If you do not have time to read the full report, here is a summary that I posted in facebook a couple of days after the race:
Last Saturday I ran Speedgoat 50K in Utah (I happened to be there for a conference at the same time and same hotel so I signed up). I finished 127/304 with a time of 9:10. My goal was to finish under 10 hours so I am happy with my time. I also improved my placement from 165th in the first aid station to 127. I had a strong finish, passing 8 runners in the last 2 miles.
This was my first “mountain” race (being from Ohio) and came rather unprepared for the long steep hikes and types of running surfaces (hard surfaces, rocks, dirt roads, mostly exposed to sun).
I learned a number of things: Being able to hike fast is an advantage (I estimate that 2/3 of the race was hiking and only 1/3 was running). Use sunscreen! Gaiters can be helpful. Lots of rocks and unstable surfaces (I fell twice, once in rocks and once in soft sliding dirt). Using a hydration pack (vs. a hand-held bottle that I use) has the advantage that you can use both hands when climbing in all four! I can see how poles help (but not many runners used them).
I did not have any particular problem. The air was cool and dry. The race was very well organized and the aid stations were great. I was OK with the altitude (but had to stop often at the steep climbs near the top, to breath a couple of times before going on). My quads are still hurting and have difficulty walking down stairs.
Overall, I count this as a positive experience.
“I will NOT do it Again!” Or maybe not?
After the race, later the same day, I went to the NSA banquet. Everyone wanted to know how my race went. I remember my response: “It was hard. I am glad I did it. I do not want to do it again.” I had no doubt about that. And I added: “Especially knowing what is coming up, all the hard sections. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.You could not pay me enough to do it again.”
I felt very confident in this opinion. Yet, the next day, and certainly now, all the bad parts were miraculously erased from my memory. I only remember the good parts. I cannot remember the pain. All I remember is the fun. And I will certainly do it again if I ever get a chance!
How did it Happen?
I knew that the National Stereoscopic Association (NSA) convention in 2015 was going to be in Utah, at the Snowbird resort. I also knew that Speedgoat 50K was at the same hotel, around the same time. Last year (2014) the two events were only one week apart. The NSA date was announced first. I was thinking if Speedgoat is within one week, then I should do both. Then the Speedgoat date was announced and it was actually the same weekend. That was it! I was in for both! I registered for Speedgoat right away in January.
My Racing/Training up to Speedgoat
Since 2012 I have been racing about 40 races a year. 2015 is no different so far. I have my favorite local races that I do. My favorite distance is the trail marathon/50K. After my DNF in two 100 mile attempts last year (Mohican, Burning River) I decided to skip this distance. So this year my longest distance will be Oil Creek 100K.
Even though I race a lot, some races are more important than others. This year my four important races are:
- Mohican 50 miles
- Buckeye Trail 50K
- Speedgoat 50K
- Oil Creek 100K
The rest of the races are simply training. My philosophy is that every race is training for the next race. The reason I race so often is that I do not have the discipline to train by running long runs. My long runs are races.
So, before Speedgoat 50K already in 2015 I had run seven 50Ks and two marathons:
- Run with Regis 50K: 5:43 (good time on a course full of snow)
- Green Jewel 50K: 4:56 (road race but lots of ice made it hard)
- Buzzard 50K: 5:43 (hard race, snow, ice and mud!)
- Fools 50K: 6:04 (felt tired in the 2nd half, not a good race)
- Forge the PR 50K: (6:00, good race on a hard course)
- Cleveland Trail Marathon: (first HOT race, signed for 50K but dropped at marathon at 5:10)
- Cleveland Marathon: 3:54 (one of my slowest road marathons but it was hot and humid)
- Buckeye Buster 50K: 5:55 (great race!)
- Mohican 50 Miler: 9:50 (excellent time on a very wet course - rained all day)
- Buckeye Trail 50K: 5:39 (good race but tired near the end)
One week before Speedgoat I ran a 10K in the morning and a 5 mile race in the evening, finishing first in my age group with ~7 min/mile pace. So I felt I was ready to go!
A week or two before Speedgoat I started to get nervous. I read as many reports as I could find and watched videos from previous races, trying to get more information about the race, especially the course. I had four specific concerns:
- How to dress? Was it hot or cold? I saw pictures of snow but heard that the temperature can reach 90F in some areas. Heat seemed to be the problem, not cold. In the end, I dressed with typical summer attire and had no problem with either heat or cold. The temperatures were nearly perfect. Even though the sun was strong and there was very little tree coverage, the air was cool at the top of the mountain. For the hot sections I poured water over my face/head. That was enough. It gets a lot hotter and definitely more humid in Ohio.
