Monday, December 21, 2009

"A very well organized race." "I had a great time"

Doug Lovall of Valparaiso, Indiana, gave this report on the Runner's World Forum. Doug posted additional photos on the RW Forum site.

Ah where to begin. The Huntington Ultra Frigid Fifty (HUFF) was my first ultra-marathon. At just 50K many look at it as just a long marathon. Well this 1 was a bit longer than 50K. The race tracking site listed it as 33 miles, My Garmin reported 32.15 miles [ ... ] .

The short version: I ran the HUFF 50K which was actually 33 miles (53.1K) with a finish time of 7:09:13.

The full version: I ran the HUFF 50K which was actually 33 miles (53.1K) with a finish time of 7:09:13. Weather was about 31*F with a light wind and snowing. By the end of the day we had about 4 inches on the ground. This made for a treacherous trail in places. I slipped a few times, fell once. I REALLY needed traction shoes for the race. I ran it in my Axiom 3s and I didn’t put the sheet metal screws in them. After the first lap I wish I had.

I have trails in my area and I thought I would be ready for doing some trail running. Well HUFF showed me that all I had was really groomed paths and I was a trail virgin in reality and I was woefully not prepped for trails, add snow to the trail and I really should have bagged it but that was not happening. This was my first ultra and the 3rd marathon or longer in the last 10 weeks. Even if I had to walk the entire thing, I will finish.

I learned a lot about running snowy trails on the course. I found myself looking towards the ground a lot to watch for my next footing. But when I hit the hills I was cussing myself for not putting screws in my shoes. Stay upright, don’t go down goes through my head.

The course was 3 loops around Roush Lake following the multipurpose path. They marked it very well. There were signs as you crossed roads or other trails and they hung marker tapes along the path to help mark it as well.

A very well organized race. There were 3 aide stations around the course as well. Water, sport drink, and Pepsi for the most part for drink choices. The middle course had hot chocolate as well. Cookies, pretzels, M&Ms and fig newtons. I did not try most of it while running before the race and just figured I would give it a try at the first stop. If it worked then great, if not I had gels and beans with me to get through. I found I could keep down the Pepsi but belch a lot for the next half mile. The fig newtons, [ ... ] they were good.

Not a whole lot to say about the course mile per mile. My plan was to keep moving and have fun as I was going for completion. I ran when I could walked when I had to and slid down hills a few times. About half way through course, my ankle started to bother me. FARK, I have 15+ miles in front of me to run on a bum ankle. I never hit the wall on the course but I did hit my pain tolerance on many occasions in the second half. Fortunately I never cramped though.

About that slipping and falling. There is a pretty steep hill in which you go down in to a ravine and then climb back up the other side. On lap 1 the snow was still unpacked which made the hill manageable. On lap 2 I got to the hill and the guy in front of me chose the left side and he was slipping a bit. I chose the right side. BAD MISTAKE. Step 1 my feet were no longer under me, they were now out from under me and point down hill and my butt was quickly falling. OW that hurt a bit. Now I am slipping a bit. Screw it, I pushed off and slid the rest of the way down on my butt. As I was climbing up the other side some runners came to the hill behind me and called it Butt Drop Hill. I chuckled. When I hit it on lap 3, I did not even try to negotiate the hill, I just sat down and slid down.

The second best sight on the course was of all things an outhouse to me. It signified that you are coming off the trail and entering the campground and the lap was about to finish. At the end of lap 3 I knew it was coming up and when I saw it I gave out a little cheer to myself and feebly kicked in what was left of my afterburners. The best sight was the finish line.

Its over, done, finished. I am an ultra-marathoner now and I qualified for Marathon Maniacs. 2 marathons and an ultra in 10 weeks.

Yesterday I felt like I was hit with a Mack truck. I feel better today. Only 1 blister to speak of actually. On my right foot at the base of my big toe on the bottom of the foot. And I will probably loose the nail for my left big toe. I had a bad slip which caused me to kick my right heal with my left big toe right on the edge of the nail. Later I stepped on a thick stick with my right foot which kicked it up just right to catch it with my left big toe. Looks like I have a nice sized blood blister under the nail now.

All in all I had a great time and I just might be back in 2010 for the HUFF.

Photo credit: Doug Lovall

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