Monday, December 11, 2006

Sunmart 50K

Sunmart 50K! Whoo hoo! I finished it in about 6 hours and 46 minutes. It was a lot slower than I expected, but I totally underestimated how much harder it would be off the roads. And from what I've heard it's not really that difficult as far as trail running goes.

On Friday night at the pasta party, I was hanging out, looking for somebody I know and couldn't find anybody, so I sat down with two guys and chatted about running and stuff. They told me where to run in California and in Michigan, and I told them where to run in Houston. I could tell that they were much more experienced than me and it seemed that they were probably pretty good athletes. Turns out, Jasper from California came in 12th in the 50 miler, and Jim from Michigan won the 50K! They didn't tell me they were that good. And I was talking to them and totally feeling like crap because these guys were really fit, and meanwhile I'm one of those guys you can't even tell is a runner without seeing him run.

Anyway, the race was difficult. Even as early as the 8 mile mark, it was difficult. Most of the aid stations are usually 2 to 3 miles apart, but for some reason it felt like forever. I was trying to calculate when I'd reach the next one, but since I was going a lot slower than usual, I couldn't do it. But those aid-stations are awesome - everything you can find at a Sunmart, you can find at the aid-station - my favorites were the fig newtons and the oreos and the gum drops and the little peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the pretzels and the granola bars.

Towards the end I was happy anytime I managed to string together more than 5 minutes of running at a time. :) It was hard, and with the terrain, it was a danger anytime to step on uneven ground, since my legs and ankles were fatigued to the point that it was hard to stay in control. And a couple times I kicked the invisible tree root and went flying, never falling all the way, but flailing wildly, doing crazy crazy things to stay upright.

I appreciated the encouragement on the course. SLTM race director Robby Sabban assured me that I probably wasn't going to die. I think Bill said something similar - I hung out and talked to Bill for a minute or so because he's cool, but also because he's trained in emergency medicine. And it was good to share complaints with Holden out on the course. If I were him, I'd have mailed the chip back. :) There were also some peeps running the 50 miler encourageing me at the end, when they still had another loop to do. One guy said, "alright buddy, it's barbecue time!"

It was definitely the hardest race I've done. It only took 24 hours for me to want to do it again. Especially since I think I'm going to give the afghan to somebody for Christmas so I'll have to run it again if I want one for myself.

Here are some things I learned in my first ultramarathon:
  • The trails are difficult, much harder than I expected. Especially for a delicate city-boy like me.

  • Huntsville State Park is beautiful. I wish I could have meandered around more and enjoyed them, but if you don't focus on the roots, you're going to hit the ground.

  • I really am recovering faster than after a marathon, but during the race it was harder.

  • You can put a chicken breast and a hamburger on the same bun. (Not that it's much better than the sum of the parts, but it is a nice protein delivery vehicle.)

  • Listening to: Cat Stevens - Miles from Nowhere (Look up at that mountain, I have to climb.)

    Keith out.


    Humble Runner said...

    I can't beleive I'm getting a Sunmart afgan for x-mas. Your too kind!

    Job well done.

    Dirt Runner said...

    It was good to finally see you in person since we always miss the same events. You should look into running with our club (7 Hills RC). We run every Sunday morning at 9:30am and it's really low key with paces all over the place. You don't have to be a member to run with us and it's a great way to learn the two major loops. FYI, the 50k runs the outside loop and we ran the inside loop, which is faster. Congrats and welcome to the dark side.

    Crosstrain said...

    Great report Keith, I really enjoyed it. Sunmart. 50k. I still want to be like Keith.

    iahpatrick said...

    My feet still hurt!

    Anonymous said...

    The Professional Man of Action flailing not to fall? I did the same thing a few times and pulled my groin doing it. Obviously, I'm not a Pro like you. Well, everything is healing nicely and best of all, the knees don't hurt one bit. The soft ground must be good for you.

    Next year, I'm going to get those neat looking ankle wrappers to keep crap out of the shoes. I had to stopped numerous times to clean crap out of the shoes.


    Steve Bezner said...

    Keith Rocks! I ran 1 loop at Huntsville the week before and fell about 50 yards into the run! Congrats on covering 31 without falling. You Rock!

    jamoosh said...

    Way to go Keith. As usual you are Rockin' the Casbah!

    JustJunebug said...

    i tried to post this on Holdens blog too but for whatever reason those people that switched their blogs to beta i cant comment!!!

    so here it goes...

    its like a sickness ... this running ... or like riding a really scary roller coaster ride where you scream bloody murder and cant wait to get off. Then you do and you wonder "when can i do it again???!!!"

    loved your story!!

    Sarah said...

    Rock on Keith!

    Cassie (TIGGS) said...


    Vic said...