Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Blues Cruise 50K Results

Sunday, on sloppy trails, I ran a 6:59, about an hour slower than last time.  The trail is a one-way 31 mile circumnavigation of Blue Marsh Lake northeast of Reading, PA, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control/recreational project.

The first half was tough because it was largely flat and the trail was a slippery, muddy mess in many places.  It had rained all night, though thankfully the rain held off during the race.  I definitely should have worn a shoe with a much more aggressive tread.  When the description of the course says "single track" it means it.  In many sections, the trail is in open grassy fields and literally is only a foot or even less wide, a track made lower than the surrounding ground level via the erosion action of feet and trail bikes.  The water has nowhere to go.

To run in a narrow track like this is sometimes dicey under normal conditions, much less under slippery conditions.  Saw this on Oprah one time: I was forced to do the "stripper walk" (or in this case the "stripper run") where you place the foot that you are extending directly in front of the planted foot, or even cross it in front of and laterally past the planted foot.

Not a natural gait, I can tell you.

The second half got easier as it was more in the woods with many ups and downs, so the trail drained much better.  There was one major stream crossing where the bridge had been lost due to flooding, about 30' wide wade in thigh deep water.  It wasn't particularly cold and did wash off the mud (until the passage of another half mile completely muddied them again!).  Oh, and at one of the late aid stations I ate what arguably is the best aid station food that I have ever had: bacon and fried peirogies.  It hit the spot like nothing else and sat oh-so-good in my belly.

I went to the race with a buddy who clocked a great time, but I'd better not identify him any more specifically than that.  Why?  Despite have run many trail hours in training and official ultras, during this race he pooped outdoors for the very first time ever. At the risk of too-much-information (but we're all athletes here, right?), I tend to be a pooping fool, like clockwork, when I hit the trails. The woodsy ambiance seems to physic me, I guess.  As with anything, you get practiced at it and it needn't be any kind of big deal.

My time was solidly in the last quartile.  That's tough getting used to, but I'm realistic enough to know that at age 59 I've slowed and the deterioration will continue.  Sure beats the alternative, though!

The next day (Monday) I did a 6 mile walk/run with my noontime buddies to loosen up. I was creaky at the beginning but quickly warmed up.   I am not averse to a couple days off or even a week of R&R after a big effort, but I just felt like running the day after. 

I can stop any time I want, seriously.


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