Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another Dam 50k (Millenium) Run

You can just call me Millennium Man. That's because I wound up with number 1000 at this year's Another Dam 50k Run in Englewood, which is near Dayton, Ohio. I suppose calling myself Runner of the Millennium may be taking things a bit too far over the top.

"Just run real fast so that you're done before it gets too hot." This was my advice to anyone concerned about the anticipated heat for the day. We'd been hearing that the high would reach 94F. But they could be wrong, and even if they're right, 94's not really so bad, is it?

"Dan, do you remember the trails being this tough?" asked Ladd between huffs and puffs. My answer was, "Now I do!" It was just beginning to get hot. The first (of four) laps went fine, although the trails were indeed tougher than I remembered. One good thing: they were much less muddy than last year.

Ladd stayed with Jeannine as I ventured on ahead; Janet, Marsha and Charles were out there as well. I saw some of them coming and going from time to time. That's what makes AD50k so much fun. Not to mention the road trip aspect of it.

Yes, the trails were less muddy. Except for the second lap, that is. A brief heavy downpour occurred as I started that second circuit. The cool rain felt wonderful, and I was enjoying every minute of it. Then three things happened in succession: 1) the rain stopped; 2) the trails became muddy - really muddy; 3) the heat returned, this time accompanied by gobs of humidity. The mud was especially thick and heavy. All this made the second loop, which had started out so nice and cool, a tough (and slow) one.

The third loop, on the other hand, went extremely well. The mud had dried up as fast as it had appeared. The heat was still increasing, but for some reason that didn't bother me at this time. Roughly two miles of the 7.9 mile course are exposed to the sun. This includes the dam itself. The rest of the trails are nicely shaded; very nicely shaded. The one turned out to be my fastest, and it's where I felt the best.

So now, 3 hours, 30 minutes into the run, I had another hour and 10 minutes to finish in 4:40. Why is that important, you ask? Because 4:40 is the course record for men's grand masters division. Beating this time would put me in the record book and also net me a $75 gift certificate to a local running store. That's $25 for winning the division and a $50 bonus for breaking the record.

One hour, ten minutes is what I'd been averaging, so it wasn't an unreasonable expectation. Except, that is, for the heat. It was 11:30am, and the temperatures were really getting up there. It was taking it's toll, but I was going for it anyway. Gauging my pace on the times I hit the aid station, I had a chance as of the first stop, but almost not at all for the second. I never gave up the effort, but I just couldn't make it in the time I wanted.

The result was a 4:43. This was still good enough to place me 8th and 1st among the grand masters. It took almost forever to cool down and clean up. I learned later on that Dayton's high for the day was 98F! But running fast did get me out of the heat that much faster! My advice proved correct for a change.

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