Have to say this was one tough course at Gnaw Bone! This was my first 50K and I will say that my second one will be easier, hopefully. Was completely happy with my race, felt in control most of the time and felt strong considering only having 6 days of rest after running (paced the 3:10 group) the full marathon at the Flying Pig. Ran a 4:27 on a course that was 75% trail running and 25% trail blazing! Was told I got the course record but not 100% sure about that yet.
We headed up to Brown County State Park early Friday afternoon. Got up to the cabin about 3 ish and headed out for a shake out run. Then headed to packet pick up at the start/finish line and headed to the grocery store for some food. Got back to the cabin about 6 and by that time everyone else was showing up. We had a total of about 15 people that were participating in mostly the 100k relay but also the Marathon and 10K races. After dinner I had a few beers along with a lot of water. Didn’t get great sleep had to sleep in the bathroom on the floor to get some rest cause people were still up partying till 1 AM. Court, Smitty and I got up at 5:00 AM to get to the start by 5:45 for a 6:15 start.
First .75 mile was flat and on a gravel road that ended onto an uphill trail that wasn’t exactly a runnable trail. It climbed about 2 miles on an empty like creek bed with a lot of mud and down trees that I had to jump. Legs felt a little tight during this part which had me worried a tad but as soon as we got to the top we got onto a well packed trail that I was able to actually run on. I had a 50 miler running along with me for about 2 miles until he dropped off, which left me in the lead all by myself. Early on I was trying to concentrate on taking a lot of fluids in, which I thought I did an excellent job the whole race. Made sure to take Gu’s at the aid stations as well. The next few miles were not that exciting but I do remember quite a few steps on this course that were unexpected. I know I was moving at a good clip but was just trying to stay relaxed at the same time cause I figured my legs would soon become fatigued. Around mile 18 I saw Courts( he was doing marathon) mom at the aid station. She blurted out something about just having fun on the next part, which I wasn’t exactly sure by what she meant, so I just smiled and gave a big thumbs up DUDE!!!! Well I soon would realize what she meant. I was following the pink flags that I was supposed to follow and just like that the pink flags dove right off the trail into the woods. No visible trail was there! WTF!!!!! I sort of stopped and recollected my thoughts and wondered if someone got on the course and fucked with the flags. But with no one being around for clarification I continued on following pink ribbons on the trees. This went on for about 2 miles until I came up to spot where I couldn’t see the next ribbon. I stopped looked around and then I started to run back to the last ribbon. I stopped there looked around for I know was about 5 min. Still couldn’t see any more ribbons I remember yelling “SERIOUSLY???” It wasn’t a sec after I yelled that I looked up this huge ridge and saw another ribbon. On top of being frustrated I now have to climb this huge ridge…… when I say climb I mean pulling myself up with roots and trees and basically anything I could get my hands on. Finally got to the top of this ridge but the hill kept on going up. Got to a set of steps in which I decided to just walk up. At the top of those steps I saw Courts mom again with a huge grin on her face just laughing and she asked me “How was that?” My answer… “BULL SHIT!!!!!” The next 2 miles were on paved roads which I was ecstatic about, I was finally about to open stride and feel like a runner again!!! Hit another aid station and filled water bottle up with ½ Gatorade and ½ Water. Pretty much up till the last 2 miles the rest of the course was on horse trails that were semi muddy and uneven but was still able to keep pace. Quads and hammys were definitely starting to go slowly. Any slight misstep set them off pretty good. About mile 29 the trail ended at a huge ass downhill that resembled a ski slope. The downhill ended into a creek which was the last mile of the race. Water was shin high and hard to move through but for some reason it was refreshing. I started to see more and more people (relay runners) in the creek so I knew I was getting close to the finish. Headed off the bank of the creek and saw the huge red barn that was near the finish line so I picked pace up and finished hard. Coming across the line at 4:27 the lady working the shoot looked at me and said “wow we weren’t expecting you for another 30-45 min. I took that as a compliment until she asked “are you sure you hit all the aid stations?” She then proceeded to call and make sure I did. After about 15 min they finally approved my victory and gave me my bone and metal! They did apologize for not believing me and of course I forgave them.
Overall a solid effort that I am happy about! Now for the 50 miler!