Monday, August 6, 2012

Full mOOn Race Report

David, Jody, Aaron (Tatur) and me

About 3 weeks ago, on more or less an impulse, I found myself traveling towards Little Rock with a couple of other NWA Goats to take on the Full mOOn 25/50k at Lake Sylvia. The event is organized by the Arkansas Ultra Running Association (AURA) and is the initial race in the Ultra Trail Series for the 2012-13 season. Only the 50k is part of the seasonal series. Joining me on the trip was David and Jody, all of us opting for the 25k distance. The trip down from Bentonville was uneventful for the most part. That is until I elected to eat a Clif bar a couple of hours before the start. A tooth had been bothering me for  few days leading up to the race and I managed to crack down on a nut with that same sore tooth. At that moment I think my skull partially cracked. An intense, throbbing pain began to consume my being. I was afraid of a long night now.
Approaching the race site Jody and David were hungry so we stopped at a Subway for some grub. Jody, as expected, chose the veggie option. David, on the other hand, went all in with a tuna sub and extra mayo. I felt moved to comment and suggest an alternative but my friend is a grown man. Remember this...
We had asked around about the course and were more or less told to expect a couple of miles of climbing and then some rolling hills on the out and back course. Sounds reasonable. Remember this too...
We arrived in plenty of time to gather our gear, get sorted and signed in for the race. Except for me. I left my shoes in Bentonville. All I had was my flip flops. As luck would have it, at the moment I realized this, I had just started chatting with Tim Harrington. I met Tim at Rocky Raccoon this year as a buddy paced him for his first 100 miler. Tim was not running but there to crew and cheer for friends. And he had extra trail shoes. I picked the Masochist by Montrail, they felt pretty good. First time in a pair and before I forget, I like them. 
This is a "fat ass" style run so now swag bags or registration forms. Just a donation into the can, sign a waiver, get your bib and you're good to go. And that's what we did. Two aid stations, one manned one not. As the director gave her pre-race speech (none of which I could hear) I ran into a local stud runner, Rodney. He asked if anyone had told me about Big Bertha. What? It's the big ass hill you climb to the turn around, about 2 miles long. Great. 
The gun sounds at 8pm and I go out at a pretty good clip. The climb begins about a 1/2 mile into the gravel road course. And pretty much doesn't stop for a good two miles. Then rolling hills and then Big Bertha. By now my headlamp is on and I merely try to maintain an even effort. I began passing folks about two miles into the course and steadily picked off more as the climbing continued. I did have to walk a short distance twice as I exceeded the red line. Still trying to get my climbing legs back. I managed to reach the turnaround in about 1h12m and in pretty good shape. Ready to turn and burn. A quick refill of the bottles and it was go time. I wanted to start the descent at a moderately brisk pace and pick it up from there if there was any octane in the tank. There was. At mile 12 I was feeling pretty good and dropped the hammer (relatively speaking). If I could make out a light in front of me I focused on it until I overtook that runner. That kept me motivated. With a mil left my quads were beginning to talk back to me. By the time I finished I'm pretty sure I left all that I had out there. That's a good feeling. 

Time: 2h13m34s (25k PR)
Place: 16th male and 20th overall
Out: 8:58, 9:19, 9:00, 9:52, 8:53, 9:16, 8:58, 5:16
In: 5:16, 9:01, 8:36, 9:28, 7:45, 8:10, 7:26, 7:00
Elevation: 1,844 ft vertical gain

I was pretty pleased with my results. Especially given that there were a handful of real stud runners out there including Leah Thorvilson and some members of the UCA XC team. The foot held up fine and I'm beginning to worry about it less and less as time goes by. The shin did OK, I did experience some tenderness after the race but attributed that to the fast finish. Jody and David ran their own races and finished strong as well. Now remember that Tuna sandwich? Yeah, it did an Alien imitation and had poor David twisted inside out shortly after he finished. Even in the dark I could see him turn a funny shade of green and break out in a cold sweat. It took a while for him to get his mojo back before we could leave. It was along drive back. I didn't get home until 4am and was beat tired. But a good tired. There is little else that beats a good run with good folks. It was great to see Tim (thank you again for the whips!), The Sasse brothers and their teammates from UCA and the boys from TATUR that came over from Tulsa. 

Stay tuned for my Inca Runner Camp Grand Teton report. It will be spectacular. Putting together some pics and video for a full experience. 

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