Monday, May 28, 2012

Bigfoot 50K 2011

Bigfoot 50K - Dec 4, 2011

Today I ran the Bigfoot 50K trail race, at Salt Fork State Park in Ohio. My wife and I turned this into a mini vacation, staying at the lodge for two nights. This is a beautiful area, the lodge is very nice and after the race we visited the nearby city of Oxford OH, very picturesque.

The race started at 7:30 am. The temperature was 40F, rising to 50F by midday. Mostly sunny, turning to cloudy and a bit windy. The course consisted of one loop, about 10.4 miles. which we did 3 times. The scenery was quite pretty, running by a lake, as pretty it can be in early December with not much color or leaves in the trees.

Top: Runners getting ready for the race.  Bottom: At the start, the suset colored the clouds with a nice red color, and the birds flying made for a very nice photo.  Click at the picture to see the larger version:

I started the first loop a bit fast, trying to position myself ahead of the crowd in the trails. The course was tough! Quite hilly and very-very muddy. Trying to avoid wet spots, I ran into some thorny bushes and scrapped my legs. When I completed the first loop, I had blood and mud all over my legs. A real battlefield!  Here is a picture that Liz took of me at the end of the first loop.  See the blood and mud in my legs (click to enlarge):

In the beginning of the 2nd loop I got passed by a large group of runners. I overheard some runners saying that they have not run a marathon yet and wondered if they knew what they were going, running 31 miles on a hard course and fast pace.

As with previous races, the last loop was my strongest. I passed 7 runners in this loop, all in uphills. I used to be a very fast downhill runner, but I am not any more. Running with lightweight/minimalist shoes I have to pay attention to where I am stepping, which slows me down. Now my strength is uphills. Towards the end of the race I had enough strength to run some uphills.  Even when I am walking, I am walking faster than other runners. I passed the last runner with about 1/4 mile left to go and attacked these hills so fast that I built up a several minute difference.

Here are my times for each 10.4 mile loop:

Loop #1: 1:40 (17th best time in loop)
Loop #2: 1:50 (17th best time)
Loop #3: 1:54 (7th best time)

Overall: 5:24 - 12th overall/105 - first over 50 - GM Award

(the next runner over 50 is actually a female Terry Lemke in 36th place!)

 Here is a photo of me at the finish:

I continue to be pleased by my strength as the race progresses. As you can see with the loop times above, even though I slowed from loop to loop, my 3rd loop placement (within the loop) is much improved. Furthermore, I looked at the difference in time between loop 2 and loop 3 for the first 20 runners. Everyone slowed down, but my difference (3:08) is the smallest among all 20 runners! Chances are that if we had more loops, I would have placed even higher. It is clear that the longer the run, the better I do.

After the race we visited the lovely town of Oxford Ohio, where a display of Charles Dickens was taking place.  We had fun taking pictures around the city. I have enough pictures for a 3d slide show!

Above: The 2d photographer and the 3d photographer.  Below: The photographer's wife:

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