I finished my second Another Dam 50k this past Saturday. This race is a 7 plus mile loop repeated four times. About a mile of the loop is consumed traversing the Englewood Dam which is part of a system of five dry dams that have protected the Miami Valley from flooding along the Great Miami River since 1922. Anyway, I now have a total of 8 AD 50k dam miles. The dam is almost a mile long and the course returns along part of the lower section of the dam, so I guess that’s how they come up with four dam miles for a complete race. Of course this isn’t counting any other dam miles I may have logged in other races. I think the Germantown 50k crosses another dam in the system, but that’s only one crossing at about a quarter mile so it’s no big deal. I suppose seeing the flat straight mile ahead of you and knowing you have to repeat it four times can be somewhat intimidating especially when to sun is beating down on you.
The race started out ok. I didn’t think I was pushing too hard early on even though I finished my first loop about three minutes faster than last year. I still felt pretty good unlike at Dances With Dirt where I knew I was toast after 7 or 8 miles. After completing the second loop I was about four minutes ahead of last years pace and still feeling good. In the third loop I crossed the dam in about 8 minutes which would equate to a pace considerably faster than my average pace from last year. Then about half way through the third loop the wheels came off. I started feeling a little nauseous and my legs started feeling fatigued. Not sure what went wrong. It was warm, but the humidity was pretty low. I started drinking more water and took some more electrolytes. I soon realized I wouldn’t beat my time from last year so I didn’t push too hard through the rest of the third loop. I ran as much as I could but took walk breaks whenever I needed to. In the fourth loop I again tried to run the entire length of the dam, but even the adrenaline boost from knowing this was my last trip was not enough to keep me going. By now my only goal was to beat 6 hours and I was pretty sure I could do that. Then about half way through loop 4 I started thinking I could beat 5:45 so I tried to minimize the walk breaks as much as possible. Shortly after passing through the last aid station I started thinking that I could come within 30 minutes of last year’s finish time. These thoughts I was having may seem dopey to those who don’t run ultras, but when you are struggling you grasp at whatever you can for motivation. Anyway I finished the last couple miles with a new urgency. My finish time was 5:41:26, exactly 30 minutes and 2 seconds slower than last year.
Next up is the Germantown 50k on August 22nd. I’m not 100% committed to it yet, but pretty sure I’ll do it.