Competitive Jerks Racing and Training - 2023 (Read 498 times)

DavePNW


     

      As I have advanced in years I am much more particular about my race choices and they go in order of 1. Weather potential 2. Flat or slight downhill 3. Not massive.

     

    Pretty much the same priority list here...I figure I have a limited number of good ones left in me, so don’t waste ‘em! I’d modify #3 as “easy logistics.” Chicago is massive but there are tons of hotels within a few blocks walk of the start, which is also near the finish, and it starts at a normal early-morning race time. You can’t say any of this about Boston or NYC. I’d include total trip cost in #3 All this has been my source of reluctance In signing up for NYC—it doesn’t check any of the boxes. Although pretty sure it would be fun if I ran without too hardcore of a goal time.

     

    I’ve said this before but I think the consistently good weather is a bigger factor in CIM being considered a fast race than its elevation profile.

    Dave

    flavio1980


    Intl. correspondent

       

       Flavio- Yes...mild just some minor symptoms like weather obsessing, second guessing life choices, thinking that I'm fat and have lost ALL of my fitness, struggling to decide if I NEED to do a 5 mile run today and whether  it will help or hurt.....

       

      Yeah, pretty standard stuff. I must admit I've gained a new found respect for you after learning that not only you're a fan of Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, but you also own a costume from her. That shows a real fan!

      I kick myself everyday cause I didn't keep a photoshop from Piwi from a few years ago where he placed my face over her body LOL that was so funny 😂

      PRs: 1500 4:54.1 2019 - 5K 17:53 2023 - 10K 37:55 2023 - HM 1:21:59 2021

      Up next: 

      2023-10-01 - Köln half marathon

      2023-12-03 - Valencia Marathon

      Tool to generate Strava weekly

      Running Problem


      Problem Child

        For all the West coasters planning on "sledding down" CIM in December.  

         

        RP- You should be targeting 2:45

        Mikkey- Given your "advance age" I'll let you slide with a 2:50 goal

        JMac- Once healthy you should be targeting 2:30

         

        LOL---------

        Marathon Time Conversion

        Boston Marathon in 3:03:50

          Sugarloaf Marathon California International Marathon
        Comparable Finish Time  3:03:12  3:02:51
        Course Time Difference -0:00:37 -0:00:58
        Weather Time Difference +0:00:00 +0:00:00
        Total Time Difference -0:00:37 -0:00:58
          Compare Race Details to Sugarloaf Marathon Compare Race Details to California International Marathon

         

        Hey CommanderKeen would you get a load of THIS guy? I think JMac is the only person I know who has done 2:45 at CIM and he might not even be able to show up this year. 

         

         

        does anyone know off hand….isn’t 2:45 marathon pace something around ‘former 5k PR’ pace?

         

         

        edit: also, race priority should be

        1. Beer availability (for those who remember the old name)
        2. proximity to/potential to make ‘less than imaginary friends.’
        3. Race Medal
        4. Amount of complaining considered accept
        5. Course

        Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

        VDOT 55.2

        5k18:xx | Marathon 2:55:22


        Resident Historian

          /Delurks/

           

           

          Hey CommanderKeen would you get a load of THIS guy? I think JMac is the only person I know who has done 2:45 at CIM and he might not even be able to show up this year. 

          does anyone know off hand….isn’t 2:45 marathon pace something around ‘former 5k PR’ pace?

           

          RP, did you feel that NorCal earthquake yesterday afternoon? Looks like it was shortly after Fishy's post? Was that you considering the possibility of going faster than 2:55? Earth shaking indeed!
          I've followed your training and progress; I wasn't surprised at the 2:55. You haven't reached your potential in running yet. You probably don't even have to make major changes in training to break 2:50, just stay healthy for a couple more cycles. Maybe not for this CIM, but <2:45 could be possible... mmm... perhaps after your 45th birthday?

          Fishy, DavePNW, I agree with those priorities -- and Chicago vs. Boston or NYC. That said, if I can get back to the marathon and a BQ, I'll call it a career after one more Boston. Why? All in RP's race report.

          Neil

          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          “Some people will tell you that slow is good – but I'm here to tell you that fast is better. I've always believed this, in spite of the trouble it's caused me. - Hunter S. Thompson

          DavePNW


             

            Fishy, DavePNW, I agree with those priorities -- and Chicago vs. Boston or NYC. That said, if I can get back to the marathon and a BQ, I'll call it a career after one more Boston. Why? All in RP's race report.

