I thought I would share my photos and a short race report from my first Ultra Marathon this past Saturday. The link to all my Photos is at the end of this e-mail, just click on the Bohemian Alps Ultra Marathon Album to view them.
This past Saturday Sept. 15th, I attempted my first of hopefully many Ultras with the great support of my girlfriend Ashley, her son Braden, and my uncle Steve. This race was called the Bohemian Alps Ultra Marathon 50K and was located in the central part of Nebraska not to far from Lincoln. The race was actually a little longer than 50K, it was a 32 mile run. I chose this race because it gave me a chance to drop down in elevation to 1000 feet above sea level and visit family on the way back to Colorado. One would think that since it was located in Nebraska that it would be a flat course but boy was I wrong. It was 32 miles of pure steep rolling hills. The hills were short but steep. You would run up a hill that was only 400-500 yards long and gain 200-300 feet only to look over the top to see miles and miles more of the same. Hills as far as the eye could see, FUN!!!!!
After a night of no sleep due to the rooster crowing from 3:30 am on, we lined up to start at 7:30 am. The first 2 miles I stayed in a pack of about 5 people as I warmed up. The 3 leaders took off like bandits and we lost site of the leader after 2 miles but could always see the other 2. At about the 2 mile mark after a good warm up a guy that I meet in the pack I was running with named Jason from Wahoo (I believe) Nebraska (was a cross country runner at Kansas State) and I decided to push a little since we both felt good. We took turns leading and breaking the wind for each other. It did not take us long to catch and pass the 3rd place guy. About 10 mins later we passed the second place guy around mile 10 and could see the first place guy ahead of us about 1/2 mile. I was starting to hurt as Jason and I pulled into mile 13-14 or so. I looked down at my watch to see that we covered the first 13-14 miles in 1:11ish or so. I just ran the fastest 13 miles that I ever have, there is no way I could keep this pace for 32 miles. At this point I told Jason that I was not going to be able to keep that pace and needed to back off and that I would see him at the end. I needed to run my race. Jason asked me if I was sure about that and I said yes. At this point I set myself into a 8 min mile pace and just chugged along. Ashley even rode her bike with me for a bit, that was great. At mile 16 my uncle Steve decided that he would join me and run for a while to keep me company.
Over the course of the next 10 miles from mile 16 to 26 was pretty uneventful. I did stop once to go to the bathroom but outside of that I just plotted along at my pace. Most of this section was long a tree lined bike path so my crew only had access to me every 2-3 miles or so. This was the most boring section of the race. After breaking off the bike path and getting back on the dirt roads we hit the 26 mile mark fairly quickly at 3:18. Not bad!!! I still felt good too, I was feeling good with only 6 miles left and starting to get cocky when I crashed and hit the bottom of the valley.
At mile 27-28 or so we had to head off into the local cross country course called Timber Point or as the locals called it Timber Hell. This is where I started having stomach and leg issues. I started to feel like I was going to puke and my legs were starting to cramp a bit in the calves. Usually I start feeling this way at mile 22 so not feeling this way until 28 is an improvement I guess. Timber Point was a 2 mile run around a lake on path that was mowed threw the weeds. I slowed greatly because of my problems and out of the fear of rolling an ankle or something. After power walking/ jogging through Timber Hell, it was a great relief to see my crew at mile 30 and get some Cyomax (drink). I ran out while going around the lake only had water which will not do the job. I need calories which is why I was not feeling good.
At this point I only had 2 miles left of jogging/power walking to the finish. These were the longest 2 miles I have experienced so far. I had to break down and put my I-pod on so that I could go away mentally. I did not want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to go away and keep moving forward. The whole time I was cussing at myself for slowing so much and for starting out so fast. Needless to say I finally crossed the finish line at 4:31 in 5th place and it was over........ I could not believe that the last 6 miles took me over an hour to complete. Wow that was a shock.
This was a very humbling experience for me and I am think that I am ready for the Denver Marathon in 3 weeks. I was worried because I seem to crash and burn at mile 22 or so the past couple of races. This seems to no longer be the case. We will see.
I really want to thank Ashley, Braden, and Steve for going with me and crewing for me. This would have been a nightmare without them! Thanks guys!!!
Here is the link to some pictures. Just click on Bohemian Alps Ultra Marathon album.