A day later, I am processing my performance, such as it was, in the Turkey and Taturs 50K. It was a fun event, almost hot but not enough to make it unbearable. I finished--slower than I had hoped. Of course, there are reasons why I was so slow--the main reason is that I AM SLOW. I can deal with that. The day before, I marked trails from 7:00 am til 11:30ish, and had the help of a lot of great friends and volunteers. David and Catherine, Brian, Joye, Caroline, Mitch, Dave, and a few others that I cannot think of right now filled in with more pink ribbon, marked off intersections with caution tape, and put up signs with directional arrows. We pretty much had the course marking done by noon, which was amazing! Then I worked at a trade show--standing around on concrete for seven hours! I would have rather RAN for seven hours. Then, after having some Peach Wave, I strapped on my headlamp and headed back out on the trails to check course markings. I fixed 6 places where caution tap had been knocked down, and one place where someone had re-tied the caution tape to send the runners down a wrong trail. Hmmm.... I ended up getting about 2 hours sleep, and woke up at 5:00 to run. No amount of coffee was enough.
Lining up to run, I took a few pictures with my NEW Olympus camera. It is a lot like my old one, but with more mega-pixels and more settings. I don't know how to work them yet, and most of the pages in the manual are in other languages. It'll be a trial and error thing. I made many errors in my pre-race pics, and because I was drenched in sweat, a lot of my pix were foggy. Supposed to be water-proof....not sure why the lens seemed steamed up.Stormy seemed relaxed and ready to run. In the back, my friend
Eric Steele--RD for the FlatRock 50K joined us, and was all grins pre-race. I did see him later in the day, and he was still smiling. we both agree that FlatRock is harder that T&T, but they are close. Jason had his game face on. He seemed to be on a mission, and indeed ran a good race, finishing 7th.
My plan was to run at 80% for the first half and see how I felt for the second lap. I felt surprisingly good in the early miles, running the first couple of miles with Kathy, before she moved on out ahead--nothing new there. I ran with a couple of girls--Melissa and Elizabeth--for a while, but most of the day I ran alone.
We hit aid stations every 3 miles or so, although a couple of the aid stops were just unmanned water drops. I tanked up at every opportunity, and drained my 24 ounce bottle between every stop. Another thing--I had forgot my electrolytes, so I made sure to eat salted potatoes at the aid stops, and switched to half and half water/Gatorade on the second loop.All of the aid stations were good, but the Pink Flamingo stop was the most festive, with the tropical decor, and band of cheerleaders. The two above pics as well as the one below of Dana were taken by Susan, who won't mind (I hope) that I swiped them from her FaceBook page.
Dana ran the 25K, and at 7:00 am, just as the race was starting, her cell phone rang. Thinking it strange that someone would be calling her at 7:00 am on Sunday morning, she answered it. Someone was calling about our dogs--they had gotten out of the yard and were about 4 miles away from home! She had no choice but to leave the race just as the starting gun was fired to go rescue those dastardly labs. By the time she drove to get them, brought them home, locked them up in the back yard, and drove back to the race, an hour had passed. But she went ahead and ran, and the timers graciously allowed her to use her Garmin for her official time. The frustration of the last minute delay, and the fact that the last hour was in the mid 80s brought her time down to 5:12, far from the PR she wanted. But she finished--I would probably would have just bagged the race.
I finished my first lap in 4:10--too slow to make a run for a sub-8 hour. I quickly made a BBQ sandwich for the trail, and headed back out. Leaving on the second loop is hard, knowing all the food and 25K friends were already there. The last lap would be very lonely. Having something yummy to eat though, made the march back out more bearable. I did see a lot of 25Kers finishing up their race, and offered encouragement as I saw them. Usually, it's just "good job" or "looking good". But I was able to tell them exactly how far they had to go. (I had forgot my Garmin, but I know the course well enough to be pretty accurate on their mileage. A lot of times, telling them that they only have one more hill is better than hearing the distance left. I told a couple of the runners "just 10,000 more rocks" which brought a couple of growls.
The Westside YMCA is where the start/finish is, and this race makes a huge donation every year to them for letting us use their grounds. This is one of many signs they put out for trails on their grounds. When they say Granite, they mean wicked pointy rocks that pound on your feet!