             

            Yeah, Boston is Boston. There are some who do not get the hype, and to each their own, but I’m of the view that Boston is the most special of them all.

            Dave

            JoshWolf


            Nothing special

              edit: also, race priority should be

              1. Beer availability (for those who remember the old name)
              2. proximity to/potential to make ‘less than imaginary friends.’
              3. Race Medal
              4. Amount of complaining considered accept
              5. Course

               

              Move to strike #1 - you can brew your own stuff .

              Sick and tired

              Running Problem


              Problem Child

                Longboat I felt nothing. I feel bad for the people up there since it knocked out 911 dispatch. A 5.5 wouldn't even make me get out of bed, and I remember literally laying in my bed while one went off and after about 10 seconds I thought "oh....thats  an earthquake." The force is one thing, and DURATION is another.

                Website with lots of pictures and graphs about the Earthquake near Lake Almanor.

                 

                The amazing thing, which I never knew, is New Zealand is on top of a fault line. I mean, like...."cuts through the country 220km north of Christchurch, and travels down the whole West edge of the country" On top.

                 

                Best of luck getting another good Boston.

                 

                speaking of....I guess I broke that whole superstition about not saying Boston.

                 

                 

                DavePNW I will have to let you know what I think about NYC when I get there. I might have even bigger hopes/ideas/dreams/expectations about what NYC is. Especially if JMac and CommanderKeen show up and sign my jacket. I might even ask for a tour of all JMac's old injury spots training locations in the park.

                Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                VDOT 55.2

                5k18:xx | Marathon 2:55:22

                Running Problem


                Problem Child

                   

                  Move to strike #1 - you can brew your own stuff .

                   

                  Movement denied due to information proving you wrong, and the logical understanding I'm incapable of brewing Trillium, Tree House, Wicked Weed, Half Acre Beer, Bells, New Glarus, Allagash, Matt Brewing Company, Three Floyds, Fremont, Creture Comforts, or Surly level beers. In the future ensure your accusations are the least bit believable before presenting them and wasting everyone's time by requiring I spoon feed you the information on a silver platter when you're completely capable of doing it yourself.

                  Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                  VDOT 55.2

                  5k18:xx | Marathon 2:55:22

                  JoshWolf


                  Nothing special

                    Sick and tired

                    DavePNW


                       

                      edit: also, race priority should be

                      1. Good Beer availability (for those who remember the old name)
                      2. proximity to/potential to make ‘less than imaginary friends.’
                      3. Race Medal
                      4. Amount of complaining considered accept
                      5. Course

                       

                      RP - FYP. All the beers you listed qualify. The Sam Adams 26.2 Brew which is ubiquitous on Boston Marathon weekend does not. That stuff is disgusting. Well it's basically a light/low-carb beer, which is disgusting by definition; Sam does some decent brews but this is not one of them. They gave me a free one when I walked into my hotel after the race; I couldn't even finish it.

                      Dave

                      SteveChCh


                      Hot Weather Complainer

                         

                        The amazing thing, which I never knew, is New Zealand is on top of a fault line. I mean, like...."cuts through the country 220km north of Christchurch, and travels down the whole West edge of the country" On top.

                         

                        It's such an every day part of life that it surprises me when people don't know this!  It's not just one fault, there are several huge faults with thousands of offshoots, one of which caused the 2011 earthquake which wiped out Christchurch.  The recovery is on-going.  Not all 5.5s are the same I'd say, this one was "only" 6.3 but right under the city, only 5km deep with unprecedented levels of vertical ground acceleration.  It's a miracle we only lost 200 people.

                         

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89fyXPoB5PU

                         

                        Fishy - this is first rate taper madness.  Good luck!

                        5km: 18:40 9/23 │ 10km: 39:10 8/23 │ HM: 1:26:48 9/23 │ M: 3:34:49 6/23

                         

                        Upcoming Races:

                        Christchurch Marathon April 21, 2024

                        Running Problem


                        Problem Child

                           

                          It's such an every day part of life that it surprises me when people don't know this!  It's not just one fault, there are several huge faults with thousands of offshoots, one of which caused the 2011 earthquake which wiped out Christchurch.  The recovery is on-going.  Not all 5.5s are the same I'd say, this one was "only" 6.3 but right under the city, only 5km deep with unprecedented levels of vertical ground acceleration.  It's a miracle we only lost 200 people.

