Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mad Marsh 50K Race Report

"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. Nobody is going to win a 5,000 meter race after running an easy 2 miles. Not with me. If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself." - Steve Prefontaine

Mad Marsh 50K consists of seven 4.5 mile loops on an old golf course in which the cart path has been removed exposing the grass and sand.  Although I missed a couple of long tempo runs in the weeks leading up to the race, I was still satisfied with my fitness level.  I felt good on Saturday, November 23rd as my wife and I made the 2 hour trek down to Beaufort, SC at 3:45 a.m.

After catching up with a few buddies, I did a quick warm up before heading to the start line. Anyone that knows Tim Waz (Race Director of all LowCountry Ultra races) knows that he starts on time and not a second later.  So exactly at 6:30 a.m. we were off running.  I decided to take the race out hard and then settle into a nice pace after a couple of miles.  Since it was a looped course, I knew I would have a better idea after the first lap of how slow/fast the course was. Although the entire course was flat, with the exception of one small hill, you still had grass, pine straw and sand to slow you down. I came through the first loop in 29:08.  A little faster than I intended, but I was feeling great.

The next couple of loops came and went fairly quickly and were rather uneventful.  I was holding onto my 3:30 50K pace through the 4th loop.  At the start of my 5th loop I remember telling Tim "It's gut check time" because I knew it would be hard for me to hold that pace much longer.  There was very little shade to protect you from the sun on the course so when the clouds broke it started to heat up quickly. The 5th loop I ran in 32:50 which was a full 1 1/2 minutes slower than any loop up to that point.  I continued pushing myself and hoped for a sub 3:40 finish.

Going into the 6th loop I needed to cover the last 9 miles in 1:07 in order to go sub 3:40.  I told myself it was possible and went on my way as I took a couple of clif gels.  Everytime I got in to a  groove, I would hit another sand patch that was just big enough to slow me down.  I forced myself to stay relaxed and smooth on this lap before giving it everything I had on the final lap.  When I came back to the start/finish line I knew it would be difficult to break 3:40 so I made a quick stop to refill my water bottle.  At this point, I knew I had to run the last lap in 32 minutes and went for it.  After a 1/2 mile I began to believe that I would get it done.  Even though my legs hurt I felt like I had just enough left to finish sub 3:40. Then out of no where I lost all energy in my legs.  My pace dramatically dropped and all hope disappeared.  I cruised into the finish line with a time of 3:43:58. Tim congratulated me,  I kissed my wife and we sat down to cheer on the rest of the racers.

A big Congratulations to Sara Maltby who finished in 2nd place with a time of 4:01:05 and absolutely crushed the women's course record.  Considering the race is in November, you wouldn't expect for it to be so warm - so Congratulations to everyone who finished because it was hot out there which made for a tough day.
First place trophy 
On the way back home I made the decision that I am done racing for the year.  I thought about Lookout 50 in mid-December but mentally I need a break from racing.  I will continue to put in miles because my first 24 hour event is only 2 months away, and I have BIG plans for that race.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy a few snapshots of me from the race:

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