Aaron made sure all the Oklahoma runners got together for a group pic. Most of the Tulsa bunch was running the 25K> I should have ran that distance, but more on that later.
We all listened to RD Suzie give the usual race directions. She always makes it funny.
Not sure what was going on in Andy's head here. Russell has his game face on.
AT 8:00 straight up, we were sent on our way. We had .45 of a mile of pavement, and then a long climb on gravel, which is what the most of the course was. This climb lasted about 3 1/2 miles, and was rolling after that. I walked some of the hill, and after fiddling with my iPad, I got into a routine where I walked for a song and ran for a song. I felt great, and at the 5-way intersection (about 1.5 miles into the race) I kicked it up and ran most of the way. I passed quite a few people, and was confident of a good race!! At the first manned aid stop, I caught Russell. He had been there a minute or two, and left out as I was trying to get my water bottle refilled. I needed cold water, but the water in the jug was cool, so I did not bother asking for ice. Didn't wanna seem like a wimp. I ran the next downhill, and at the bottom, I decided to slow it down just a wee bit--maybe walk the next hill.
There was no moon, and if you turned your light out, you could not see your hand in front of your face. I guess there were little flying insect buzzing around my head lamp, because every now and then, a bat would dive-bomb the beam. It was startling, but their sonar keeps them from colliding with the head of a runner. *as far as I know!)
The next hill was long one--they're all long!! I was taking in a lto of water, and a SaltStick every 30-40 minutes along with a pinch of sea salt. Unlike last week atr Midnight Madness, I drank only water instead of ice Gatorade. Gradually, I began to have a bit of nausea creep in. I was sweating like a holy water balloon, although it was really not that hot at all. The humidity was really high though, and my feeling of well-being was gone. I began to dislike this race. I wondered why I even run ultras. My body decided it would help things if I purged a Wendy's hamburger and fries. But my body was wrong. After emptying my stomach, I used the remainder of my water to clean my mouth. (Sorry for the details.) Fortunately, there was a water drop about a quarter mile ahead. My good pace and time cushion was fading away, and I wondered what the cut-off at the turnaround was. When I reached the turnaround, I decided to not go on. Catching a ride back was quitting, but it was the best decision. At the pace I had in miles 12-15, I would have never made the time limit for the race anyway.
My next several miles were much quicker though, and I passed probably over 100 runners--while riding in the back seat of the sag wagon. Upon getting to the start/finish, I climbed into my car and tried to go to sleep. An hour or so later, Rob found me asleep, and when I got up and around, I felt like a hundred bucks. A beer later, I felt like another ten bucks. All is well, and I have no regrets about my race, although if I had turned around at the 25K turnaround, I might have earned a 25K PR since it is almost downhill all the way back. Hmmm....
Rob struggled a little, and walked quite a bit on the way back, yet finished in a little over 5 hours. Russell shattered his best time here by over an hour, and shaved 4 minutes off his 50K PR. All my friends who ran the 25K were gone when I was hauled in, and I do not know exactly what they did. The Arkansas bunch puts on a great race--this one seems to get bigger and better every year.