- What shoes to wear? In Ohio I run with lightweight shoes with good grip for the mud (Inov8 Xtalon 212 usually) but I read that the course is rocky so I decided to wear my PureGrit. These shoes gave me good cushioning for running in the mostly rocky trails but they did not have good grip for loose gravel. Maybe the Inov’s would have worked after all.
- Is one hand-held water bottle enough for hydration? It seemed that most runners (except for the fastest ones) run with a hydration system of some kind. I decided to stick with the one hand-held bottle on one hand (and my Panasonic Lumix 3D1 camera on the other, plus my phone with extra charger in one pocket) and had no problem. I just drank plenty of water at the aid stations.
- What effect would the altitude have on me? This was a total unknown. As it turns out, I had no serious problems, except for having to stop often at the very steep climbs at 11,000 feet to “catch my breath” which slowed me a bit.
I corresponded with a local runner (Jeff Musick) who ran Speedgoat last year and gave me some good advice (his blog is here: jeffmusick.blogspot.com/2014/07/2014-speedgoat-50k.html) so I was confident with my choices of shoes, etc. Only the effect of the altitude was unclear. Also the fact that I did not train specifically for the steep uphills and downhills worried me a bit but I was hoping that my general running conditioning would get me through the race.
To help me with the race, I created this composite of the race elevation and aid stations. I taped this on the back of my phone to look during the race and know how far the next aid station is. I also showed this to anyone asking about my race :) The altitude is 8,000 feet at the start and finish and the turn around. The maximum altitude is 11,000. You can read more about the course in the Speedgoat 50K web site.
My goals for this race:
- A: 8:30 – this was the time the first runner over 50 finished last year. This corresponds to 16:30 min/mile pace.
- B: Under 10 hours (19:21 pace). A finish under 10 hours seems to be a decent finish for this race.
- C: Finish! (always a decent goal for a race with a good number of DNFs)
There were 4 main kinds of running surfaces in this race, only one of which was familiar to me:
1- Service roads, wide with loose gravel and dust. No trees. These were OK to hike going up and run going down but they are tricky and slippery. I found myself sliding going up (other runners did not seem to have this problem).
|Typical Service Road. Loose gravel and steep. (from mile 3)|
2. Trails as we know them in Ohio. Single track, soft ground, tree cover, some roots, rocks, etc. These were OK, even though they were some steep ones, steeper than we normally see in Ohio. The best trails were the ones that were used for mountain biking with banked turns. There were no real (wider) horse trails as we know them in Ohio.
|Typical single track trail, similar to Ohio trails, with trees and vegetation. (Mile 3)|
3. High altitude single track trails with wildflowers. There is nothing like that in Ohio. They are very narrow, soft ground, no trees (fully exposed to sun). These are fun to run downhill but you have to look for rocks in the path and cannot fully enjoy the views and colorful flowers with your eyes glued right in front of you. A variation of this has more rocks than soft ground.
|Typical high altitude trail. No trees (full exposure to sun). Wildflowers. Narrow path. A few loose rocks and dust.|
4. Loose large rocks. Another surface I have not seen in Ohio. Must hike carefully going up. Dangerous (for ankle twisting or falling) running down. These are hard on the toes. Well-cushioned shoes help.
|Rocky trail, around mile 8 (approaching the first aid station) and also coming back. Hard to run in these rocks. Must be careful not to twist an ankle.|
A Week Before the Race:
My last run was Sunday, after racing twice on Saturday. I took Monday off to get ready. Our flight was leaving early on Tuesday so I had to get up at 3 am. I ended up not sleeping at all, getting ready for my workshop presentations at the NSA convention. The flight was uneventful and I ended up taking some nice hyperstereos from the plane, one of which (while descending over Salt Lake City) won first place in the on-site competition of the convention!
|Hyperstereo of the Salt Lake City area from the plane... Won first place in the on-site 3d competition in the convention.|
While at the convention, I walked a lot. On Tuesday (travel day) there was a lot of walking around the airports (we did not have a direct flight), Wednesday we had a full day tour of SLC (lots of walking and picture-taking).
On Thursday morning I decided to do my only run and run the first 3 miles of the course (plus 2 miles back, total of 5) to get an idea of what to expect. The first mile was on a dusty service road going uphill and it took 16 minutes, Mile 2 was in a nice trail (10 minutes), and mile 3 was back on a service road very steep (26 minutes). I realized that my shoes did not have a good grip in the steep dusty/rocky roads and tended to slide backwards. I wondered if my Inov8s with the large lugs would work better. Oh well, that’s all I got!
