Distance. : 50km
Finish Time : 4:51:18
Rank : #28 (overall)
Lap 1 : 2:13:11
This was the second time for me running this race. The race organization, Uber Endurance Sports, always has the best fun races. Their races are always well-marked, they always have an all out aid station provision and very well-organized.
Last year, I broke my 50k PR in this race. Thank you to Keila, whom I was tailing for the first 25k loop. But I just couldn’t keep up with her beast mode pace, and I ended up out of gas by mile 20.
But this year, my plan was using this fun run race as my long run training for upcoming Cayuga 50 miles. I won’t be racing like a crazy monkey, on the other hand, I would try a few new running strategy. After my running drama in Bear Mountain, 2 weeks earlier, I had evaluated my race, overview what went wrong, what did I do wrong, what could I do better, and also to test my brand new recovered left ankle.
Easy But Not So Easy
The loop was a pretty much a flat course with a few rolling hills, 2 streams crossing, a small portion of road, sand and small rocks trail. But most of it was dirt trail with plenty roots that were ready to catch my foot any time. Also we were blessed with muds on the trail from the previous night rain. In short, the loop was a bag full of trail candies.
This year, they separated the starting time into 3 waves based on the distance. I started pretty much close to the end of the pack. First, I didn’t want to be provoked by the elite runners at the front. I was planning to run in my comfortable pace, not pushing it too hard, at the same time I didn’t want to slacking. And second, after my fail attempt to take a leak before the starting line because there was too many people drank too much coffee that morning, I was that close to miss the gun-time. Tho, I got a chance to meet my trail beast friends, who was busy taking pictures. Such a happy folks they were.
When the race started, my first mission was to find a good spot to take a leak.
After my accomplished take-a-leak mission, I became further back more than before, where I was at the point that I felt really need to break this bottleneck. I made a careless decision that I was running on the trail side, where it had tall grasses and bushes with hidden rocks, roots, and maybe a pot of gold (who knows). Although it was not a wise decision, it was surely fun to do an off-road run. Also I got free from the long line within a minute. The downside was, I got my adrenaline pumped up and I needed to calm myself down. It took me a few minutes to find my good rhythm and my desirable pace.
After crossing the longest hill/rolling hills of the trail, there was the 1st aid station. This aid station was also served as the 3rd aid station.
One thing that I was trying to do better in this race, was to be more discipline on my fuel intake in every aid station. I used Nuun in my handheld bottle and I took plenty water in every aid station. I also took sandwiches from the very 1st aid station, even though it was too early in the morning.
In the next section, after one short steep hill and a stream crossing, the trail was pretty much flat. Some of them were decorated with loosing rocks that were ready to twist my ankles anytime if I was not paying attention.
This year, the trail had a few tweaks compare to last year route. First, it was at the very beginning of the race, I could be wrong, but it just slightly different for the 1st half mile. The second was the part before the second aid station, where we were crossing straight in the middle of the park instead of running around the park.
Another thing that I did differently this time, was taking a salt tablet every 2 aid stations, which it would be roughly every hour. So took a salt tablet with plenty water in this aid station. I also kept taking real food like sandwiches and oranges.
Between the 2nd and the 3rd aid station, there was a lot of running on the road. I continued to move on, and kept eating while on the run. Since it was on the road, I was slowing down a little bit and put my cruise control on, so that I could enjoy my lovely breakfast and did my engine check. After this 1-2 miles of winding road (it felt like forever tho), I started to running back to the trail. In here, I could catch up again with the pack that I had been running for a while. Right before the trail merge into the road again, I became restless and started to pass the pack. And by the end of the trail, when I passed these two lovely ladies, I took an off-road on the left side, where it was full of plants and bushes. Suddenly I felt something sharp scrubbing my left hip. Poison Ivy! I was grunting angrily. Oh well, I guessed I paid my price if being reckless, so keep running again. After a minute, I felt my skin on my left hip burning. Great! I would never get a perfect enjoyable race. Ever!
On the uphill of this road section, I met Mary Harvey. She was doing the 50 miles. We talked for a minute before I had to catch up with the pack. So I wished her good luck and would see her at the finish line.
