So glad I missed this race

This is one trail race I don’t regret blowing off.            

From everything I’ve heard, the Buckeye Trail 50K on Saturday was brutal. The weather sucked: blazing sun, high humidity and thick, steamy air.            

Lots of runners battled heat exhaustion and cramps. The blogs are full of horror stories. (More on that in a minute.)            

This was a race I almost ran. I signed up for it several months ago, and was looking forward to it.            

But then, last month I changed my mind. I decided I needed to focus 100 percent on training for the Columbus Marathon and my goal of qualifying for Boston. I didn’t want to risk getting hurt at a trail ultra. Last year, I ran the Buckeye, banged up my feet and toes, and hobbled around for weeks afterward. I also lost a toenail.            

So I pulled out and was lucky enough to find someone on the waiting list who was happy  to buy my entry. Over the next few weeks, however, I wondered if I would regret my decision.            

Now I know the answer. Hell no! After reading a few blog entries in the last two days, I saw I made the right decision, for the weather if for no other reason.            

Lots of runners said the 90-degree weather was miserable, using terms like “heat stroke” and “pass out.”            

But read for yourself:            

Kristen, who was running her first 50K, sent out sentence fragments to capture her anguish:   

* Heart. Rate. Won’t. Come. Down.          

 * Hills? These are mountains.        

 * Water, water, water     

* Just keep runnning, just keep running, just keep running.  
 
* Can’t wait to finish this. 

* Where is the f-n finish line?       

Terri, who has run plenty of tough trail races, wrote this:  At the turn-a-round, I noticed that I was feeling a little dizzy in the heat, so I took alittle longer at the aid station inorder to consume more liquid. Once I left the aid station, my thought was to try to pick up the pace, which I did for awhile, but the heat and humidity started to take its toll and instead of worrying about time, it became trying to get to the finish!          

Nick, who has run more than two dozen ultras, wrote this:   I could feel my heartbeat by pushing in on my jugular, but it was very faint.  … I was getting lightheaded, my adductor was screaming and tiptoeing up hills became the standard.  From Snowville on, it’s exactly 6.2 miles or 10K to the finish.  Much of it was hiked and a few stops to sit and get my heart slowed down were hallmarks of this section.  My heart was racing to cool me but it’s beat was so faint to me.  I knew I’d better be careful or I was going to pass out and that never has a happy ending.              

Red wrote this about the final miles: These last miles are always the toughest, but this section is awful…many muddy areas and fallen logs and meadow like stretches where no respite from the blazing sun.  I had to stop and walk or suffer heat stroke. … Walking the hills took almost everything out of me. I braced my quads, and once at the top, my heart pounding, I had to stop a few seconds to get my heart rate down. This race needed to be over.            

Another friend of mine, Kevin, told me he DNF’ed at mile 11 after feeling lightheaded. He turned in his number and then walked miles back to his car.            

I have a feeling there will be more horror stories in the days to come.            

Remarkably, the winner finished in 4:03 (an average pace of 7:51). That was only about eight minutes slower than the winning time last year, when the temps were much cooler.            

This was one race I was lucky enough to skip.            

**************************************************************            

So what did I do this weekend, while those poor runners in Ohio were suffering?            

On Saturday, I ran not a single step. I spent about six hours inside, cleaning the house, in preparation for overnight guests.            

On Sunday, I ran about 14 miles at Fort Ben — about four miles on the Lawton Loop and about 10 miles on the Harrison Trace. The temperature had dropped a few degrees from Saturday’s furnace levels, but the humidity was still a factor. I soaked through my shirt in less than 30 minutes.            

I took today off to recover. Tomorrow, it’s back to an easy run.            

Or as easy as I can expect in this godawful hot weather.            

For the week, I logged 35 miles. I ran easy two day (Tues and Thurs), did a tempo run (Wed) and a long run (Sun).            

Click here to see my geeky data.  

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