Later that day we bought a day pass for the Snowbird activities. Among other things, we took the tram at top to check the first (and last) aid station (Hidden Peak) and also took the Peruvian ski lift and walked around the Tunnel (aid station no. 4).
Friday I was busy with my workshops and convention activities. It seems that everyone at the convention knew about my race and they seemed genuinely impressed and worried about me. I had taped the race topography on the back of my phone to use during the race and I showed to anyone who wanted to know more details about the race.
Friday evening I went to the pool and met another runner, a young Canadian, Charlie Sikkema, new to ultrarunning (he had never run a 50K or even a marathon!) and an aid station volunteer (Joe Dean).
Friday night I went to bed at 10 pm. Saturday morning I got up around 5am before my alarm. I showered, got dressed, ate a few bites of cheese and nuts, and was out the door.
The race start was a 5 minute brisk hike away. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I went through registration. I then took pictures and some video. Liz arrived with 10 minutes to the start, to take some video and then head with Tony for the tram to the first aid station.
|I was dressed all green for this race so my crew (wife Liz and son Tony) can spot me at a distance|
At the start I saw Sage Canaday and his girlfriend, Sandi Nypaver (a friend from Ohio). The air was filled with nervous excitement. Lots of young runners with colorful clothes and nice hydration systems. Very few had hand-held water bottles like I did. The temperature was in the 50s so rather chilly. (I had a jacket that I took off just before I got to the start line.) Here are a few pictures from the start:
A few minutes before the start I found myself trying to re-tie my shoes, but I could not undo my laces. I was a bit worried about that but it ended up not being a problem.
The race starts. I positioned myself around the middle of the pack. I soon realized that I forgot to start the GPS program on my phone. So, here I am fiddling with the phone. For this race I had decided to run with my phone plus an extra battery because I knew that the phone would not last past the half. I also ran with the Panasonic 3D1 camera. So I had the camera on one hand, bottle on the other, and phone in my pocket. Occasionally I put the camera in my other pocket.
My phone lost GPS signal and stopped at some point. It also died one mile before the finish. Here is the information I got from it:
Start (#0) to Hidden Peak (#1):
The first mile on the service road was mostly walking: 14:27. Mile 2 was on what appeared to be a nice mountain biking trail, quite pleasant: 9:46. Mile 3 was mostly uphill: 19:42. Then the first steep downhill. Right away I found myself sliding and almost losing my balance in the uphills due to lack of traction. Some pictures from around miles 3-5:
We continued on dusty (with loose gravel) roads going up and down. It was nice when I ran alone but now I had to breathe dust generated by the runners ahead of me. My GPS unit was announcing every mile my time, distance, average pace and pace during the last mile. The average pace was around 15 min/mile, which was good.
After going up and down (mostly up) on service roads I remember a very steep and slippery section and then a nice single track uphill with soft ground and wildflowers. Finally, we reached an area filled with large loose rocks, with about a mile from the first aid station. Most runners were walking fast over the rocks. A last steep ramp and we are at Aid Station #1 (Hidden Peak).
Here are some pictures from the rocky section just before the first aid station. A large uphill was just before the station.
|Rocks and wildflowers. Mile 7 or 8?|
|Last large climb before the first aid station.|
|The first female runner arriving at AS#1. Looks like no. 450 with time 1:48. Did not do well in the end, finishing at 11:35.|
|Me, crawling to the first Aid Station.|
|At the first Aid Station (Hidden Peak, elevation 11,000 ft)|
I arrived at the first aid station at 2:21, a bit slower that my expected time of 2:15. I had put this time as a goal when I asked Joe (the aid station volunteer) the night before… He said that the average runner gets to the first aid station at around 2:15.
I was in 165th place at this point, so a bit better than average. Tony and Liz were there, asking how I was feeling. I guess this first part is critical and I see a lot of runners dropped at the first aid station. These are mostly the ones who realize they cannot or do not want to finish the race. I was feeling OK, not great. But I never thought of quitting.
My water bottle was half full. I was wondering if one bottle was enough for the first 8.5 miles but it was plenty because it was cool and the sun was not fully up yet. I noticed that most runners passed the aid station without getting any water since the next aid station was only 2 miles away, but I filled mine anyway and I am glad I did because I drank most of it on my way to the next aid station.
