Here is a link to John Allison's blog about our run. Pretty much sums it up!
|Cabot Country Cruisers||
We had over 70 Cruisers participate in our annual Memorial Day Run to the Cabot Veterans Memorial. Last year we had 22. What a great tribute to our fallen soldiers & to our community.
Here is a link to John Allison's blog about our run. Pretty much sums it up!
Over 70 Cruisers showed up for the Memorial Day Run.
50 Miles or bust – by Arland Blanton
I had the Frisco Railroad run in Willard, MO on my radar for almost a year. Several people I knew had run it last year and it sounded like the perfect shot at going further than I had ever ran. I knew 50 miles was a lofty goal but as the time approached and I worked through my marathon schedule, I knew this was probably the only shot I might have till Fall, if I wanted to even attempt it.
Leading up to Frisco my training seemed sub par to me, but my base was pretty much there. I had run three marathons in the four weeks prior with two being back to back weekends. So running 26.2 was not going to be a problem, or at least it shouldn't be. It was the second half that I was worried about. Luckily for me, running a very hot and sunny Andrew Jackson Marathon on March 31st prepared me for walking more if I needed to. I have done 32 miles, so I figured I could at least get to 35-40 and then walk the rest if I had to.
I never really committed 100% to the 50 miler until the week before the race. After finding out that my friends Jonathan Young and Leah Thorvilson were doing their first 50, I figured why not join in. I solicited all the advice I could get in preparation for the distance. Most of which I knew already from running seven 50k's in two years but there are always tips to be had from those that have been there. So I pulled the trigger and registered.
We drove up late Friday evening for the Saturday morning race, with some of the Arkansas crew picking up our race packet that afternoon. We arrived at our hotel in Springfield about 8:30pm just in time to get our gear laid out for Saturday & try to get some sleep. I was a little apprehensive about the weather as we had pretty heavy winds Friday evening and they were calling for a 30-40% chance of rain/thunderstorms on Saturday. Temps didn't seem that bad, 60-72.
Saturday morning we departed our hotel and drove about 15 miles to the race site at the Willard, MO. School gym parking lot. I had put together a drop bag for the 25 mile turn around, dropped it off in the gym and went on for the usual maniac pre-race photos and chatting with friends. Jonathan Young and I had decided Friday night that we would try to stick together some and try to keep the pace between 11-12 minute miles, at least for the first 25 miles.
The race started and we hung towards the back. There were some in our group doing the marathon, 50k & 50 mile distances. As usual, the first mile was a little fast hitting it in 10:38. Tried to slow it down but it felt like we were in last place so it was hard to do. A rock in my shoe toned things down real quick as I stopped immediately to get it out. Mile 2 11:03. The miles went on with our pacing much better, staying between 11-12 minutes. We threw a quick walk in every now and then if we got too fast. The first few aid stations were 2.5 miles apart so we took advantage of those too, grabbing a drink & sometimes some chips or pretzels. The selection consisted of water, poweraide, sometimes chips, pretzels & sometimes gummie bears. It appeared that some of the early aid stations had PB&J sandwiches but they were gone when we got there. The aid stations were a major disappointment so I was glad I had brought extra food.
I noticed early on that the humidity was really high. I was sweating like it was 80 degrees when early on it was probably 65 or so. I was glad to know I had worn my camelbak for extra water, especially since after 15.5, the next 4 aid stations would be 5 miles apart. I started to feel the heat before the marathon turn around but kept after it. By mile 17 I told Jonathan that I was going to have to start walking more & he should go on. The heat was getting my heart rate up higher than I wanted for 50 miles. After that I resorted to a run/walk, eventually using a 1/1 ratio. I felt like there was no way I could do 50 miles when I could barely complete the marathon. It was probably some of the lowest spots in the race for me. I started considering turning around at the 20 mile aid station. That would make me get 40 miles at least. It would have been an epic fail to me so after battling with those thoughts for a few miles, I decided to keep going. Again, I considered turning around at 22. That would give me 44 miles. That's a lot. More than I have ever done and I'd still get 50k credit. Or maybe not. I got to thinking that if I turned now, I wouldn't make the 50k cutoff and I'd be DNFed. Well, if I'm getting a DNF I'm going to go till I can't go anymore. So there, at mile 22 I committed all in to the 50 miles. It was only 3 more miles and then I could turn around and come home. Less than a marathon after that. I used all the positive ways of breaking down the distance that I could. I've ran double marathons before but never on the same day.
