17 May 2010

Gnaw Bone 50 Mile Race Report 2010

This race is in Brown County State Park and is named for the nearby town of gnaw bone.  It's organized by runningfit.com. who also happens to organize the running group I joined sometime in February. This was my first 50 miler and so my primary goal was to finish. My secondary (unspoken) goal was to place in my age group(40-44). I've been racking up miles approaching the race and doing back to back 20 milers. a 30 miler followed the next day by a 20. basically tons of miles and lots of 100 mile weeks.  I considered running a 40 or 45 in preparation for the race but decided against it based on advice from friends. I really don't like tapering so the week before I brought my mileage down to 40 miles in the 7 days before the race and didn't run the day before the race.

Race Gear ...
Nathan Sports Proton Pack: 3L Bladder.
CW-X compression shorts.
Wright Double Layer Socks
Body Glide
New Balance MT100 shoes
Cytomax electrolyte drink powder

What I carried in my hydration pack ...
3L of Cytomax Electrolyte Drink1 Extra pair of socks
2 Packs of cytomax powder
Blister protection Band-aids
8 Endurolyte caps
2 Packs of clif blocks
4 GU Packs.

The week before the race it was pouring rain and there were even flood warnings for the area.  This set the stage for an extremely muddy race.  It was about 53 degrees at the start of the race which kicked off at 615 am. I only had about 15 minutes to chat with friends and size up the competition. There were a lot of young strong looking runners so I moved to the mid/rear of the pack feeling pretty outgunned and not wanting to get in their way. I was just here to survive my first 50 miler.

The 50K and 50 Mile racers started together and shared the first portion of the course.  The trail was extremely muddy with sections which were also clearly heavily used by horses. within the first mile everyones shoes were soaked and full of mud. some people lost shoes sucked off their feet by the mud and had to stop and dig them out.  Some sections of the course weren't even trail at all just bushwacking from one marker to the next. I'm not sure how many times I crossed streams, at least 10.  My feet and everyone else's were soaked the entire 50 miles. The MT100 shoes drained fast and the wright socks did a great job of wicking water. I didn't get a single blister or hot spot.  I went out planning to hold my pace between 10 and 11 minutes per mile for the first 30
miles. this was tricky because the course varied between deep mud, stream, dirt road, single track, and sections where I really wished I had a machete and crampons. I varied my pace between 7 minute miles bombing down good trail sections and 20 minute miles thrashing through rough patches and up steep hills. I ate about 2 GUs per hour on the run and fig newtons and PB&J every time I hit an aid station. I drank 3 liters of cytomax in the first 25 miles and then refilled my hydration pack at an aid station and added more powdered
cytomax. I was also drinking water at the aid stations the whole time so I know I drank at least 6 liters of cytomax and maybe another liter of water.  This part of the run I just enjoy myself and chatted with other runners I met along the way.  There is something very beautiful about running through the woods with a group of people who love it as much as you do and it energizes me to run with people who i know love it as much as I do even if we're not talking. I'm not really sure I said that well, but oh well there it is.

I managed to hit mile 30 at about a 10:40 pace. Somewhere around that time  a girl at an aid station told me I was in 5th place! and that the leader was 30 minutes in front of me. I was shocked. I knew I had been passing quite a few people but wasn't really counting or looking closely at them because I was just focusing on footing, the beautiful scenery, and conversations. I then realized I could place in the top 5 in my age group or maybe even win my age group! This news inspired me to run harder. but in reality I was unable to negative split as planned. I poured way more effort the last 20 but my final average pace was 10:52. I caught up to and ran with a
friend I met running a few weeks ago. we ran for maybe 5 miles but then he had to stop and slow down because of GI issues.  There were now only 3 in front of me. I caught the next runner a guy in his 30's he had the 1000 mile stare thing going on. I said good job and asked if he was ok but he didn't respond. he was running at a
9:00 pace so I figured he must be and I passed and moved on. I caught the next runner about 12 miles out from the finish. He looked to be in his 20's and fit enough for the cover of runner's world.  This guy looked like a runner! but he must have gone out to fast or made a fueling or hydration error because he had slowed to the point where I could catch him. My presence seemed to rally him and he picked it up and ran with me. Looking at
him I knew if we got to the final mile he would outkick me for sure but I didn't care at this point I was starting to feel some discomfort in my quads and just wanted to finish.   we had a moments hesitation together when we
weren't sure about the trail marking and then we ran together for an indeterminate length of time. I led and talked and I thought we were having a conversation but then he was gone and in retrospect I'm not sure when he
dropped off or how long I talked to no one.  I caught the leader at about 8 miles out I think. I really should have paid more attention to my numbers but I think it was 8. this guy was also in his 20s. I said good job as I passed and asked who was in front of us. He said, "No one, it's all you". I said thanks and kicked harder. the next 8 miles I passed a lot of people who were straggling in from the 50K or the relay races and just kept going as hard as I could. There was one last massive hill with no trail at all! all bushwacking! I had to pee really bad and knew I couldn't make it the last 1.5 miles so I ran over behind some bushes and went. I looked backup the hill and  when I did I saw the 2nd place 50 miler flying down the hill.  I took off and just hammered as hard as I could. I ran a mile at about 6:40 pace in terrible pain on wasted legs. my lungs and legs were on fire and I was cursing myself for being so stupid. I hadn't come to win this race but to lose it in the last 1.5 miles would be such a shame.  When he pulled up alongside me I felt totally crushed. I knew I couldn't hold off a young runner like that for a quarter of a mile. I looked over and gasped out a "good job" and then a wave of relief washed over me!!! this wasn't a 50 miler this guy was running the relay( a different race) who I had mistaken for my competitor! I let him go and washed in a creek about an eighth of a mile from the finish so I wouldn't look so muddy
when I crossed the finish line(pretty silly in retrospect). I ran across the finish line in a daze  After I finished I had a good laugh with the relayer over my mistake and chatted with some other really nice people.

I won a really cool bag from runningfit.com and had a great time. The volunteers
and runningfit did an awesome job putting on the race. there was always plenty
of food,water and gu.  aid stations were plentiful. I'll definitely be back
to run this race again! The results are here