I ran Syllamo in 2008 and 2009. There are some races that are worth repeating and this is one of them. The scenery is beautiful, the course is challenging, and it is fun to see the runners from before and meet new ones doing it for the first time. Jeff and I drove in on Thursday since the first 50K was on Friday. Karen caught up to us on the way down since she was going to run her first 50K on Friday and drive back on Saturday. We had dinner at Pizza Inn buffet which I will say is not as good as Incredible's Pizza but it fueled us for the next day's race.
The race on Friday started at 9 am. It was about 37F at the start and temps would get up to 63. Jeff planned to wear a tank so I decided to go with sleeveless. I was never cold so that was the right decision and the temps warmed up quickly. The sun was shining so we were exposed most of the time since the leaves were not yet out on the trees. My plan was to race conservatively so I would have something left for the 50 miler. The 2008 Syllamo was my first 50 miler and was one of the toughest races I have done. It was my first 50 miler and followed by a sub-5 hour 50K which was not smart. In 2009 we ran an easier course due to the ice storm knocking down the trees. I did not want a repeat the awful day in 2008 so raced conservatively.
For the first 15 miles I often ran with groups of people, but only if they were running a pace that I felt I could be running. Sometimes I am better off running alone or I get caught up in pace that I will pay for later. Or if someone is running behind me I don't like the pressure of trying to keep up a pace if I feel like they want to pass me even though they say they don't. If I feel like they want to run with me and my pace then all is well. At the 15 miles aid station I went ahead of the last 2 guys I had run with. The aid stations were about 4 - 6 miles apart which seemed to work out perfectly for me. If you were a slower runner or if it were warmer 2 water bottles might be a good idea.
I carried one water bottle with Succeed Ultra and used either Hammer Gels or Accel Gels. I also had some Succeed Caps and Endurolytes that I took about every hour. I used 5 gels and 3 packets of Succeed and ate a little at aid stations but since it was only a 50K it wasn't more than a few chips. Stomach seemed to be happy with this arrangement.
I ran alone for about 12 miles. At 26 miles, I was at 5 hours and 5 min so I was taking it considerably easier than in the past. I walked all the bad hills too. I caught up to Stuart at this point and passed him and we ran together for a few miles. This seemed to be just what he needed and he took off the last couple miles and finished a bit ahead of me. I finished in 5:42:30 and had 29.3 miles on the GPS but we make it up on the last day since the 20K is about 1.3 miles long.
I drank the Recoverite they included in our race packets and went to soak the legs in the creek with some other runners. Since the air temp was in the low 60s it didn't seem too bad standing in the water. I stayed for 20 minutes and legs were quite numb. I got in barefoot so the rocks were kind of painful on my feet and it was hard to pull myself out. I went back to the finish line to wait for Jeff and Karen to come in. They crossed the finish in 6:54 and Karen had completed her first 50K.
I managed to complete the first day without falling and felt pretty good going into day 2. I wore the Innov8 Rocklite 295 shoes that I also wore for the 50K at the Post Oak 2 weeks ago. They performed extremely well on the variety of terrain and my feet were very comfortable and no issues at all. We went back to the cabin and Karen cooked us a yummy chicken and rice dish for dinner to fuel us for the next day.