The 25 mile aid station was almost like a mini finish line. Half way done, half way home, less than a marathon to go. I got there at 5:28 in to the race. I had 6:32 to make the cut off time. It was a disappointing aid station to say the least. There was not enough water left to even top off my camelbak so I got a little and left the rest for the other runners behind me. Little did I know that there were only three. Also, my drop bag never made it to 25. Luckily I still had some gu's & a powerbar so maybe I'd survive with those. I came out of the aid station before the others and went back to my run/walk. The run part was fading fast though. I was wet from head to toe from sweating so I knew this was an issue that was slowing me down. An older man passed me less than a mile after the aid station. He power walked right past me as we talked. He said he learned to power walk & it helped him get through many ultras. He mentioned that he made it through a 100 miler by power walking the last 40 miles. So I started thinking, why not try it some now. Maybe it would work for me since I was struggling some. So my 1/1 run/walk became pretty much a steady fast walk. Lisa V. caught up to me shortly there after & she was kind of like me, not much run left. So we power walked. Then Andi caught us and joined in with our walk. They were happy just to have others to be with especially since we were the back of the pack. We really worked hard on that power walk & got it down to 14-15 minute miles pretty much. This continued for miles, sometimes we would try to run then realize the extra effort didn't really help our time that much. As the miles went on discussion went to figuring out if we would make the 12 hour cutoff time or not. We had been told that they would be timing for an extra 30 minutes so we did have a little buffer I thought. Also one of my maniac friends was working some of the aid stations and he told me that we would get a time no matter what.
This was an out and back course and the aid stations coming back didn't seem much better than going. At the mile 30 station, the volunteer asked if we needed anything & I mentioned we would love a coke, but there was none. As we ran on down the trail, we saw his truck stop at a small country store so we thought maybe he was going to get us some. Well, it was true. A couple miles down the trail there was a road crossing and sitting by one of the cones marking the course was 3 small bottles of coke. The volunteer became our hero! Its nice when someone goes the extra mile for others and that's exactly what he did. The race was advertised as having “ultra' food with cokes, food, etc at the aid stations but I have seen marathon aid stations with more. Water, poweraide, chips, pretzels and gummy bears was it. I'd eat what I could at each one along with my gu, powerbar's & cliff shot blocks. I figured eating something was crucial as was proper hydration. We carried those coke bottles with us for miles!
With about 13 to go, Lisa decided to try running again and slowly she pulled away from me and Andi. I figured out then that there was some friendly “girl” competition going on, to not be the last place female. There was also the fact that hitting the cut off time didn't seem feasible doing the power walk. It was nice having company for many miles & helped to pass the time. This was a very boring course to say the least. Not much to see other than trees and the light gravel trail where the train tracks used to be. At least it was shaded 95% of the way. Temps had to be in the 80's. Too hot for a good race for me. Later I learned that the high was about 86.
Coke did start appearing at the aid stations, probably thanks to Chris Revoir who was driving from one to the next to take care of us. At the mile 40 station I refilled my camelbak & Andi said she was going to ease on ahead. I figured I'd run a little to catch back up to her but she too had decided to run again. I'd run as far as I could then I'd walk 30 seconds and run again. This went on for maybe half a mile but I wasn't gaining on her or my pace. I went back to my power walk/run every now and then pace. This was comfortable & I knew I could finish doing this, but soon started hitting a low point in the race. My feet were hurting from blisters forming on the balls of my feet & all I had were negative thoughts going through my head. I sucked as an ultra runner & runner in general. Blah blah blah. Then the good part of the brain would kick in and remind me that I was going to finish a 50 miler, if it took all night and that was something to be proud of no matter what.
With 7.5 to go, Chris was again at the aid station waiting with anything he had. He told me that Annette was going to meet me at mile 5. Talk about a lifting of spirits! I think my paced picked up knowing this. Somewhere during this next 2.5 miles I had some of those hallucinations that ultra runners sometimes have. First I thought I saw a runner coming towards me only to find it was just the trail. Then I thought I saw a vehicle on the trail, only to find it was the trees. The tricks the mind plays on us after 40 something miles! And then the next thing I knew, I was seeing people up ahead. It was Annette, Leah, Lia M, Josh, Chris & Tina. They were at the aid station waiting for me. This was the most welcome sight ever! They took very good care of me in a short minute or so that I was there, even giving me a small drink of beer which was like heaven. To make it even better, Lia Mayfield decided to go with me to the finish line. She had completed her first ever 50k and was wearing flip flops. But at the speed I was going it was not hard since I was basically at a speed walk pace.
Just before the 2.5 mile aid station we caught and passed Lisa, she was struggling and said she felt like she was about to pass out. I looked up and saw the aid station at 2.5 miles to go so I knew she was in good hands. Of course our Arkansas crew was at the aid station again. This time they gave me coke with ice. Oh my god, I was in heaven! That was the only ice on the course all day & it being cold with the sugar content of the coke gave me a big boost. Think I carried that cup for almost a mile sipping on it.
