Monday, November 30, 2015

BW50K, 2015 Edition

With the help of a couple other numskulls, I started (inaugurated? founded?) the Buckeye Woods 50K back in 2010. There were only 10 finishers that first year, but boy has it grown! 12 in 2011, 13 in 2012, 16 in 2013, and a whopping 24 last year.

Okay, that still doesn't sound like a whole heck of a lot, but 240% growth in five years really ain't bad. And dozens more have begun doing the associated 25K as well as simply being out there for a few miles. This is also not to mention the loads of fun everyone has been having. By some measures, the total amount of fun has grown by 450%!! The only caveat to that is that that's gross fun, not net. But who's counting, anyway?

A lot of that growth and fun can be credited to Suzanne Pokorny. She took over from me last year, and has done a magnificent job with the event. There's actually some organization involved now.

This free MCRR member-only event involves a one-mile run followed by six circuits around the five mile loop through the wetlands and the wooded trails of Buckeye Woods Park. It's a pretty course, and it's also pretty darn easy for a trail 50K. The only challenges have come from the weather: over the years, we've had sideways rain, snow, ice, and also some decent running weather.

Fortunately, some of that decent running weather occurred for our sixth edition of BW50K in 2015. Unfortunately for me personally, I would have other challenges this day.

Oh, they were of my own making, all right. But regardless, challenges, they were. It's the usual stuff: the remaining amount of Thursday's 21 pound bird with related fixings that are still in/on me, the lack of any serious training since last month's Fall 50, the nagging Achilles Tendinitis that just won't go away. Would I, could I get through it? I thought so, but it most likely would not be just a walk in the park.

Running with Joe in the early and middle miles - John McCarroll photo

With Ray and David Case  - John McCarroll photo
After the initial gasping for air, I began running with Joe Jurczyk and a few others, including Ray Miller for the early miles. It was good to catch up on things with Joe, whom I hadn't talked with in a while. And it was now feeling pretty easy; maybe this would indeed be a walk in the park.

I spend way too much time at aid stations during ultramarathons, and such was very much the case this time around. Most of the actual running was at about 9:30 pace, but with the extra time spent fiddling and diddling, each five-mile loop took around 50 minutes.

It was great fun to see so many of my fellow MCRR club members out there enjoying themselves. The nice thing about the course is that runners see each other coming and going at so many points along the way. And it was really good to see some of the speedsters doing their thing. But I was also gratified that some of the speed-challenged folks were running (and running good!) as well. BW50K is great for first-time ultramarathoners, as well as those who would be intimidated by rougher, tougher courses with less support.

Okay, after some more long aid station delays, I managed to catch up with Joe again and we ran several of the middle miles together. But for the final loop, I would be on my own. I'd hit the end of the fifth loop at close to 4:20, so a 10-minute pace for these final miles would bring me in at something like 5:10. That would be a 10-minute pace  for the whole kit & kaboodle.

And a 5:10 wouldn't be too bad. I'd averaged just below 10-minute pace for 50 miles at the Fall 50 (when I was truly focused), but I'd run slower than that at August's Moebius Green Monster 50K: 5:29. Going in, I thought that anything between 5:00 and 5:30 would be acceptable, and certainly better than last year's fat-induced 5:59. I think all my BW50K's prior to that were sub-5 hours.

Well a funny thing happened during that final lap: I got tired and slowed down. I suppose I deserved it; the pigeons (or chickens, or whatever) had come home to roost. I crossed the line at 5:17, much to the wild cheering of the throng of BW50K spectators; all eight or so of them. I was happy that everything held together for another finish, tired and sore as I was.

This will probably be my final race of the year. I'm pretty beat up, but now I will rest a little... Only a little.

Almost, but not quite finished  - John McCarroll photo
An unsuccessful attempt at flying. Everyone else was doing it - John McCarroll photo

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