Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mohican 50 Aftermath

The results are out! I am listed in 9th place overall with 9:54:28, exactly one minute behind Laurie, and 25 minutes ahead of the next runner. Somehow my time is 4 minutes shorter (I thought I finished at 9:58:28) but this does not affect anything. I am very proud that I am actually the first runner 50 years or older (there are two 40+ year old runners ahead of me, the first male and first female – the rest are under 40). Here are the top 10 finishers:

Place Name Age State Gender Time
1 Jay Smithberger 40 OH M 7:55:00
2 Marc Melville 36 MI M 8:05:38
3 Troy Shellhamer 29 KY M 8:22:38
4 Luke Riley 38 PA M 9:13:33
5 Jacob Draa 21 OH M 9:36:36
6 Kimberly Boner 42 OH F 9:43:14
7 Juan Vicente 35 OH M 9:52:09
8 Laurie Colon 32 OH F 9:53:28
9 George Themelis 50 OH M 9:54:28
10 Mark Chaloupka 46 OH M 10:19:22

I still cannot believe how well I did in my first 50 miler. But what surprised me the most is that it did not feel very hard and recovery was quick. Sure, the last miles were a struggle, and when I was done I did not think I could have gone any farther (the thought of running 100 miles was mind-blowing at the time), but the next day I felt fine (except for a few blisters in my toes). I did a tempo run on Wednesday (7:30 pace) and ran two races on Saturday and Sunday with good results.

So, now I am looking back at this race with fond memories. The entire week I have been feeling very happy and proud for my accomplishment. I do not remember the last time I felt like that. Certainly not after the first BT50K race, even though I had a terrific time then too.

Here are a few things that bothered me slightly. Consider them suggestions for improvement:

1. Course description on-line is not detailed. A better description was given at the prerace meeting the night before the race. I wish someone had told me about the 3 river crossings from Bridle Staging to Rock Point. And that from Rock Point to Buckhaven is mostly roads. I would have then changed from trail to regular road shoes at the Rock Point station and then back to trails shoes at the same station.

2. Aid Station Drop Bags:  I only had one drop bag and dropped it at the Covered Bridge aid station. I thought this made sense since I visited this aid station 3 times. But, they said, you cannot use the drop bag the first two times (miles 5 and 9) because of congestion. I like to change shirts after the first 5-10 miles after I shed the most sweat, but I was not allowed. What is the point of having a drop bag at Covered Bridge if you cannot use it until the 3rd time when there is already crew access at the Fire Tower aid station before that? I did not use my Covered Bridge drop bag. A total waste. I wish someone had advised me about this.

3. Aid Stations: The Aid Station volunteers were all very nice of course, but I felt a bit strange about the food being covered in some aid stations. Also, the workers did not seem geared towards a runner in a hurry. Typical dialog between myself and an older female aid station worker: “What would you like honey?” “Well, what do you have?” I was expecting to just grab things in front of me, but they were not very accessible. In one aid station I asked for potato chips and they pointed to a sealed bag. Is it too hard to open the bag? In the same aid station I saw sliced bread but nothing to go on it. As the race went on, I got more aggressive and started opening bags, Tupperware and pop bottles (surprisingly, in the last aid station, all pop bottles were sealed). I read from a fellow blogger (saw pictures too) about runners eating ham and cheese sandwiches and boiled eggs. I don’t know where they found these. No ham and cheese where I was, unless if it was sealed and stored under the table.

4. Finisher's Medal:  After I got to the hotel, I read in the instructions that there was a finisher’s medal (which I did not get at the finish). The next day Tom confirmed that there is indeed a finisher’s medal and I went to get it. “Why didn’t you ask for it when you finished yesterday?” the old lady asked. Well, sorry, but all races I have done with finisher’s medal, this is handed to you when you finish. I never had to go ask for it.

5. The Award’s ceremony was listed as starting at 10:00 am on Saturday but it started at 12:00 noon. Now, I understand that people have been running for 24 to 30 hours, so no one is in any particular hurry, but if the awards start at 12 noon (last finisher is done by 11 am), why tell people they start at 10? I could have slept longer, taken a longer hike in the morning and eaten breakfast at the Lodge without pressure.

6.  Awards.  The main focus of this event is the 100 mile race. The 50 mile race is like an afterthought. This is reflected in the awards. The only awards given for 50 milers are the 3 first places (male and female), while the 100 milers also get age group awards. I think they should give first place in each age group or Master and Grandmaster awards in the 50 milers for the benefit of the older runners (like myself!) who have no chance for the top 3 overall spots.

Well, this is it! Overall, it was fun and I am eager to do more long trail runs in the future! A very positive experience.

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