Sunday, November 29, 2009

Derby 50k race report

The Derby 50K was a lot of fun, and only my second 50k race, and first 'official' 50k - the first one was an FA (and actually 35 miles), the Medoc Meltdown, on technical trails in the middle of August, where we got the full onslaught on of mid-summer North Carolina weather, storms, high heat, and high humidity. My time for that day was about 8:50. So a PR at Derby was always on the cards.

The race was billed as: "This is a very low key, no frills race. If you are expecting port-a-potties, expos or to be waited on, I suggest you stay home." Just my kind of event, perfect.

Anyway, back to Derby, left home a little after six. Brrrrr, it was C-O-L-D - this heat trained body suffered on the long long 50ft walk to the car.

When I got to the car, there was this kind of weird white stuff stuck to the windshield that needed scraping off - anyone seen that stuff before? It was also on the grass. Hmmm, I will have to do some research.

The "2 for $2" sign at the McD's on the way down quite literally forced me off the road and up to their drive-thru window, and before I knew it, the words, "two sausage egg McMuffins please" were coming out of my mouth - it was like some entity from another world had taken over my body. Now I had these two darn McMuffin things, I couldn't throw them away, because that would be bad for the enviroment. Only thing I could think of doing to dispose of them was eat them; so that's what I did.

I got to the Derby Community building about 7:15 there were plenty of people there already. I gave the RD the second half of my entry fee - dog or cat food for the local animal shelter - I love this idea, so gave both. (The other half of the entry fee was $25 when I signed up.)

There is always something kinda special about hanging around with other ultra folks prior to a race, and this was no exception.

There were decisions to be made about what to wear. It was still bitterly bitterly cold - even with the sun up, it was STILL under 40. Running shorts or pants, long sleeve/short sleeve shirt. Eventually, went with shorts and short sleeve shirt, but to avoid frost bite from the freezing wind that I would create by running so fast (sure Jimbo, sure), I decided to cover up my hands and ears.

The course - 3 x 10.5 mile loops on rural NC back roads - about 1.5 miles of each loop was a dirt road.

Ready, set............

GO!....and here is the view from the back after I went back to the start to pick up my S-Caps that I had dropped.

Remember that weird white stuff I was talking about earlier? Well look on the grass on this picture below, there is some still there. What is that??

I am always amazed at how quickly the field thins out as the speedy runners surge ahead.

So, just about the whole race, there was just me and my music. That's cool, I keep myself really good company.

Just after AS#1 - I just love the way that somebody in the dim and distant past decided to line this road in the middle of nowhere with trees:

Towards the end of the first lap, I made my first mistake. I missed a turn. Just half a mile down the wrong road, confused, I came to AS#1 but from the wrong direction (I was supposed to be approaching the start/finish, huh????). Thankfully, Mrs. Doom was there to turn me around. It is amazing how much this kind of mistake effects the rest of the race - in reality, it should have only added 12 or so minutes to my finish time, I am sure it added more. I was mad at myself.

......and then I made mistake #2. At the start of lap 2, I made a decision to try and make up the 12 or so minutes I lost because of mistake #1. You see, I had visions of a sub-6 hour run. So I pushed myself around the second lap. Sure, I made up most the 12 minutes, but I was beat, and that would cause me to struggle around the third lap.

This was the dirt road part of the course. Gotta love that Carolina blue sky..........

and because there was nobody to take pictures of me, I took this one of my shadow, just to prove I was there:

Anyway, lap two was fast and pretty uneventful - but for the fact that the folks at AS#1 had a good giggle at me when I came in from the correct direction this time.

Lap 3 - a mile into it, I realized that I was running out of steam, and with 9 miles left, that was a little earlier than I had anticipated. I tried pushing it a bit, but soon figured out that the sub 6 was not going to happen. Just "finish alive" became the new target, slow and steady, and keep moving.

Two miles in, the sausage egg McMuffins came back to haunt me.

Number of McMuffins: 2
Number of emergency dashes into the woods: 1
Having kleenex with me? Priceless.

With three miles to go, I set a new target - I saw I could finish in sub-6:30 if I managed 12 minute miles. Go for it! I finished strongly (especially considering that mile 8 to 9 is a fairly steep hill), and came in with an official time of 6:28:19.

With a mile to go, the support from the crowd at the side of the road spurred me on.......

and here I am at the finish line:

So, conclusion: Very happy with the time, could have been better - I really do think that the extra mile cost me more than the 12 minutes, but I will take a PR by over 2:20 anyday of the week. Course? I liked it, but as I get older, I really do notice the hurt more after running on roads.

