Playin’ Possum 50k Race Recap
May 19, 2018
After months of running through some of the worst weather Ohio has seen, race day was upon us and I’ll be damned if the weather didn’t peak at about 80 degrees. OF COURSE!
This race has an 8 hour course limit, which for most runners is a very generous cut off because it is a mostly flat course. However, for those of us who are not so fast, they also offer what they call the “trekker” start, which is an hour earlier. I am not known for my punctuality, but I’m happy to report that I made it to the race site (the lovely Delaware State Park) with a few minutes to spare. Of course, my typical pre-race dawdling at my car still had me jogging to the start line and fumbling with my watch, my pack, my water, and everything else I would “need” until we came back to the start/finish line again. I say “need” because the beginning of the race is 4 miles (8 total out and back) to the start/finish line and you also hit up an aid station.
It’s a good thing that I did head back to my car though, because I was ready for a wardrobe change. I started off wearing the Ultimate Direction vest because I wanted to have more water and food with less stops. However, as I knew it would, the vest started rubbing my neck and I was instantly annoyed. Once I ditched the vest for the belt and handheld, I was a much happier camper!
My race strategy was as follows:
- 4:2 intervals (run four minutes, walk two minutes, repeat ad nauseum)
- Drink water and/or Nuun on walk breaks
- Eat every thirty minutes plus what ever looked good at the aid station
I started off the race with my friend Don. We started getting separated on the portion of the course that goes along a dam at the state park, and by the time we got to the aid station, I asked him if it was ok for me to keep going ahead. He was having some allergy and breathing issues, not to mention the fact the he and his wife were expecting a new baby any minute! So a little over halfway finished and I took off on my own.
The portion of the dam that is a challenge for most didn’t feel all that hard to me. I actually “practiced” running the dam a few weeks before, doing 20 flat back and forth miles along that portion of the course. What I forgot about (or mentally blocked out) is the couple of miles from the Start/Finish to the damn portion of the park. It goes from trail to beach (which is mostly running through a parking lot), from beach to road, from road to trail, with a water crossing thrown in for good measure. It’s just a mentally challenging portion of the race for me. Candy got me through.
Back to the Start/Finish around mile 21, and that’s such a tough spot where you have run for so long, but you still have so far to go. I grabbed a few more snacks, and I really should have changed my socks and shoes at this point. More on that later (sadly). I also turned on episode of my favorite running podcast – BRF BARF. These two fabulous ladies are local ultra runners, and their podcast was back for season 2 after a months long hiatus. Their friendship, and their running experience, made for really great company on the run. I was starting to feel loopy.
The last 5 or 6 miles felt like a slog. It was hot, it had been a long ass day, and I was ready to get home and shower. One foot in front of another, with only one trip and near fall. Every time my “walk” beep went off, I was so happy, and every four minute run felt three minutes too long. The heat had started to get to me.
Finish time: 8:20:13 (a 50k PR)
I don’t see myself doing a lot of ultra runs. I love running, I love running trails, but I also love taking my time and running happy. This race is one I want to keep coming back to. The race directors, the charity and the volunteers are all just such good people. The positive energy surrounding the day made for one happy possum. I felt like a million bucks. And now after a few weeks of rest, I’m ready to get back out there again.