Ultramaraton Pre Deti 50K Recap

Its been over a month and I am just getting to the recap of this race (I know, I'm a slacker)...

I actually had planned on running an Ultra in May, but for several reasons things just did not work out.  I happened to find this race at the beginning of June (the race was on June 25) and figured I could rework some of the training I had already done and be ready to race by the end of the month.  I also figured for $25 how could I go wrong :)

The Ultramaraton Pre Deti 50K (Ultra Marathon for the Kids) was held in Beaufort, SC, which is about one and half hours away from Charleston (almost a local race).  It was a little different in that it was a trail race that started in the evening (6:00pm).

The course was a 4.5 mile trail loop around an old golf course, woods and marsh.  It had two or three road crossings and a 15-20 foot dirt hill at the end of each loop (seven loops equaled 50K).

I drove down to Beaufort and made it there about an hour before the race (plenty of time to set up).

There were a lot of people at the start, but what I found out later was that some of them were only there to run a lap or two and others would end up dropping out before the midway point due to the heat.

The weather was hot and humid (around 90 degrees).  There was thunder and lightening and even a few rain drops (not enough to cool it down though).  The race director was pretty clear that the race would not be stopped or delayed for weather so I was ready for whatever came my way...

The start
My car was parked near the start so I was going to be able to get to it as much as I needed during the race.  I set up a chair, cooler, supply box and drop bags (I planned my drop bags as if this was a non loop Ultra, so I could practice some of the things I will need to do for future races).

As far as supplies, I had a ton: water, sports drinks, gels, electrolyte tablets, pretzels, shoes, shorts, shirts, socks, head lamps, flashlight, hats, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kit, and lots and lots of ice.  The race director also had food, water, fruit, cold sponges (awesome), and antacids.

There was a short briefing before the race followed by a prayer (this was a first for me and just seemed to bring the small race community feel home).

See any gators?
The race started with a "go" and we were off.  I was wearing my trail shoes (Salomon XR Crossmax) and they felt pretty good, but a little heavy.  I was staying with the lead pack and could not believe how fast everyone was running (at the end of the first loop when some of them stopped, I realized that they were only running one loop - oops).  I noticed a few people stop for supplies and decided to keep going to try to get some room between us.

Loop and 12/24 hour races are different than other races.  There is some strategy that goes into these races.  You have to watch the other runners and see when they are resting and decide if this is when you are going to rest or you are going to make a move to pass them (it seems a little devious as you are doing it).

I did manage to move up, but I also managed to make myself sick at the same time.  Not sure if it was the pace I was running, the heat or both but at this point I really started to feel sick.  I was less than two laps into this race and my stomach was killing me.  I tried to puke (no luck) and then ducked into some woods and peed,  but I was still feeling awful.

I was passed by a few people and was really hurting.  After only two loops (9 miles) I was seriously considering dropping out of the race!

Amazing views (while it was light out)
Did I mention there were no port-a-lets on the course?

Okay, sorry for the TMI, but I ended up going in the woods and "taking care of business" (that was for those of you who are not interested in all the details of my GI problems).

Anyway, after two more stops I finally started to feel normal.  The next two loops I picked up the pace and started passing people.  Some people I passed while they were resting at the start point and others while on the course.  I also noticed that there were fewer cars at the start point every time I came around (a lot of people were packing up).  I was really surprised to see a guy I talked to at the start of the race pack it up at this point.  He was a serious runner from NC and I was sure he was going to win the entire race.

It started to get dark and I knew I was going to need my headlamp.  I had planned on wearing a really bright lamp and carrying a flashlight, but as I came into the start point I noticed several people who were ahead of me taking a break.  I knew this was my chance to move up so I grabbed my hat that had a lamp on it (not the one I wanted) and I took off.  This was fine for the fourth loop, but on the fifth loop I was in complete darkness.  I could not see anything!  I ended up taking a wrong turn and going about half a mile off the course.  I could not believe my luck!  This was the second time I considered dropping out of this race.

I found my way back on the course and had to run behind some guys I had already passed.  I had finished my water bottle and was completely empty.  My luck changed when I saw some race volunteers walking the course backwards.  They filled my bottle and I was off.

This is where my competitiveness took over.  After running all this time, I was starting to actually feel better (and faster).  I changed head lamps and grabbed my flashlight.  I also did something a little sneaky...

I figured some of the front runners were doing the same thing as me (they were watching to see how long it took everyone else at the aid stations).  So I turned on my tent lap and left it on in my car.  I also turned my head lamp off until I was at the actual aid table (I know, sneaky).  I figured maybe someone would think I was taking a break and would linger around a little longer than normal and I could get further ahead (I think it worked).

On the sixth loop, I passed a few more people and continued to pick up my pace.  I was running well under 9:00 pace and feeling fine.  I ran past a few people that were hurting and barely noticed me as I ran by in the dark.  It felt really strange to be running this race in the dark and a little creepy at times.  I knew there were gators around, but there were also parties going on in the distance and I could hear music as I passed a few houses.

At the start of loop seven, I saw a guy I knew was ahead me taking a short break.  I knew I needed to stop, but I figured this was my only chance to get ahead of him.  I looked at my Garmin and I was over 28 miles at this point (I was going to be over 32 miles at the end)!

After about one mile of the last loop, my legs started to cramp and I had to take a walk break.  Just as I was about to start running again, I could hear foot steps behind me...

The guy I had tried to get ahead of had come up on me like I was walking (okay, I was walking)...

Turns out the guy's name was Nick and he is the track and field coach for Hilton Head High School.  We started to run together for a while and even lapped some guys I had passed earlier.  Nick was pushing the pace and we were running around 8:00!  I stayed with him until we had about a mile to go and he pulled ahead of me.  I had pushed my legs to the limit and they were fighting back with cramps...

I kept a good pace for the last mile and felt like I crawled over the last hill.

The finish was a little anticlimactic.  It was just like every other loop, except they had a stop watch to keep track of your finish time.  I grabbed a cold sponge and dumped it on my head.  I saw the race director and joked about running too far and showed her my Garmin.  I was at 32.68 miles!

I actually thought I heard them say I was in seventh place, but later found out that I had finished second (Nick had won).  They did add the fact that I ran extra mileage :)

I packed up my stuff and drove back to Charleston.  I got home a little after 1:00am and was exhausted, but it still took me another two hours to finally fall asleep.

Cooler, TrySports Shirt, Shoes and my awesome Feetures! Socks!
The race was a great experience and the people running it (Becky and the other volunteers) were really cool.  And for $25 I got a cool t-shirt, a very interesting course, food, support, cold sponges, and a chance to push myself past points that normally would have stopped me in my tracks.

On to the next challenge...


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