Trailer Trash


Lake Martin 50, 27 mile race report (Read 48 times)

    Race Webpage


    In Brief:

    27 miles, hilly but rarely steep, good weather (45-55 with only one 30 minute period of heavy rain and high winds), got an award, learned a lot.


    Not feeling ready for a 50 miler, I signed up for the 27 mile option, one 18 mile north loop, one 7 mile south loop and two miles tacked on at the end. The run was held along Lake Martin, near Alexander City, AL and was a mix of single track and gravel/dirt roads in the Russell Forest Trail System. The elevation gain is stated as 2700 ft per 25 mile loop. My Garmin, after the elevation correction on Running Ahead reports 3900 ft gain. I'm going with the higher number; the course was hilly!


    My plan was to go out faster than my usual dawdling along long run pace and see what happened. I'm really good at keeping it easy on long runs... probably too good!


    Blow by blow:

    I started out near the middle of the pack and for the first 1.5 miles all was going well. Then a waterfall started streaming down my back. I pulled over and stopped to see what was going on thinking the new Nathan bladder I decided to use at the last minute had burst. The hose was disconnected but I didn't know if that had happened as I was trying to pull the bladder out or was the cause of the waterfall. I drank the couple of ounces of water that were left and spent way too much time trying to decide if a bonus 3 miles was worth it to go get my handheld before I remembered that the handheld was in the car that was currently on its way to McDonalds for breakfast.


    Nothing to do but carry on and hope I can get it sorted out at the first aid station 6 miles away. Shouldn't be a problem. I run 6 miles without water all the time. Of course I am now DFL.


    1:40 after we started I finally made it to the first aid station. A very helpful volunteer properly connected the hose (which it turns out was the problem) and half filled the bladder for me. I grabbed a gel and took off. Since I hadn't had any water, I hadn't eaten anything either. So I tried to catch up... I drank a bunch of water and had about half a package of perpetuem  (I like mixing it up pretty pasty and keeping it in a flask), a gel and an s-cap. One mile later I realized this was not a good idea. My stomach was not happy.


    I did manage to pass several more people in this section but my mental state was not the best. I was less than 10 miles in and all the muscles in my legs are tired and sore, I'm nauseous, I'm really wishing I had stuck with my trusty handheld, and I just want it to be over.  Then I look at my Garmin and I'm thinking to myself, well that's odd. I'm actually about where I wanted to be.


    5 miles later, I'm back at the aid station I just left. My stomach hasn't settled down and my legs are still sore and starting to feel like they want to cramp up. I mention to one of the volunteers that my stomach is upset and he hands me a ginger chew. I had heard about these but never had one before. I also grabbed another gel, in case the ginger actually works. From here it's 6 miles back to the start to finish the north loop and I am seriously thinking about quitting when I get there.


    So I head out, sucking on a ginger chew, and figuring I only have 6 miles to go before I can quit I pick up the pace. I just want it to be over.


    And then everything changed. The ginger chew was awesome. My stomach settled down. I ate a gel. My legs still hurt, but psychologically I was back in the game. I flew (relatively speaking!) through this section.


    When I got back to the start, I ditched the bladder, grabbed my handheld, and another ginger chew and headed out for the 7 mile south loop. This section felt more technical than the last, lots of mud and roots, few dirt road/ atv trail segments. I was moving slower. It was getting harder to start running again after walking up a hill and walking up the hills was leaving me more winded then it had before. On the downhill and flat sections I was still able to keep a good pace. But the uphills were killing me.


    The course also got more complex here. I had to pay attention to follow the signs, arrows and flags, and I frequently felt like I was running in circles and would never make it back to the start. I did fly past a few people here, which felt good.


    I got back to the start and realized I just might be able to finish in under 5:30. The last 2 mile loop hurt. But I made it, with an 11 minute mile uphill to the finish line, in 5:29:07. The race director tried to convince me I was the second overall female, but I didn't believe him. But then he gave me this really nice engraved mug and I got my picture taken, and people were congratulating me, so it eventually sunk in that it wasn't some kind of weird joke. I have never ever won anything other than a participation award in any kind of athletic event... ok not entirely true, I have twice received an age group award in 5k races, but that seems different.


    Before anyone starts thinking I am some sort of speedster or something I should mention that there were only 7 women who finished the 27 mile race. The fastest guy finished in 3:23:09. And 3 women running the 50 mile race finished the first 25 mile loop before I did. So it is actually a pretty fast course. But I don't really care. The award is cool, but I am really happy about how I was able to maintain a much faster pace than I thought I could. I spent most of the race wondering when I was going to crash and burn, but I never did!


    It took about an hour, a sandwich and a bowl of chilli for my legs to stop yelling at me. Then I just felt tired!


    Random thoughts:

    -3 gels, 4 s-caps, 1 package of perpetuem. Doesn't seem like I ate enough, but I never felt hungry. I was however covered in salt. It felt REALLY good to wash my face afterwards!


    -I am faster when I walk most hills and push the pace on the downs and flats. I think my uphill running pace is still too close to my uphill hiking pace for it to be worth the extra energy needed to run.


    -I can keep going when my legs are tired and sore and feel like crap.


    -The whole just make it to the next aid station strategy really works.


    -I don't like hydration bladders. I spent way too much mental energy worrying about it, and trying to figure out how much water I was drinking. I like bottles.


    Overall, the race was a totally different experience from the Mt. Cheaha 50k I did in February. At Cheaha I felt... I guess the best word is... joyful the entire time. The fog blocking all the nice views was cool, the wet slippery rocks my friends, the water I was constantly running though was refreshing, you get the idea. I was mentally high the whole way. Lake Martin was way more of a struggle, and somehow satisfying in a whole different way.

    Pinhoti 100: Finished :D


    Faster Than Your Couch!

      Way to pull through after a rough start. Congrats on 2nd place! I've had some long races where I felt bad pretty early on, and just hauling my self from one AS to the next, only dealing with that section at the time, worked well for me, too. Happy recovery!

      Run for fun.

      Le professeur de trail

        Great job! Bowl of chili sounds good afterwards!

        The incarnation of peacefulness and patience




          Great job! Sounds hilly and challenging

            Thanks, if I am still living nearby, I may just have to try the 50 next year!

            Pinhoti 100: Finished :D

            Uh oh... now what?

              Seems like you were playing (encountering?) the difference between running and racing.

              One day you get to enjoy to course, the next day you are fighting to defeat the course.

              It just might not feel like it at the time.


              Good story, good running, thank you.

                Seems like you were playing (encountering?) the difference between running and racing.

                One day you get to enjoy to course, the next day you are fighting to defeat the course.

                It just might not feel like it at the time.


                Good story, good running, thank you.


                That's it exactly. One was an event, albeit a challenging event and a distance pr. Now that I know I can finish, I want to see how well I can finish. I want to actually race.


                It reminds me a little of my first 5k. It took me over 35 minutes and I was happy to complete the distance. It was hard, but I didn't know how to really push myself yet (and didn't have the fitness to do so). I kind of skipped all the intermediate steps, which likely would have been good stepping stones, but I really like long trail runs. So I expect it will take a while to figure out how to really race a 50k, but I am looking forward to the challenge Big grin

                Pinhoti 100: Finished :D


                  Well done and nice report. Finishing second woman is very cool. I liked your story and how you bounced back from the negativity and the bad feeling to finish up in race mode. Good stuff.

                  In dog beers, I've only had one.