Last Saturday I traveled to Caesar’s Creek State Park in Ohio for the Dawg Gone Long 50 Mile Trail Run. Twenty-four runners started the race and 15 finished. I was one of the 9 who didn’t finish. Physically I was doing ok, but mentally I just didn’t have the drive to finish. I rode there with Zach Mitchell, who won the race with a time of 8 hours 16 minutes and that’s after getting off course in the first mile and adding about 26 extra minutes of running. I finished my second loop about 20 minutes ahead of him finishing his third. I knew he would do well, but I was thinking more like 9 hours or so.
The course was pretty scenic, very rugged though, lots of roots and leg scraping vegetation. Parts of the course were on trails that had not been used in years. Not any major hills to speak of, just lots of little hills. Definitely more hills than the Another Dam loop in Englewood. A total of maybe 2 or 3 miles on pavement, including the bridge on highway 73. I didn’t care too much for running on that bridge with all the semi’s blasting past. I think I’d rather have swum across the lake.
My time for the first loop, which included a little extra out and back at the start to bring the total distance up to 50 miles, was 3:33. I don’t think that was too fast; although I was already having negative thoughts near the end of that loop. The bridge on 73 was maybe 3 miles into the loop. On the second trip across I was thinking I really didn’t want to run across this bridge again. After crossing the bridge, about a quarter mile into the woods, I was day dreaming and the next thing I know I’m hitting the ground hard. Luckily I was carrying two hand held bottles to help cushion the blow. I started paying closer attention to the trail afterward, but the fall didn’t help my mood any. Almost half way into the second loop I decided I was definitely not doing a third. From then on I really slowed the pace, taking time to enjoy the scenery. I was thinking there was no point in speeding to the finish area only to have to sit and wait for Zach. Of course at the time I didn’t know how close he was to lapping me. If not for his going off course he would have lapped me.
Even though I hadn’t trained for this event; I’m a little surprised and disappointed in my poor performance. My overall fitness level at this point is the best I can remember, but I guess training for sprint triathlons doesn’t prepare one for the mental challenge of finishing a 50 mile run.
Next Sunday I have another sprint triathlon on the schedule. The swim is indoors, 500 meters in a 50 meter pool, then 10 mile bike and 5k run. After that the only race I am already committed to is the Indy Half Marathon on October 17th. Oh, and of course the DINO 15k October 10 and again November 14th. Thinking about Stone Steps 50k and/or OPSF 50k. I’m going to Albuquerque September 30th. There is a 11.6 mile trail run north of Santa Fe October 3rd. This is the description from Active.com “Course is up and back a forest service road through quaking aspens and magnificent pines to the radio towers at the top of the ski area. Starting elevation is ~10,000 ft., summit is 12,038 ft. Total race distance is ~11.6 miles”. That sounds like a tasty little challenge. Now all I have to do is talk my hosts into driving me up there. Below is the elevation profile with percent grade.