Hidden Peak (#1) to Mineral Basin (#2)
From AS1 (Hidden Peak) To AS2 (Mineral Basin) after a short service road downhill we entered a lovely area single track with wildflowers (no trees). It was lovely but I had to keep my eyes focused on the ground to avoid the occasional rock. I later read Sage Canday’s report (http://sagecanaday.com/2015-speedgoat-race-report-chasing-splits/) where he said that this year the wildflowers were taller than previous years. They certainly hid the narrow trail very well. A misstep over a hidden rock could mean the end of the race for someone. So I had to be focused right in front of me and not get distracted by the beauty of the flowers.
|Right after the first aid station there was a downhill on this road and then we entered the beautiful wildflower trails.|
|The Mineral Basin Aid Station is seen here on the left, two miles away from AS#1|
A race photographer was there, a perfect spot with nice colors and everyone moving fast in a gentle downhill single track surface.
I arrived at AS2 (Mineral Basin), filled my water bottle and continued towards AS3 (Pacific Mine).
Hidden Peak (#2) to Pacific Mine (#3)
In our way to Aid Station #3 we crossed a small creek. I remember the race director saying that we are not allowed to dip into the river. That must have been the river he was talking about.
A race volunteer was there, saying encouraging words (“you are doing great”) and letting us know what is coming up. A quick turn brings us into a nice single track shaded trail. It was beautiful but a bit too steep to enjoy. Another volunteer was at the top directing us to the next section..
We arrived at an area with loose medium sized rocks. It appears to be a dried riverbed. I found myself running really fast (almost recklessly) over the rocks, moving from one side of the riverbed to the other, trying to select the area with the least amount or rocks or the most runnable rocks. This is a long section (1-2 miles). I started to catch up and pass runners ahead of me. These were the “cautious” runners who went over the rocks carefully to avoid twisting an ankle. From reports I’ve read this part is famous for ankle-twisting.
I managed to avoid any accidents, until the rocks cleared for the most part. And then, it happened! I took a nasty fall. My poor camera got hit (but kept working). Dust/dirt all over my clothes, hand and leg, and a bloody knee. I was surprised how very few people appear to have fallen in this race. I did not see any other runner dirty or bleeding.
|On our way to Aid Station #3 (Pacific Mine), We have cleared the large rocks. That's where I fell. I took this picture to test if the camera was working.|
From the end of the rock section to the Pacific Mine AS#3 it was an interesting run. AS#3 is around the middle of the race (nearly 16 miles according to my GPS) and we got to see the runners running back. I could tell I was getting tired because I found myself taking “walking breaks” on a mostly flat and perfectly runnable section. Hmmm….
The Pacific Mine aid station was great. Located on a nice shaded area with lots of space. Two kids were spraying water at your request. Friendly volunteers were filling bottles with ice and water. All kinds of food on the table, including some of my favorites, like cheese, eggs, and fruit (watermelon, grapes, oranges) plus other ultra running favorites like boiled potatoes, etc. I had fruit and plenty of water at this AS.
I noticed a runner was spraying himself with something which turned out to be sunscreen. I have no need for sunscreen in Ohio but I felt I needed here with a full sun exposure for most of the race. I sprayed my hands but ended up getting burned on my neck.
Pacific Mine (#3) to Mineral Basin (#4)
As I left the aid station I felt rejuvenated and running OK. After a short flat part, a very long uphill started, climbing back the mountain from a different side. It must have been at least 5 miles of hiking uphill. Most of this uphill was on a nice area with trees and soft wider dirt and rocky road. Every time I thought the uphill was done, it kept going up.
According to the web site data, the next aid station should be at mile 19.4. So, I started looking for it around mile 19. But the data was wrong! The Aid Station was closer to 21.5 miles.
|Uphill on our way to Mineral Basin (AS#4)|
The last part of this section was very steep, the worse so far. Everyone was moving slowly. After we reached the top, a steep downhill section followed. I found myself running fearlessly downhill. Other runners stepped aside for me to pass.
To get to AS#4 (Mineral Basin, same as AS#2) we had to go through the same nice trail, only now it was downhill. I ran it fast. At the river crossing, the same nice volunteer was there and he said to me: “Wow you are fast, you made it in an hour”. It felt good to get a compliment even though I knew I was not too fast. But, looking at the results, it appears that I had moved from 165th place in the first aid station to 129th in the Mineral Basin #2, which means that I had passed 36 runners.