That was a great break from my burning skin awesomeness.
Oh also, a few minutes later, after I got back to the trail, I met Lisa Chao, who was doing her 50 miles, steady but strong.
Pain Performance Enhancements
I read an article a few years ago, where many Paralympic athletes utilize a sharp object to enhance their performance. For example, they put a sharp object on their wheel chair. They would not feel the pain since their nerves are not sending the information to the brain, but the nerves still send information to the muscles. And that could boost the performance by sending more oxygen to the active muscles. I believe it became an illegal practice in Beijing Paralympic.
So to think about that concept, I thought if I could ignore the burning sensation, it might help my running performance. (probably not:-D)
The Rat Maze
While my brain were swarming around that theory, whether it worked or not, suddenly I was passing the junction, where I would run back to the previous trail and sent my way to aid station #3. After I refueled myself, I did not want to waste my time too long there and continued to finish my first loop.
And I know there will be a section that was the best feature of this route could offer. I called it the Rat Maze. It was a single track with a super sharp switchbacks turn like a snake lurking to its prey, the rat. If I could run it in my good pace, it felt like I was racing a go-cart.
After this rat maze portion, and the second stream crossing, the finish loop was only a couple of miles away. From this point, I could hear the folks music from the festival area. I felt like I was running on the trail carousel. Pretty amusing feeling.
After a good amount of rolling hills, where some of them were a little steep but really short, then I could see the road on my left side. And I knew it was pretty close to the first loop finish line. The worst thing of a race with multiple loops, there was always a thought that would be creeping into my mind to stop running and grabbed those BBQ meal. But immediately, I kicked out that thought to the moon, so it won’t come back till I finished my second loop.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
When I passed the 1st loop, I saw the clock was 2 hours something. So I thought that I was making a good time yet still feel great. I refilled my handheld bottle, grabbed some food, and took a cup of trail mix. I remembered my hands were full with foods and kept eating the whole way crossing the park.
Oh by the way, this was one of my dumb dumb moment. By the end of the park, before I turned to the bridge, I saw my MonkeyCart that parked on the street side, and I saw my phone still attached to the windshield. I had been looking for it before the race with no luck, so no pictures on the trail this time.
Second loop was a bit slower than the first one and I was running with a bunch of people where we kept passing one to another almost for the whole loop.
After the second aid station, on the road section and some of the flat rocks trail, I slowed down my pace. I want to save my energy for the rat maze. Also, I might have taken too much salt and Nuun at the same time, that my body felt a bit funky. So I thought I might need to flushed them out, and it works.
Some runners was easily passing me, whom I passed by on the first loop. I tried my best to not get provoked and hung back.
Then, again, I recognized the junction where I would run back to the aid station 3. I checked my handheld bottle, I noticed that I still had enough water, a cliff bar and a bunch of salt tablets. So I thought I just kept going while I was on the mood, and it would be just another 4 miles.
On the long rolling hill section, I saw Talissa and Kat, who were doing the 50K race, going to the 1st aid station for their second loop. They were looking strong and very fresh like that they just started the race. And they were actually cheering on me, so nice of them.
After the rat maze trail, I heard my trail carousel soundtrack again, and I knew I was close to the finish line. I got my spirit back again and sped up my pace a little bit.
Then, when I got out from the trail, somebody was shouting my name. It was Kenneth Tom, he was shouting a silly joke on me that make me laugh and waking up my inner monkey.
With the German folks music on the background, I was running/hoping/jumping to the finish line, following the rhythm. Too bad I couldn’t find the picture of it. But thank you to Ken the Man that made me had the best finish line entrance ever yet.
Oh, I did not win anything of course, but later on that night, I had my chicken dinner.
Running With The Beast
After the race, I hung out with other runners. Some were runners that I already knew, some I knew from mutual friends, and others were become my new friends.
But the best thing of that day, everyone was running with their beast mode. From the runners who won prizes, make their PR, or shaved off hours of their prediction finish time.
For me, it was an honor to get a chance to run with them in this fun race. Probably I will see you guys next year.