As we got closer to the finish we were next to the road, and our Arkansas crazies were all in Chris’s van whooping and hollering at me as they drove by. This was one of the most fun parts of the race for me. The last 1.5 miles, I knew I was going to finish and I felt great. With less than a mile to go Lisa caught back up to us but I let her go on. I really didn’t mind being DFL, in fact it’s almost an honor to finish last at least once & I knew she would feel better by at least getting to beat me. I could actually run again at this point but it was only for 25 yards at a time but that was ok. As we started into the parking lot I went to a full run, I was not walking across this finish line! With the finish line in sight Leah & Annette came out to run me in, and several of the others were holding a big tape across the finish line. I finished with almost a sprint across that line. Was one of the best and most memorable finishes ever! Best of all, I really did feel good.
Mark Cato had went out and bought all the 50 mile finishers chocolate milk so that was a special treat. I think I drank about half of that then asked for beer. Someone brought me a chair & some pizza. I was in heaven. To sit down after being on my feet moving non-stop for 12 hours and 11 minutes was the best feeling. It was also pretty awesome to know that some of these guys had been out here on and off waiting for me for over 6 hours past their finish. That is true running friends! After all, it’s really not so much about the finish time but more about the journey & the people that you share it with. The race director did come over & inform me that they were out of medals, which was a disappointment but he said I placed 3rd in my age group & presented me with a 3rd place medal and finishers glass. Not too many races where you can finish dead last & still place 3rd in your age group!
After heading back to the hotel and getting a quick shower, we all headed out for dinner & a little post race hydration. It was here that I learned I had earned a new running nickname. “Crazy Eyes”. I guess everyone was a little worried about me when they saw me at the first aid station because my eyes looked so crazy. The reality was I was fine, my eyes were tired from looking at that same road/trail for 12 hours, throw in some minor dehydration & you have crazy eyes!
Overall this was a very fun race, only because of the great friends that were there from beginning till end. The course was very forgiving on the body, but the race organization could have been much better & the aid stations need to take some tips from the Arkansas Ultra Running Association on how to do an aid station right.
Would I recommend this race? Only if you know up front that there is not much support & it's a boring course after a while. It is easy on the body & under cooler conditions would make for a good place to PR. Leah Thorvilson did set the 4th fastest female 50 mile time here so it can be a fast course. I am glad that I did it and very happy that I finished.
50 Miles Done! DFL & 3rd place age group. I was very happy even if I had crazy eyes.
Congratulations to all the ladies that completed the Women Can Run Clinic and those that also completed their first ever 5k! You guys are awesome!! Hope you will continue your running journey by joining & running with the Cruisers!
I had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time, we were heading to Willard with some good friends from the Central Arkansas running community. We all had such a good time in Arizona at the Lost Dutchman and this was a reunion of sorts.
Friday evening when we arrived in Springfield it was breezy and cool but Saturday morning it was warm, humid and not so breezy~
We knew going into the race that it was going to be a very warm day but the high humidity was a very unwelcome addition!
We got to the Race early, did the usual business and then met up for some group photos. There we quite a few Maniacs and other assorted friends at the race.
My goal going into the race was a 50K PR. I felt pretty good when we first started, and probably went out a bit too fast but it felt good and I ended up running with a group of Maniacs for a few miles which helped those miles go by faster and actually kept me from going out even faster. It didn't take long for the humidity to really start having an effect, I was sweating buckets, I had worn a hat in case of rain or sunshine, but it never rained and stayed mostly cloudy the whole race and that stupid hat was killing me!! I was also kind of stressing about Arland and Johnathan I thought they were ahead of me and I was anxious to catch up to them so I could yell at them for going out too fast! They were doing 50 miles and had planned a 11-12 minute pace. Luckily I caught up with a friend who let me know they were behind me and then a mile or so later there they were. By mile 6 I was already starting to feel blah, and was starting to take walk breaks, I was kind of worried that it was hitting me so early but then I remembered that I had a very light breakfast and I hadn't taken in any nutrition yet. I took my first gel at about 6.5 miles, and almost immediately felt better. The aid stations at this race were pretty far apart and not very well stocked or manned. I am SO glad I had my hand held water bottle and Sparkle Skirt with all the storage, I really didn't need anything from them other than water.
The Trail itself was really nice, no tree roots, stumps, or big rocks but I really wish I had purchased some Gaitors, I bet I had to stop over 20 times to empty the rocks and gravel from my shoes. We also had lots of tree cover but it was kind of boring! I was by myself which was fine but the last few miles before the turn around it was lonely with only one white shirt way ahead of me, I knew a couple of my friends were behind me but I don't look back when I'm running.
