I woke up at 7 am feeling very rested. Again, I had taken 2 Ibuprofen before bed, and 2 when I woke up. I wonder if I will be able to get up. I get up and am actually walking better than the previous morning. The more I walk, the better I am feeling and am thinking I will at least be running today although doubtful it will be very fast.
I eat the same breakfast again as the previous days and start to pack the car for the ride home. We start a little after 9 am and I’m running. I settle into a comfortable pace at about 12-something per mile with a group of 7 including Allan behind me. We are all running and walking the up hills. Eventually, Allan passes me and part of the group pulls ahead and I’m running with the second place female struggling to keep up with her pace. She said that she had run her first 50 miler as well for this stage race.
There is an unmanned aid station at mile 8 but I have plenty of water so keep going. At this point, I’m keeping about an average 12 min per mile pace.
Splits up to this point:
M1 – 13:38 M5 – 12:29
M2 – 12:44 M6 – 11:46
M3 – 11:18 M7 – 11:50
M4 – 10:49 M8 – 14:02
I take an Accelerade Gel and immediately start to feel better. Of all the gels I used for this race, the Accelerade gel which I had not used before really seemed to do something for me.
My pace picked up and I was now running up the hills again. I started to catch and pass people. I caught up to the group Allan was running with and passed them. I caught up to another guy and passed him. I caught up to 2 more people and passed. Although the up hills were really slow, I felt like I was flying fast on the downs.
Before the race, the race director told us the course was 20K-ish. After 12.3 miles, we still weren’t near the finish. Allan had caught back up to me and 2 of the people I passed earlier, passed us on a really technical descent into a creek down some rocks.
I asked Allan if he wanted to pass and he said he didn’t want to miss a chance to finish a race with me. At 13.5 mi on my GPS, we cross the finish together. We made up the mile we lost the first day. Once again, I crossed the finish line with someone. We finished in 2:35:06 at 11:30/mi pace. My final splits were M9 – 11:22, M10 – 9:38, M11 – 10:49, M12 – 9:59, M13 – 10:42, M13.5 – 3:54.
Since I finished all 3 days, I received a finisher’s award which is a hand-carved Ozark Hoot Pipe. The tag says “When yore up in the hills lost and alone, this “tooter: will surely cheer ya. Just take a deep breath; give a hoot on the pipe and somebody’s bound to hear ya.” I think I needed that on Day 2.
Jeff and I drove back to Columbia. He and Andy P. also finished all 3 days but Andy P. placed better than me the second and 3rd day. The 50 miler was also Jeff’s first.
I have no idea how I placed each day or overall for the 3 days since the results have not been posted. My overall time was for 3 days, 93.5 miles was 19:51:21, 12:45/mi. It was my first event of this type, first 50K, and first 50 miler. I ran a trail 60K last fall. I felt like I trained pretty hard but could have been more prepared for hills and done a few longer trail runs. Considering I was injured in January and didn’t feel almost recovered until mid-February, I’m lucky to have finished and finished alive and uninjured. I knew it would be hard but the hills, rocks, climbing over trees, made it at least 10 times harder than I imagined.
I’m recovering nicely, walking (even down stairs). This 3 day event has proven to me that trail running is definitely easier on the joints than running on the road. Mentally, I’m not exhausted and physically I know it could have been much worse. Muscles are a little sore. I felt like I could have even run a few steps today but didn’t. I will try running a little tomorrow and just elliptical today. I gained about 6 lbs which is likely just fluid retention which isn’t uncommon for me even after a road marathon.
My overall impression is that ultra events are always fun events and I enjoyed this one although the second day was the most difficult race I’ve ever run. Things were a littlel out of and beyond my control and mentally I coped with it. Several of the runners remembered me from Berryman and all were very supportive and impressed with those of us doing our first 50 miler after running a 50K. These events are very intimate and everyone treats you like family. Also, they have the best foods at the aid stations.
Before leaving on Sunday, Ashley thanked me for pacing her for the 50K and asked if I was considering a 100 miler yet. I’m not quite ready to commit to that kind of distance at one time but would do a stage race again.