|The Bridge from Camp Eagle over the Illinois River to the Nickel Preserve (photo property of TATUR)|
I really didn't have much of a taper. I did cut my mileage a bit over the last week but kept the intensity the same. And to complicate matters I started fencing lessons with my son the week before which included about 40 minutes of plyometrics (squats and lunges) three nights before the race. On Friday I actually found myself getting nervous. The idea was to use this much more as a long training run and not a focus race. But I have problems accepting that theory. I always have. I guess I'm too competitive. I had to remind myself that my longest training runs had been 16, 17, 20 and 22 miles and those were weeks ago. I also planned on incorporating a 25/5 plan of run/walk that I intend to use at Lookout Mountain.
The course is run mostly on rocky, dirt roads with a short asphalt section in the middle. There are plenty of rolling hills and a few bigger ones along the way. Fellow NWA Goat, David RTR Newman, was along for a go at the Holler. Always good company. Both of us were using this as training for the Lookout Mountain 50 miler due in December. So in the predawn darkness we found ourselves driving the back roads over to Oklahoma. I was fueled up well with a cup of oatmeal, some organic yogurt (with Udo's Oil) and a piece of toast with an egg and a smear of hummus. We arrived at Camp Eagle to join hundreds of others for a day of fun (and some cursing too) with friends, both old and new. Race day forecast was a low in the upper 30s and a high of 80 degrees. That last number had me worried. Thinking about it in my head, the smart thing to do would have been to go out very mellow and then if things felt good at the halfway point, turn it up a notch and see what happens.
|A typical stretch of Pumpkin Holler (photo property of TATUR)|
I skipped my first walk since I was still warming up. About 30 minutes down the road I was nestled in between two groups by myself when I heard footsteps behind me. Like right behind me. It was David. He normally doesn't run this pace so I had to ask.
|Watch your step here (photo property of TATUR)|
|That's about right|
|More Pumpkin Holler real estate (photo property of TATUR)|
|No, it doesn't|
|Pumpkin Holler 50k elevation chart (Garmin 305)|
10 oz EFS Liquid Shot
For more information on this race and all things TATUR visit their website here.
*Note: Immediately following my finish I downed a serving of Ultragen from First Endurance. It packs 320 calories and 20g of protein. I then made quick work of another protein drink that had 25g and about 300 calories. I am surprised at how good I felt the next day considering the effort I put in at the race. I had used Ultragen a few times while running in the Tetons this summer with good results there too. At this point I am sold on the stuff.