I would certainly recommend this race to anyone though, the RD and all the volunteers were fantastic, it will be on November 27th next year, and it looks like I can sign up for it already,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Raven's Rock Rumble - 10 mile trail race

The start (I'm in there somewhere - towards the back - yep, the back, now there's a shock)

I had a lot of fun in this 10 mile trail race. No preparation, no trips to Walmart, no stress, no significant travel - just a short 30 minute drive, and my friend Connie and I were there and ready to go. Having said that, I should have gone to Walmart to get some batteries for my camera, because unfortunately, it died before I took the first picture thankfully a couple were posted on the race website.

The course is mainly single track, fairly technical with plenty of leaf covered roots and rocks and some good climbs. It was a figure of 8 course, each loop of the "8" was five miles long, there were aid stations at the 5 mile mark, and about 8 miles.

We ran at a pretty comfortable pace - taking it easy on the rougher trails, and walking for the most part up the hills. (Note to self: this will be a good park to get some good hill training in every now and then).

On the whole, I really enjoyed this run, and would most certainly do it again. We finished in about 2:18 or so

Connie and I finishing

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Jimbo's Radar

2010 is going to be an exciting year I think. The year of "easy 100's" (if there is such a thing) and "hard 50's" - well, that's the plan anyway.

I have confirmed entries into Weymouth Woods 100k in January, Umstead 100 in March, and Zane Grey 50 in April.

Almost certain I will do most of the other MTC events - Ellerbe Springs Marathon in March, The Bethel Hill Boogie 50 in June and Hinson Lake 24 hr in September. Also, I expect to be doing the Medoc Trail Marathon in October. Not to mention Medoc Meltdown in the height of summer

Up for consideration are Rocky Racoon 50 or 100 in Feb, Tahoe Rim Trail 50 in July, Grand Tetons 50 in September, Javelina 100 in October - all will involve travel and associated expenses, so it may be a case of pick two or three and sacrifice the rest for another year.

What are the pups thinking?

We had a lot of rain in the week as former tropical storm Ida came through NC. Anyway, Jess felt the pups wouldn't like the rain - hence the raincoats. Of course, being male I have to disagree. I personally believe that they are thinking, "hope nobody can see us!" :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mangum Track Club - Shirt Run

New MTC members Wilbur, Sarah, Connie and Nicole at the 'famous' sign

Sarah, Jimbo and Wilbur

Fun, lots of it, was the order of the day on Saturday as the pups and I took part in the Mangum Track Club Shirt run. We met up with friends Connie and Nicole about 5:45 in the morning, and made the 90 minute drive to Ellerbe NC. We met with 23 other new members and several other seasoned members. At a guess there were probably a total of 40-50 runners.

Just like last time, everyone piled into cars, and we headed out to Mangum - after a few photos were taken, we started out on the 15 mile, no pressure run. It took us a little under three hours to cover the rolling hills of the course. At the end, there was pizza for Jimbo, and Connie and Nicole received their T-shirts with their MTC memberships, and Wilbur and Sarah got some pizza crusts with theirs!

I know that the pups are very proud of their memberships!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wilbur and Sarah to do MTC "Shirt run" :)


My training partners, Wilbur and Sarah are going to make an attempt to become life long members of the Mangum Track Club. From the club website:

Back during the late 80's five guys would meet in the hills of Ellerbe, NC for training runs for marathons. One Christmas during that time, one of the guys purchased 5 shirts. One for each training partner. The shirt was a navy blue shirt with "Mangum Track Club" on the front of it. As the story goes, one of the wives of one of the guys wanted one of the shirts. Well being guys, they toldher, you will have to earn it. The "Shirt Run" was born. The shirt run is a 15-mile point-to-point run/walk from Mangum, N.C. to Ellerbe, N.C. Once you finish the shirt run you will receive your Mangum Track Club shirt and you are a member for life. The Mangum Track Club is a fun run crowd consisting of walkers to ultra runners. We do not have dues or meetings and you may be asked to purchase your Mangum Track Club shirt depending on the number of runners that show up for the shirt run. Normally members pitch in to buy the shirts.
At Umstead, on my last lap, I met someone who explained what the MTC is about. A little googling, and learned what I needed to do to join. I became a member in May, completing the 15 mile run. Here is my write up from then. Since then, I have done the Boogie Marathon, and Hinson Lake 24 hr run, both organized by the MTC and their members. They are a great running group, and becoming associated with the MTC is one of the best things I have done. I'm also coming 5th in the "what's the point race" (I'll get double points for the 15 miles on Saturday)

I noticed that they have some "canine" members, so, I was very pleased when the pups expressed a desire to join. The pups, my friend Connie and will be leaving bright and early Saturday, and we are going to enjoy the no pressure, fun 15 mile run among friends.