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Double Chubb 2010 50k – Race Report

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Double Chubb 2010 50k – Race Report

The Double Chubb 50k is put on my by my ultrarunning group the SLUGS.  It is held just west of St. Louis, MO on the Chubb trail which is a 15 mile out and back with a short but steep climb on the Chinkapin trail to round out the 15.5 miles.   This race is a popular one that sold out in 5 days!! It is a fast trail with about 3000 feet of climb.  The majority of the climb comes on the front and back end of the course with the middle section hugging around the curves of the Meramec River and giving some flat single track to open it up and run. With me just coming off of the pavement pounder Mad City 50k last weekend I was not quite sure how everything would hold up.  I decided a few days before the race to keep it somewhat conservative and just use the big bulk of running these 2 races to hammer out a solid month of total mileage.  I found my buddy Stuart Johnson and asked him his goal time and he said 5 hours.  I thought that may have been a bit much, but asked if he minded if I ran with him as long as I could and he was good with it.  Then my friend and SLUGs president Lee said Stuart was going for the masters record and that I had to keep him moving and get him in in 5.  “Ok,” I thought “now I have a mission for this race”  We hit the start line and were off.

Stuart and I ran together the entire time.  He led the first out and back up until the last bit.  I had discovered over the last few aid stations that he did not mess around at aid stations at all.  He got in and out of them fast! I had to drop a few things off and needed to fill both my bottles so I took a lead on him blasting down the Chinkapin trail and tried to build some time so we could get out of the AS together and he still filled up and was out first.  I need to work on how I come in and out of AS more.  I should be ready with lids off and know what my plan in about a 1/10 of a mile or so out of the AS.  We ran this first lap in around 2:23.  We were on pace for 5 hours but did not leave a lot of time for error.

I caught back up with Stuart and we walked up the asphalt hill to the trail head and started running again.  Stuart made a comment that I needed to “short leash him” through the flats to keep him running.  I was feeling good and said that I would take the lead through the flats and try keep the pace up to hit that 5 hour mark.  We worked our way down the rocky winding section of the course down the West Tyson bluff then hit the open prairie section.  We had several miles of flat running from here so we just kept chatting and tried to keep the conversation up.  At one point I said, “let’s run until the hill then we’ll walk up it.” He agreed and we kept going and going and going.  When I said it, I thought it was just around the next corner.. not so much, it was like 10 minutes away still.  We finally got there and power walked up it.  I saw my buddy Jason who had already been out to the turn around aid station, he was cooking and looking great!  We hit the aid station and I looked at my watch and told Stuart that we needed 14 minute miles to get 5 hours.  That seems pretty do-able but the back section of the course was the hardest part.  Yes, we had the long flat section but as soon as we were off of it, it was about 1200 feet of climbing on technical trail and that was going to be slow so we needed to push it in the flats to build some buffer.

We hit the last AS with about 3 miles to go.  I put in just enough water to get back to the Finish line and we headed out.  We worked our way up the rocky slow moving bluff and just ran when we could even if it was just a few hundred feet.  We finally started hearing people talk and knew we were close.  Now we just needed to get down the asphalt road and then up and down the Chinkapin section to secure 5 hours.  Stuart was having some cramping issues but kept powering through.  I looked at my watch and we were at 4:56 something and I was getting nervous, about a sub 5 finish.  I told Stuart I was going to power it in and he was good with it.  Turns out there was no need for it.  The finish line was less than 2 - 1/10th of a miles away.  We could have walked it in and made it.  I came in with my wife and daughter there yelling for me (you can hear them in the video below) along with the other finishers, like Jason who landed a 4:30 after being 4 weeks off his first 100 miler!!!!!  Stuart came in about a minute later breaking the 5 hour mark and setting the new masters record by around 20 minutes.

Afterward we hung around for several more hours cheering in friends and other runners as we chowed on food and drank a few cold ones.  It was an unbelievable day on the trail. It’s one of those rare days where everything is right from trail conditions, weather, to picking the right shirt to wear, the aid stations were awesome and the RD’s David and Victoria did another bang up job on this race.  Just an awesome day.

Other notes:

  • Ben Creehan – won the overall with a blazing time of 3:37!!
  • Christine Crawford – Ran strong as usual and took the women’s overall.  I’m not sure on exact time but I’m guessing its was around 4:40 or so.
  • My friend Howard ran his first ultra in a while on a brand new trail for him and went negative splits to finish under 6 hours.

