Monday, November 24, 2008

2008 Dizzy Fifties

I had run a 7:16 at the Hocking Hills 60k 2 months ago, so in looking at the 40.65 miles (approx 65k) in the Dizzy Fifties in Huntsville, Alabama, I had expectations of finishing in less than 8 hours on this very fast course - wrong! Final time on my watch was around 8:40!! About 6:16 at 50k. I didn't have any issues or excuses so it has me scratching my head on exactly what happened.

the course:

Driving 3 miles straight up a hill right out of Huntsville, I arrived at the top & it became pretty flat -- a plateau of sorts. It was breezy on top & chilly till the sun rose a little higher. There were nice scenic overlooks along the outer edge of this plateau thruout the course. The race consisted of 3 loops run multiple times with a centralized aid station, similar to the Stone Steps 50k format in Cincinnati. The small loop of 2.2 miles was run once, the north loop of 4 miles was run 4 times (for 40 milers) and the south loop of 5.6 miles was also run 4 times (for 40 milers). The most difficult was the north loop the 1st time around when the trail was covered with several inches of new fallen leaves. With all the rocks & roots hidden beneath, you had to step gingerly & hope the ankles held out! I only had one tumble but many twists & turns of both ankles -- nothing serious though. With all the foot traffic, the leaves were kicked out of the way or matted down as the day progressed & it became much better. This north loop had the only hill on the course as you dipped off the plateau for a couple miles. The small loop & the south loop were flat with the leaves already matted down & with only a few rocks & roots -- fast & easy running trails.

the race:

I was just over a 11 minute pace for the 1st few loops & then quickly faded. High stepping in the leaves on the 1st trip around the north loop apparently took something out of me. By the halfway point of the race, I was already reduced to the "shuffle" mode (slow) as my legs were gone. I stumbled & stubbed more toes dragging my feet thru the leaves that way, but I wasn't going fast enough to fall! I did get passed by one 50 miler. He was someone I had known from Lovin' the Hills & Stone Steps -- Tom Possert -- a tall fellow with long muscular legs. As I was walking up the one hill on the course on the north loop at about mile 34, he passed by me & started walking -- so he was human after all! Of course he was on mile 44 and walked faster than I ran all day. I could tell it was unusual for him to walk this hill as he commented (without me asking) that he would be running this if he needed to. He sure didn't need to as he finished easily over the next competitor.

I did wear two (2) watches this race: one of my favorite toys -- a Garmin 405 and my regular Polar watch. The Garmin's battery is not very good -- it only works about 6 hours for me, so I came prepared. Here are some pics that I made from the Garmin data, the first 3 are from the Garmin Training Center program & the last is from the Google Earth program (I've exaggerated the vertical scale somewhat in this pic to highlight the topography of the area) -- Click on pics for a larger view:

1st loop run once:

north loop run 4 times:

south loop run 4 times:

sample google earth pic:


Alan Jaques said...

Ed, That sounds like a long day. My family and I camped in Monte Sano this summer and enjoyed some of the trails. I'm still feeling stiff and sluggish after Pinhoti and am searching for the elusive spring in my step.
Ran a 5k in the Bluegrass State Games this past Saturday and felt terrible. I thought it would be way too embarrasing to DNF at a 5k though after running sixty miles. I remember thikning to myself, "if this was an ultra I'd be walking this hill already!".
Had a much better run in the rain/mud this afternoon on the trails of Captiol View Park in preparation for Otter Creek. It felt good to be in the slop!
Congratulations on another sucessful finish!

Jeffro said...

I love those graphics from the Garmin 405. I think I want one; although, only 6 hours of battery life could be a problem.

I'll be signing up for LLTH any day now. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

ed said...

Happy T-day!!


I guess it could be I hadn't recovered completely from Pinhoti either. What spring I had in my step was definitely gone after 20 miles. That flat top hill (plateau) at Monte Sano seems like it was man made at one time, doesn't it? You must have connections in Alabama if you happened to pick out that particular state park for camping & also to venture down for Pinhoti.

I'm preparing for my annual marathon double (8 days apart), the Tecumseh and Otter Creek Marathons next month. I'm taking it easy & resting up these 2 weeks -- hopefully I'll catch up on my recovery. See you at Otter Creek.


I believe Garmin has advertised their rechargeable battery to last 8 hours -- mine gives a low battery message at about 6 hours & that screen pretty much blocks out what else you can see. There are portable chargers you can carry, but I'm not sure I want to be carrying extra equipment.

I love the Google Earth program -- it's free for viewing purposes & you don't need a Garmin to use it. To be able to cruise in 3D over a course, like a plane or helicopter, is the feature I most enjoy. I was able to "fly" over the new courses for my last few races & it made me very familiar with the terrain I would encounter.

I plan to have Google Earth files & pics for the LLTH course in the next couple months. See you there on V-day!