We made a quick trip of the race, driving down on Saturday, the day before the race from Wisconsin in a rental car to get better gas mileage. Arriving to what we thought was a few minutes before packet pick up closed, but they were actually open for 1 more hour. Drove to the hotel about 6 minutes away, checked in, and hung out in the A/C waiting to get hungry due to stopping for lunch at subway at 1pm. Dinner at Olive Garden for the all you can eat pasta bowl, but we both ended up just eating one "bowl" each. We did splurge on pumpkin cheesecake and shared it between the two of us. After dinner, back to get organized for the next day.
Up at 5:30a to enjoy the continental breakfast that was already set out (yay for Holiday Inn Express again!). The race started at 7:30a, and we were there by 7a to get our drop bags under the tent near the start. However, we were two of only a half dozen that did this as most people had their own setup with chairs, blankets, umbrellas, etc. set up along the start/finish area. It was warm and very muggy at the start and never changed much other than about a 40 minute time span of rain a few hours into the run. Unfortunately, several people did not anticipate rain and had all their stuff laid out for easy access.
The race was a 1.4 mile loop in Fenton Park that you run repeatedly for 6 hours. There is one aid station at the start/finish, and one tiny hill that over time gets "bigger" and more people walk it each loop. There are several drinking fountains around the loop as well, and a bathroom with flushing toilets at the start/finish and again about half way around. I had forgotten my gels/shot blocks but this was not an issue as they had typical ultra fare at the aid station that I used as fuel instead. They also put out gu but I never took any. The loop has enough variation in each part of the loop to keep it a little interesting as you made your way around. An occasional chit chat with runners that you pass, that pass you, and that you run the same pace with for a short time passed the time as well. Most people I talked with lived in the area and were a part of the running club that put on the race, the SLUGs, St Louis Ultrarunning Group. Love the name!
Each lap your timer makes an X in your box on a big chart and tells you what lap you are on. At one point my timer told me that my nearest competitor I was about to lap. I wasn't sure what that meant in the overall standings, but it did give me some motivation as I had only been passed by a few people, and only males. I had 2 low spots when my electrolytes were off and I got a sloshy stomach, but no nausea. The first time taking electrolyte capsules helped, and the second time was after taking electrolyte capsules but then I needed to drink a little more water to dilute things.
The last 20 minutes of the race they stopped letting people do the entire loop and had set up a small 1/8 mile out/back near the start/finish line and then gave people little flags with your name and bib # on them to place in the dirt on your right when you heard the bullhorn signaling the finish. People said it looked very entertaining to see all of us stop at the same time and put our flags into the ground.
I also got to meet a few runners that I am facebook "friends" with at the race which is always nice, such a small and friendly running community! One runner we had even tracked online when he ran in Western States this year.
I usually never stick around for the awards ceremony but they did not hand out finishers medal until that time and so we did a quick change of clothes at the car and headed back to the picnic area. Finishers got a gold medal if they ran a 50k or longer, silver if you ran a marathon up to a 50k, and bronze if you ran any part of the course. I ended up 3rd overall, and second female with 25+ laps, for about 35.XX miles (I don't recall EXACTLY) and the race results are not up just yet. Afterwards we hit the road for the 6-7 hour drive back through the remnants of Hurricane Isaac again as we had on the way down. Of course stopping for a shake at Culvers for "recovery" purposes, and then a few hours later stopping at Cracker Barrel for an early dinner/late lunch.
Nice run, but I still like the cooler, lower humidity races.
State #29 complete.
|My "gold" medal|
Next up, the Tahoe Triple Marathon at the end of this month!