Sunday, April 04, 2010

Land Between Lakes 50 mile 60K...

Well it's almost time for my next road trip so I guess I better write about the last one. Somehow I find myself in a "50 mile per month" club and March's entry was Land Between Lakes in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. The trip was shorter than the Texas trip but we still ended up driving through the night on the way down. Well, Mike from Michigan ended up driving through the night... more on that later. Mike W. (Westy) sent along a CD of southern artists for our 'education' and traveling enjoyment.

Land Between Lakes is 4 races, all with an 11-hour time limit. That's right, 11 hours for the 50 mile. Basically you run out of town at the beginning, do 1-4 loops, and then run back into town. 4 loops and an extra out-and-back gives you the 50 miles, and 3 loops gives you the 60K (37.2 miles). There's no penalty for dropping down a race - you just decide not to do any more loops [or miss the last loop cut-off] and head back to town and get the appropriate finish. And you get the same award for the 60K as you do for the 50 mile - a belt buckle. So even though I didn't feel there was any way I'd be able to make the last loop cut-off I decided to sign up for the 50 and give it a whirl. And hey, it involved a road trip which was a lot of fun last time.

Last year's race included a lot of rain so we were thankful not to have any [correction: it actually did rain on those out there the full 11 hours]. The course was in good shape - some muddy spots from rain earlier in the week but it wasn't a problem. It was pretty hilly with some long gradual climbs... especially the 2nd half. I found the 1st half of the course was easier than the 2nd.

So here's the gang at the beginning...

Loop 1: I ran out of town with Rick and Steve... until Steve ditched us on the road, and Rick ditched me as soon as we hit the loop. From then on I ran by myself. It was pretty crowded on the single track loop and I kept getting passed by the same people - guess I did a better job than they did getting in and out of the aid stations. My total time after loop 1 was ~2:30 which was about 15 minutes ahead of what I was shooting for. Yup, too fast. Saw Mike, filled my bottle, grabbed some grub and got outta there. Here are solo shots of each of us during loop 1...

Loop 2: I saw Rick early on as his stomach was off. He said he wasn't doing the 50 even if he made the cut-off and I said something like "it's your duty to go on if you make it for all those who don't/can't make it". Let me just say right now that was a bunch of baloney with no merit at all - sorry, Rick. [More on that later too.] It was less crowded as people spread out and/or headed back to town after one loop. And I started feeling it towards the end of this loop... as in more tired, stiff, sore than I should be at this point in the race. Yup, too fast early on. Loop 2 was about 2:30 (I was shooting for loops of 2:25) for a total time of 5 hours... about 10 minutes ahead. Saw Mike again, replenished, and off I went.

Loop 3: I put my long-sleeved shirt back on, turned on the tunes, took off and after about 2-3 miles wasn't able to run very well/smoothly so started the walk, shuffle, walk, shuffle pattern. Early on I thought I might still make the last loop cut-off but started realizing I'd be toast if I did. I noted my marathon time was ~5:50. 50K time was ~7:05, an unofficial PR by 20 minutes. And Karen went cruising by at ~31.5 miles, still running well and by my calculations very close to making the cut-off. Going in I didn't think I'd make the cut-off but I didn't want to settle for the 60K based on that prediction... and I felt satisfied that I gave it my best (though maybe not smartest) effort. Basically it turned out my race was to see if I could make the cut-off of 35.6 miles in 7:45 - 11 hour pace for 70% of a 50 miler anyway.

So what's the rest of the story?? Well, I made it. As I finished loop 3 figuring I was done they told me I made it and could go on and finish the 50 mile. Huh? I guess the race started a little late so they changed the cut-off time from 1:45pm to 2pm... and a woman told me I made it by 43 seconds. Doh! Remember what I was telling Rick earlier?? yeah, total baloney!! :) I was happy to make the adjusted cut-off but that didn't change the fact that I was done. I had just shuffled the last 8-9 miles and did loop 3 in ~3 hours so I said "thanks but no thanks" and headed back to town. The previous 3 pictures are showing "you made it!", "I have nothing left...", and what kinda looks like a walk of shame but that's not how I was feeling - must've just been tired. :)

So how did everyone else do? Steve made the cut-off by a long-shot but chose to take the 60K finish for his first ultra. Karen made the cut-off, didn't want to go on but did anyway to be our only 50 mile finisher. I made the cut-off, didn't want to go on so didn't and got the 60K finish. And Vicky and Rick both completed the 60K as well. So the final count was 1 50 miler and 4 60Kers. And one awesome support person!

And then there was Mike, the man! Mike is recovering from injury and wasn't able to run, so he did everything else. He drove all the way from Madison to Grand Rivers through the night, and then all the way back on Sunday. During the race he crewed for us, cheered for us, took pictures... and it was great to see a friendly, familiar face and have someone to talk to at the end of each loop. Thanks, Mike - you were great and I hope you're back to running again soon!

So what's next?? The McNaughton 50 mile next weekend!!!


Blogger Karen G said...

Great report!! Love that pic of Mike. My favorite picture is only in my mind, the one of You,Mike and Vicky cheering me in after the 4th loop. Good job!!!

10:19 AM  
Blogger Kel said...

You're getting quite a buckle collection - each from a different state too! Nice job!

One of the things I dislike about loop courses is that they provide a convenient opportunity to pull the plug when things get tough. So no bailing at McNaughton ;)

11:45 AM  
Blogger wildknits said...

Great job out on the course and on getting a race report up before your next big race!

Looking forward to hearing how McNaughton goes.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

This was a wonderful race report with fantastic pictures:) OMG, you are doing another long race so fast after this one!?! Good luck!

7:14 PM  

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