NOTE: I dated this post back to when I originally wrote it (4/18/2022). Original publishing date on TeamPumaKnife.com is 8/6/2022.
Name: Earth Day 50K
Date: April 16, 2022
Location: Crystal Lake, IL
(each loop ~5.2 miles)
After the Dopey Challenge I had about a 2 week rest before I got back into the training schedule. With only 15 weeks between them it meant getting back to training pretty quick. My marathon and Dopey plans had been 4 days of running with a day of cross training, which I continued until the end of February when I switched to running 5-days per week. I felt the increase in volume definitely paid off.
Since this race is in a park only an hour from me I was able to go do a training run before hand. I did 3 loops of the approximate course which went pretty well. Left that day very excited for the race, though hoping it would be slightly less windy.
Day of race I arrived early, got a good parking spot that would prove very helpful later in the race. It was a very nice cool morning to start, and it never got up to a temperature I’d call warm all day – great racing weather.
I carb loaded in the three days before the race. I really don’t like carb loading very much. I hate the feeling of being bloated. I definitely don’t like the few lbs it adds on the scale, but I understand the importance.
The race is on a looped course with each lap being ~5.2 miles. Do not be fooled by the fact this race is in Illinois, one of the flattest places I’ve ever been. Even though there were no climbs more than, I don’t know, 50 ft or so, the entire race you are either going up or down. There were very few and far between flats. Overall vert on the day is around 4,500 ft – which is a pretty decent amount for a 50k!
Lap 1: Yay fun! Big rush at the start. Lots of passing in the first two miles then it calmed and thinned out. This is a super pretty place to run a race.
Lap 2: Slowed down a little bit, this was a great fun lap that just felt good.
Lap 3: Started good – and interestingly, ended up being nearly the same pace as Lap 2. But just a mile and a half into the lap I came down on a root badly and rolled my ankle hard. I was able to stay up and run it out, but I thought my day was done right there. I kept moving down the trail and fortunately it ended up being ok. This lap I spent the entire time thinking about how my ankle was holding up.
Lap 4: The slowdown begins. By now the 5 milers had long finished, and there were only a few 15 milers left out on the trail, so the trail was getting empty. I started feeling the fatigue hard at the end of this lap. Up til now I really had just been eating food I had on my person. I should have been eating more and supplementing from the aid station. By this point, too late.
Lap 5: The crash. At the end of lap 4 I stopped at the aid station and got as much as I could jam in my mouth in me and took off. Had a nice chat for a few minutes with another runner about a mile in, and then plodded on.
Lap 6: One foot in front of the other. It’s funny – my split says this lap was 6 minutes slower than Lap 5, but the splits don’t tell the whole story. After Lap 4 I stopped at the aid station for several minutes to try and get some food in me – time that is reflected in my Lap 5 split. So lap 6 was probably closer to 10-12 minutes slower than Lap 5. Though, the highlight of this lap may have very well been passing this dip in trail for the last time and cursing it along the way. The picture really does not do justice to how steep the trail is in and out of it. It was fine when you could do it at stride and keep your momentum, but beat up and walking it was hell – a short hell to be sure, but hell nonetheless.
Coming around for the finish I was trudging hard. Then I saw another runner not far behind me who had worked up to a run again. Determined not to be passed in the last .1 miles I put on the big boy pants and started running again. I crossed the line at 7:22:12
My wife and daughter met me at the finish line with Burger King in hand. This was the first time they have been at a finish line for me, and it really was a great moment for me. 50K, my first Ultra, and it was tough.
I definitely did not assess my preview run well enough. I started too fast and I did not eat enough throughout the race. I should have done more of my training miles on hills, but other than that I wouldn’t change up much about the actual schedule of training.
Moving forward, my next race is Sugar Badger in Wisconsin in 6 weeks. That’s a 50 mile race – eek! – but it’s on a dirt flat rail trail. Time for recovery, a short build, and another race.
After yet another COVID related hiatus, we’re back! Mostly, it’s just crapping on Bob, who has no shame. But we also talk TV, Wrestling, the Challenge, how crappy the Blackhawks are as an organization.
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