Finally the turn around!! There was an aid station about .4 before the turn around and the white shirt was there, I didn't realize how close we were to turning around or I would have skipped it the first time.. anyway after turning around when I got back to the aid station the white shirt guy was still standing there. He said I think we are the last 2 50K'rs and seemed a little disturbed by it. I said that's OK, there are plenty of 50-milers out there! I was set to continue on but he told me he was having a lot of IT band pain and asked if I was a good nurse?? UM NO, but ok I'll help you tie your sweaty gross bandanna around your sweaty knee. I felt like he really just didn't want me to get ahead of him! Once we get his knee stabilized we start back down the trail, but in the meantime my friend Mark Cato had made the turn around. I was about to keep going but knew that Mark was going to be by himself and I made the decision to turn around and go back to the aid station and finish the race with him. At that point I really was more interested in sharing the experience with a friend than I was a PR. Mark had been planning on doing the 50miler with Andi but was having hamstring issues, I know he would have been fine without me but I would have worried about him all day so why not just stay with him. I still had a lot of run left in me but Mark's leg would cramp if we tried to run for too long, so we ran when we could and otherwise just walked and tried to enjoy the day.
I guess we were at about mile 20 when we turn around and see LT flying towards us, she just looked like she was floating on air but she had a few choice words as she ran by! LOL she was not enjoying the course at all and didn't have anyone to run with.
The next 50 miler didn't pass us until almost an hour later and it was another female.. woo hoo Girls ROCK! and she was in her late 40's!
When the first male 50miler passed us Mark informed him he was the first male and 3rd overall, he said " yeah, those two women are insane" We got a pretty good laugh over that!
The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, it seemed like it was taking FOREVER and then when I realized that because of the Auto Pause that was activated (not by me) on my new Garmin the time I had was not correct AARGH! Because of the 20+ stops to empty rocks and stops at aid stations we were almost an hour off.
That was annoying but the big black snack with the raised head was terrifying!! I saw something out of the corner of my eye and there he was right by my foot with his head raised...needless to say I screamed and started running like my pants were on fire! Poor Mark he didn't know at first what was going on with me but then saw Big Black himself. After running what felt like a safe distance we stopped and turned around, this was actually when we saw the second female, we waited to warn her about the snake but it crossed the trail before she got to it. She of course was all oh snakes don't bother me, and I think she even said snakes are people too?? she must have been delirious or maybe I was?
FINALLY we are approaching the finish line, it was a little anti climatic since there was no one there except for the race director and the race timer. Oh I think there might have been a few others who were waiting for their 50mile friends but they didn't care about us! We were both pretty shocked when we saw the clock said 8:05 because of Garmin issues we really didn't know what our time was. Immediately the RD tells us, "oh we will have to mail you your medals we ran out." BUT after asking me my age group he informed me I was 3rd place in 50-59!! It pays to do the race that doesn't have as many runners! Most had done the Marathon :)
We were so hot and sweaty and dirty and gross! I knew it was going to be a couple of hours before Arland was done but I had no idea how to get back to our Hotel. Mark or should I say Superman to the Rescue. His hotel was only 5 miles from the race so I went with him to his Hotel and was able to shower and change clothes.
When we got back to the race LT, Lia M. the Ho's and Joshua were back after taking their own showers, napping cleaning up etc.
Mark set up at the finish line, he had chairs and had bought chocolate mile the perfect recovery drink to give to all our 50-mile finishers. Arland called when he was about 10 miles out.
We got to see Stacy Shaver and Cliff Ferren finish and then we hopped in the HO's van and drove to the 5 mile or in this case the 45 mile aid station. The aid station had long been abandoned so we took it over, and were able to help out quite a few runners. The first of our remaining group to make it through was Jonathan, he was a little delirious but could still actually run a little bit! It seemed like forever but finally we see Andi, but I start to freak out a little bit because the last time I spoke to Arland they were together. She reassured me that Arland wasn't too far behind. Finally there he is, and he was definitely looking kind of scary, big scary eyes, goose bumps etc. but after a little bit of beer and a few chips he said he was fine. Our beautiful friend Lia M. who had run the 50K decided she would stay with Arland, which was a huge relief for me because I just couldn't. They got back on the trail and we jumped in the van stalked them the rest of the race, there were lot's of road/trail intersections so we were able to park get out, yell, offer more beer etc.
Have to give a big thanks and shout out to Maniac and friend Chris Revoir he was a volunteer at this race and although the Race Director pretty much sucked Chris was great! The 50-miler had a 12 hour cut off and Andi, Arland and Pink were not going to make it, but Chris assured me that they would keep the finish line open and they would get official finish time. The Race timing guy was long gone, which is a whole other bag of worms! But at least the RD did stay and kept track of everyone's time by hand. They actually stopped the timing clock at 8:00hrs which caused a big uproar!
The best part of the whole weekend was seeing Arland finish his first 50-mile race and then celebrating afterwards with our fantastic group of friends!
Oh and Leah, yeah she won, and she is now the 4th fastest American female 50-miler.
We will use various club members in this blog as authors from time to time.
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