                           

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89fyXPoB5PU

                           

                          Fishy - this is first rate taper madness.  Good luck!

                           

                          Alaska had one in winter around Christmas. It broke the freeway. Literally. Pre-covid they just shut down all the offices because the road into town wasn’t going to get you to work in time to do much besides go back home. I have a funny meme about it on my phone.

                          Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                          VDOT 55.2

                          5k18:xx | Marathon 2:55:22

                          Running Problem


                          Problem Child

                             

                            RP - FYP. All the beers you listed qualify. The Sam Adams 26.2 Brew which is ubiquitous on Boston Marathon weekend does not. That stuff is disgusting. Well it's basically a light/low-carb beer, which is disgusting by definition; Sam does some decent brews but this is not one of them. They gave me a free one when I walked into my hotel after the race; I couldn't even finish it.

                             

                            It’s also unnecessarily salty. I found it locally and was unimpressed. I can’t believe people pay hundreds of dollars and travel across the country and run a marathon to buy it.

                            Many of us aren't sure what the hell point you are trying to make and no matter how we guess, it always seems to be something else. Which usually means a person is doing it on purpose.

                            VDOT 55.2

                            5k18:xx | Marathon 2:55:22

                            CommanderKeen


                            Cobra Commander Keen

                              Rather quickly done and hopefully decently formatted, but here's some light weekend reading for anyone interested...

                              5k: 17:58 11/22 │ 10k: 37:55 9/21 │ HM: 1:23:22 4/22 │ M: 2:56:05 12/22

                               

                              Upcoming Races:

                               

                              Wurst Race Half - Oct. 7
                              Heartland 100 - Oct. 14

                              Half 'n" Half Half - Dec. 3

                              CommanderKeen


                              Cobra Commander Keen

                                Heartland 50 Race Report

                                 

                                Training and pre-race

                                 

                                Leading up to the race I essentially stuck with some advice SeattleMax gave me long ago regarding training for a 100 miler: “Train to run a fast marathon”. As such, I’ve still been working with my coach and training was largely similar to how I’ve trained for a marathon.

                                 

                                Doubles a few days per week, a good workout on Wednesday, and a LR. My overall mileage was actually a bit less than for CIM (~80mpw average), but some miles were “moved around” which let me get a solid mid LR on Friday on several weeks followed by a longer run on Saturday – culminating with a 17 mile on Friday followed by 20 (my only 20 of the cycle) 2 weeks from race day.  Given that the race is almost entirely on gravel roads, I chose to run on the gravel roads right outside of my neighborhood for almost all of my miles.

                                 

                                I did plenty of runs with a pack (primarily an Orange Mud pack with a “quiver” for a hard water bottle between the shoulders) even when conditions wouldn’t have warranted the hydration, and also practiced eating what I planned on during the race during LRs – completely in opposition to my usual fat-adapted / fasted LRs. All of these runs went alarmingly smoothly. Zero issues at all, which on one hand is great (because there were no issues, of course) but this also didn’t present me with any problems I might need to solve on race day, so less great.

                                 

                                I had an unintentionally lower mileage first taper week than I might have otherwise planned on thanks to a week-long work conference in Denver (Garmin interestingly still says I have some altitude acclimation). The week before the race was hindered thanks to coming down with a bug that had me feeling really bad two days before the race. Friday morning, however, I was feeling enough better than I was sure I’d be able to do the race assuming that same upward trajectory.

                                 

                                The race just happened to coincide with DD1’s final soccer tournament of the season (I signed up for my race well before the team signed up for the tournament). The tournament was in a city within an hour’s drive from the race location, so I cancelled my Airbnb and opted to stay at the team hotel – this only added about 20 minutes to my morning drive as the race is a good distance from “anything”. DW insisted on crewing me (I planned on doing the race solo), so DD1 was with her best friend and her mom for the first part of the tournament. The tournament schedule was actually about as good as it could be for us – the first game was relatively late in the morning and their second game wasn’t until well after the race would (hopefully) be over.

                                 

                                Race Day

                                 

                                I did wake up feeling better than the morning before, as predicted, but still not 100%. I ran through my usual pre-race routine and breakfast and we hit the road around 4:25. We made it to the very tiny town (population ~113, around 1/3 that of the tiny town I’m from) hosting the race in plenty of time to pick up  my bib at the community center that also served a the race finish/final aid station, check out the awards table (I saw the “trophy” for the overall male winner and thought “I’ll be back for you later”*), and then head to the start area a little over 550m down the road.


