Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dizzy 50 (40)

Dizzy Fifties is not an easy 50 miler. Sure, it's not very technical. Sure, it only has one major hill (that you repeat 5 times). But, anyone who says it's easy has never tried to complete 50 miles on that course. Could I have finished 50 miles today? Probably. Did I want to? Not after finishing 40 miles. That's the thing that makes this race so difficult. When you approach the start/finish area, you really want to be finished! The freedom to quit without any real consequence was just too much for me to handle again this year.

The results... I was the second place 40 mile finisher in 6:46, (way) behind Dewayne Satterfield. There were no 50 mile finishers today.

The First Lap
Check out the Dizzy Fifties website for details about the laps. It starts with a little 2-ish loop and then it begins the North loop then South loop alternation. I started out conservatively at about a 9:20-ish pace. I let all the competitive 50kers go. I would have liked to have gone a little faster, but I was in a pack and saw no real need to push the pace.
That's me, #56, finishing up the 2.3 mile Little Loop. Happy.
The North loop has a long hill from the Sinks/Stone Cuts/Keith Trail intersection up to the Bikers parking lot. My plan was to try to run it the first time through and then walk it every time after that. The pack I was in was walking the hill, so I just joined them. Then I saw Matt running up ahead. I had to go catch him. Which was a little fun.

The South loop is an uneventful, mostly flat, windy, dizzying section of trail. On the first time through the south loop, I was with Matt early. I eventually pulled away and didn't see him again until after he finished the 50k. After pulling away from Matt, I caught Wayne Heckler (Alabama half marathon record holder for 61 year old men at 1:30). We chatted some and I pulled away because he was still recovering from his record setting effort last week. From that point on, I was all alone except for very short sections the rest of the way. That probably hurt my chances of finishing 50 miles as much as anything.

The Second and Third Lap
There isn't much to say here. I ran all alone for all of these laps. My nutrition plan was to eat Gu Roctane on the South loop and to eat a Clif Bar on the climb up Sinks and refill with water at every stop. That was working very well. My running plan was to run the flats and downs and walk the ups on the North Loop and to run 10-12 minutes and walk 2-3 minutes on the South Loop. I was feeling absolutely great through 50k. I hit 50k at 4:55, which is my second best 50k time ever. I think I could have had a very good 50k race today if I had planned for 50k.

The Fourth Lap
Again, all alone. As I started the North Loop, I was feeling great. I ran a solid pace until the downhill on Cold Springs trail. Then, I probably had my best descent of the day. 50 miles seemed to be just in the bag. I continued to run the flats and downs and walk the ups. I was passing some slower 50kers. Life was good. Then, out of nowhere, my stomach was turning sour. I couldn't think of eating anything. When I began the walk up sinks, I simply could not eat the Clif Bar. I thought I was going to throw up. I did a little in my mouth. I was just feeling awful. As I topped the hill, I continued to walk. I was completely falling apart. As I ran to the start/finish area, Matt was there holding up a bowl of chili and celebrating a 50k finish. So, I knew he wouldn't catch and pass me on the 50 miler. The chili was not even tempting at all. Throwing up was very tempting.

I got out of the start/finish very quickly to avoid any temptation not to go 40 miles. I was still walking and fighting nausea. I just could not eat. I hadn't had any calories in about 2 hours. I knew then I was done. I got more liberal with my walk/run on this south loop. I caught Joey and Shannon, and hung with them for a while. I knew that I could finish this 40 miler in less than 7 hours. I also knew that I had very little chance of going beyond 40 miles.

With about 3 miles to go, I decided I would just run the rest of the way. There was no use conserving energy now. I still couldn't eat and I had made up my mind to stop at 40.

Rob is trying to get me to go back out there!

The Finish
I finished in 6:46. Yep, it took me 1:51 to run that last 10 miles. Rob Youngren was at the finish really encouraging me to continue. He wanted me to finish the 50 miler very badly. I really appreciate the advice he gave me leading up to this race and I really appreciate the encouragement he gave. He continued to encourage me. He almost had me talked into going out there, but I really don't regret not going. I was done. But I am thankful to Rob for his support!

I'll take it. I was clearly falling apart. That's the best I could do in this race with only 5k training leading up to the event.

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