Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Burned again at the Red Hot 50K

The three of us (Ashley, Braden, and I) decided on Thursday morning to leave and drive part way to Moab and try to beat the forecasted snow storm in the high country on Friday, we made it to Glenwood on Thursday night where we stayed in the worse motel that I have ever been in. I can not remember the name but it is right across the street from the Village Inn, STAY AWAY!!! Friday morning we left for Moab arriving before noon. After an easy lunch we spent the rest of the day driving around in the mountains southeast of town then went to Pasta Jays on Main St for a little carbo loading and an early bed time.

We got up the next morning around 6am leaving the hotel at 7:15. I decided not to use any of the allowed drop bags since I never use them. I figured between the Nathan pack I was running with and the aid stations that I should be fine. The weather also looked like it might just be ok today, little windy the 1st half of the race but that was it.

Right at 8am the race started up a dirt road. The first mile was a climb up and over the mesa. The plan was to just run what felt like an easy effort the first 17 miles and try and push the second half hopefully finishing under 6 hours, which is not what happened. I had water on my back and I was planning on drinking Cytomax at every aid station and eat whatever looked good.

The first half of the race was a mixture of rolling hills, some moderate climbing, jeep 4X4 roads, and sandy trails. I just tried zoning out and running what felt like an easy effort but this proved to be hard to do, my legs felt really heavy and I just was not hungry so I was not eating at the aid stations like I planned. I crossed aid station 3 at mile 17 in 2:35. Right were I wanted to be for a sub 6 hour finish. At aid station 3 I was finally able to see Ashley and Braden, it was the only place on the course that they had access to until the finish line. Braden who is 8 years old ran with me down the road from aid station 3 to where the road turns off into the trail (about a mile), he had a blast doing that and kept up with me the whole time, future ultra runner maybe???

From aid station 3 to aid station 4 was about 6-6.5 miles and a good size climb. The fourth aid station was on top of the mesa some 1500 or more feet above us. I did some walking in this section on the big uphills but overall felt fine. I came into the 4th aid station around 3:45 into the race. This aid station was at mile 23. My stomach was starting to turn on me at this aid station. I did not throw up but did what I call spit up at this station. About 2 miles after leaving this aid station my stomach turned fully against me and up came breakfast on the side of the trail (the fresh fruit I ate was still in there). Maybe I should not have eaten that fruit this morning?

From aid station 4 to aid station 5 I was just trying to run as much as my stomach would allow me to. The entire section was mostly run on slickrock and there was no real trail to follow on this section. We just went from pink flag to pink flag hanging from the brushes. Sometimes there were no pink flags and you had to find the painted symbol on the rocks to figure out where to go. I got off track a few times and added about 1/4 mile or so to this section with backtracking I did, but it was not as bad as last year. Last year they used pink flags for the right way and red for the wrong way, it was hard to tell the difference in the color with sunglasses on. This year they used blue flags to mark the incorrect way which made a world of difference. I lost some time on this section but was able to run/walk a lot of it. There was one last climb up the slickrock to the 5th aid station at mile 29. I came into this aid station around 5:15 hours after starting and of course lost my stomach again behind the jacked up jeeps. By this point I have not really had anything since mile 17, including water. Every time I tried to take something in it would come up a few minutes later.

From the 5th aid station to the finish line was only 5 miles. The first 1/2 mile or so was up a small hill of slickrock from there you jump on a 4X4 jeep road that you follow to the finish line mostly downhill. Last year I was still able to jog this into the finish despite my problems, this year I just did not have the energy so I just took my time and watched my 6 hour goal slip away as I walked down the road to a 6:30:32 finish. Crap…… Oh well I guess I got burned again at the Red Hot.

Lesson Learned:
1. I can not eat fresh fruit before a race.
2. Small bowl of Corn Flakes along with the fruit is not enough food before the race.
3. A gel, half a Snicker bite size bar, and some Cytomax is not enough calories for the 1st 17 miles.
4. Sucking on hard candy did not help me get my stomach back.

Here is the link to the website and results.

Red Hot 50K

2009 Results

I will try and get my pictures up tomorrow, I forgot the camera cable at home this morning.