I was in a funk from mile 17 to 21. It was getting warmer, and I was certain I was in last place, and was probably falling further behind the runners ahead. I had not seen anyone other than the aid station workers for quite a while. I stopped at the Pink Flamingo for a bit, and drank some coke. I probably should have eaten a little more, but I did take a 5-hour drink just after leaving. About 2 miles later, and on one of the harder sections of the trial, I started running a little better--not so much faster, but I ran with hardly walking at all for 2 miles over a hill that climbed most of the way. Then, when I hit the aid stop at the upper parking lot, Deon told me that John Hargrove (a 65 year old friend of mine whom I have raced with for years) was only about 20-25 minutes ahead. The next mile was mostly downhill, and I ran it a little harder and never walked. North 1.5ish miles, and back south 1.4ish miles, and then north 1 mile--I felt like I was back in the race. But still I had not caught John Hargrove. When I finally popped out on the Powerline trail, I saw him about a quarter mile ahead.This trail is very hilly, and all out in the sun. The downhills are dicey--lots of loose rocks. I had to be careful, as rolling my gimpy ankle again would not be a good thing. John is a fast walker, but my shuffle was catching him. I caught him just before the end of this section, and we rolled into the last aid stop together. Earlier at this stop, I had asked for some Coke, and they were out. Charlotte made a special trip to the store to get some Coke, so I had to have some. John also took some coke, but I wanted some ice in mine. Seeing my delay, John gulped his down and took off like a shot. I drank my coke, and poured the remaining ice in my water bottle and topped it off with Gatorade and headed down the final 2.5 miles. This section was mostly downhill, with only one significant climb. It was not near as technical as some of the other trails, and I moved along somewhere between a jog and a shuffle. After a whole mile, I finally caught John. I decided we'd just run it in together, and it was a good thing we stayed together, as John actually made a couple of wrong turns, and I got him back on course. (He would have found his way, since the course was practically overmarked with pink ribbon.)
When 9 hours passed, John seemed disheartened, and told me if I wanted to run it in to go ahead. The last mile is one of mine and Dana's regular training runs, and I decided to kick it up. WOW! I still had gas in the tank!! I ran what seemed like an 8 minute mile pace (which was probably only about a 12 minute mile pace!) Coming out of the woods, and onto the YMCA grounds, I saw someone ahead. I could not imagine it being someone in the race, but then I heard Brian on the megaphone calling Childress. He could not have seen me, but I ran in hard trying to look like something other than an old man shuffling. The runner ahead was my nephew Jeff, and somehow, I had almost caught up with him. I gritted my teeth and charged on to the end, and caught him just a few feet before the line. We crossed the line together. Jeff has not really been running much lately, and despite that, ran the 50K for his 3rd 50K finish. He paid dearly for it, with some gruesome blisters.
My feet? I have been using BlisterShield, and I had not a blister at all!!! I think this stuff is wonderful.
Finish line food stuff....I am glad I had snagged a BBQ sammie at the half way point, as it was all gone for us slow pokes. Dana did save some of Chuck's jambalaya and it hit the spot.
My friend Alan ran the 10K for the second year in a row, and I swiped this picture from his FaceBook page of the yummy BBQ that greeted the faster runners. BBQ beans courtesy of Dana.
My son Chuck ran his first 10K ever, and first trail race. Finished it in 1:02 and change, and had a great fun time doing it. Was good for 15th place overall, and 7th in his age group. Ten minute miles over those rocks and terrain is awesome.
Turns out, there was a lady behind me. Terri Hayes, a lady who drove from South Carolina to run our race, ran a steady pace, and was determined to finish the race. From where she was last reported to be seen, we were afraid she was gonna be an hour or so past the cut-off. However, she must have found a spark in the last section as she came running in just 50 minutes after I did. She puts on 5 different ultras in SC, and has a great website promoting them. Hmmm....I bet we find our way out there some day.
Brian offered free entry to next years race to people who would pull course markings. I think he had a few takers on that, and I am glad. That means I might not have to cover 15.5 miles in the next few days pulling ribbons and caution tape.
Finally, another ultra finished, another nice tech shirt, and some nice bling. Kind of keeps you coming back.