Wednesday, October 24, 2012

TT 50k

 After gaining some confidence in my last race at the Cumberland Trail 50k, I decided to switch from one of my favorite races, Stone Steps 50k in Cincinnati on Oct 28, to the Pinhoti 100m on Nov 3 in Alabama.  In my previous 2 attempts at Pinhoti (in 2008 & 2009), my back shut me down & I only finished 60-65 miles each try.  I haven't had much trouble with my back since (knock on wood), so my biggest concern now is my gut.  With this change in plans, I also opted to run the Turbo Turtle 50k (TT 50k) this past weekend since that would give me 2 weeks rest afterwards, as opposed to 6 days rest with Stone Steps, before Pinhoti.

TT 50k was organized by Ben Lauer and Lil' J and I found out about this FA event thru the Indiana Trail Running website.  The course would be an out'n back on a section of the Tecumseh Trail, a loop of the Low Gap Trail and a loop of the Three Lakes Trail -- all in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest near Martinsville, IN.  The RD's did a great job with this event. 


Bypassing the short road section, the course starts with the same 1st 7 1/2 miles of the Tecumseh Marathon held in December each year.   This course was a major change from my last 2 events -- smooth footing with very little technical trail here.  There were a few leaves on the trails, but they weren't hiding ankle-turning rocks.  So I was able to "open it up" and ran just about as fast as I could (for about half the 50k, that is).  It was quite different from having 5 or 6 hundred other runners (Tecumseh Marathon) jostling for position, bottlenecked at the single track entrance or cued 5 minutes at the 1st stream crossing. 

Starting much quicker than my usual pace, I figured this would be my "speed work" (1st of the year!).  I also planned that when my legs gave out (& they did so badly about halfway), I would practice my "survival" pace -- a pace I'm sure I'll use again at Pinhoti.   It was the 1st time my legs have been pushed like that in over 2 years, so this was a good workout for me.  I was pretty tired at the end of this run as finishing 2 50k's in 2 weeks was a big step up in my training.

a few other notes:

There were 2 work crews on the trails during the race:  volunteers were building a new bridge on the Tecumseh Trail (I noticed 2 other new structures in the 1st 7 miles) and volunteers were correcting drainage on the Low Gap Trail.   There was also an ultra-hike group (w/bibs) on Tecumseh and lots & lots of hikers enjoying the beautiful scenery thruout.

photo courtesy of Charles Moman:

There were flags or ribbons at most junctions and the only other markings were the trail blazes.  Several runners (including myself) ended up getting off course.  3 runners even ran the sections in a different order.  I turned the wrong way at one junction & got in some extra running before finding a dead end (could have been a very long day).

There was 1 aid station at mile 15 & everyone would pass their car at mile 21.   Even though I did experience some gut discomfort starting midway thru the race, I couldn't resist the egg/cheese croissants & brownies (both a first for me).  I somehow survived that digression & even slept better than usual the night after -- I think only because I was so exhausted.


Shannon said...

Ed- I just thought about you and saw your blog updates. I am so glad to see you are back on the trails. That is great! Maybe see ya at Siltstone in a couple of weeks. : )

ed said...

Thanks, I'm very happy to be running on the trails again.

I've been enjoying reading about you, Laz, Big, the Durb, Jim & all the others on the Ultralist!

I may volunteer at the Siltstone event.