Wednesday, September 5, 2007
North Face 50 mile
Last Friday I made the trip up to Des Moines, Iowa for the North Face 50 mile endurance challenge. Mark Stovall, myself and John King headed out from the Hotel friday to go see the course since we had not much idea of what we were getting into. Once we got to the Park entrance I could definitely tell this race had some money behind it. There were about 20 North Face tents, portable Ice coolers, Lighting systems, and banners and signs everywhere. We spent the next few hours following the course map, looking for markers to follow the next day. It was clear after we finished scouting the course that we were in for a lot of pavement running the following day, about 43 miles of the 50 was on pavement.
The race started at 5:00 which meant at 3:15 we were up and getting ready for the day. Kyle Amos, Josh Pool, John King, Mark Stovall and myself rode to the start finish together arriving about 30 minutes before the start. I met Brad Holzworth who started Running for recovery, a group which I recently became a member of. We chatted for a few minutes then before long it was time to get going.
My goal was to just run steady and finish under 9 hours. I wasn't planning on running too hard, just keep moving and get in some long miles towards Arkansas Traveller. The first few miles were mostly in grass about 8 inches long mowed along the edge of a field along side a gravel road. It was required to have a light for the start since the sun wouldn't be up for over 1 hour, so the long grass was foot soaking at the beginning.
The run was pretty uneventful for the most part. I just kept pounding away the miles. We did run over some pretty wooden bridges on a few of the paved trail portions and there was also a street bridge over 1 mile long we had to run over. The police were on site all day there to keep one of the 2 lanes closed for the race which made it a lot safer. I ended up finishing in 8:14 which I was okay with.
The best part was to see John and Mark both complete their first 50 miler successfully. John finished in 9:13 and Mark in 9:23. I think this was a great race for them to get their first 50 miler. The pavement sucked but there are not too many easier 50 milers around than this one to get started on.
Overall the race was excellent, the aid stations were no more than 4 miles apart and very well stocked. Most of the volunteers had no prior ultra experience but seemed to catch on quickly as to what worked well. There was tons of food and several booths set up at the finish, along with Ice bath tubs and free massages. Dean Karnazes ran the half marathon and was around hte finish for most of the afternoon. He gave a short speech and handed out the awards to the various winners.
He was very friendly and easy to talk to. I know everyone has varied opinions on him but he really impressed me. I asked him about the Tour De Mount Blanc last weekend he ran in and he really went into a lot of detail about the race and how much different the European races are. I was really amazed by the way he looked. I knew he was cut, but seeing him in person was different. It really inspired me to get my diet back to the way it was when I started running, which I have started doing since that day.
All of the participants got a North Face shirt, visor and water bottle along with some bottles of accelerade and misc stuff in the goody bags. After the race the RD said there was a bunch of water and accelerade that they had left if we wanted to take any. Somehow John and I ended up bringing home 9 cases of water in sports bottles. 12 boxes of granola bars, 25 cases of accelerade and 6 cases of accel-gel, so we should be well stocked for a while even after giving some of that to Rick. Luckily John's Father in Law had his truck at the race to bring it all back home.
My family spent the next few days in Des moines and relaxed. We stopped back by the store where packet pickup was to do some shopping. I ended up buying a pair of Vasque and Keens for myself, shoes for all the kids and several North Face and Patagonia kids items for really cheap since they were on clearance half off and we got a 20% of coupon from the race also.
I have been out on a few short runs the last 2 days trying to let myself fully recover while still getting in the miles too. Only 11 days until the Turkey and Taturs 50k, so I can't lay off too much. I am starting to get that excitement building knowing that there is a 100 miler coming up soon. Soon the excitement will change to nervousness but that is a few weeks away.