Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2016 Ozark Foothills 50K

I ran the Ozark Foothills 50K on April 9. This year was the second year for the race and my first time running it. It is in the St. Louis area and only 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Columbia. Temperature was 30 at start and 48 by the time I finished.

The 25K started at 7:30 am and the 50K at 7:40 am. The course is 2 loops and for the first loop I had no idea if I was passing 25K or 50K runners but most likely 25K runners. The first 2 miles were all downhill so a very fast start. I've posted a link to my running log below with the course map/elevation. There definitely were some hills and the most memorable one occurred at mile 6 in the loop. Due to the hills my pace varied widely from 8:48 - 13:01. I was pleased with the number of 9-something pace miles I managed to run this course. Even with some hills, much of it was downhill and flat and not as technical as some 50Ks I have run.

I ran the first loop in 2:37 and had another 50K runner finish about the time I took off for the second loop. I only spent about 1 minute getting a new bottle and some banana. Also, I shed my zip pullover and went with just short sleeve shirt I had on underneath even though it wasn't very warm. This ended up being a good decision. There were 2 aid stations on each loop. One at 5 miles and one at 12 miles. Then at 15.5 miles at the beginning where we also were allowed to drop a bag. My GPS measured the loop at 15.4 so pretty close but others got slightly over 31 for the 2 loops. It seems like I'm always a little short no matter what kind of GPS I wear or the settings.

I eventually passed 4 guys in the 2nd loop. The last guy I passed really started to speed up once I passed him at mile 24 or so. The pressure was on me to keep up the pace which was easy enough for awhile but he sped up and kept up with me. I didn't offer to let him pass me at this point since he just let me pass him and he was moving slower up until that point. I thought he dropped back at the 27 mile aid station but he came back so I guess I motivated him to speed up. At about mile 29 I asked him if he wanted to pass since it was apparent he had more legs left than me. My breathing was great but legs were starting to tire a little. He declined to pass at this point and said it was his first ultra and he didn't really know if he paced the first loop right. I think he paced it well for a first ultra. Definitely better to go out a little slow and have a stronger finish. At mile 30, he says he will go around. I was slowing just a bit and was happy to see him go so I relaxed just a little. He sped up significantly and I couldn't see him.

I ended up finishing about 1:25 behind in 5:11:17 so maybe I could have kept up a little but I was happy to finish a little relaxed rather than racing the last mile. I had a 3 minute negative split which I am sure I can give him the credit for pushing me once I passed him. I had one of my slowest miles in the second loop but the really fast miles with him more than made up for it. I placed 6th overall so some tough competition. After the race they had pulled turkey, pork, cole slaw, beans, organic tortillas chips, and cookies. That's the basics since nothing eventful happened which I guess makes for a boring race report but I truly enjoyed this race and will most likely run it again. I was back home by 3:30 so I could enjoy the rest of the day relaxing.




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