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.
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, here.