It's been awhile since I've posted anything. Lets just say life has thrown me a lot of curve balls lately and leave it at that. Other than a 50 mile run at the Oklahoma Ultrarunning Championships I haven't done any significant running since last summer.
That changed last weekend with a seasons opener 50k. Local ultrarunner and all around nice guy Chisholm Dupree hosted his 6th annual (almost) New Years Day run. This is a great grass roots event Chisholm puts on for free. Typically a handful run the 50k but most show up and run whatever distance suits them. This year he kicked it up a notch by renting out the spring creek pavillion and having hot food and a fire at the start/finish (with some help from the OTRA), by all accounts it was a successful event.
The trails were icy and frozen (never run on frozen sand before) earlier in the day and by afternoon it was a mud bog. With early morning temperatures of 18 degrees, I was surprised by the number of entrants. I was also surprised at just how much I managed to sweat in 18 degreee weather and had icicles forming in my hair at one point.
Luckily two of the OTRA trail runners of the fairer sex decided the water crossing Chisholm and I hastily reconstructed the day before the race after high runoff took out the original incarnation, just wasn't friendly enough and did a great job making the crossing more runner friendly.
At about 9:20 Chisholm made some opening announcements and Keith gave a nice prayer/devotional and we were off.
I started the run a bit tired having marked the course for several hours the previous day but quickly found a comfortable gait which I held till the first aid station at 7 miles, after that there is a short out and back along the dam towards the water tower that provided the most even footing of the race (gravel and/or tarmac). this should have been a chance to speed up but unfortunately the screws I had put into the bottom of my shoes on Christmas Eve when the ice rolled in were probably a bit too long for the flats I was wearing. Yep I was getting accupuncture treatment every few strides and have a NASTY bruise to prove it. Once I got back onto the dirt/ice of the trail it wasn't as bad but none the less I was glad to switch shoes at the end of the first out and back.
For the second and shorter (14mi) section I ditched one of my shirts and grabbed Belle (my dog) for a pacer. She was good company and I felt like I was running harder than I ever had during the second half of an ultra. At this point I was starting to have my typical stomach issues but they were relatively minor. i vowed not to eat or drink much till they calmed down. All in all I discovered I don't need nearly the calories I think I do during a longer event.
I managed to leave my watch when changing clothes at the pavillion and so didn't know the time but felt I was on track for a PR. This spurred me on the 2nd half of the 2nd half. I didn't know it at the time but the ice and mud had made a bigger impact to my pace (not effort mind you) than I realized and when I came to the finish I was actually 30 mins slower than my best time of 5:45.
None the less this race was definately a confidence booster for me coming on from an average of less than 10 miles a week for the last 5 months. I am excited about this year and thankful to Chisholm and the Oklahoma Trail Running Association for such a great event.