Sunday, January 20, 2008

Swamp Stomper 50k

It was colder than a well digger's ass this morning (12 degrees)! At least it was dry...that was a small consolation. Throughout the race, my nose was constantly running. I tried to keep the snot from freezing on my goatee without much success! By the end of the race, my nose was raw from rubbing it with my gloves.


The race started promptly at 0731 (by my garmin, anyway). We were all smiles and glad to be moving, which was the only way we were going to get any warmer! After a brief run on the asphalt, into the woods we ran. The first half mile or so was all downhill (elevation drop of 150 ft by my garmin, but it felt a lot more) and then about 3.5 miles of fairly flat running. The infamous red loop comes into play around mile 4 and I am quite sure all will tell you that the red loop was a mother. Up, up , up and then way down. Followed by some flats, then up and down, repeat. I would get to the top of another monstrous hill and think I was done with the loop, then be smacked in the face with another set of up and downs. Even though I have run this course many times, it was still very demoralizing...and exhausting. OK...I finally finish the damn red loop and get back on the white trail. Another 3 miles with more damn hills and a creek crossing (dry...thank the Lord) and I make it to the turn around. After a quick potty break and some snacks, I head back to the start, which is about 7 miles of the same (minus the red loop).

My first 25k is completed in less than four hours. Another potty break & snack break (not at the same time, of course) and then hit the trails for the second 25k. On the way back to the trails, I stopped by my car to drop some gear off and also to remove my tights (it's a bitch to run with all that crap on!). I also switched out my cap and left my ear muffs (should have kept the muffs!). All this cost my over 12 minutes, but I enjoyed the rest.

The next 4.5 hours were a repeat of the first 4 hours, only worse. My energy level had dropped drastically and I began walking way too much. I tried to eat my Clif bars, but they were almost brick-like due to the cold. My Gu was also useless. I stuck two Gu's into my gloves to warm them up, which helped somewhat. Clif Shot blocks were very tough, but at least I could eat them. Thank God the red loop aid station had hot chicken noodle soup (or a variation thereof...)! What a life saver!

The second go-round with the red loop is when I was told that I was not in last place...just next to last. By mid-loop, the woman in last had caught up with me. The last few ascents in the loop and I could not see her behind me anymore. This made me feel better! Damn it! I refused to be DFL (dead fucking last)! Mid way into the second portion of the white trail, she caught me again! Arrggghhhh!!! Although she was very nice and I am quite sure a great person, I wanted to smoke her ass! By this point, I was walking at a 17 minute pace. I turned on my power walker pace, determined to lose her. I averaged a 15 minute pace and surprisingly, caught up with Cliff Sanders. I kept moving as fast as possible, breaking into a run with each downhill and made the turn-around before I saw them again. Once heading back to the start, I never saw them and prayed that I could keep a decent pace.

I finally finished the 50k in 8:35:00. I was cold, tired, and dirty, but it felt great! About 10-15 minutes later, Cliff finished. Another 5-10 minutes, Angela crossed the finish line....DFL.

Congrats to all who ran! 'Twas a bitch, but we did it. Special congrats to the Memphis Ultra Team (Michael, Vinnie, Patrick, Holly, & Drew) for a blistering run! Thanks to all the volunteers for making this race possible! Thanks to Leigh (RD) for putting on one hell of a race!

1. I need LONGER training runs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. Cold weather & I do not agree!
3. I was not ready physically or mentally for the race (see #1 & #2).

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