At this aid station I ate a few salty things (chips) and had a couple of salt pills (I could feel my hands swelling up and my belly sloshing a bit so I decided to try the salt pills). I also had plenty of water for what they warned us was going to be a long a difficult uphill climb coming up.
Mineral Basin (#4) to Tunnel (#5)
We left AS#4 for a short flat section and then started going uphill. I admit that I liked the uphill sections because they gave me a chance to walk and feel fine about it. I was getting tired and would rather walk than run at this point.
It was a long difficult climb. I thought that the next aid station (Tunnel) was right at the top of this uphill section, but there was a lot more left. We ran briefly downhill and then a race volunteer sitting right in the middle of the road instructed us to make a sharp right turn, to climb up a mountain!
This was one of the hardest climbs of the race. I looked up and could see a long line of runners all the way up the mountain. All I could think of was “you must be kidding me!!” I slowly started climbing the mountain. There was no well-defined path or trail, just a series of course marking flags that we loosely followed. I had a good amount of trouble climbing up. I had to stop at regular intervals to take a couple of breaths. In a number of spots I had to get into all fours to climb up. In some spots I found myself sliding back and barely standing up. I took at least one break to sit on a rock and rest. This thought came through my mind: “If I had pressured Liz to run this race, this is the point where she would have divorced me!”
|This guy right behind me is taking a rest stop. I had to do that quite often in this very hard climb.|
|One of the hardest climbs of the race....|
|At the very top of the mountain, around 11,000 feet.|
I finally made it to the top. But the Tunnel Aid Station was not there yet. We had to turn and run along the edge of a ridge. The surface was rocky and rather dangerous being so closed to the edge. I was tired, I found myself walking through this area. A couple of runners passed me running really fast in this dangerous section. Finally, this was done, a fast downhill road followed, bringing me to the Tunnel Aid station.
Tunnel (#5) to Hidden Peak (#6)
Tony walked with me to the aid station. I was now in 135th place. It seems that a few runners had passed me in the steep uphills of the previous section. At the aid station I had some fruit and more water. An aid station volunteer seemed alarm by my (distressed?) appearance. He saw that my bottle was still half full from the previous aid station (that’s because I had a lot of water at the aid station) and made me drink several cups of water before letting me go. He asked many times if I needed anything else. I was impressed by his concerned. I have never had this happen in another race.
|Road uphill that leads to Aid Station #4 (Tunnel)|
|This guy insisted that I have a lot of water before going on. I guess I looked a bit distressed.|
|I was very impressed by the aid stations and the volunteers in this race.|
Leaving the aid station we walked through the Tunnel for a break (I should be running).
|Entrance top the Tunnel. (Picture taken before the race - the aid station would be on the left of the Tunnel entrance)|
Here are a few pictures I took from inside the tunnel from two days ago when we visited taking the ski ("Peruvian") lift. Very interesting place with mining exhibits, photographs, etc.
On the other side of the Tunnel I said goodbye to my family and started turning downhill on a steep service road. I later saw Tony and Liz in the air, talking the ski lift down. Here are some pictures from this area that we took two days ago when we visited taking the Peruvian ski lift:
This section kept going down and down for what seemed to be a long time. I was a bit alarmed because I knew at some point we had to climb all the way up again. From time to time I would wonder if I am going the wrong way, but I’d see a flag or another runner. I remember a young woman, Nadine from AZ, 22 yo, passed me. We would be running close to each other for a while and she finished one minute ahead of me.
Finally, we reached the “bottom” of this section, and then turned around to climb 1000-1500 feet in two miles. Another steep slow uphill moving at a pace of 20-30 min/mile. At first I was moving well. But the top section, as we approached the aid station, was particularly difficult.
|Nice views, looking back and down, on our way to the last aid station.|
|Very close to the top. Very steep climb at 11,000 feet. I had to stop often to take a few breaths. A few runners passed me in this section.|
I had to stop every few steps to rest for a while and take a few deep breaths before moving again. I guess this is the effect of the altitude. Other runners did not seem to have this problem. They were moving slowly but steadily. A couple of runners passed me, including Nadine.
Hidden Peak (#6) to Finish
I arrived at Hidden Peak in 135th place. I had water and some fruit. The aid station volunteers told us that we had 6 miles to the finish. Mostly downhill with two uphills only. We started on a service road that quickly turned into a rocky path. This meant more hiking than running.
This was followed by a steep downhill in loose ground where I lost my balance and fell down.
Later, we entered what looks like an Ohio Trail with soft ground and trees. We then hit another very steep uphill in this trail. I passed Nadine who was slower in the uphills but faster in the downhills. I remember almost swearing at this steep section (“Really? Was this necessary?”)
