I ran my 1st 50 miler at Owen Putnam State Forest (OPSF 50/50) in Indiana back in 2004. I returned last Saturday to help get back to the level of fitness I was in before my summer problems. Well, in a long race as this, any small issue can become a big one which is what happened with the cyst on my foot. Lots of pain there -- and after about 35 miles I could no longer push off from that foot. The pain eventually spread to my toes & I had to adjust my gait in order to finish. In hindsight, I should have pulled off my shoe & added some more vaseline to the outside of the cyst which was rubbing the inside of the shoe or just ended the race right then. I had lubed up the cyst at the start, but it needed more attention thruout the race. Since I'm still limping from this today, I realize until I get this resolved, I am not going to be able to pursue any more running.
About the race:
It was a beautiful race day! A frosty ground meant clear skies w/cold temps with no wind -- my kind of weather! A big difference from the 80 degree weather at Stone Steps just 2 weeks ago. Temps ranged from the lower 20's to the mid 40's. I wore a long sleeve technical shirt over a singlet the 1st & last 5 mile loops -- both done in the dark. The rest of the day was in a singlet -- felt great all day!
The course was very dry compared to previous years & the leaves were not 6" deep like the last time I ran this race. Still I managed to stub my toes as it's so much easier to shuffle the feet than run. One big difference this year was the devastation from lumbering operations on several miles of the 13.2 mile loop, which was run 3 times. I could hardly recognize many areas -- tree tops scattered everywhere & numerous turnoffs & rough areas from equipment usage. One thing that you had to do was pay attention to the ribbons -- there were at least 5 different ribbon colors! Of course, I managed to miss one turnoff . . . missing turns off a wide main trail has become a bad habit I've picked up mostly in the last year or two. Only went an extra half mile or so, but met 2 others when I was backtracking so I wasn't the only one to have missed that turn.
I've enjoyed this event several times over the years as it's so laid back and the volunteers are so supportive -- race director David Glass & former director Norm Carlson are great people too! However, I've had a negative for this event the last 2 times I've run here: On the short 5 mile loop, you will pass by residences that are next to the trail or road. If you're slow & finish in the dark (like me), it can be quite a challenge -- especially when by yourself. About every residence has dogs & some let them loose at night. Not a problem in the morning as you're running this small loop with alot of company at the start. In 2007, it was 2 large dogs -- one a heavy set pit bull mix that charged me while I was running on the road. One thing I've learned with dogs: one dog is usually not that bad (unless it's really mean & large) -- two dogs together get much bolder & dangerous -- 3 or more dogs together can be life threatening as they get that "pack mentality" & have no fear! This last Saturday, one large German Shepherd charged me as I running beside a house in the woods on the trail. At first, being so dark, I thought it was in a big pen -- wrong! I pointed my headlamp & handheld lights into his eyes. Even then he got too close for comfort! Only when I raised my arm & took a step toward this ferocious beast did he take a step back. There was a light shining from the house in my direction, so I did not throw a fist size rock which were plentiful on the surface I was running on at the time. Sure didn't want to get shot by some paranoid property owner so I backed away till the dog didn't follow.
Last month I signed up for the Dizzy Fifties in Alabama (Nov 20), but was put on a waiting list as I entered too late. With my current foot problem, I'm not going to be running this race even if I'm taken off the list. Going to see a Dr. to see if something can be done . . . Still, I haven't given up hope of finishing my 8th straight Tecumseh Marathon coming up in early December.