Monday, March 16, 2009

2009 Land Between the Lakes

After 4 straight years of disappointment & progressively worse performances at LBL, I'm happy to buck the trend! 50 miles - 10:32:43

With a most tiring February, my focus since the ice storm cleanup & LLTH was getting some rest. With 4 weeks between these 2 races this year, it was just what I needed. The other big factor this time was my new race strategy: start near the back & not pass anyone the first 13 miles (road segment + 1st loop). I was very determined to keep to this plan & I was surprised that I ended up having the discipline to do it. I fought the urge to pass every step of the way -- with only a few exceptions (passed runners who were walking or close to it).

the weather & the course

Driving down from Louisville on I-65 & the Western Kentucky Parkway Friday, it was incredible to see the aftermath of last month's ice storm. I witnessed 180 miles of continuous destruction! There were still trees bent over onto the shoulder of the 4 lane -- some pine tree sections were completely decimated. Arriving at Grand Rivers at LBL, the damage continued to be extensive. You could clearly picture what the course looked like before it was cleared. Having firsthand experience at clearing trails after the ice storm, I fully appreciated the tremendous effort it took to make the race possible this year. SUPER JOB!! THANKS!!

Watching the forecast from a week out, it changed everyday -- from no mention of rain up to a 70% chance. By Friday the chance for race day had been lowered to 30%. I fully expected it to rain anyway. Waking up early Saturday the rain had already started although it would not last all morning. I didn't mind getting wet, but with 40-45 degree temps & the gusty winds off the lakes, a wet shirt made it a little chilly at times.

With the cloudy & drizzly weather, the course was muddy all day. I would best describe the mud initially as being the "soupy & splashy" type. With the well established course normally being a very hard packed dirt surface, the muddy trail did have a "solid" bottom -- not one where your shoes would disappear completely or get stuck. The trails are shared with bikes, not horses & that makes a difference too. I handled the mud fairly well until the 3rd lap when I turned my ankle on a root in a puddle -- splash!! I fell mostly on my hip & one entire side of my body was soaked to the bone! Luckily I shook off the light sprain within a couple miles. As the day wore on the mud became the "sticky" type.

the race

Seeing so many familiar faces at the start, I was busy jabbering & oblivious that the race had started. Keeping to the plan I started off slowly with a couple hundred or so runners ahead of me. I felt like running with my brakes on as we entered the trail, but as I finished the 1st lap, for once in 5 years I felt like I hadn't used much energy at all. In order to make the cutoff time to get to the 50 mile race though, I needed to average a 13 minute pace for the 1st 36 miles. With mile markers all along the course (great!), I was able to check my progress the entire race. Keeping a fairly steady pace I was able to reach my goal of making the cutoff. I then set my sights on breaking 11 hours for the 50 miles. Feeling pretty good at this point, I set off on the last lap really pushing myself. It was fun to turn the tables & pass other runners so late in a race! I was only passed by 3 runners in the last 15 miles: 1 young runner who I played leap frog with for a while & 2 (Brian & ???) just a mile from the finish -- I had passed them earlier at an aid station with 8 miles to go, but was unable to hold them off once we got on the road. It's not often I feel like "racing" near the end of such a long run!

other notes

Land Between the Lakes is one of the most organized events I attend all year. Always alot of goodies given out too! I was also awarded a monogrammed waist pack from Steve Durbin (RD) for having attended LBL 5 of the first 6 years. Thanks Steve!

Shared an "Executive Cottage" at the Kentucky Dam State Resort Park this year. Huge for a cottage (more like a house) with 2 stories & about 2000 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4 TVs, a deck & located right alongside the lake! Thanks Ken for the invite & for securing this "house" for an amazing $104!!!!