Finally, we have reached the top of this section and we arrived at a service road going down. I imagine “it is all downhill from here” estimating that we had 1-2 miles to the finish. I passed 8 runners in this section and only passed by one, Nadine. I remember a couple of female runners running together. Then a guy, another guy, and another guy.
We see a sign “To Finish”. I let out a cry of joy thinking that I am at the end. But there is more to go! When I thought we were done, we turned left from the service road and entered a trail which seem to go on for ever. It must have been longer than a mile. I got discouraged and started walking. Nadine seems unstoppable. She passes two guys ahead. I am thinking I will not pass these guys. I walk, run, walk, run. Finally I start my last running streak with about half mile to the finish. I come behind the two guys who stop and let me pass. I pass another guy.
Finally I see the last turn before the finish. There is a guy ahead of me. I gradually increase my pace. I wonder if I can pass this guy. I run faster and faster. He sees me and he tries to go fast too. I am sprinting to the finish. The spectators get excited. I cross the finish line a fraction of a second ahead of this guy (even though the final results show me 3 seconds ahead). Tony told me later than no one came to the finish as fast as I did. That's a good feeling...
|The only known finish picture of me :) It is a frame grabbed from a video that Liz took.|
The race is over. I am handed my medal, a bottle with recovery drink, and a pair of socks. Liz and Tony are there. I am happy to be done. Feeling thirsty but good.
|Right after the race with the medal around my neck.|
I saw the young Canadian guy (Charlie). He finished at 7:30 in 37th place. He was 10th overall in the first aid station. Quite a race for his first ultramarathon.
The final results (http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=30857) show me in 127th place out of 304 finishers (and about 400 starters). I am 4th/ 25 in the 50-59 age group, or 6th/31 in the 50 and over (two 60+ year olds finished ahead of me, ouch!) The first over 50 finished in 8:03. First female over 50 in 10:05. Median finish time is 9:31. First Female: 5:37 (new course record), First Male (Sage): 5:13 (only 32 seconds behind his time last year).
I am happy with my race. It appears that I passed 10 people from the last aid station to the finish, 8 of them in the last 2 miles. A strong finish is a sign of a good race.
I felt OK later that day. Had mild quad pain and some pain in my buttocks the next day. A bit more pain the day after than (usually my worse pain is 2 days after a race). It was hard getting down steps (and I had to go to a tour, I was OK walking but had difficulty getting in and out a bus). By the 3rd day I felt a lot better but I was a bit tired for the next week or two (more than usual). Recovery felt longer than my, say, Mohican 50 mile race.
Race Organization and Volunteers
I was extremely impressed by the Race Organization and Volunteers. I know every runner feels obligated to say something nice about the race organizers and volunteers. I often don’t say anything mainly because I get what I expect. But in this race people went above and beyond the call of duty.
• Registration and packet pick up was fast and painless.
• The course was well marked. Never did I doubt which way to go.
• There were race volunteers at key points of the course. Many of them offered words of encouragement for runners, like the guy after/before the Mineral Basin AS.
• The aid stations were fully stocked with all kinds of food. These days in Ohio often there is no fruit, no cheese, no eggs, just the usual high-sugar "junk:. Speedgoat had everything, including cold water, ice, suntan lotions, etc.
• The volunteers at the aid stations were great. I was impressed by the guy at the Tunnel AS who was genuinely concerned about my well-being and insisted that I drink a lot of water.
• The finish was also well-organized, we got some nice stuff and we were done. Results were posted quickly in utlrasignup.com.
I definitely recommend this race to other runners.
This was an interesting experience for me, especially the steep climbs, high altitude and rocky running surfaces. I understood a number of things that were a mystery before: 1) Using sunscreen or sunglasses (not needed in tree-covered often cloudy Ohio trails), 2) Using Gaiters (to stop small rocks from getting in your shoes, not needed in most muddy Ohio trails), 3) Using a hydration system to have your hands free to climb using all four (or using poles).
If I had to do this again I might train better by running/hiking uphill/downhill. Finding a long steep dirt road might be the best match for this race. Being able to hike fast is maybe more important than being able to run fast in a race where 2/3 is hiking and only 1/3 is running.
I would also give some thought about shoes. My shoes worked OK for the rocky parts but did not have good traction in the loose grovel dirt roads.
|Later that day at the NSA Awards Banquet (with my Speedgoat medal proudly displayed). Photo by Wolfgang Sell.|