Saturday, November 5, 2011

OPSF Ultra 50/50 Race Report

This story starts out medium-good and then ends with a sad personal pity party.

My mom told me that her coworker's husband, Jay, was running the OPSF 50 mi race in Spencer, IN in Nov. so I looked it up and decided to sign up since it was in the Fall and was close to home. Bernie did it with me and crashed at my house last night. We ate a ton of food at Bazbeaux with some good beer---yumm.

Anyway, we met up with Jay in the morning and got to running. The course had a five mile loop, then a 14 mile loop that you did three times, and then you ran the five mile loop again. I guess they said it was 52.8 miles all together.

At first glance the course seemed pretty easy with a few hills but nothing major at all. Then as the time passed you noticed all of the gradual climbs and it made the legs pretty tired. Because of the recent rain most of the course was super muddy so your shoes were super heavy and then there were a million puddles and little creeks so my poor feet were soaked. Speaking of, why are my feet so screwed? I think my big toe is purple already and might come off. Off 50 some miles?? Ugh.

At the aid station at mile 31 is where the pity party kind of begins. First off, I was previously told that there was one 50 mile girl ahead of me. When we got to mile 31 I was looking for her but they said she was actually doing the 50k. Sweet, so I'm first girl. Then somehow we ended up taking a really long break at the aid station and in the meantime, the dang 2nd girl shows up and a minute later the 3rd girl shows up! Ugh. Then the 2nd girl spends one second at the station and then leaves while we're still there.

When we finally left I knew she was at least a few minutes ahead but I wanted to catch her. Finally at the next aid station I caught her and took off but I knew she was near me. Bernie and I cranked that stupid loop out and went faster on it than we did for the 2nd loop and were rocking it; we even passed a few others. I was feeling good and I knew the 2nd girl wouldn't catch me.

At some point we came upon like four huge horses (with riders) that just so happened to be standing RIGHT in the place where we needed to access to continue on our trail; no other way around it. Why did their riders think it was cool to stand there while us tired runners just looked at them and were afraid to push the horses away? Oh, you don't understand? Here, I drew you a diagram of how it happened:

The red represents the path that Bernie and I took. Yes, we almost ran on top of the horses, getting our clothes snagged on thorns and almost falling over while the horses kind of acted spooked and looked like they were going to attack us and while the riders just laughed at us (on the inside, I'm sure) while they looked down on us lowly peons without horses.

We hit the end of the loop and were ready to start the final last five miles, which should be nice and easy and quick. Welp, we get to a T in the road and there is no dang course marker so we randomly picked to go left. We went left for about .5 miles or so and realized that wasn't the right way, so we walked back all sad and annoyed and then looked around in the other directions and finally hit the right path after seeing other runners (we did end up seeing Jay and his wife again so that was nice). We had wasted about 30 minutes doing this.

At that point we had probably already run close to 50 miles and I was just ready to call it quits. Who wanted to run another dumb five miles after all that?

But anyway we started truckin and besides getting chased by some random dogs, the five miles were pretty easy and I finished.

What's dang annoying is that while Bernie and I were in la-la land getting lost, ole girl came up and beat me by 20 minutes and then the three people who we had passed finished, too. We were on track to finish in 5th place and now I think it was 8th or something. I don't even care about my place. What bugs me is that we worked our butts off to catch the girl and maintain the lead, and then right at mile 47 we got screwed. Ahh! How come those other people didn't get lost? Not saying I wanted them to but how did they know to go the other way?

Overall, it really was a good race. Everything was well marked except at the end, where I heard someone took the sign down (but really, why did it have to happen at the end? Reminds me of my sad tale at Gnaw Bone). The course was fun and challening enough and it was beautiful out and perfect temps. It was fun being out there with Jay and Bernie. And, Jay did AWESOME, especially for his first 52 miler!!! Enjoy the video.


Denise said...

If you had started jumping around and acting like a crazy fool, those horses would have bucked off their riders and taken off and YOU would have been looking at their lowly selves lying in the mud.

JayAtIU said...

Clara - I can't thank you and Bernie enough for an awesome time and a perfect intro to ultras. I don't know what the outcome would have been for me if I'd gone it alone, but I have no doubt that it would have been nowhere near what I was able to accomplish with your support and advice. You guys are awesome, and I had a blast. Thanks for everything; hope to see you on the trails again soon.

The Mohican 50K Forget the PR said...

This is a great learning lesson for you. You did great


Clara said...

Denise- I know. After the fact I realized it probably wasn't safe to walk that closely behind the horses....but oh well.

Jay- It was a lot of fun running with you; you did such a great job and made it look easy.

Rob- I know, you're right. It's a lesson in pride and in bringing a map with me next time. :) Hope you're doing well.