Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Seashore Nature Trail 50k

Caution: If you get uneasy about nasty weather conditions, please read no further.

Race Report:
It's Wednesday the 16th and the forecast for Virginia Beach says 46 degrees and sunny, perfect!

It's Thursday the 17th and the forecast for Virginia Beach says 42 degrees and rainy.

Its Friday the 18th and the forecast for Virginia Beach says 39 degrees and rain/snow.

It's Saturday the 19th, we have been running for 5 hours in the rain and mud, the temperature has dropped from 49 to 35 degrees.

Going into the Seashorne Nature Trail 50k I expected to be cold, I just didn't know how cold. Feeling slightly unprepared with the nature of my gear (such as a cotton shirt) I tried to stay on the positive side and use the cold to help me run faster to stay warm.

To emphasize a bit on the weather we can start with the sheer numbers of people that decided to race. The entry cap on the race was 250 people. 244 people payed seventy dollars to run. 190 people showed up to packet pickup. 160 people started the race at 7:30 AM. 148 people finished the race.

Getting out of Lisa's car was probably the hardest part of the morning, Alex and I stretched for about 5 minutes in the car until about 7:20 and with barely any warm up at all, we toed the start line. I started fast, as usual but due to a change in the course route the night before the race, none of the turns or trails were marked....so 0.5 miles into the race and leading the pack I missed the first turn only too see everyone running off into the woods about 20 seconds later so I had a slight adventure through the woods to get back on track. So....off to a good start.

The next 3.5 miles of the course was a trail through the woods.
The next 3.5 miles of the course was a muddy trail through the woods.
The next 3.5 miles of the course was a muddy, wet, dirty trail through the woods.
The next 3.5 miles of the course was a muddy, wet, dirty, spawn of satan trail through the woods.

Following this section we had 1.5 miles on the road which picked up the pace quite a bit with the solid terrain. At the end of the road section was the end of the first of six (5 mile loops). So back down the road and back through the muddy, wet, dirty, spawn of satan trail through the woods and we were done with ten miles.

Lets think, 160 people running down the same trail each 6 times = 960 people running across a given point. To answer your question, YES the trail did get worse, muddier, wetter, dirtier, and actually just turned into the devil himself.

It just so happens that the paved 1.5 mile section of road was right next to the bay. The first out and back on this section was great, getting off the muddy trail was a wonder and paces increased. The second out and back on this section got some people wondering, coming around the last bend before the turnaround there was a 100 yard section of the road covered ankle deep in water.....oh right....the bay....is effected by the tides. Looking forward to out and back #3!

20.5 miles into the race starting loop 3 (Race time= 2 hours 47 minutes) is when things started going downhill, the temperature had been decreasing steadily throughout the race, the rain was picking up, and ......then I got leg cramps. After multiple attempts at trying to run, I decided to just walk out most of the rest of the race. Was this because I didn't replenish my electrolytes?? Possibly, but after seeing that the first place guy was now walking and cramped up along with multiple others I concluded that it was a result of the cold weather and rain/not having the appropriate gear. Approaching the paved section on loop 3, I saw 5 runners splashing knee deep (waist deep on some!) through the 100 yard section of road. The tide had come in and now we had to make two passes of this ice cold water (ice cold to the point I thought I would cramp up just walking through it and fall over and have to crawl out).

I walked the last ten miles at about a 4.5 mph pace and finished up in 5:02:39. 18th pace in the 1-39 age group and 38th place overall. There was a professional photography company taking pictures at the race so take a look at them here. If you click on the blue link on the side that says Event Photos, then on 2009 Photos, then on Seashore Nature Trail 50k, you can type in a bib number to find photos. My bib number was 227.

Totals on the day:
Miles = 31.07
Time = 5:02:39
Shoutouts - Alex, for finishing his first ultra and being a trooper
Lisa, for being an awesome support crew, can't wait till you run one with us!

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