Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SOB 50 miler

With Ecuador 50 miler still in my legs I attempted to race another 50 miler just two weeks later. I contemplated dropping down to the 50k race or skipping it all together, but in the end I decided to just give it a go. I really wanted to race and I also wanted to try out some new nutrition strategies. I went into the race with an attitude that I was just going to have fun. 

Photo: Long Run Pictures

Well, I sure did have fun and I also had a great race! For the first time during a race I used PocketFuel as my primary energy source early on. I have never felt so good and for the first time I didn't have any stomach issues. I started taking PocketFuel within the first half hour and felt great! Not only does it taste good, but it also works! Success! 
Beautiful Views!
Photo: Long Run Pictures

Photo: Ashland Mail Tribune

Ashland is one of my favorite places to race. I love the town an the people and have a great time every time I visit. Over the years I've gotten to know quite a few of the Ashland crew, including Jenn Shelton. I really enjoy racing with Jenn because we always chat and have a good time. SOB was no different. We started off together and were just running and talking for the first couple hours. It was so much fun and  the miles flew by.
Jenn and I running & chatting early on
Photo: Long Run Pictures

My common sense kicked in around mile 17 and I got a little concerned about the pace we were running. I've learned the hard way about starting too fast, and my tendency is to be conservative at the beginning and walk the hills. The problem was the trail at SOB was so runable!! The hills were not quite steep enough to walk so I ended up running everything.

View from the trail
Photo: Long Run Pictures
Photo: Long Run Pictures

Jenn and I reached the 25 mile turn in 3hrs30min, and I was definitely a little worried. I didn't think I could keep up our current pace for the next 25 miles. I mentioned that I was going to chill out for a bit and Jenn responded by bopping past me and taking off down the hill. Grrrr. I really didn't feel like running by myself for the next 4 hours so I tried to at least maintain contact. Tim Olson saved me for a bit by running and chatting with me for a mile or so. He was helping out with the race and running a bit with some of the runners in the 50 mile race near the turn around. I was so grateful to have Timothy to run with, he is such a genuinely nice person!

Suffering together
Photo: Long Run Pictures
After a few more miles I hit the big uphill. Again, it was such a runable grade that I couldn't really walk. I had more or less caught back up to Jenn at this point and we suffered together making our way up the hill. I swear we ran uphill for over an hour. I'm not sure how many miles it was, but it took FOREVER! Jenn and I yo-yoed back and forth taking turns leading for the next several miles. Even though we weren't talking much anymore it was really nice to have someone else to suffer with!

At mile 41 we entered an aid station and I decided it was time to go. I left the aid station first, put my head down and ran hard. And I didn't let up, I suffered and kept moving. One by one the miles went down and I found myself with only a few miles to go. The last 9 miles also had quite a bit of climbing and I did my best to run! We had met back up with the 50k course at this point, so I was able to catch and pass a lot of runners. Everyone I passed was so courteous and let me squeeze by on the narrow trail. So many runners were cheering as I ran by and it really motivated me to keep going. Plus, I didn't want Jenn to catch me again :)

Pushing hard
Photo: Long Run Pictures
I ended up crossing the finish line first in 7hr34min. It was also a new course record, well technically any time would have been a new course record because it was the first year of the 50 mile distance :) I was pretty excited, 7:34 is my fastest time, and I was proud of how hard I pushed myself despite having tired legs. I really have to thank Jenn for my fast time, she really made me work!! She ended up finishing a little ways back, all smiles though! After I left her at mile 41 she had an epic bonk. Props to her for sticking it out and finishing!

It was a great day for other Bend runners too: Zach finished 4th in the 50 miler and Jeff Browning, hot off his San Diego 100 win, finished 6th. In the 50k, both Max King and Marci Kilmek took home the wins. Awesome!

Ashland Mail Tribune Write-up:

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