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Bigfoot 50k – December 2012

I had heard stories of the Bigfoot 50k – last year was its first running and several people I share the trails with had expressed that it was a fun and challenging course.  And muddy – a lot of the talk was about how difficult the run was because of all the mud. Fishermen may add a couple of inches to their catch, but runners will gleefully add thousands of cubic meters of mud into their accounts of a run (note – if you read my report from the Run With Scissors last year, it really was that muddy). So, as the day approached, I was excited – I had been running well and had enough miles on my legs to actually attempt to “race”. I knew I wouldn’t be in the lead pack, but I was still seeking a sub-5 hour 50k. To date I have only run the Forget the PR 50k, so you can correctly guess that course is not made for fast times…

I had once tried to run the trails at Salt Fork State Park where the race takes place – I had stayed at the lodge for a Denison event and had snuck out to explore the woods. I found nothing. However, in the years since that excursion, a group in that area has established a rather nice set of trails, including a 10+ mile loop that is well marked and fun to run. So, there were good trails. And sunshine. And cool temperatures. And NO MUD. It had the makings of a perfect day. Best of all, I got see a number of other runners I had not shared the trails with during my hip rehab period this year. And I got to meet some new folks.

I felt ok heading out, onto the trails. I set a steady pace – it felt comfortable, but I knew I was still moving at enough of a clip to have a go at the sub-5 hour mark if everything worked out. Once I was most of the way through the first loop, I knew that goal was going to be a real challenge – there were more than enough hills to keep things interesting – but I felt good. I also met up with “DrT” (check out his musings on running and such here) and we had the chance to chat and share the miles. I often will run for hours along in these races, so is a treat to find someone interesting that shares a similar pace… I finished the first lap in 1:38 – just under my target pace and feeling great…

photo by DrT - a true trail smile

photo by DrT – a true trail smile

I really got into a groove during the second loop – I was having fun and everything was clicking. My legs felt strong. I was not having any problems with my hip. I thought it was going to be a special day as I stayed on sub-5:00 pace… I finished the second loop in 1:40 and I started out the last loop feeling great.

running with the one and only dr. huss

running with the one and only dr. huss

Within three miles I was a wreck – the wheels just fell off. I had nothing – the legs just stopped functioning. I started having to walk up big hills, then little hills, then I was reduced to interspersed running and walking and finally just walking… uggh. It was simply amazing how ugly it got so quickly. Once I worked through the frustrated haze, I realized that I stopped taking in calories nearly eight miles (nearly an hour and a half) earlier. I was having so much fun and running so well, I had completely forgotten to eat anything after I had left the midpoint aid station during the second loop. What a rookie error. Stupid. I was probably also pushing the pace more than I was prepared for, but it had been such a good day to that point, I don’t think I could have held back any more than I did. As you might imagine, I got very frustrated as I ate and waited for the energy to return. But the reality was that I quickly realized that I didn’t really care. A number of folks passed me, and DrT moved on way ahead, but it was a gorgeous day. And I was out there in the thick of it, taking in the late fall goodness. I finished as the 18th male, fourth in the 40+ category, 21st overall. The last lap had taken me 2:08 – nearly a 1/2 hour slower than the lap prior. Not exactly inspirational, but seeing that it was my first “real” race of the year, I’ll take it…

bigfoot 50k 3 2013

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