably a much shorter distance. I met up with Kenji and his family as we waited for Rob to cross the finish line.

    We  headed over to the community center to get some food. I had some venison chili, turkey wraps, 2 Cokes, and peanut butter and crackers.  I had to wait for the beer on the drive back to home but it tasted damn good - especially with the two cheeseburgers from McDonalds.

    I met some great forumites (Ben, Matt, Jane and Van) and really enjoyed the day.  I cannot say enough about the whole race experience at LBL - it is great and I tried to thank all the volunteers that I could.  Fortunately I know what I did wrong in getting prepared for this race - let's just hope I can learn from it. Left knee is still somewhat sore as are the quads.

    I AM WEEZER.


    Susan,Queen of the Crocs

      I don't think it was a poor attempt at all.  You went down hard twice and still managed to keep going.  Sounds like it just wasn't your day, and you were smart enough to stop when you realized that.   Finishing 60K on trails seems pretty impressive to me. Congrat's!


      delicate flower

        Wow, taking on a 50 miler after only doing one trail run?  Go big or go home, eh?  Big grin  60K is still impressive as heck and you had a good finish.  That is a lot of trail running.  Bummer about the knee bruising but at least it's nothing more serious.

        proud sherpa


        Singer who doesn't run.

          I can't even imagine distances like these, but you make them sound oddly appealing!!

          When it's all said and done, no one remembers how far we have run.  The only thing that matters is how we have loved.


          SheCan

            There's absolutely nothing to feel bad about in this race.  As it was you still did the 60k, and after falling twice.  Sounds like a really neat race.  Were there any photos of the trail?  So neat that you got a chance to spend with many of the other ultra runners.  I think every once in a while, us runners need that difficult race to keep us from getting too complacent in our training.  Hope your knee is feeling better.

            Cherie

            "We do not become the people who this world needs simply by turning our backs on anyone we don’t like, trust, or deem healthy enough to be in our presence. "  ---- Shasta Nelson

            Adam_McAllen


            Beer-and-waffle Powered

              Oh man, I bet that your description of that food after the race did not do it justice!

              In the words of my late-coach : Just hang in there, relax... and at the end of a race anyone you see.....just pass them


              Bad Ass

                Sorry you had to drop down and that the race didn't go the way you wanted.  You tried and you took two hard falls.  You decided upon the best course of action on that day.

                Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                Blog

                "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

                  OK.  I'm curious.  Why would someone use a 50 mile trail race as a training run for Boston?

                  Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                  Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                  Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).

                  BenTN


                    David,

                    Great job and it was really good to see you again!

                     

                    Don't beat yourself up. You ran a great race and finished the 60K with a very impressive time. Damn you are fast! I did the drop down from 50M to 60K last year. It's those loops, it's really hard to go out on that 4th one the first time you face it.

                     

                    You need to come back next year. You'll be mentally prepared and will have learned from your mistakes. At least, it was easier for me to start the 4th loop this year. I knew I'd need the full eleven hours and as it turned out a little more....

                     

                    Again, well done man. It was good running behind you. Way behind you.

                     

                    Ben

                    happylily


                      David,

                      Great job and it was really good to see you again!

                       

                      Don't beat yourself up. You ran a great race and finished the 60K with a very impressive time. Damn you are fast! I did the drop down from 50M to 60K last year. It's those loops, it's really hard to go out on that 4th one the first time you face it.

                       

                      You need to come back next year. You'll be mentally prepared and will have learned from your mistakes. At least, it was easier for me to start the 4th loop this year. I knew I'd need the full eleven hours and as it turned out a little more....

                       

                      Again, well done man. It was good running behind you. Way behind you.

                       

                      Ben

                       

                      David, what Ben says makes a lot of sense to me. You ran an impressive 60k and you have all my respect. You rock, dude!

                      PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                              Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                      4 years racing, 14 marathons, 14 BQs     

                        David, congrats on the 60k!   And it was good to run with you for a bit on the 2nd loop.  Glad I could come down to the race, it really is a beautiful trail.  Hope your knee is OK, and best of luck in future races!

                        Take Charge. Train Harder. Suck Less. No Excuses.

                        So_Im_a_Runner


                        Go figure

                          Just wanted to say a late congratulations to you for your race effort.  It's hard enough to pace a marathon and not go out too quickly, let alone an ultra.  I'm sure that's a skill you'll improve upon if you continue racing at that distance.  There's no shame in being safe and dropping down in the distance, especially after taking two falls like you did.  I'm glad they weren't more serious.  Even though it was tough for you, I'm glad you still enjoyed the event and experience.  Thanks for sharing!

                          PRs:  Marathon (2:49xx; '13)  Half (1:25xx; '12) 10k (40:26; '11) 5mi (29:23; '13) 5k (17:33; '13)

                            Great job, Weezer.  There is nothing "poor" about that run, especially with taking two tumbles.


                            Pura Vida

                              Sounds like you took on quite a challenge and still ran a lot farther than most of us ever will!  Congrats on your run!

                              PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02

                              Upcoming: Beat the Blerch 10K 9/21, Portland Marathon (debut) 10/5