Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 Wildwood Games 50k Race Report

This inaugural event was held Sunday August 24, 2014 in Appling, GA. It started at Wildwood Park and traversed the Bartram Trail towards the Petersburg section to a short 3 mile loop, then returned to the park. I wanted to do this as it was all along the banks of Clarks Hill Lake - near to where I spent a year and a half during high school while living in Plum Branch, SC. Although I was excited to run the Chattooga 50k 2 weeks later and compare my time to my 1st 50k (there) back in 2010, I decided I would do it anyway and see what happened. I'd run a 50k and followed that with a marathon once before - and that did not turn out well (IT band issues for the next 6+ months). But I had trained better this time, right?!

Always in my Harbison 50k shirt and visor)
We started as it became light and after saying bye to Drew, I tried to start off comfortably. Other than a cold just before I was to taper, I had a great lead-in for this event. I had four weeks in July of 40-47 miles, and I had Never had 2 weeks in a row before over 40. After that cold, I was in Minnesota for a week and did my last "long" run (of 15 miles) up there at Afton State Park with a group from UMTR - they were super-kind!
Anyway - I ran just behind some runners until the first aid station at mile 4.5. The grassy and gravel trail up to that point had taken us out of the park and soon looked to be more for mountain bikes. I call the short ups-and-downs "bunny-hops", and they were constant for a while. Used my momentum as best I could. There was one runner just ahead that I could barely make out, and another close behind me (Esteban) - he passed me at that first aid station (46:35).
Started running by the lake soon afterward, and we continuously wound our way beside every inlet along the lake. Still a few bunny hops, but felt ok as it wasn't that hot out. (The previous day was horribly hot, 110° heat index and they trimmed the 100k bike race down to 50 miles. Sunday only saw the temps get to the mid-80s). Snacked a good bit at the next aid station (mile 9.8 in 1:39)

Didn't see the girl (Devon) ahead of me after that, which is odd because she was in the marathon and should have come back toward me later on.
There was more aid a mile after the marathon turnaround (14.1 in 2:22) and I was happy to be doing around 10mins/mile. It was right thru here I saw the leader come by, about 3 miles ahead of me at that point.
The Bartram Trail does have mileage markers, so I tried to keep an eye on them as I ran. The single track trail was not very technical at all (maybe a few places), was rarely straight, and generally not much elevation change either. Total on someone's Garmin read 988 feet gain and 988 feet loss.
So I left one handheld at the AS as I ran the loop. I walked for the first time thru here as I was starting to feel a bit tired and my right calf became tight (and would continue to be for the rest of the event).
Back at the aid station (Mile 17.1 in 2:53), grabbed a small snack again and continued on. This was a day to be out in the woods alone. I saw a few runners here and there, either at an aid station, going the opposite direction, or passing them. not once after mile 5 or so did I run with anyone.
The trails were nice, and had some different areas throughout. Pine straw, dirt, some small fields, and of course the lake.

I made my way back to the next aid station and after some pringles and m&ms, had a treat - a popsicle! (Mile 21.1 in 3:40).
They were prepared and even refilled my water bottles! (Thank you!!!) After this - I was having more issues - my left sole became tender and my right hamstring was tight. I could still move, but I had slowed down to almost 11 minute miles.

The next section was the longest without aid coming back (5.3 miles), and it got a bit disheartening when I could see across the lake, the finish area of Wildwood Park.

I still had 7-8 miles left, but I just had to keep moving. Did come upon two female runners and passed them (after a little chuckle - private joke). My middle/lower back got sore next as I got into the last aid station - Mile 26.4 in 4:45 and up to 12 minute miles (but still moving!).
Back thru the bunny hops and away from the lake told me I was getting closer. I hoped I wasn't going to get passed near the end, but I wouldn't have really been able to do much about it.

I came back down the gravel road, across a coupe of roads, past the unmanned water stations, and turned the final corner to the finish. I was excited to see my wife and daughter, and my aunt and uncle who were there too! Staying with them the night before made the drive in that morning very easy.

Finished in 5:46:50! My 2nd fastest 50k.

Few notes: I would've been close to winning (or at least the Male winner) of the 10-runner marathon. (Devon) The girl just ahead of me at the beginning won in 4:45. 2nd place was 5:30. My 50k time was 4th in the marathon results. 50k winner was 4:45 out of 18 finishers. I was 6th.