Ran into Bob Engel, Brian Young & Robin Meagher at the start line. Little did I know then Robin would lap me on my third loop & easily win the Women's 50 miler (2nd Overall !!) -- an impressive performance! -- & even more impressive considering the course conditions -- Congrats! Other familiar faces I ran into: Alan, David, Brenda, Kathy, Ken, Jeff, Tom, Paige, John, Steve, Cassie, Garret, Logan, Margaret, Mike, Troy & Kara, Chris, Brian K. & Ricky.

With my extended effort at LBL, I've probably compromised my next race at Clinton Lake in 2 weeks. Regardless, my target race for the past year has been the McNaughton 150 (in 4 weeks), so I wasn't planning to push myself very hard at Clinton anyway. The 10 mile loop format & the small hills at Clinton Lake were a good prep for me for the McNaughton 100 last year.


Cassie said...

Awesome job at LBL, Ed!!! We told you this was going to be your year! Glad I got to see you come through the finish! It was good to see you again :-)

Anonymous said...


Great seeing you at the race. Nice blog!

Brian Young

Chris said...

Great run at LBL. I dropped from the 60K to the marathon. I am sick of mud! See you at Clinton Lake in just a few days. Run easy so you'll be ready for MP. I'll be there too!

ed said...

Thanks Cassie,

Going in I was no less confident than years past, it's just that I picked a strategy & really stuck to it this time. Plus everything seemed to click for once.

It was great to see you take on 60k. Your volunteer work was much appreciated too! It was really nice to have you & several others at the finish line giving encouragement -- Thanks!


Thanks! Always nice to chat & hear about your experiences at an event. Also, I enjoy those rare times I see you on the course during the race, even though it's always for a very short while! See you at the next one!


I knew something was up when I saw you as I arrived at the aid station and then left with you still lingering there!

So you're sick of mud & going back to MP?! Guess we can expect a good dose at Clinton Lake. Looking forward to your event once again -- see you there very soon and at the starting line at McNaughton!

Paige said...

Woohoo, great job, Ed!! Congrats on finishing so well (and for passing some peeps at the end)!

Alan Jaques said...

Well done Ed!
I was impressed to see how much energy you had passing me on the third Loop.
I began losing interest in the mud by the third lap and wound up dropping to 60k, partly also to the fact that my wife and kids were having a less than stellar time hanging out in the mud. I had not run much at all after completing LLTH and finishing a local stunt involving 50 runs in 50 days (323 miles)on teh 19th of February so wasn't sure how I'd do. I kind of took the opposite approach of you and tried to use the excitement and energy of the first loop to buy some time completing my first loop right at two hours. I was able to maintain ten minute miles until I got to the hills on the backpart of the course. Lap three was icing on the cake and took the opportunity to listen to some tunes and talk to some folks.
I must agree that the sight of Robin blowing by me with four miles to go was quite impressive. Look forward to seeing you at the starting line at McNaughton!!!

ed said...

Thanks Paige! Glad to see you had a great 1st 60k -- the ultra bug has bitten you! Good Luck with the 50 miles at McNaughton -- see you there.


The way you ran your race sounds all too familiar to me! I dropped down the previous 2 years, once all the way down to the marathon from 50 miles.

50 runs in 50 days and 323 miles?! Every bit of that is impressive to me!

I'll see you at the starting line at McNaughton -- only if you take the early start. If you start on Saturday, you'll be passing me on the course at least once -- see you then! Good Luck!

Clara said...

Great job! Sounds like you had a good strategy that worked- I should have followed you.

ed said...


I got tired of being near collapse after the 1st lap or two every year - something had to change.

Just checked out your blog - nice! Looks like you're in several events that I attend . . . Good Luck with the Ten More Miles Challenge!

Jeffro said...

Good job Ed. DWD Gnaw Bone is just around the corner.

ed said...

Thanks Jeffro,

DWD sounds so far off, but I haven't forgotton. I believe you'll like the course -- you may even get a PR there.

Your speedy DINO races will sure keep you tuned up (& then some) for your ultras. Hope to see you in Gnaw Bone.