In the past couple of years, I kicked off racing in the form of running PHUNT down in Fair Hill, Maryland. Since I'm trying to spice things up a little for 2017, I opted to run a 50K Fat Ass down in Delaware called Angela Ivory Memorial. Previously, for the first two years, it was known as the Eugene Bruckert 50K, after one of the organizers.
(PHUNT was the week prior to this event. I went to Fair Hill on PHUNT Day and did a loop of the course before the racing there started. This also reminded me of my love/hate relationship with Fair Hill.)
While Fair Hill was only around an hour from my house, the location for this run was around an hour and forty five minutes from me. This was going to be my first time at Killens Pond State Park. A couple of years back I ran a 50K at Trap Pond State Park. Now, if someone can organize one at Lums Pond State Park, I can hit the trilogy.
Because the start was also earlier than PHUNT, I had to leave much earlier. I was out the door before 6am for the drive down. Thankfully, the drive was nice and smooth. Once I got off of I-95 which had a good amount of traffic, I was able to use the cruise control. When I arrived at the main entrance to the park around 7:30, there were about 6 vehicles waiting to get in. The gate was still locked! Nobody worried. We all hung out patiently waiting for it to be opened.
Originally slated for an 8:00am start, it got pushed back a tad. It didn't seem to bother anyone. After all this was a fat ass race. We all were gonna be recording our times on a sheet of paper and fueling ourselves. It is nice to have a loosely organized care free run now and again.
Weather wise, it was overcast, damp, foggy but ideal running temps.
For the course, we would be running multiple loops of the Nature Trail with an out and back spur that was the start/finish area. (Basically a lollipop loop that most of it was not the stick.) While the trail loop itself is 2.6 miles, this spur was long enough to bring the distance to 3.1 miles per loop. There were two distances people were running: 50K and 50M. I was there to do the 50K, I had 10 loops to do.
After some instructions, we were off going loopy. Knowing there were a few junctions to keep an eye out for, I kept conservative for the first lap as we were following just the parks own markings. And with doing multiple laps, I got to look around some in the sense I might notice something new each lap. I'd say it was due to the weather creating a nice what I like to call a Pacific Northwest feel, I loved running at Killens Pond. The loop was short enough that I felt it hard to get in a negative head space because if I ventured there, soon enough the loop would be over. In terms of a description, it was on the whole very flat but very forested, except for the short road shoulder section between the boat launch and Nature Center.
Since we were doing loops, I opted to take my splits. My method for each split was, I come in and get aid and start the next split when I leave the start/finish area. Due to each lap only be a 5K, I decided to start out with no handheld. My nutrition plan for this event was to go old school: Gatorade, Coke and Gummy Bears. I had set up a 20oz bottle of Coke, a bag of Haribo Gummy Bears, two handhelds and 20oz bottle all filled with diluted Gatorade.
While my plan was to pick up a handheld after the first lap, I decided to push myself and just took a swig of Gatorade from the 20oz along with a small handful of gummies that I jammed in my mouth. I kind of squirreled the gummies like I usually do with my ShotBlocs. Considering, I'll be doing some traveling for races, I feel like I should really try to use what is easy to acquire in places, so I can fly with less. This is what led me to the fueling plan used at Angela Ivory.
|I stuffed nearly a whole bag of these in my face during the 50K|
In the end, I actually never did a single lap with a handheld. For the first 5 laps, I hit the 20oz bottle of Gatorade because I expected at some point I'd grab one of my Nathan bottles. Once it was clear, I was likely not going to do that for any loop, I drank out of the handhelds. I began to save time as I was not twisting a 20oz bottle cap. (It was a reused Coke bottle.) My slowdown became reaching into the gummy bear bag and grabbing the colorful squishy yummies. At no time, did I hit the Coke. Not fully surprising as historically I don't drink it during a race but last year during a few races notably Boulder Field and Brazos Bend, I took it from aid stations later in my run.
One of the great luxuries of this run was that the distance was short enough per loop, you were always coming across people. And since we were not restricted to one direction, it really allowed people to keep their running feeling fresh. I will point out that I kept in the same direction the whole time. I liked being able as I got later and later into the run to have markers of how I was doing comparatively to past loops and distance to the start/finish.
To avoid keeping you in suspense on how I did, below are my splits from the run
- 20:35 (42:21)
- 20:36 (1:02:58)
- 20:12 (1:23:11)
- 19:40 (1:42:51)
- 19:51 (2:02:43)
- 19:15 (2:21:58)
- 19:11 (2:41:10)
- 19:18 (3:00:29)
- 18:32 (3:19:01)
Yes, you see the final cumulative time correctly. 3:19:01 It is my second fastest 50K following my 3:18:32 at Rosaryville in my debut at the distance. I've run a handful in the 3:20's but not in the past two years (due to the specific races I ran and more other distances).
Also, you'll notice that I got faster the later into the run I got. Once that pattern began to emerge after 5 laps, I went for negatively splitting it and trying to keep getting a little faster. Sure, it was a FA, I was running but once I saw I got possible dip under 3:20, I definitely pushed that final 5K.
Amazingly, as I finished the organizers, Jeff and Gene, were in the midst of their own loop end/start. Talk about timing! They awarded me a Milestone Pod courtesy of Nancy Rowe and Milestone Sports. Nancy was also around then too and we had a small chat that only reveals the small world that is ultrarunning.
|I know a few cool kids with this.|
Due to the weather being a tad damp, I didn't stay around my beyond a half hour post finish before hoping in the truck for the trek home. However, one final notable conversation was with Ryan Goverts who partially blamed me for his ultrarunning. He had no plans on doing one and then attended the Philadelphia Runner Ultra Talk featuring Rebecca Barber, Iain Ridgway, Jim Blandford, Maggie Guterl and myself. Again, small world! And nice to know that our talk helped inspire someone.
If you are ever looking to get in miles in foggy damp weather, I highly recommend loops down at Killens Pond State Park in Delaware. And my Montrail FluidFlex II's did a wonderful job on all the surfaces be them woodchips, pavement, dirt, road or the wet wooden bridges. I managed to keep warm for the first five laps wearing an extra oops later of shorts and a tech tee. I shed the tech tee after lap 5 since I was beginning to get a little sweaty. All in all, the end, I geared it just right to get the time I did.
Now, before I end this post for the day, I would like to discuss something beyond the running world. If you do not wish to read something topical, you may want to stop. If you have an open mind, please continue on.
I'd like to take a moment to appreciate all the people (and especially the women) who participated in political activities over the weekend. You are bringing vital issues to the table (no matter the side) and hope that as a society that we all can come together to have conversations with lasting impacts that benefit all of us. It may be a painful process and get ugly at times but my belief in humanity leads me to hope in the end we'll all feel in it together. Struggles are real. While they take different shapes for different people, struggles are struggles. We must understand each other without degrading each other.
As Abraham Lincoln shared with us in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: "Be Excellent to Each Other"