                                *The ultrasignup website offers the ability for RDs to show the entrants list for races. Based on this and some Strava/Athlinks searching it looked like the fastest person in the field was ~40 minutes slower than me in the marathon and he was also doing his first 50 so I figured I was the favorite, at least on paper. Yeah, I’m that guy.

                                 

                                The temp on the starting line was ~62F/16.6C – already considerably warmer than any temps I or most other racers had seen in weeks thanks to a cold front that had come in to the greater “central US/flyover country” area a couple weeks before the race.

                                 

                                Both the 50k and 50 mile race started at the same time, so we all lined up in the middle of the two lane road (not closed for traffic, but that wasn’t a concern at all in this town at 6am) and after a very quiet countdown from “10” we all set off.

                                 

                                To the first manned aid station (~ mile 8.35)

                                 

                                Almost immediately a woman wearing purple pulled ahead just a bit. I recognized her from Strava as the only person I could find there who actually showed up to the race – another woman withdrew beforehand. I caught up to her and introduced myself, which lead to an exclamation of “oh, Strava friends!”. We chatted together for the first couple miles until a guy I recognized as the ~3:35 marathoner (wearing dark clothing, likely a mistake for later) pulled up along side us as well. We were going a good deal slower than I planned on for this section (it was vey flat), but I didn’t mind at all with the conversation flowing. There was a bit of a crosswind blowing which was nice given the extra heat and humidity above what we were all used to, and we had solid cloud cover which was totally unexpected.

                                 

                                Purple lady dropped behind a bit after 4 or 5 miles, and the other guy stopped to pee behind a tree a mile or so later, which left me alone in the lead (including 50k runners). Thus far we had been on a very narrow (only wide enough for one vehicle at a time) dirt/gravel/rocky road with barbed wire fencing pretty close in on each side, but around mile 6 we crossed a cattle guard and things really opened up into actual open range – the road was now going straight through a massive grass pasture.

                                 

                                 

                                Shortly thereafter I started going down a pretty long downhill and could see a herd of cattle standing right in the middle of the road, and a bit later made out a pickup immediately behind them. This turned out to be the photographer, though it seems the cattle thought he was there to feed them.

                                 

                                The cows didn’t like me getting closer and moved away once I was within ~50m. As someone who grew up around cattle, having to displace a herd in the middle of a race was just plain amusing to me. I crossed another cattle guard, which put me back to a road hemmed in by barbed wire, and headed on down to the first aid station at about mile 8.35 (1:18:27). A quick porto-john stop and I refilled my water (~250 calories of hydration mix down, plus maybe 200 calories in something akin to real food) and was on my way again. Just as I was filling up my bottle 3:35 guy ran by without stopping, so I caught up to him as soon as I could. Time in aid station: 1:59.

                                 

                                To the second manned AS (~ mile 16.8)

                                 

                                Catching up to 3:35 guy was rather easy down a tiny decline and we started chatting again as we headed up the first thing on the course that could be called a hill. Purple Lady had said the first section was really flat (it was), but that until the next aid station there were a lot of big hills (there were). We chatted about our general lack of ultra experience, jobs (he’s a general surgeon, and hereafter shall be referred to as GS), kids, etc. all while occasionally eating on some overpriced gummy bear-like stuff and drinking. The hills were definitely there but overall seemed like they were decently runnable for the most part, though towards the top of one the include increased and we both independently decided to start walking at the same time and I don’t think our pace stopped at all. We started running once things flattened out and headed immediately downhill (if we weren’t going uphill we were going downhill), but kept to our strategy of walking the worst parts.

                                 

                                On a flat section at the top of a hill I turned to look at a small herd of horses (I didn’t expect herds of horses here, especially hemmed in by barbed wire fencing) in the pasture off to our left and no sooner had I done so I stepped in the worst possible way on what must have been the only loose chunk of rock in that section and rolled my ankle. If I had stepped on it closer to my heel or ball of my foot I could have handled it without issue, but NOOoooo. *expletive deleted* Mile 10.75 and my first thought is that I’ll have to drop out of the race. No! No! No! No! NO!

