This was my 5th time running the Syllamo 3 day stage race near Mountain View, Arkansas. This year, I had a newbie, Steve T. join me. We drove on Thursday to pick up our race packets and then went looking for a place to eat. Choices were limited but we found a large Mexican restaurant in a warehouse type building and the food was pretty good.
The race on Friday started at 9 am. Temperature was 48F and warmed up to about 60 and cloudy all day. I wore a long sleeve shirt over a short sleeve and removed it at my drop bag later.
This year I used Sword ginger citrus as my nutrition/hydration drink plus a few gels, and a few aid station items like peanut butter crackers and salted nut rolls. I discovered Sword last year since it was served at the Barkley Classic. I used it for the first time there and felt good. I kept hearing a lot of good things about Tailwind so I ordered some samples but was not entirely impressed since it left me feeling constantly hungry. Sword goes down easy, I don't feel hungry and I like the flavor. I also had a PowerAde Zero in my drop bag that I drank at the aid station.
I mostly used Huma gels along with some Hammer than I am trying to use. I won't be buying anything other than Huma in the future since they are all natural ingredients and taste good. They are a bit expensive but I don't generally train with gels and only use them during races.
Allan B. and Steve started with me. They let me lead the pace and I kept it conservative so we walked the uphills. The course was out and back which was different than I had run in previous years. We made it to the turn around 3 hr 3:21 min. On the way back, we ran 3 hr 9 min and passed 11 people. I felt like it was a decent effort and hoped it wasn't too fast. Steve and I placed 28 and 29th and Allan finished with another runner we passed near the end. I was impressed the 3 of us stayed together so long. Steve and I finished the 50K in 6 hr 30 min and Allan in 6 hr 33 min.
Day 2 - 50 mile:
Saturday's race started at 6 am. Legs were surprisingly feeling good. Temperature was a bit cooler that early so I decided to start off with my jacket. It was cloudy all day so overall near perfect conditions. The 50 mile got off to a bad start since several people turned the wrong way at the first turn. We had just turned and someone yelled at us so got back on track right away. The faster runners did not. I started out again running with Steve and Allan but we only stayed together for a few miles and then I didn't see them again. The course was a loop this year and actually several different loops that connected to some of the same aid stations. If I had to do it over again, I would have left the jacket behind since the first drop bag was not until 20+ miles. I ended up tying it around my waist for several miles and it was a pain keeping it in place.
I had at least one person in front of me for quite awhile and didn't have any trouble following the course. Around mile 24 we had about 1.5 miles of climbing so a lot of walking uphill. Miles 23 - 30 were pretty slow due to the hills. At some point a guy passed me and he really helped me keep the pace for awhile. Running some 10 minute miles and just wanting to get it over with. Overall, I had an uneventful race with no falls and felt pretty good most of the time.
I finished to 50 mile in 9 hr 37 min and 3rd out of 46. A few of the people that went off course were counted in separate results. After the race I was really hungry and ate some of the food at the finish and then had several servings of the spaghetti squash that Hugh prepared along with the sauce that Karen prepared on top.
Day 3 - 20K+:
This is the day that I usually dread but it is short enough that you know you will finish but it might be painful. We started at 9 am and it was close to 50F and no rain. Even though the legs felt pretty good once I started running I felt slow. I ran the first mile which is uphill in 12:51. It was unusual that I was even attempting to run uphill on the 3rd day. My pace picked up to 10 min by mile 2 and 3 and 8:28 by mile 4. Legs felt god and I felt like keeping up the pace. However by mile 8 I had slowed down a bit and a few people passed me. Two miles from the end someone passed me and I was able to stay with her until the end.
I finished in 2 hr 22 min and overall pace was 10:27 for 13.7 miles. The course was the same as last year, only in reverse. I placed 20th out of 89.
Day 1 - 12:58/mi (per GPS) - 6:30:53 - 29 of 65
Day 2 - 13:00/mi (per GPS) - 9:37:09 - 3 of 46
Day 3 - 10:27/mi (per GPS) - 2:22:50 - 20 of 89
Overall - 12:35/mi - 18:30:52 - 6 of 32. This is based on my GPS distance of 88.3 miles for the 3 races. This was my fastest time on the same 20K course that I have run before. The 50K and 50 mile were different than I have run before. I enjoyed the 3 day adventure running in the woods and rock of Arkansas. I think it is appropriate that the finishing award was a rock since there is a lot of rock out there.
|Finishing award is the rock.|