Tuesday, 30 June 2009
After a number of runs during the week and much time spent outdoors (was very thankful i'd found a running group in Henderson on the internet before leaving as it meant i could find places to run much easier as well as really enjoying being with them), it was finally time for race number pick up time for my 50 Miler at Lake Mead "Running with The Devil".
Hadn't been to Boulder City before or the Hacienda Hotel/Casino where the race numbers were to be given out as well as our goody bags (Great T Shirts !), was early so that i could have bit of a look around the area as well, but come pick up time me and a number of others seemed to wander all over the place before actually finding the right room (sometimes it doesn't pay to be early).
I had numerous questions for Joyce the race organiser, as everything seemed to be marginally different to Australian Races, particularly the timing chips held on by little plastic strips ???, eventually she also convinced me to buy a 24 OZ (and i'm no good at fluid conversions other than litres to gallons) bottle rather than using my 20 OZ UD Handheld.
Was too early to see see my Badwater crew Steve and Matt, who were coming for the marathon, so decided to have Walmart Macaroni Cheese as my pre race carbo load.
Early morning start (seemed to be sleeping in more than usual whilst in the US), meant i was up at 5 and by 6 was at Lake Mead for the weigh in.
Mystified by the scales, surely i wasn't 15? LB's ??? (70Kilos), still not a big issue as these same ones would be used when weighed later.
Decided i'd put the camelbak and also the 24OZ Bottle in the drop bag as well as numerous other bits and pieces so i'd have them if required at 16.5 Miles and 33.5 Miles.
Not sure exactly of the number of starters, at a guess 30, massive by Aussie standards (and with timing chips !), i was pretty much outfitted in all clothes bought this week, new REI Long Sleeve Top, New Nike Shorts, New ASICS DS Trainers, Drymax Ultra Heat Socks that i'd run in only that week only old stuff was the Legionnaires Cap bought for Badwater last year (and falling to bits, now needing a safety pin to hold the veil on), a bandanna from Badwater around my wrist (with plans to use as an ice bandana later and also my Trailwalker Buff Bandana around my neck (with same idea in mind). Had a GU in the handheld pocket and another one in my shorts as well as 8 S Caps (more of these in the drop bag).
Finally the waiting was over and we were off, i probably lead the first few steps but was very happy to relinquish the lead to other runners who may have known where we were going. Not sure of the temperature but at Boulder City at 6 it was 85, so i'm guessing a few degrees warmer.
A few undulations but was feeling very comfortable had quite a long chat with Brian from New Jersey (doing his second 50 Miler), was quite content just to run my own race with two leaders in the distance, so had settled very comfortably into 5th Place, although was disconcerted as two 10K runners flew past.
Had no idea where we were going but had great views of the lake and also of steep canyons by the side, was almost 9 Miles in and feeling like a local when i spotted Running Club Member Peggy driving along (thanks for that middle photo), spotting a familiar face is always good and i probably picked up a little pace. By now i had passed 2 aid stations and by number 3 was ready for a top up, the Heed they supplied thankfully tasted exactly the same as the one i'd been training with, also decided it was time for a couple of S Caps. Another pleasant surprise at the next aid station was seeing another runner from our group, Richard, with camera (thanks for the other pictures, the top one i took today looking toward Lake Mead).
After 15 Miles i'd worked my way into 3rd place, and at 16.5K, decided it was worth getting another stash of S Caps out (i'd had 4, i had two other bags of 8 in the drop bag), other than that i saw no point in changing.
A Cinnamon Apple Hammer Gel and a banana and i was off reinvigorated, giving chase to the second placed runner (first was out of sight), winding road with many up and downhills and it was getting warm, as well i had to keep on reminding myself to run on the side of the road as on the way out we had traffic going the same direction as us. By the next aid station i was in second place and just hoping to spot the leader (i was to find later this was last years winner Dan Kuch). Eventually saw him coming towards me still 1.5 Miles from the turnaround so i'd have been 3 miles behind !!.
Got to the turnaround and was 154 LB's, i'd lost 2LBs (i think), quite happy with that as i knew i hadn't hydrated fully on the way out, knew what i needed to do.
Ate a bit and instantly regretted having pretzels, suddenly my mouth was dry, at least that forced me to drink more.
Was happy to see the next runner a good mile and a half from me, so it was a case now of giving chase.
From then on it was getting hotter, initially used the buff as the ice bandanna but found it was a little tight so next aid station used the "real" bandana, was finding my usual Handheld still had quite enough fluid (usually a little left at each aid station), so there were to be no dramatic changes when i reached my drop bag, just a quick toss of the buff into the bag.
The odd Hammer E Cap (i'm guessing similar to S Caps) and bits of banana were my usual aid station food now, was feeling strong but was looking as though the only way i'd catch the winner was if he really fell apart (and anything can happen over this distance), by now i was around 12 Miles in front of the last runners.
By 35 Miles we were also getting Pepsi Cola at aid stations, a very pleasant change, although i was filling the bottle with Heed and ice each time.
Finally we hit the Marathon Turnaround, Matt was just arriving as i was leaving and as yet i hadn't spotted Steve. With the Marathon field now in sight (they started 3 Hours later at 10), i had a new spring in my step as i had plenty of people to chase, but my calves were now starting to feel a little tight so wasn't getting carried away.
Saw Steve soon after and then resumed my chase, was certainly putting away cola at the aid stations and fresh ice bandanas each time, it was getting hot (apparently between 110 and 116 ??). Decided that walking was the best option on some of the steeper hills as i knew there were plenty of downhills ahead to make up ground, by now there were marathon signs, half marathon signs and distance out signs so i had plenty of stuff to read to take my mind off it.
Last aid station and i was feeling it, i knew i wasn't going to win but also knew there was no point easing back as i wasn't going to look behind me, it was now a case of finishing and making sure i didn't damage myself for Badwater. Could see the finish line 1.5 Miles out and that energised me for one last burst, finally finishing in 7:47:40.
I'd suggested i'd be happy with 8 Hours, so whilst between 30 and 50 minutes slower than my usual time over the distance i was pretty rapt, time for a rest and more fluid and maybe yoghurt !.
Writing this a couple of days post race, i can say that after 3 hours resting i was finally back in shape to walk to the car, after that i joined Steve and Matt and their partners for the Buffett Dinner at the Hacienda (had been so tempted by the Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood Gig at the MGM, but ultimately decided my body wouldn't handle along time sitting or standing and a big crowd could have been an issue.
Next morning i was fine (as i fine as i could be after listening to Richmond being throttled by StKilda via internet radio), a lazy morning by the pool was in order.
Really good race, a big thanks to Joyce and her helpers, personally i think it was the perfect Badwater leadup positioned perfectly datewise before, i did see a number of Badwater starters but apparently many opted for the Marathon, i guess time will tell just who was right.