Monday, January 07, 2008
Frosty 50K 2008
Eeeeeeuuuuuu. That's soooo gross!
That's the response I've gotten from most people
Actually it's not that bad. Compared to some other less impressive blisters I've gotten, this one is like a two on a pain scale of one to ten.
But lets backtrack a little. I had signed up for this race for a couple of reasons. #1 is that it is a nice race put on by some nice people on a nice, relatively flat fast course and I was hoping to run a PR for the distance. #2, is the many friends and familiar faces that show up to run each year from the MTC, NCRC, VHTRC and others.
I was looking forward to making the trip again with the lovely Jenn. We convinced Mike Walsh that it was time for him to run again and after a little persuasion he too signed on. So I met Jenn at 5am and we headed West, picking Mike up along the way.
We arrived without incident about an hour before the race. It was a cold morning, about 27F so after a little socializing and picking up our packets, we waited in the truck until shortly before the start. With a few minutes until 8, we made our way to the start and with the customary bugle call by RD Dan Besse, we were off. My goal was a pr and hopefully a 4:40 time but I knew I needed to start easy. I settled into a comfortable pace until we came to the first little hill, about 1.5 miles in and then gradually picked up the pace. As usual when I try to run for time, I find myself alone for most of the run but there were several opportunities to talk with some friends along the way as they passed me or ran alongside for awhile.
There are now some mile markers along the way so I was checking my pace after a couple of miles. I thought I ran the 5th mile in 8:57 but then realized it was 7:57 which was much too fast. I was feeling good but I knew I had to back off or blow up later.The first turnaround is approximately 7.77 miles in and I was hoping to arrive in about 1:10, but I had not slowed nearly enough and passed it in 1:07:30. It was good to have a cushion but not that much that soon. Having the out and backs is one thing I enjoy about this race. You get to see everyone at least three times on the course and it is good to see the friendly faces and share encouragement along the way. Lots of folks knew I was trying to run hard and I really appreciated their support along the way. Jenn was hoping to improve over her Derby pr too and she was looking good and running comfortably when I saw her.
I had run with Tony Rouse a few mile on New Years Day and we had talked about the race. Tony said there was no way he would keeping up with me today. We have run many miles in these things together over the years so I was not surprised to see that he was not far behind me. I had began to feel a hot spot on my left big toe early in the race and finally at about 12 miles I sat down and took off my shoe to try and adjust the sock and see if I could see anything rubbing. About then Tony and Matt caught up to me. I was soon back on the run and run up to catch Tony. My shoe adjustment didn't seem to help so I just accepted the fact that I would be getting a blister but it was not really hurting but more like a minor nuisance.
Tony and I would enjoy running together for the next 10 miles or so. I was still feeling good and we were still holding onto about 9 minute pace. The stop had cost me most of my time cushion but I was still on pace with a 2:19:35 time at the halfway point. I was running ok as we began the 2nd half of the race and we were still right on 9 minute pace as we ran over the small hills again. I was getting a little tired and although I realized a 4:40 wasn't going to happen I was still hopeful of getting the PR. Quatro had encouraged me at the turn to run a negative split but I knew that wasn't going to happen today.
We passed through the aid station at around the 19 mile mark on pace but I could feel it slipping away from me. Tony was running well but he said he was going to slow down and wait for Mark Long, but he looked back and Mark was catching us anyway. The three of us ran together for a while and after the next aid station I pulled ahead for awhile. I saw my Trail Angel Laura coming towards me but she was not feeing good. She had been in 3rd place for the women and running strong but now her stomach was hurting. I wished her well and was hoping she would be able to hold on. As I reached the last turnaround, I was disappointed to see that my cushion was now gone and I had slowed too much the last few miles. Now I was going to have to run faster on the return than I had the last 7 miles just to get the pr.It was discouraging but I wasn't going to give up without a fight. I tried to keep pushing the pace until I passed through the damsite aid station again and then I would check my pace with the mile markers again. My energy would ebb and flow as I tried to push it back to 9 minute pace. I never felt bad but just could not hold the pace I needed.
Just as I passed what would be about the marathon point I tripped over an exposed root in the dirt road and rolled over onto my back with my right hamstring cramping. It was actually a very gentle fall so I just lay there letting the cramp relax before getting up. Several people passed by and checked on me as I was on the ground resting but I assured them I was fine. I got up no worse for the fall and began the final 5 miles to the finish. By now the pr attempt was over but I was still running a decent pace. I decided to run as comfortably as possible and still get a good time. If I could just maintain I would still get a course pr at least and break 5 hours.
The last miles passed uneventfully. Quatro passed me with 3 miles to go but I couldn't hang with him . I could see Mike Walsh was gaining on me the last mile or so after coming off the last hill. I was glad to see he was having a good run. When I had seen him earlier in the run his knee was bothering him and he was considering dropping out. At the end he was running strong and finished only 7 seconds behind me. I had not run with my camera today but I wanted to get a picture of Jenn finishing so I went to the truck to get it. I was standing near the finish talking to Dale Tiska while looking across the lot so I could see runners approaching. Suddenly I looked over and there was Jenn crossing the finish line. She had been wearing a white shirt everytime I had seen her but had removed it and was now in a red shirt so I hadn't seen her coming. Oh well. She had a good run and got the pr in 5:15. That makes four 50k's and 4 four pr's for her.
I finally made my way over to change my clothes and was shocked when I removed my socks and saw the toe. I had expected to see a small blister on the bottom of the toe and thought it would probably popped itself. But the good thing is it still doesn't really hurt and after draining it Sunday night you would never know it had ever looked like the photos. Overall it was a great time spent with good friends and in the end although I missed the goal time I still ran fairly well. Now it's time to recover and be ready for Tybee Island next month.