                                 

                                I stopped running and look down at my nearly orange-sized ankle (If only I could gain muscle mass or volume so easily!) and gingerly step down and pick it up a few times. GS stopped as well, asking what happened and I explain the situation. Then walk forward a few steps. That worked well enough that I went back to an easy jog. It hurts, feels tight, is swollen, and obviously couldn’t handle lateral motion at all but doesn’t seem to have issues with forward motion. Thank goodness I’m in a gravel road race and not a trail race or I’d be done.

                                Down this hill we go, and up the next. Somehow on that next downhill GS backs off a bit just before the end (maybe he got something out of his pack) and I end up by myself going up the next hill. I didn’t see that coming at all given recent events.

                                 

                                Up and down the hills I went, now in complete silence, until I finally crest a hill and see the second aid station at the “T” intersection below. I roll up to this, find DW (she scrambled a bit to grab my box of goodies as she and the others didn’t see me coming, thinking we were coming from a different direction) and start to restock on goodies. Enduro bites, check. SiS beta fuel gummies, check. Swap out my bottle for a pre-filled one with electrolytes. As I got the new bottle I mentioned to DW “I rolled my left ankle before mile 11”.

                                 

                                DW is not too happy with me as I start heading out, but I think she was flustered enough by how quickly things were happening that she didn’t tell me to stop. GS rolled into the AS just as I was leaving it. Time in AS #2: 1:51.

                                 

                                To the 3rd manned AS (~25.5mi turnaround)

                                 

                                The AS I just left was at what seemed to be a bit of a “suburban hub”. There was a house on one corner, and a house on the top of the “T”, along with some cattle pens. Quite the population density after having not passed a house after the first mile or so of the race. The road is essentially two lanes wide for this stretch. I also met the first vehicle (other than the photographer who passed us around mile 3) on the road here (still dirt/gravel, though) – a truck that didn’t slow down and hardly moved over at all. Why are people who drive a dodge/ram truck more likely that not to be a jerk? In leaving I discovered that my ankle did “less well” with stopping than it did with running. Even those couple minutes lead to my ankle getting stiff and taking half a mile to loosen back up so that I could run properly.

                                Up another good hill, make a right-hand turn and I’m back to the narrow single lane road I was used to. Not long after and I go through a small S curve, featuring a small bridge over a creek and (thanks to that extra water) ~200m of shade provided by some overhead trees. This is certainly welcome since the cloud cover moved out before the first aid station and it was really warming up. “Thankfully” the wind had picked up as well to ~20mph/32.2kmh but so far had been a crosswind the entire time. Up and down a few more hills, walk the steeper sections. Shove more food into my face.

                                 

                                Just after mile 21 there was an unmanned water stop. These had been roughly halfway between all of the manned aid stations thus far, but this was the first time I actually used one. It was hot enough that I was drinking through my water fast enough that I’d be out well before the next manned AS, whereas before I still had some left when I got to those. This stop only takes a few seconds and I cross another cattle guard. I’m also greeted by two signs: “Open range” and shortly after “minimal road maintenance, proceed with caution”. Both of these were dead on. I was again going right through a simply massive stretch of wide-open grasslands with hardly any buildings or anything else in sight. The “minimal road maintenance” sign could have applied to the entirety of the roads I had been on. In some places it was clear that there had been some attempt made at putting down some blacktop, but it had obviously been decades since it had last been maintained and only a few crumbling bits remained.

                                 

                                I’m heading down a long, gradual downhill and am greeted by a nice little joke. There was an abandoned building on the west side of the road that had three large garage doors – big enough for a semi truck. The doors were completely opened (if the actual doors were there at all, I couldn’t tell) and the actual door on the side of the building facing the road was gone as well. This side of the building had been spraypainted with the name “Shootin’ Sal’s Saloon” on the left side of the door, an approximation of swinging saloon doors on each side of the open doorway, and on the right both “opening soon” and “call for reservations” followed by what I’m sure was a real phone number.

                                I finish this long, gradual downhill, head up a long, gradual hill, cross another cattle guard and get on to a pretty flat stretch of road. I pass the course photographer again, then not long after make a lefthand turn and make my way into the midway aid station.

                                 

                                More resupply (DW wasn’t flustered here and was much more on top of things) and I’m back on my way back and towards the finish line. Time in AS #3: 1:48.

