Sunday, May 8, 2011

Enoree Passage 40 Miler Race Report

Sunday May 1st, 2011 was the first race of the SC Ultra Series put on by Terri Hayes as part of her adventure. The Enoree Passage 40 miler was to take place in the Sumter National Forest, a 20 mile out-and-back from the Brickhouse Rec Area heading north. I'll go ahead and tell you - the course is nice and're never more than a few miles from a change of scenery and a good mix of ups and downs - nothing too significant, but still ~4300ft of elevation change (according to one runner's Garmin).
Another runner, Viktor, had taken me up on giving me a ride to the start (Thanks!), and we got there just before 7am. Not too terribly long before the 7:30 start, but enough time to see some friends
Psyche and Me (Guz)

and get ready.
Before you knew it - we were off thru a small trail, to a short gravel road, up the main road and onto the trail. The first few miles were about finding a good pace, not pushing much, and keeping someone in front of me. As I followed people, I realized there was a noticeable trail most places, and marked as they should be - but I was still wary of letting myself lose the runners in front of me

Following Chad down the boardwalk

I enjoyed the early miles, taking in the scenery. Boardwalks and marshlands were quite pretty. The 1st aid station was a quick stop as I checked out what they had. I had carried a single handheld water bottle and an "extra" 8oz flask in my RaceReady shorts pocket. Quick fill up (Heed instead of water I think) and some munchies, and out of there ~47 minutes - think that was a bit less than 5 miles!

1st Aid Station
(rest of the photos at the bottom)

The 2nd 5 miles was a continuation of keeping runners in sight. About a mile of road and some stare downs for a barking dog, then lots of trail. Passed Dan after the aid station as he had an aid station issue - but once he caught back up - we ended up running together (or pretty close to each other) for the next ~10 miles. Very enjoyable company and we'd chat some, then just let the miles slip away. Neither of us felt great, but not bad either. At the 2nd AS around the 10 mile mark - more munchies (I think the young volunteer there was a little surprised how much I was able to constantly cram into my mouth) and refill and out in 1:42 (55min section). Never seemed far from other runners thru the often narrow, almost overgrown trail. Quite a variety of surfaces: roads - gravel, pavement, jeep - a little sand, pine needles, dirt, grass, boardwalk, leaves. Roots were not an issue for the majority of the race.
The following 5 miles into Mile 15 went quick as we started getting closer to my drop bag (extra socks shoes, just in case, extra Gu, my 2nd handheld water bottle). Ran with Dan and we crossed the Enoree River and the large bridge they had constructed, and a lengthy boardwalk afterwards. He pulled me with him the the AS in 2:32 (50min section). I skipped my handheld water bottle and drop bag completely, got a few more snacks and then we were gone.
As we headed out towards the 20mile turnaround - I knew I'd slow down thru here and let Dan slowly get ahead. Wasn't too concerned about finding my way as people weren't too far from me. Kept expecting to see the leaders come thru anytime, but as we got closer and closer to the AS, after thinking maybe they got off trail - here comes a few spread out, maybe a mile or 2 from the turn. Still moving decently thru here, rounded a few lakes, the last one having a gazebo-type deck over the water that was the halfway mark. Took a little extra time, drinking, eating, getting a photo taken and headed out (ahead of Dan) in 3:39 (1:06 section).

Taking stock of my condition at the halfway - no real pains or issues. My left quad had an instant where it wanted to cramp for a little bit - but never did. The "taper-madness" of calf/ankle aches never appeared - -not once - during the entire race. My right ankle was a little sore at the top of the shoe - but manageable so far. Taking in 20ozs (plus my 8oz when needed) between stops, S-caps every hour or so. No calories other than a Gu early on and aid station food. So far, so good - and being halfway - I was fairly sure to finish! Wasn't keeping much track of time (and certainly not the time of day). Actually got a bit overcast earlier, but by mile 17 or so-the sun was out in full force. Was not looking forward to that.
Heading home.

Run pretty much the entire 20 miles back alone. Did keep my eyes open ahead of me for friends coming up the trail (Psyche/Charles), Weezy, Jason, Mike R...) and had more time for photos. Being thru halfway when I was (too fast!) - knew I was Not going to run under 8hrs, but it could have been closer under better circumstances I think. 2nd set of splits heading "IN":
(Mileage, 5mile split, "OUT" split) :
Miles 20-25 - 1:12 (4:51) (1:06). Only 5 minutes slower than the first time thru that section. Little proud of that I must say. Picked up my 2nd handheld bottle here and also check my cell phone for coverage. None - but did have a text from my wife that morning saying they'll see me soon. I was very excited that my wife and little girl would be at the finish. They had not seen me finish either of my two previous ultras.

Miles 25-30 - 1:10 (6:02) (50). 20 minutes slower. Starting to lose energy. Had no appetite at any more aid stations after the turnaround. Dan caught and passed me at the Enoree River Bridge. Others would catch me and go by - but I wasn't interested in trying to hang onto anyone. Wanted to break 6 hrs for 30 miles - no particular reason, but with my last 50k of 6:38 - a 6hr 50k is my PR goal.
Miles 30-35 - 1:19 (7:22) (55). 24 min slower. Knew this was the longest section of the last 15 miles. Had very little motivation to run. Started with the negative thoughts...."Never doing this again". "Why did I ever think doing a 50 miler would be fun??" but you know one good thing to perk you up is seeing food on the ground - that means one thing - an Aid Station is near!! I was out of water again so that was a relief. Motivation was still low, but I knew getting to this last section would bring me home. More roads on this section didn't help (and no sign of the dog). My right ankle was still an issue, so I finally (after 10/15+ miles?) loosened up my right shoe. Made a big difference in comfort level, no explanations why I didn't do that earlier.
Miles 35-40 - 1:08 (8:30) (47). 21min slower. Knew as I walked the last section of road that 8:30 was close and not likely. Did run all the way in once I got on the gravel road, peeking over to see my wife's car in the lot. Not much to say about this section except I was glad it was over! Did finish strong though and immediately picked up my little girl.
Post race - Still no appetite, but got a wonderful foot massage from Denise. Not one blister (smart wool socks) and very little (if any) muscles soreness, just tender feet. Few leg scratches, but nothing serious. Waited a bit for my stuff from AS#3/5, but saw a few other friends finish and caught up with Dan, Charles and others. Looked like quite a few DNF's - mostly due to the heat. Overall finished 24th out of 61 finishers (77 starters)
Post race info: Best recovery to date (so far, and it's been a week. 22 miles and no real lingering issues).
Next Race: Long Cane 50k May 29th. (Assuming the next 3 weeks go ok!)

RD Terri with last minute instructions

Early gravel road

An early trail
Along boardwalk

Follow the leader

Little road section

Enoree River

Turnaround/Aid Station #4
Halfway (20 miles)

40 miles: 8hrs 30 min 28 secs



Kathrin said...

Great job, Brian! I don't even know what to say about such a crazy adventure! Glad that you had a good time and that your recovery is going well.. Time to plan the next adventures...hmmmm?

imtheguz said...

After the Long Cane 50k at the end of May - I'm taking an "adventure" break until Chicago Marathon in October so I can break 4hrs with my brother.

Psyche said...

You had a great race, got to meet Viktor, and had a foot massage...! Words bound to get out how much fun these things are!!

Can't wait to see you at Long Cane-C and I are camping and running the 50K version as well.

Jason said...

solid splits guz! That is definately something to be proud of on a course like Enoree. I think the climbs are a little tougher on the return trip.

Good Luck at Long Cane!