Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bartlett Park Ultras - 50 mile

I still remember the day when I signed up for my first 50 miler and finished it. Here I am, signed up and all set for my second 50 miler. Thanks to my friend Bruce for suggesting me this race while I was looking for an Ultra. Bartlett, a small town outside of Memphis where the race was to be conducted at Nesbit Park. Bruce, Diane and I started Friday evening and reached Bartlett. Also I got to try some Frog Legs for the first time and some coleslaw, hush puppies and beans. Juicy and Yummy!! :)


Morning was just perfect but I had race sickness I guess. I was hoping it's not the frog legs. I have been having sick in my stomach the whole week even before Tupelo and today morning it was bad. I just had some donuts and coffee. Aid stations in Ultra marathons will be loaded with all kinds of food anyways.

Met Joshua Holmes, Angela and couple of other friends after picking up my race packet. The T-shirt was really cool and the Polar water bottle was awesome. The race had an event where you can guess the time the 50 mile winner would make it and whoever makes the closest guess gets a free entry to the race next year. I don't even remember what was my guess timing though but I ain't good with luck I knew for sure.

The race contained several distances, 50K, 60K  and 50 mile. 50 mile course consisted of a short 1.8 mile loop to start with then a 4 x 7.4 miles loop and ten 4 x 4.3 miles loop and close with a 1.8 mile trail. Imagine running through the same course over and over again and the worst part, you go through the start line every time. It's too tempting to drop down to 50K and 60K during the race. Not today and I was very determined to finish my second 50 miler.

It drizzled during the beginning of the race and with that I started chaffing. Real bad. After finishing my first loop I removed my T-shirt right away and decided to go shirtless for the rest of the race. The course got a bit wet and slippery. Kissed the ground near the creek where it was really slippery and was covered with thick slushy mud. The course didn't look all that steep during the first two loop but the third and fourth loop was killing. There were only two aid stations in the whole course. While I was planning to eat something solid during the race, my stomach had some other plans. To push out anything that I put in. Chips, PBJ sandwich, etc. Finally, I made peace with it and it was taking in coke without any issues. Got to run the whole race with little bit of GU and coke. The course started diluting with runners showing up occasionally at the intersections.

I finished my 4th loop by post noon and with that my 50K. One of the volunteer hollered, "Yay! you are almost there, just 20 more miles to go, way to go". The 50 mile course was actually 51.2 miles. 20 more miles and that number sounded so big. Time to start the 4.3 mile loop. I was excited to see how the new loop is gonna be and was hoping it to be easy. It was worse especially with some crazy steep hills where you have to go on all fours. The course was a bit confusing and I missed the trail. Had to run an extra 2 miles to get back on track, as if I didn't have enough miles to cover. It was dawn and started getting dark by the time I finished my fourth loop. It was time to run that last 1.8 mile and call it a day.

1.8 mile seemed so long than it looked like. I was hungry and starving but then couldn't eat anything. Tried, beaten up and my feet was refusing to move. What have I got myself into. I would have loved running downhills towards the finish line any other day but not TODAY. Finally the parking lot came to sight and finished the race. While Diane and Bruce were cheering me, RD hollered my time, 12:05:53, gave my finisher medal. With that I finished my second 50 miler. My friend Angela Ivory guessed 13:20 and won the free entry to the 2011 race.


Surprisingly it wasn't all that bad compared to my first 50 miler. I could walk normal. I tried gulping some ginger ale but it just worsened. Coke and Ginger Ale waged a war in my stomach and it was hell suffering. After resting about an hour I decided to go easy for the night and limited myself with soup at a very nice Mexican restaurant and called it a day. Felt great the next day morning and had a ball at Kim's pool side party and it was great to catch up with John, Judy, Kim and couple of other friends. Couple of dives in the cold pool really helped my cramped up muscles. Had a great race and one helluva weekend.

While things could have wrong and there were possibilities that I could have DNF'd this race, it was purely by His grace that I was able to survive this race and could finish the 50 miler, strong :)

2 comments:

Navin Sadarangani said...

I enjoyed this read man. It takes some courage to first of all do a 50 miler, and then you do loops which tempt you to cut it short, and then the tiredness, the energy, etc. Oh boy, you're brave man. You've done something twice what i couldn't even think of once to accomplish. Bravo man. Hopefully one day i'll get to run with you on an ultra. I'm sure by the time i decide to do one (because i haven't planned for nothing as yet), you'll be an expert veteran ultra man. Great stuff man. Can't wait to see you do more and more :-)

T.I.M said...

@ Navin: Thanks a lot. I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for always being around to listen to me and for your words of encouragement. They really mean a lot. Can't wait to run with you Navin. Veteran is too big a word, I just run for fun :)