                                 

                                To the 4th manned AS (~ mile 34)

                                 

                                My ankle seemed took a bit longer to loosen up this time, despite the shorter time in the aid station. I’m not back to the next turn before I meet GS again. We high 5 each other, exchange pleasantries, and proceed on. I also check how long it has been since I left the AS – he’s about 5 minutes behind me at this point. Yeah, I’m still that guy. Past the photographer again, and I start meeting more and more oncoming runners. Lots more high 5s & cheerful encouragement all the way around. Two parts of this now suck: the wind has picked up to 30-35mph/48.3-56.3kmh and I’m heading directly into it, plus the temps are now heading north of 90F/32/2C.

                                 

                                Down and up the gradual hills, past Sal’s, and back to the first water stop I used before. I made sure to down what little I had left before reaching this so I could get some fresh water. I was pleasantly surprised that there was now an ice chest filled with ice – that certainly wasn’t there on my first trip by here.

                                 

                                I continue meeting a few runners through here but it doesn’t occur to me until later that I haven’t met (and won’t meet) anywhere near the number of runners who started the race. I do become aware of two other things, however: I forgot sunscreen (oops) and my right arm is rubbing on something. Turns out it’s the extra bit of the adjustment cord for the side of the vest. I pull this loose from both sides and tie them loosely behind my back. Ultra problem solving! Though I do need to properly trim them down.

                                 

                                Through the 200m of shade and I start up the next bit of hill before I decide to take my first bit of “this isn’t insanely steep” walking break. Don’t stop completely, keep some form of forward progress. I’m running again and going up the hill when non-photographer vehicle #2 turns and heads my way. This small truck stops in the road directly in my path – no attempt to move over at all, but at least he did stop. Not a Dodge. Hmm.

                                 

                                As I go by the high school-aged kids on their way to or from a fishing trip (fishing poles in the back) as what’s going on “A 50 mile race” I answer as I pass them. “Well, no shit! Good luck” is the reply.

                                 

                                Up the hill, make the turn, down the hill again and I’m back at the 3rd aid station – the same one I first saw DW. I sit down for a bit at this one. Refill ice/water/electrolytes. Apply some sunscreen and a bit of anti-chafe to my right arm out of extra caution, even though moving that strap seems to have solved my problem. I specifically don’t take any more food – I’ve had maybe 200 calories since the last manned aid station (it’s getting hot and I don’t want to eat) – and I know that what I already have on board should last me until the end.

                                 

                                As I finish up here some of the AS volunteers tell me that it’s “all downhill from here” and “there’s a cold front and lots of clouds coming in!”.

                                “You guys are terrible liars. Thank you.” No sign of GS as I leave. Time in AS #4: 4:16.

                                 

                                To the 5th manned AS (~ mile 42.5)

                                 

                                This next hill arrives before I want it to, though my ankle now seems to loosen up quicker than before. Definitely into “walk these hills” as these are the worst on the entire course and I’m back in that “if you’re not going uphill you’re going downhill” area. My pace up until this section had been remarkably steady between each AS at maybe 9.5 min/mi 5:53/km, but that certainly slips here. This doesn’t bother me at all as this is the toughest part of the course and it’s much hotter than anything I’ve experienced since maybe last October – and if I’m dealing with those things so are everyone else. I make it to the midway unmanned aid station and am again greeted by a newly-placed chest of ice. I fill up on ice, put some in my cap and head on. Notice that I *didn’t* fill up with water. Mistake! I pass the place where I rolled my ankle without recognizing it, even though I tried. The wind has shifted and instead of the crosswind I figured there’d be I was going directly into the wind.

                                 

                                Somewhere in here I think I get a glimpse of someone up ahead of me on the road, but after a while think I must have imagined it as I don’t see this person going up the next hill I can see beyond the top of my own. Once I crest the hill and head down I’m relied that I’m not hallucinating when I see three people at the bottom of the hill – two standing and one sitting in the shade of a rather pitiful little tree by a creek. Shade is shade, I suppose!

                                 

                                Up and down more hills and I run out of my original water and the melted ice. I also realize my chapstick is nowhere in my vest. This isn’t good either, my lips could use it (I still haven’t found the stuff I know I packed, it’s just gone apparently). Up one more hill and I see a guy I recognize from the 1st/5th manned aid station. He has climbed up this hill because there’s zero cell service at the AS. It takes me long enough to get up the hill after seeing him that he has finished whatever he set out to do and he follows me down the hill to the aid station. I feel like I’m moving along pretty darn well down this hill, but he’s effortlessly keeping up with me (while wearing pants). Showoff.

