Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50K

Copied over from my journal, but with pictures. (Stolen from across the web, of course)


Up at 5:30, and not pleased about it. I was secretly hoping my alarm wouldn’t go off and I could use that as my excuse for missing the race. No such luck. Sleepily put on my running clothes: shorts, warm-up pants, short sleeve tech T, lightweight jacket, shoes, socks, and a beanie. Made sure to Vaseline up my toes and feet real good, as well as cover up the nipples with Band-aids.

Ate a couple bowls of Multigrain Cheerios with soy milk for breakfast. Out a little after 6:00 am. Made good time with little traffic, except for the police escort for 15 minutes. Picked up my race packet outside the Antelope Island causeway, then drove out to the island.

Parked at the same place as when I ran a race out here before. There are 3 races today for the Buffalo Run: a 25K, 50K, and 50 Miler. I’m doing the 50K, which it turns out was a little longer—several people said they measured 32 miles. Coincidentally, it was also about 32 degrees at the start.

The 50 milers started in the dark at 6:00 am. I wasn't there to see it, but it looks cool. One day...

I kept on my extra layers and beanie. Decided to put my fuel belt in my drop bag, since I don’t get very thirsty the first leg. The course is a 15-16 mile loop, which we run twice. I’m not a big fan of loop courses, since it’s too easy to drop out at the halfway point. Plus, it’s really discouraging to know you have to head back out and do it again if you stay in.

Everyone was asked to bring a can of something to add to the buffalo stew to be eaten post race.

The 50K group started at 8:00 am. It’s uphill for the first 2 ½ miles, which I ran, since I was fresh. There’s about 5000’ of climb in the course.

This is our group just before taking off. I couldn't find myself in the picture.

We passed a heard of buffalo as we crested the hill. I’ve never been that close to them before. They are massive. They seemed unconcerned by the huge group of runners passing by.

I never did see any of the island's namesake

At 3 miles, my left leg and foot lost feeling. That’s NEVER happened to me before. I sometimes get it in my arm and hand for a short interval, but never the legs. It was just the pins and needle feeling you get if you sleep on your arm the wrong way. I had control of my hip and upper leg, so I kept pace and tried my best to avoid rocks. It was like running with a club, but with the uncomfortable feeling of whacking your funny bone with ever step. It last for over 2 miles, finally subsiding as I approached the Elephant Head aid station at 5.5 miles.

Stripped off my pants, jacket, and beanie. Put on my fuel belt and popped some Ibuprofen and pain reliever. Attacked the PB&J sandwiches, Goldfish crackers, chips, and M&Ms. I missed the turnoff for a big loop we do after the aid station, so I ended up doing it reverse, much to the confusion of the people coming at me in the opposite direction. I felt good for the next 3 miles—then I hit another 2 miles of uphill. Legs getting sore.

Made it back to Elephant Head. More drugs, cookies, banana, PB&J, crackers, and chips. Put on my shade hat, as it was getting hot out. By hot, I mean in the 50’s. Wish it would stay in the 40’s. Retraced our steps for the next 2 miles before cutting left to a new trail. By the time I reached the White Rock turnaround aid station, I was wiped. It took me just under 3 hours to do half.

Wolfed down 2 donuts and some other crap. I was starving. The finish line was only 100 yards away, calling my name. Sucked it up and headed back the way I came. The second loop was brutal. While my feet were doing great, my knees were throbbing with pain—for the next 3+ hours. I took more drugs, but it didn’t help. Nothing much to report beyond lots of pain and increasing heat.

The one adrenaline pumping incident was when me and another dude came across a pair of Buffalo off to the side of the trail around mile 29. I was exhausted and wincing in pain, but when that buffalo turned towards us and started charging, I freaked. We both avoided eye contact (as instructed) and zagged off the trail to give him his space. He stopped short and watched us quickly move away, snorting out a warning. That was the only time I forgot about my aching knees.

With a mile to go I picked up speed and finished strong in about 6:10. Felt happy about that. I beat my best 50K time by almost an hour. 151 runners signed up for the 50K, with 122 finishing. I came in 52nd overall, and was the 38th overall male. I was 16th in the 30-39 age group out of 25. Stumbled over to the base camp and had 2 ½ bowls of buffalo stew. Delicious.

I won a climbing gym day pass in the drawing, but even better was the race shirt AND finishers shirts we got.
Hung out and chatted with racers until our drop bags arrived.

One of the runners collapsed from dehydration just as I was about to leave. LifeFlight was called in to pick them up. I heard the person is fine now.

Really tough drive home. I could barely keep my eyes open. Should have grabbed a Mt. Dew before I left.

Look for 5 & 10K races for the next few months. My knees are shot.


Angie said...

I got tired just reading this post. don't know how you do it.

maria said...

Grueling! I can't say I could ever see myself becoming addicted to this sport...wish I could, though.

Jake and Jenny said...

Way to go Shane! Every run is such an accomplishment! Love all the details and pictures!

Anonymous said...

Good job grunting it out through the knee pain.

deliciousmelissa said...

This is insanely impressive. I especially enjoyed the bit about the buffalo charging you. HOLY CRAP, that'll keep you going!