The Bull Run Run 50 miler put on by VHTRC is one of my favorite spring race. Its a great tune up race for any 100 milers hopeful. I ran it for the first time last year and was thoroughly humbled by the course. The constant ups and downs of the 2nd half wreck havoc on my quads and I ended up walking the last 10 miles.
I didn’t make it into the initial lottery for this year and was placed on the waiting list @ #49 Luckily I was able to sneak in at the last moment. Training has been going well. Save for my last crash and burn session at the DC Rock n Roll marathon.
Going into the race I felt like I need to redeem from my failed marathon PR attempt. I need to prove to myself that the training is working and to make good on my promise to myself to race as I train without too many variables.
I carpooled with Bruce (a 2013 Vermont 100 hopeful) and got to park pretty close to the start as a perk for carpooling. I knew it was gonna be a good day when I saw that my # is 69
My goal for the race is to run with effort and make it hurt. That means none of my usual cheerful preppiness. I want to stay focus and push to the finish.
The first out and back to Hemlock was manageable. There weren’t too much elevation changes and I still had fresh legs. The bluebells were especially beautiful and the weather was almost ideal. My breathing was definitely labored but I tried to dial in on a correct pace. I decided not to wear my GPS watch because one, I don’t like it weighing me down and I want to see how well in tune I am with my body.
For most of the 2nd loop I was by myself. I didn’t see anyone behind me or ahead of me. Save for the runners I saw on my way back to the finish. I wasn’t very talkative and barely uttered “good job” to the few that offered their encouragement.
I enjoyed running most of the 2nd half alone. It gave me a chance to mentally focus and not let my pace drop off. I kept repeating to myself. Give it your best effort. No dogging it today. Again the downhills and the rocky twist and turns did a number on my quads. I had to dial it back on the downhill and walked most of the uphills.
I paid close special attention to my nutrition during the race. I consumed moderate amount of perpetuem and took S-Caps to replenish my sodium. I always follow a sip of perpetuem with 2 sips of water to 9ffset its diuretic effect. Dehydration ruined my RnR race. I discovered that strawberries (fruits) is one of my new favorite ultra food. It taste great, good for calories and my stomache can handle it. Maybe the fruitarian is onto something after all.
Luckily ALL the aid stations were well stocked with all sort of goodies and plenty of strawberries. As I try not to spend too much time at any aid stations, I always ask for S-caps. Chug a cup or 2 of either mountain dew or coke and grabbed a handful of strawberries on the go.
I was at a low point entering the dreaded do-loop. I tried my best to keep a steady pace and aimed for relentless forward progress. I grimaced my way from aid stations to aid stations after the do-loop. It wasn’t until the Fountain head aid station (mile 40ish) where I again saw my secret admirer who kept insisting I take my shirt off that I got a 2nd wind. She was everywhere, I saw her at the first aid station and a few more times. Her enthusiasm and playfulness definitely made the race more enjoyable. I was however too tired to comply and just smiled. I did however manage to high five her on my way out.
The 2nd wind couldn’t have come at a better time. I was really glad that my quads held it together after the beating of the do loop and the constant ups and downs on the way back. I made it to the last aid station at mile 44.9, grabbed what I needed and hurried out. I knew that I only had about 5.5 miles left so I picked up the pace and finished strong.
I was really happy to see the clock read 8:22:30ish when I sprinted to the finish line. The official time was 8:22:38 I was able to shave almost an hour off my 50 mile PR set at Stone Mill 50 in 2012. It definitely hurt but I am satisfied with the effort. I am more hopeful knowing that if I take care of my nutrition during Vermont this year and race as I train I will be able to finish.
More info about the 2013 edition of the VHTRC Bull Run Run 50 Miler can be found at http://www.vhtrc.org/brr/2013/