Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Impromptu 50K

Bartlett Park Ultras - 50K
Bartlett, Tennessee
September 13, 2012
5:45:40, 2nd overall female, 14th overall

I've been known to do a few last-minute races in the past. But, I did have to question my sanity a bit when I decided on a Wednesday afternoon to drive 7.5 hours to Tennessee to run a 50K the week after I ran a very hard trail marathon.

This is what happens when Libby and I start texting...

Lib:     I want to race again.
Me:     I am boyfriend less and child less this weekend. Find one and I'll go.
Lib:     I don't want to fly anywhere because of the AA issues.
Me:     Me either. Where can we drive to? There's an ultra in Tennessee.
Lib:     Oh, it's only 7.5 hours away!
Me:     Ok. I'll drive.

And off we went. We drove 6.5 hours Friday night after work and arrived in Tennesee at midnight. Slept for about 5 hours, got up and drove to the race site.

The race is in a heavily shaded park. The trails are nice, flat single track. A few rolling hills, but otherwise, pretty flat. A few roots suprised me, um, like 2 times as I kissed some Tennessee dirt.

The race started on a 1.6 mile loop and then took us out on another 7.45 mile loop, which we repeated 4 times.

I was quite impressed by the race organization. For $37, I honestly didn't expect much other than the aid stations are marked. To our suprise, the aid stations were heavily stocked with all the yummy ultra goodies. The volunteers were amazing! Every aid station, I felt like I had one volunteer who was 100% dedicated to me. Asking to fill my water, offering me food, encouraging me. They were amazing! And to our surpise, we got a nice medal for finishing -- something that was not advertised on the race website.

My goal this race was to maintain even splits on the loops and focus on my fueling. I decided to go with just Perpetum. That worked for about 2.5 loops. It made me feel very full and I just didn't like that feeling.

I dumped my bottle out and ended up just eating aid station food and drinking lots of Coke.

I went out the gate at a decednt 10:00 pace. Because of the single track and heavily wooded area, my Garmin was not registering correctly. My pace per mile was registering 11 or 11:30, which I knew was not correct.

I hit the first loop and after a bit, I decided to make my way to the front of the pack. I was feeling pretty good and I was running the hills very well. I maintained the lead up until the last loop.

I started feeling pretty yucky after about 2.5 loops. My stomach once again started bothering me as it was heating up pretty well. The second female was just a few minutes behind me and she was running strong. This was the push I needed to keep running strong for that third loop.

I focused on staying strong and pushing. I saw a few ladies on my tail toward the last aid station. I started slowing down as we approached the end of that third loop. It was getting hot and my stomach was really bothering me at this point. I tripped on a root at the very end of that loop and was passed by a gal.

I ran to my drop bag, tried to figure how I wanted to fuel for the last 7.5 miles, but there was nothing that I thought I could actually stomach. I took my gel flask, then ran back and put it back in my bag. I hit the port-a-potty and ended up walking for quite some time. I have no idea how far, but it was a good 15 minutes. The heat was taking it's toll on my and my tummy was just mad.

I finally decided I needed to run again and convinced myself that running slowly is better than walking and I just gingerly jogged the rest of it in.

I finished 2nd female and 14th out of 63 runners. While it's not a PR or the race I wanted (even splits), I did the best I could under the circumstances. This was a great opportunity for me to practice the things I need to work on for Palo Duro 50K and Rockledge Rumble 50K.

Here are my loops splits.

1.6 mile loop:      0:16
Loop 1:    1:13
Loop 2:    1:14
Loop 3:    1:20
Loop 4:    1:42

A big congratulations to my girlie Libby who ran a mother of a PR -- over an hour. Yes, she PRed her 50K time by over an hour in a hot and humid race!


  1. Sweet! This makes me excited for my upcoming 50K this Saturday!

    I always find motivation reading your stories, thanks for sharing them.

  2. Congrats, Suann! You are really rockin' it! That is so awesome!