Pacing. It's all about pacing. After my highly successful run at White Rock on Sunday, where I ran a negative split, I thought maybe I would have learned my lesson about pacing. For this 50K, I would hold back for the first couple laps and blaze to the finish on the last lap. Instead, I ran my usual trail ultra, feeling good at first, gradually getting to the point of wanting to quit the stupid race, then feeling great for having finished.
This was the debut race for Endurance Buzz Adventures, put on by Dave Hanenburg of EnduranceBuzz.com. I had never run at Isle du Bois and for some odd reason I was picturing a relatively easy course. It turned out to be similar to the Cross Timbers course at Lake Texoma, although not quite as tough as that. I would place it at tougher than Lake Grapevine's north shore, where I ran the Rockledge Rumble a few weeks ago. Slightly more ups and downs, many more technical sections, and way more lose, pointy rocks. Thankfully I never fell, but one runner I talked to had already fallen 6 times--on lap 1! And check out this runner's busted lip! (Go to Julie's blog here and scroll to the bottom.)
I started out hanging around the back of the pack. I thought I might replicate my White Rock strategy--start out in back, so I'm passing and not being passed. That's probably a dumb strategy. I passed a few people early, then fell in behind a small group of runners, including a lady named Chris and a guy with a mohawk. I ran with them for a few miles, but at the aid station, halfway through the loop, I left before them and felt like I picked up the pace a little. I finished the first loop in 2:00:46, feeling like I could keep that up and beat my Rockledge time (6:50).
Loop 2 started out well. I was thinking negative splits, passing and not being passed. I managed to keep a pretty good pace the first half of the loop, but after the aid station I slowed down, feeling like 2 loops would be plenty today. After White Rock, my soreness and stiffness was gone by midweek, but the latent muscle fatigue began to rear its ugly head right about now. Chris, who had been in sight most of the second lap, finally passed me shortly before we got back to the start/finish area. I finished the second lap at 4:13:36. Not a negative split, but still not so bad; loop 2 was .4 mile longer, after all.
I filled up my hydration pack--no cups at this eco-friendly race!--and got a snack to head out for the third loop. I knew at this point that a negative split was out of the question, shortly gave up on beating my Rockledge time, and ended up just wishing to finish, to get off this trail and back home. The field was so spread out by this time that I saw very few other runners. One way-too-perky-after-having-run-23-miles lady passed me up, looking fresh like she was on her first lap. A runner named Bill caught up to me with a few miles left and we crossed the line together at 7:17:31.
This is one race where I'm glad I didn't run in my VFFs. Not knowing the trail at all, I chose to wear my NB MT101s. There were some really nice sections of dirt, but with the sharp rocks, and with lots and lots of dead leaves masking the lurking obstacles, my feet would have been thoroughly bruised and bloodied by the end of the day if I had worn the Vibrams.
Dave deserves praise for putting on a first-class trail race. Of course, the weather cooperated beautifully, which helps, but he busted his tail to make the rest of it fall into place. Everything ran nicely, the support was perfect, and, as best I could tell, everyone had a good time. I hope IDB becomes a staple of the North Texas race calendar.
Boring post, right? No pictures. Check out these other blogs for some great pics of the day. You might even see a picture of me if you look hard enough!
Julie, who busted her lip.
The Trail Zombie.
And Dave, the RD, will surely post some good pics at EnduranceBuzz.com.