Saturday, January 5, 2008

Frosty 50K

I am now an ultra runner! yay! :)

The Frosty 50K is a double out and back horseshoe shaped course around Salem Lake in Winston-Salem North Carolina. I signed up for it mostly as a psychological tool to keep me from freaking about about moving to a new area where I didn't know anyone, leaving friends, family, and the familiarity of home behind.

So instead of freaking out about the holidays or how to get all my crap stuffed into my car, I freaked out about doing my first ultra instead. It seemed like a good idea at the time. :)

And no, before you ask- I didn't have any idea, really, of how to train for it. I had been on the path of adding base miles, hitting 61 miles a couple of weeks ago and calling it good. My longest run was 16 miles. Most of my running was in Michigan, a land of snow and ice since about Thanksgiving... a slightly different environment than the Carolinas.

To add to the mix, I've been on the "I have to cook when I'd rather be running?" diet- also known as the "single male who doesn't like to eat out and thinks of a bowl of canned soup as pretty appetizing" diet. Once I go shopping "for real" I'm sure I'll have more options. But this last week has certainly been a negative calorie one.

Anyway, one of the Blue Planet Runners was kind enough to shelter me the night before and offer me not only a place to sleep, but also food (!) and a running partner for the first 25K. It's amazing how quickly 15 miles can go when someone's is telling you all the joys and difficulties of doing a relay around the world to raise awareness of clean drinking water. Of course, mutual interests in Firefly, religion, random life events also helps.

It was a beautiful course, around a beautiful lake, on a beautiful day. Temps ranged in the 30's to the 40's- just about perfect. And the set up made it easy to drop off things like jackets and gloves, grab Gu or whatever else from your race bag. Also, the lake was useful to jump into after the race, though it was bloody cold. I mean, in the 30s cold. Definitely more painful the last few miles of the race, but also very much worth it.

Little things stick in my mind- passing the same puddle four times and watch it go from being frozen solid to mostly thawed over the course of the race. Or how I was mostly passed at the beginning and I was mostly passing at the end. Or how when I started to think of my friends whom I left in Michigan, I became maudlin until I distracted myself by counting left foot falls.

To keep myself from the "ready to be done" syndrome that makes the last few miles of any race difficult, I didn't look at any mile markers or at my Garmin when the mile lap feature beeped. I just tried to keep my pace right around the 9-9:15 range- happy enough to go slower if the terrain called for it, but also willing to let myself relax through a down hill and let gravity dictate my speed.

About three quarters of the way through, my hamstrings felt pretty tight. I stretched them. It helped. I felt little aches and pains though out the race- after a down hill either my IT band or popliteal tendon or something on the side of knee would ache. And then it would go away. It was just like every other run, only a little moreso.

And then I was done. A cup of hot chicken broth in one hand, and a cup of coffee in the other. some stretching, so wading into a freezing lake and some hanging out with said blue planet runner and friend- it was a wonderful and amazing experience. And yes, I am geeked about doing another one. Or maybe a 50 miler one of these days.

... just... not right now. I have laundry to do, and food to buy. :)

Oh yeah, the stats!
Distance- 31 miles
Time- 4:52:42
Pace- 9:27

BTW I hit the halfway point at 2:30, so yay negative splits! But my Garmin also said I hit mile 31 at 2:18, and that I went 31.68, but that's neither here nor there...


Sarah said...

That is so awesome. I'm so happy for you. Congratulations!!! It sounds like it was quite the experience. As Tina and I were setting out this morning (~9:15 am) for what would end up being a 9.5 mile run she remarked that at that very moment you were running your 50K. So if we were not there in body to cheer you on we were in spirit as our feet traversed the streets of Ann Arbor. Here's to a great start to 2008!!

Tina said...

Congratulations, you did an amazing job!:-) What a way to start your new life in NC!

Jeremy said...

Congrats! Way to go! That's quite a positive experience!

MelanieJM said...

Yea Fritz! Congratulations! You make it sound so easy. Hope you're settling into your new job, and home.
Take care,

dirtdawg50k said...

Welcome to the ultra club!

Special K said...

Fritz, your race recap was wonderful! I just finally read it. But, of course, it was best hearing it from you on the phone tonite! Don't worry, the laundry, shopping, and cooking will become old hat before you know it...even though running a 50-miler might sound easier right now :). Miss you lots.

Nicole S. said...

Great job! You should be very proud about all your new endeavors! I just read your blog, so I'm a little behind. But I keep my promises. Pics will be coming soon. Good luck out there!

Goldberry said...

Hey Fritz- I just found your blog in a roundabout way. How long have you been in NC? I felt what you were saying about leaving people behind. :-)