14 February 2010

Run Toto Run 50K

From Psycho Wyco

Last week the RD, Bad Ben, sent out a message with the forecast for the 2010 running of the "Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K" that simply read, "There will be Mud."

Can you say "Understatement?"

I arrived in KC for the event on Late Friday night and made sure to get in touch with my ride the following morning--The TC Running Company. After getting in touch with Helen and settling in with a bit of the Opening Ceremonies, I was asleep fast. I didn't know what I'd be wearing the following morning, but I figured all the possibilities (including the Arm Panties, Steve) would just go into a dropbag. I slept like a rock, and before I knew, it was 5:55 AM.

Breakfast was a bagel and some jelly, followed by a banana, and as much water as I could get in me. I met up with the TCRC in the hotel lobby, and between our little group and all the other runners in the lobby (ours was the closest hotel to the event), there was quite a bit of a "buzz" in the air. I was excited.

Once we arrived at the park, I took off to get registered and jog around a bit. I decided on gloves and a long sleeve shirt--no arm panties--and placed my refill water bottles in an easy-access point near the start/finish area. The course is a 10.35 mile loop that is run once for the 10 mile race, twice for the 20, and (duh) 3 times for the 50k. Over 500 runners took place in total, so you can imagine the trail conditions by that final lap...

It wasn't long and we were off! I started off nice and easy along a steady climb up to the bridal trails and found myself somewhere around 15th through the first portion of trails. I power hiked, short-stepped the uphills and felt great going downhill. This first loop was runnable everywhere, and the footing was decent, but already showing signs of softening. The single track sections of the course--the "triangle" and "Fester's Wander" were BY FAR my favorite times on the course. I looked forward to these sections more and more with every lap. I kept a decent effort and worked my way through lap one not really knowing where I was AT ALL on the course.

From Psycho Wyco

I tried to focus on calories, water, and exertion level, and surprisingly soon I found myself at the start, done with a Lap 1 in 1:27, in about 9th or 10th place.

I grabbed the next bottle at my bag, this time with Kona Cola nuun, and got a couple Gu's from the table, and off I was for lap two. The incline from the start and beginning of the bridal trail had me burping and feeling crappy, for some reason. Soon enough, though, I was into the "Triangle" again, and immediately felt better! Things had spread out quite a bit by now, so I just focused on keeping my calories coming and working a steady pace. I really didn't know what kind of shape I was in overall, and the fact I KNEW the course was going to deteriorate terribly over the next couple hours, had me wondering how fast is "too fast," but at the same time wanting to "bank" time if it got ugly down the stretch.

I can't say enough about the aid stations and the volunteers. The Trail Nerds put on a FIRST CLASS (for an amazing price) event and I recommend their runs to everyone. Working through the aid stations, I was still feeling strong despite the fact the--er---"trail" was getting ugly. Much of the trail was 18 inches of shoe-sucking mud, and trying to stay on the "banks" of the trough was useless, as each step would slide back into the muck. I was still able (and quite proud) of my downhill abilities, though, and felt really comfortable attacking those. The uphills were ugly and I occasionally was grabbing hold of the trees along the trail to pull myself up. Nonetheless, I pushed on and came through lap 2 in 3:06. I was feeling some gut issues at that point, and the fact BadBen (RD) tried to shake my hand and hand me a 20 mile finisher's medal at the finish line didn't help. I quickly told him "I've got one more lap yet! Don't tease!" and made my way along for the third and final loop...afraid of what I was going to discover.

No matter how bad the course was, I knew breaking 5 hours was a possibility--I mean, I had 1:54 to get done! Barely under a 12 minute pace! How hard could that be?

Very quickly into loop 3 I knew just how bad it was going to get...and this was right about the time I started cramping. Apparently, I'm currently in shape to run relatively hard for 3 1/2 hours, because right about the time I got to the Triangle for the final time, I was in rough shape. Unfortunately, so was the Triangle. Its single track switchbacks and turns were so slippery, I was again using trees to grab onto while turning. While this part of the course really lifted my spirits during the first two laps, the third lap had me thinking...DNF.

