Saturday, August 10, 2013
50K from Hell!
Kanawha Trace 50K! Where do I even start. At the pre race meeting the evening before we are told we will be going over barbwired fence but there are tripods built for us to climb over, we would be going under electric fences, thru a field with a loose bull and each year a lot of people do get lost. So maybe this is why there is a 10 hour time cut off for a 50K with some finishing in the 11 plus hours last year??? I camped in my tent the night before and didnt get much sleep but only brought the thin air pad so my hips and such bothered me causing me to toss and turn during the night, I think i got up to pee atleast 4-5 times too. The run was to start at 7:30am and busses took us to the start.....that seemed like forever and even though I travel to WV often I just couldnt grasp where in the world we were and how were getting to the finish. We got off the busses and there was one porta john about a half mile down the road so I followed the large group that headed that way...ugggggg They did wait for everyone and started the run at about 7:50am. The start was on a road road for a couple miles then we hit the single track and I could tell it was gonna be a day! The hills and trail were tough to start out and it was already super humid out, temps were not super high but the humidity made up for it. The course was not marked well at all and at two points I was passed by the same big group of front runners due to them getting lost already twice. I met up with Kim and some others and we didnt remember hearing anything about creek crossing but where we were sure enough it was a creek crossing, it actually felt good as my socks were already wet from sweat dripping down my legs, as we noticed the tall grass was tramped down we followed it even though we saw no yellow flags, opps wrong way, back down the creek we go to where we crossed, ah ha we should have turned right and climbed the steps up that bridge, I do recall the RD saying there would be bridges at the creek crossing. Back on track....it was mentally draining getting lost so much! I found myself backing off some as the balls of my feet were getting some hot spots, I think it was the little gravels in them and I didnt get it out in time, my feet just hurt. I finally arrived at the half way aid station....shit half way and its been like 5 hours!!! I sat down to stretch as my inner thighs were killing me. One of the ladies at the AS said I have a mat over there I can stretch you out I was all for that. She did a great job, took about 10 min or more though but I knew it was gonna be a long day. I was with a group of 3 other guys leap froggin up to this point but the stretching set me back as they went on, as I was leaving the AS the guy was informed all the others after me had dropped out. I couldnt tell exactly how many more miles were left as my garmin was reading almost 2 miles extra from all the wrong turns. There was a lot more big gravel road roads then I expected as well. After this AS I head into the field with the loose bull, this was terrible! I knew nobody was behind me there was no markings in the field anywhere, I saw 2 horses but never the bull, I followed what looked like the trail back and forth over and back over fences for almost 25 min trying to figure out where to continue on, it started spitting the rain which felt amazing but I was so upset by now I just sat and cried for a few minutes and then decided to head back towards the AS and see if they were still there to tell me where to go, this was prolly a mile?? As I started to climb back over the fence I thought maybe I'd go straight up the field and the guy who owns the farm here may be out and could tell me?? Got to the top there was the electric fence to crawl under and there was the trail marker again!! Back on a road road, I passed a young girl sitting in someones yard and she was a runner, I asked if she was ok and she answered she was fine but she had enough, she too had been lost so much it just emotional drained her, she said she had a ride coming asked if I wanted one and I answered no thanks I dont like to quit things but this one has me wanting to quit but I cant. She understood she said this was her first time quitting something. I got to another AS and they asked how I was and I was honest...this sucks, the markings are terrible I have been lost so many times! I refilled my water and grabbed some pretzels, shortly after that the bike sweeper was to me, he had good intentions but really was an ass. He said so many had been lost and last year the course was almost over marked and he wasnt sure what happened this year, Im not sure where he went but I got to another area and no more flags, a car was sitting straight ahead on the road and a sign that pointed to the left said something trail so i thought ok will go this way, headed out there for awhile still no yellow flags so I turned around, as I was heading back that way I could see another bridge and a yellow flag in the distance and oh the bike guy, gee thanks for telling me which way to go up ahead! The damn car was sitting on top of the yellow flag!!! After this he had to go a different route I believe as the trail was heading into an area with a lot of rocks and climbs and was really cool when I got to a cave...hmmmm which way do i go from here? I venture into the cave holy shit how cool the trail went thru the cave! A couple hills I had to use my hands to climb the rocks later and one hill I had to sit down and scoot. There was another area of beautiful rock and a gnome sits in one of the holes...looked like it had blood dripping from its mouth ha. Asshat bike is back now and telling me we still had another 10 miles to go.....great. Then he starts telling me that since I was the last one the next AS would be closed but he had some water, I said you better be going ahead and seeing if the AS is open cause if im staying out here getting lost and shit and its gonna be closed im gonna be more pissed! He didnt go ahead instead he decided to tell me that they prolly wouldnt be there at the finish either and wouldnt let me finish....seriously dude i know you are a volunteer but these are things you DO NOT say to someone that has been lost of a course in the heat of the summer and has been out here for 6 plus hours already!! We did arrive at the next AS where he was telling me I still had 5 more miles but the AS was open and i said to them in front of him...he's been telling me you were going to not be here they said they are there till the last person comes thru, I said I believe that is me since the few others behind had dropped, I then asked if I was going to be allowed to finish as he had been telling me I wouldnt and they say yes indeed they will let you finish and you only have 3 miles to go.! Ok...so I looked at him like WTF dude! I ate about 6 orange slices that tasted like heaven and off I went, he came upon and started telling me about where I was going to go and I said did they just say 3 miles left?? Is it 3 or 5??? He said they musta changed the course since he was on it last they said 3, well my garmin already had almost 30 miles here anyways. I made it up the hill and here he comes again saying boy you were trucking up that hill, i stopped and stretched my legs a bit and then he says in this sad voice "oh no its really starting to hurt now isnt it?" I said no I just wanna stretch so that it doesnt. I keep moving forward and have about a mile to go and then he says, lets see the run started at 7:50 its now what ever time it was and then he says so you've been out here.......and I immediately said YES NINE HOURS AND FIFTY ONE MINUTES!! then he proceeds to tell me I still am not going to make the cut off....I just wanted to kick him off the bike. I saw the lake had about half mile from what I heard them talking about and i ran it at a 9:23 pace and came across the finish in 9:58! Bite me Bike Sweeper! The RD was super nice and apologetic about the course markings and I then told him about how inappropriate this sweeper was! I was glad to be finished thats for sure, I threw my tent in the back of the car and drove to the shower house then headed on home. There were some really beautiful places on the course some I was shocked we had to climb the rocks and such but was fun after the fact. There is a lot I have prolly left out but I have been so bad about doing some sort of race report for myself lately I thought I better get on the ball before I didnt have anything to say