Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ouachita Trail 50K

Ouachita Trial 50K

Photo credit - Sandy Ahne
What happens when you don't work hard enough over the winter and spring to run 50 miles?  You don't run 50 miles.  That is what happens.  After Arkansas Traveller 100 last fall I wanted to run the 50 miler instead of 50 K.  Well, I said I wanted it, obviously I didn't, otherwise I would have put in the effort 5, 4 and 3 months earlier.  Fear is what kept it from happening.  It takes so much energy to be that focused.  Going back into that zone to get ready for the 50 miler was just more than I was willing to do at that time.  All is good, its a learning, growing process.

As said in the Styx & Stones race report, a badly paced foot, slip and hard fall left my foot sprained, not ankle, foot!  Its still tender and running still has to be very carefully done.

Normally if its raining the race is detoured around Pinnacle Mountain.  The forecast said that no rain Saturday morning, but the morning brought drizzle and then rain.  The course was already marked so we carefully made our way over Pinnacle Mountain.  I made it up the mountain okay.  It was the normal whole body workout it always is.  We go up the east side, very rugged.  On coming down the west side a misplaced foot brought instant pain.  The first thought that hit my brain was that I was going to have to drop at the aid station.  Deciding to wait till arriving at that aid station was a good decision as it kind of shook off.

Photo credit - Ronnie Daniel

Before coming to the mountain my pace was at 15 minute miles.  My whole overall pace was slowed down to 20 minute miles after getting up and over the mountain.  That kind of makes the first cut off for the 50 miler impossible, as I knew it would.

Most of the outbound journey was made with Wes Leach.  It was the first time we have had a chance to visit, it was great!  One of the great pleasures of trail running is being able to share the trails with amazing people!

Wesley Leach - photo credit Sandy Ahne

Running with Wes was a very good move.  He is steady, steady up hill and steady down hill.  This helped me because normally I use up way too much energy being unsteady, blasting down hills and huffing up hills.  I had energy for the last half of the race because of Wes's steady pace!  Thank you!

Much energy was spent studying foot placement.  One more wrong slip and it would be over for my left foot.  Its exhausting focusing that much during a race.  One does what they must to finish the race.

Eddy Light, my training partner, tells me, reminds me often that I in fact can not talk for 31 miles.  I joked with him that I could.  He saw what happened when I tried during the Sylamore Trail 50K.  He now reminds me to stop talking so much!  So I followed his warning.  I did talk with Wes, but really kept it to a minimum for me.  It sure helped.

After the turn around, I decided to try to go faster on the downhills.  So with a good bye and a good wish to Wes for a happy race I sped up just a bit.  Very careful foot placement was still in order and was attained.  Much prayer was going on for steady feet.  Oh man it felt good to run downhill, even carefully!  Spread your wings and fly!

About half way back I started thinking that maybe, just maybe a PR was within reach.  It required some of the hardest work on the trail ever, every step every breath was worth it.

A Ouachita Trail 50K PR was earned!  by 24 minutes. Also a trail 50K PR was earned by 3 minutes!  Yes that was worth the work.

What went right-
Most things!  That doesn't happen too often

What would I change-
I would do the work in January, Feb, March to be able to run the 50 miles.
I would be more disciplined in eating so I wouldn't be packing around that extra weight.

What did I learn-
Reminded of really, you can only get back from the trail what you put into it.  Nothing more.  To get the rewards the hard hard work must be done.
I need a new hydration pack.  This one has chafed and ate my back for the last time.  No amount of fiddling with straps will fix this.

Hoka One One Mafata Trail Shoes
Dry Max Team RWB socks - still have to figure out the blister thing
Gregory hydration pack - great pack, doesn't fit me right
Victorias Secret Lightweight Sports Bra - mild chafing

Final thoughts-
I have to do the training.  That aside, everything achieved in ultra running is achieved with a little help (or a lot) from my friends!  For this I'm grateful.

Me - Eddy Light

Me - Chrissy Ferguson 

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