As I made my way out, I looked up the aid station you see as you leave, and noticed there weren't any empty chairs available for sitting in. Good thing, too, as I probably would have sat down and been done for the day. I felt like absolute crap.

That crappy feeling continued over the next 4-ish miles as I did a walk, shuffle, jog combo that was only interrupted by falls. I had never fallen, ever, in a race before Saturday. Occasionally I've tripped, but I've caught myself with my hands, and kept going. On that third loop, I fell 7 times.

It got to the point that I knew I was going to fall, and instead of trying to prevent it, I just pre-emptively went down to save energy. What a mess those trails were!

At the 3rd aid station (2.5 miles to the finish), I was starting to feel better, but didn't look all that great...
From Psycho Wyco

I was able to run/slide down the hill, and then back up the hill to the aid station (in the "3 hills" section). I couldn't handle any more Gu or Water, but the aid station help there was AMAZING. I took a seat on a rock and collected myself while one of the volunteers gave me some chips and coke. That stuff hit the spot right on the mark. While sitting there, I got passed by two 50k runners but didn't really mind...I knew I wanted to finish decent and needed to get my gut and mind straight before leaving this aid station. Did I mention how GREAT the aid station workers were? I left that last aid station and wanted to finish strong.

The last section was very sloppy, but I was still able to catch one of the 50k runners who had passed me...at least for a bit. Going down one of the hills, I just pretty much bombed it and went around him. As I was heading back up the next hill, I could hear him running it...plop plop plop up the hill, very steadily. This kicked me into gear--I wanted to look over my shoulder and see how close, but instead I just decided to RUN. FINALLY up the hill, over the top, and down the last hill in to finish in 5:16. A 2:09 final lap (ouch) but I was done, and 6th overall.

From Psycho Wyco

From Psycho Wyco

From Psycho Wyco

Lap 1: 1:27
Lap 2: 1:36
Lap 3: 2:09


Ace said...

Wow what a race! I'm sure the mud was a major pain to run through, but it makes the race report look majorly hard core! Grats.

BrehD said...

Hey you actually did run with Back Off Man, I'm a Scientist, though not directly with. I ran for BOMIAS at the Wild West Relay last year and I ran the 10 mile on Saturday. Nice work in the 50K time!

ejbuckley said...

Nice report. I was happy to give you a push at the end, but I really didn't think I'd catch you. I was just trying to stay ahead of Matt who was breathing down my neck. Interesting that our marathon PR's are so close - mine's 3:00:16. My report is here.

Helen said...

Nice work! It was a fun time, though not at the time...

Smart race though - talking about it on the ride home we all agreed you had run hard hard the first 2 and just hope for the best after that...

Matthew Patten said...

In the photo of you sitting down, you like like a young, scrawnny Brian Urlacher. (the mud/glare suppressors do it).

Great job. U A Stud. Can't believe the Sconnie beat the 'Sotan.

You have to do Ice Age. I don't care if your baby is due that day

Mike said...

Great job, gotta love that Kansas mud. 6th place for a guy with doubts coming in, what was that you said last week, oh yeah, "Underprepared, Undertrained and Undermotivated". Interesting self appraisal :-).

Brad Poppele said...

Nice report and race. Congrats!!!

Chris said...

Nice Job gutting it out. That is inspiring. Falling that many times and still getting up to finish is awesome. Great job!

SteveQ said...

Great race! And thanks for beating "I just came for the paycheck" Helen! I love muddy runs; I definitely have to do that race some day when I'm in 50K shape in February.

GeorgiaSnail said...

Great race report, I really enjoyed it. It sounds like it was a real slugfest out there.

joyRuN said...

Nicely done! I can't imagine having to run through all that mud like that. I'm still sore from a puny 5k on flat asphalt as it is.

Xenia said...

You look like you crawled through a sewer. And the sewer was full, man.

Well done!