Thursday, October 28, 2010

2010 Stone Steps

I knew coming into this Stone Steps race that the 50k distance would be stretching my limits & that the course itself was not the easiest one for an attempt to return to ultrarunning after a 4-5 month layoff. And it proved just that - tough!

My legs were so sore after the 1st of 7 loops that I knew then I would be walking quite a bit this race -- & did. I really hit a wall with 2 loops (8.5 miles) to go & couldn't take another step. But I got some help: Brad Compton, who had signed up but didn't race due to an injury, showed real dedication & drove to the race anyway to volunteer. He was instrumental in getting me off the picnic table bench that I had been glued to. And also, thanks to Mike Matteson, I was able to start walking (baby steps at first) on the 6th loop. A couple miles later, I was able to break into a shuffle & continue that (w/walk breaks on inclines) to the finish. Final time was just under the 8 hour cutoff for the race -- almost exactly an hour slower than my previously slowest time on this course last year when I was recovering from the flu.

What made it so enjoyable though: I know or recognize more runners at Stone Steps than any other event that I regularly run. Yes, it's in Ohio, but KY only has 2 (or sometimes 3) ultras the entire year. It was great to hear how everyone's been doing! Of course, I would have enjoyed this event more had I been in better shape . . .

One thing was drastically changed this year at Stone Steps, and I hope it was just a one time deal (but I don't think so): A 27k race was added this year. They started a half hour later than the 50k. Exactly 6 miles into the race, the leader of the 27k unexpectedly passed me -- that meant he was running right at 5 minutes per mile faster than I was -- I blinked once & he was out of sight. That was just the beginning. In the next 2 1/2 laps, it seemed like every 27k runner passed me on the sometimes narrow trail. It became crowded on the 2nd pass thru the short out & back of the 3 mile loop: there were alot of runners behind (27k runners) & even more runners approaching (50k & 27k runners) -- all moving faster than I was. I think I just happened to hit the rush hour for this portion of the course & had I been running faster up to this point, I probably would have avoided most of the traffic jam.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for the OPSF 50/50, instead of the Pinhoti 100 (which I had plans on running before my problems over the summer). At the time though, I didn't realize I would aggravate a (ganglion?) cyst on my right foot during Stone Steps. The cyst looks like a bunion, but mine is near the small toe. Trying to divert excessive pressure off that side, I also strained my arch somewhat. So I'm going to see how my foot progresses before deciding to take on the race. As for my abdomen where I had surgery, I could tell my gut was not the same, but I did not have any issues thank goodness!


Chris said...


Congratulations on hanging in there and finishing this one! Well done. I run the 30 miler at McNaughton Park tomorrow ("McNotAgain"). Hope to get in one or two loops with the FiveFinger shoes. Trying to decide whether to sign up for Tecumseh Marathon--registration will probably close this weekend. I had thought about OPSF too...but that's NEXT weekend. I need a bit of a break.


ed said...

Thanks Chris!

If you're thinking about Tecumseh, there will be 700 runners, not quite the laid back event as McNotAgain. If you decide to run, I hope to see you there.

Congrats on your nice run & finish at McNaughton!