Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Buckeye Trail 50K report

Yesterday was the 15th installment of the Summer Buckeye Trail 50K. A record turnout and essentially, a "who's-who" gathering of the NE Ohio running community. Essentially, every runner/friend I know was there. The forecast all week was calling for hot and humid temperatures and we didn't get any rain all week. Sometimes with cool nights and off and on rain, the trail retains some of that coolness due to the heavy coverage by the trees, but this week it essentially baked in the sun. Start temp was around 72F at 7am and finishing temp was about 82F and humid. It stayed overcast throughout the morning and early afternoon which helped prevent the day from turning into a scorcher. My plan was to run comfortably for the first half to the Pine Lane turnaround, then slow it down and eventually merge into a run/walk strategy to best mimic what I'll do at Burning River. The plan went well and I felt good at the finish, although from miles 20 to the end (31.2), it was definately slow-going as the humidity was taking it's toll. One thing I tried this week after receiving the advice from Vince was "salt-tab loading" about 4 days prior to the event. No medical research to back this up, but Vince felt this would force the body to retain more water than normal which on race day, would help fight off dehydration, my #1 enemy. It's hard to say if it worked or not. However, with conditions as they were, I'd say it probably did work because I continued to sweat for at least 45min after I finished. If I were fully dehydrated, there wouldn't be water to sweat out. With that being said, I had no side effects from them at all and will most likely employ this strategy in the future. I also took 2 more salt tabs at each aid station they were offered. I also left my Nathan race vest at home which holds 1.5L of water. My thought is that with 2 handheld bottles and a newly acquired waste belt, I shouldn't need anything else at BR. The aid stations are close enough to each other and are stocked enough to not need more. With that said, I wore the belt yesterday and it was very comfortable and rarely even felt it being there. It can hold several gel packs and other thin and not-so-bulky items.

All-in-all, I am very happy with my performance and strategy. My plan was to use this as a "dress-rehearsal" for Burning River, run smart, and finish feeling good. Today (Sunday), I feel very good and feel like another 20-miler would be entirely possible. However, I'm now 13 days from Burning River and officially in "taper-mode" so that would simply be....well, stupid! The good thing is that I know I could head out and do it. I have practically no soreness whatsoever or any other typical post-marathon/ultra side-effects. I definately want to pass on kudos to everyone involved in the BT50K. Vince did a phenomenal job this year and Lloyd played a big part, too. The aid stations were well stocked, not only with food/drink but with volunteers who were happy to be out there and that's an awesome sight to see when to show up to each one. At every station, volunteers insisted on removing the cap, filling the bottle with Heed, and putting it back on. This may sound trivial, but it really does matter. Also, a big thanks to Merrell as a big sponsor again this year and working with Vince to give us the great tech-tee. A definate upgrade on the tech-tee this year. I simply have nothing but good to say about it....WELL DONE!

I'd be remiss if I didn't say congrats to many of the roadies-turned-trail runners! Susan, Rose, Aaron, and Sean...great job to you all! Rose: no, this is not crazy! You'll be back...I'm sure! Susan: hang in there and be very happy with your accomplishment. It wasn't about the clock wasn't a road marathon! You did great! To everyone else (I could list many, many names), it was awesome to see all of you out there...great job to you all!

Chef Bill, awesome post-race grub! From the start to the finish, I just kept thinking about chowing down at the finish...just knowing it was going to be awesome. I opted for the Grilled Chicken Wrap (whole wheat wrap stuffed with cilantro-lime rice, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and grilled chicken) and Barley & Quinoa Salad (barley, quinoa, tomatoes, onion, red peppers, olives, fresh herbs). Awesome and packed full of protein. Pictures here are of the lunch, and Vince, Chef Bill, and Bill's assistant (right to left) at the "grub-table." I just wish Chef could've run with us AND cooked us lunch!

Last but not least, thanks to takers of the pics you see here. Lloyd, Jim, and Brian provided the photos as carrying a camera wasn't possible. In fact, there are literally hundreds of photos uploaded by all 3 of them on the Vertical Runner discussion board.

Ultra #4 in the books! 6hrs, 13min, 34sec...a course PR over last year's 6hr, 37min. which had more favorable conditions. Overall stats: 185 starters, 156 finishers, and I was 47th of the 156. Now it's taper time...

Happy Trails!


Kim said...

Excellent race Nick! Smart thing to do was treat it as dress rehearsal for BR. You're going to do great!

Susan said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Nick! Now that I have attempted the 50k, I am in total awe of your 100 mile goal. You will be successful!

Nick Billock said...

Thanks, Kim & Susan! I hope I don't let you down! If it's warm and humid like this past Saturday, it's going to be especially challenging...not that 100 miles isn't challenging in perfect conditions!

Thanks again for the support!

Brian said...

Nice job out there. Maybe next year I'll get a chance to run it. Good luck for the 100 miles. I'm going to see if I can get out there to help an aid station, but not sure.