Trail Running7:56:20 31.2 mi (15:16 / mi) +1858m12:53 / mi ahr:151 max:200 shoes: Speedcross 4 - orange and gree
I had signed up for this last year the same day syd was to do the 70 mile, but they both got COVID-cancelled and I ended up crewing syds solo traverse and defering my race to this year. To be honest I was better prepared last year having done most of syds training with her, but I decided this was a go early enough this spring to still get a decent training cycle in, just skipped one long run. I felt on the low end of prepared, but not underprepared.
We camped down at ohiopyle to make the morning drive short and easy. To spread people out the start was split into 4 waves and I was in the first wave at 7:30. It was mid 60s and already humid at the start; and would get up to high 70s.
The trail starts pretty much straight up a decent hill and the first 8 miles are known as the hateful 8 with 3 long ascents. At the first hill it was just a train of people but it’s not like anyone was really trying to run so no big deal, and by the top everyone had pretty much spread out so passing was possible. The hills went really well for me, just trudged along and didn’t need to stop. It was extremely humid tho, this was the worst part of the day, weather wise.
Right as I passed 8 a thunderstorm opened up and it down poured hard. It was dark enough in the trees that a light would have been useful and the trail was just a river. No complaints here, the humidity and temperature dropped and these 4 miles were the most pleasant running weather of the day.
Aid station 1 was at 11.6 miles where a bundled syd fed me pickles and a wrap and pringles, a proper lunch! There was no point in changing anything as it was still raining. I was out in about 5 minutes.
The second leg to aid station 2 at 19 miles I think was the hardest for me. It got hot and humid again, and I was on the edge of having stomach problems. I took it slow food a lot of walking and just pounding food to try and get my stomach calm. I think it was also hard mentally as after 8 you expect it to flatten out, but there was still a lot of climb on this section. At 2, I ate some more pickles and wraps, changed shirt shoes socks, put ice in my pack, and relaxed for about 10 min.
Aid station 3 was at mile 26. I like that they each got shorter. I was feeling marginally better and was able to mix in running and walking, but motivation was a little low. I stopped to sit on a rock and eat a snack, when all of a sudden a woman passes and yells out “are you and adventure racer?” I couldn’t believe my ears. I sprang up and caught up to her to chat. It was Lauren if BARF podcast and she recognized me from Nitrogaine. This was the best 2 miles and gave me a huge mental pickup. But she was pounding it and I couldn’t keep up so eventually I bid her good luck and slowed down. Thank you Lauren for the motivation.
At 3 I changed my shirt, got more ice, more pickles and a wrap. I was there about 10 minutes. I told syd that It was going to close but I thought I was going to be on the wrong side of my 8 hour goal, with about an 1:25 left for the last 5 miles. It was hot and sunny again, and I knew eating would be hard. I set a goal to eat a pretzel at every mile, but I don’t think I even managed that. My quads mostly were hurting at this point and while uphill they didn’t feel too bad, I had no oomph, and downhill they were burning but I could eke out a slow jog. I used this strategy as much as I could, and was fortunate that there was quite a bit of down in this leg. At mile 29 I finally got the motivation to push to the end and just squeaked in under 8 hours! I didn’t belive it was going to happen until I saw the 31 post with about 5 minutes to spare.
Super happy with how this went. I did a better job with nutrition than I am normally capable of, especially with how hot it was. I kept my mind in the race most of the time and only got low on motivation a few times. Syd was the best crew person ever! While running I ate pretzels, gu, waffles, and PB crackers, but the aid station food was really a huge boost. Changing clothes made me feel like a new person.
It’s Monday and legs are still quite sore, but I can walk and I don’t think I’m going to lose any toe nails so it’s a win!
Note, watch was about 2.5 miles behind by the end. In talking to others, they were also short, but only by half a mile or so. There’s mile markers every mile on the trail, and I passed number 31, and this is a verified 50k, so I’m adjusting to milage.