                                I take some solid time to sit down at this aid station to catch up a bit on hydration. I sit on an ice chest in the shade and talk to a 50k runner who’s just chatting away. He’s an older guy, has poles, and his left knee is pretty chewed up as he obviously took a tumble somewhere. I’m out of my usual electrolyte packets at this point so I just leave the AS with water. I do, however, have a single packet of electrolyte chew things so I’m not completely SOL there.

                                 

                                No sign of GS inbound. Time in AS #5: 8:32.

                                 

                                To the finish. 

                                 

                                I don’t even notice if my ankle needs to loosen up or not after this, I just go. Slowly, but I go. Walk/running a bit of everything now. I cross the cattle guard leading into the first/last open range section and make my way to the last actual hill on the course – that long, gradual one that took me to the photographer and herd of cattle so very long ago – and I walk/hike the entire thing. I chew on electrolyte tab things as I go and manage to get down a bite or two of runner gummy candy. Once this road flattens out and straightens out I’m again heading into the wind. This was supposed to be a crosswind!! Thanks to the wind I don’t seem to be going much faster when I’m running than when I’m walking (plus walking is definitely easier) so I start to walk more. When I do run I start getting dangerously close to cramping, so I back off even more.

                                 

                                I make what was the first and should be the final water stop of the course and fill up, taking a bit of extra time to drink a bit extra. Again, there’s an ice chest where there wasn’t one before.

                                 

                                A few miles down the road and I see someone up ahead of me and make it a goal to catch this person. This time not out of competitiveness, just to make sure I’m keeping moving. We’re both coming up to a turn in the road and another pickup parks by the side. A man gets out (at first I figure he’s a farmer since there are corrals right near here) and sets up a little aid station as a final one between the “formerly first/last” station and the finish. Table, water, Gatorade, ice chest filled with ice, pickle juice, a couple chocolate bars and I can’t see what all else. I fill up my bottle, drink a tiny cup of pickle juice and head on. The woman ahead of me set out just before and I manage a short run to catch up to her.

                                 

                                We start chatting away, about what all I can’t really say. Where we’re from. She has done both the 50k and 50 miler here before. Planned races. She mentions she’s considering an attempt at the 100 mile record for her AG at Across the Years since she’ll “be 75 then”. She’s 74? THIS is the woman I saw on the entrants list with 139 ultra finishes?! Wow, that’s impressive. She sure doesn’t look anywhere near that old…

                                 

                                I know Krash has done really well at the race she mentioned before, so as a long shot I toss his name out there and she says she remembers him – I should have pried a bit more here to see exactly from what.

                                She asks if she’s the last 50k runner. “No, there are 4 behind you, but they were miles behind you and who knows if they’ll finish in this heat”.

                                 

                                At some point she stops in the middle of the road for a bit, saying she gets dizzy sometimes in the heat. Well, that settles it for me, we’re finishing together. We keep going and keep chatting about just whatever. Take a small sit-down break in the grassy ditch by the side of the road (only the ditch is in shade), she tells me to go on. “I’m not in any hurry, and besides, who would I talk to if I left?”.

                                 

                                We get to moving again shortly after and she asks “did you ever think you’d win a 50 mile race by walking so much of it?”.

                                 

                                “No, I can honestly say I didn’t”.

                                 

                                We turn onto the blacktop road we started on, maybe 400m from the start line. We get there and keep going, greeted by a sign that says “finish .35mi that way”. We cross the train tracks in town (no train in sight, though someone almost got caught by it) and walk our way to a small crowd of onlookers and cross the finish. Final time: 9:22:42

                                 

                                In to the community center that serves as race headquarters and in to some glorious shade and air conditioning! DW has some electrolytes for me (she found one packet in the van, I had forgotten to put others in my box of supplies and only used what was in the vest) and tells me she has secured an appointment at a cryotherapy place back in Wichita if we can get there by close (coincidentally this place is owned by the guy that won the men’s 50k). While I soak up some A/C I experience the worst hamstring cramp of my life and afterwards see one of the photographers nearby and hope she got a picture of that experience. She did.

                                 

                                5k: 17:58 11/22 │ 10k: 37:55 9/21 │ HM: 1:23:22 4/22 │ M: 2:56:05 12/22

                                 

                                Upcoming Races:

                                 

                                Wurst Race Half - Oct. 7
                                Heartland 100 - Oct. 14

                                Half 'n" Half Half - Dec. 3