Sunday, January 9, 2011
Race Recap: Frosty 50k
Matt Williams recounts his experience at yesterday's Frosty 50k at Salem Lake in Winston-Salem. Despite challenging weather he, along with Tim Richter, Bobby Aswell, and Jeremy Alsop finished well. Jim Crotts acted as a pacer for Jeremy for the second half of the race. There were many, many other familiar faces in attendance. I was fortunate enough to be able to use Matt's high-definition video camera and he put together the video nicely.
Davidson Area Running Team
Frosty 50k Race Report
"The Frosty 50k race yesterday was a study in perseverance. Had it not been for the great one-man support crew/photographer/videographer that Chad was, my running partner Tim, and encouragement from other runners, I may have not finished.
The course was a horseshoe shape. One length of the "U" was 7.75 miles, or one-fourth of the course. Racers run out-and-back, twice. The far end of the "U" was very close to the start. Not including the start and finish, there were three places where bailing out was an easy option with only a short walk back to the car. I was highly tempted by two of those during the 4.5 hours I was out there.
Tim and I decided to go out at a 7:30 pace and see how it felt. It did not feel easy or relaxed, but not horribly difficult to begin with. The first place for bailing out was at the 8 or so mile mark. We still felt good there and kept going without question. The return to the start found our pace slowing, some wind blowing, and the sky snowing. We managed to complete the first half in less than 2 hours.
However, the five minutes before reaching the half-way point - and the second place for bailing out - included a discussion on how smart it would be to stop and go for the "Did Not Finish" result. I said, "It feels like the right decision now, but I may regret it in a couple of days." We both agreed that we would probably get over it. The thought of running the same course out-and-back again seemed agonizing. But after a couple of cups of gatorade, a snack and some encouraging words from Chad, we decided to continue on, slowing it down significantly and walking the few tough hills.
Our mile splits went from 7:30/8:00 minute miles to 8:40/9:00 minute miles. We made it to the farthest point out where an aid station was with very little walking. Some pretzels and water fueled me for the back stretch. Other racers were supportive usually saying, "Good job guys!" Tim's response was either, "You too. Keep it up!" or "I should have trained for this."
On one short, steep hill we started walking and a female racer who had apparently been closing in on us ran past us, looking strong on the uphill. After she was a few yards ahead of us, Tim muttered, "Overacheiver." She glanced back and said, "I heard that!" We laughed and continued to underacheive on the hill as we walked up it.
When we were nearing the next point where bailing out was easy, I was again considering it. Despite having eaten most of a Cliff Bar over the last 8 miles, my tank was saying "Low Fuel." Sleeping sounded like an awesome idea. Tim said he was going to finish it, so I stayed with him. But I remembered that on the first out-and-back it felt like a long way to the far part of the "U" and the final return to the start would begin. To help the time go by I started singing "100 Bottles of Beer" in my head. I made it to 83 before getting distracted.
The trail had permanent mile markers showing the distance from the start to the end of the horseshoe, but not specific markers for this race. Those became helpful on this last return because they were a countdown to the finish. I hadn't seen one in a while and was feeling weary and decided to walk a bit. Tim kept going, and we both saw the 4 mile marker. I picked it up again knowing there was an aid station less than half a mile away. I ate more pretzels and drank two cups of gatorade as I walked for a bit. Tim was just ahead of me, but started running before I did. We wouldn't meet again until the finish.
For the last 3.5 miles my energy seemed to hold and I felt decent. Knowing I was getting close probably helped. I did get quite cold. This section of the course had some places where the wind blew extra-cold air off the lake. My wet-from-sweat hair and shirt would try to freeze. I longed for my fleece jacket and hat.
Around some of the bends I could see the tent that was set up at the finish line in the distance. I walked up a hill or two, a couple of people passed me, and I passed somebody. The last few miles each took between 9:40 and 11 minutes. I crossed the finish line and stopped my Garmin at 4:24:26. I was not as exhausted as I thought I would be. I changed into some warmer clothes and we then went to Moe's Southwest Grill for burritos.
A day later and I'm actually surprised that I am not hurting as much as I had after the marathon. I believe the slower pace and the dirt trail prevented me from feeling overly beat up. I even considered a short, easy run this afternoon since it was sunny out. But my wife needed to run some errands so I had kid duty. It is probably for the better and she is probably doing me a favor.
I compiled the video and photos that Chad shot into a video on YouTube."