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Psycho Wyco 50k 2009 – Race Report

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Psycho Wyco 50k 2009 – Race Report

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February weather in the Mid-West is not something I would call consistent by any stretch of the imagination.  Temperatures have a tendency to get in the 60’s one day then rapidly drop in the the 20’s the next.  Mix those things with a dash of rain, sleet, snow and any other name you can give to various states of water in cold weather… know what you get?  You get a recipe for a trail run that will keep you guessing with each step. Feb. 14th 2009 marked my 3rd straight year running the Psycho Wyco 50k.  Each year has brought a bit of a surprise to me.  In 2007 the course was covered in ice.  To quote Ben Holmes the RD “It’s like a slalom course out there.”  The course was covered in a sheet of ice and I have to put sheet metal screws in my shoes for traction.  2008 was a slop hole to say the least.  There was a light cover of snow on the ground and as temperatures rose and foot traffic moved over the trail, the ground became very muddy.  You know what 2009 had?  Both!

To start the temps were around 25.  The forecast called for sun and temperatures rising into the mid 30’s.  I hate this type of weather because it’s right on the verge of where I had to decide between shorts and tights.  Well I forgot my tights so this was an easy call.  I had my trusty tackle box full of various Clif shots, Clif shot blocks, and Endurolytes, which apparently the photographer thought was handy too. I was carrying pretty much everything with the Clif stuff and salt pills.  I carried 2 handhelds.  One had Perpetuem in it, the other water. After I finished off the Perpetuem I would just drink water the rest of the event.

Kyle and Ben gave the pre-race speech and we were off,  As I progressed along though the course it became apparent that things were going to get messy.  I concentrated on maintaining a pace and trying to hit about 1:50 for my first 10 mile loop.  I settled in with a group of runners that I had met a time or two before in my travels to KC for work.  We worked our way up the hills and called out to each other on slick spots, hidden roots and just unsure footing.  I mentally felt like crud for most of the first lap.  Then I looked up and  I crossed the start/finish in 1:45.29.  Huh… that was decent and I still feel fine.  My water bottles were full and I had enough gels to get though another lap so I just kept moving

So far so good.  I was on pace for a sub 6 hour finish and for the most part the course was slick but not bad.  I continued on.  I hit the “Triangle” about 27 minutes into the lap.  The Triangle is about a 1 mile section of the course that starts at one side of an aid station,zig-zags back and forth and up and down then comes up on the back side of the same aid station.  This section is pretty vulnerable to being slick and it was for sure on it’s way to being very muddy.  around the 4.5 mile mark, you come off the trail and start making your way up the dam.  This is a long climb, but the footing is good because you are not on the trail.  It goes from wide open prairie, to a concrete ditch, then onto the road.  The bad news is this is a long climb, A surprise this year was a fully stocked aid station half way up the climb.  This was nice!  Good cheering from the workers and welcome site over just an orange water dispenser from years past.

I got off the dam road (double meaning implied) and was back on the trail.  Around this time about 5 of us who were running the 50k all ran together for a bit.  There was a bit of competition going here.  We were all supportive of each other, but it was sort of an undertone that everyone was sort of jockeying for position and not letting on how we were doing.  We all crossed pretty close to the same time.  I finished my second lap in 1:51.46.  So far I was around 3:37 total time.  I had a fair amount of time to still keep within my 6 hour time goal, but with the course getting muddier by the minute I better just get going to be safe.  I loaded my pockets with a few more gels while the aid station workers filled my bottles.  I took off for my 3rd and final lap.

It was pretty sloppy this loop.  It was using a lot of energy to keep the pace up.  I was walking up a hill when one of the guys that had finished the last loop around me passed me singing.  I thought to myself, “there’s lots of course left, give him this and you will catch him later.”  As soon as we hit a downhill I passed him.  He asked if I minded if he tried to keep up.  I was like “no, please do” almost shocked to be asked this.  I told him that I did not know if  I could match him on the up-hills after seeing him pass me. He laughed that when he passed me on he was “faking it.”  Ok, well now I feel committed to keep the pace up.  Good, I needed this.  We ran together for the rest of the lap.  We decided that 6 hours was happening so we set our sites on 5:45.  This course was wrecked so we were going to have to push it when we could, because there is just no fast moving in mud.  John was a great guy who had ran some hard races including the Leadville 100, so I was pumped to be asked to “push the pace” by him.  We just kept talking about work, the economy, running… you know the stuff you talk to people about during an ultra.  We were both talking and I’d yell out time checks for us “need to finish up in 50 minutes to hit 5:45.”  This was more for me than him, but it helped having someone else to cruise with and to be able to have some confirmation that we could make it.  We were both getting pretty disgusted with the really slick up-hills, luckily they were coming to an end.  We hit a section that was mid-calf deep mud, and right as I was thinking that I did not want to wade through this for long, I looked up and there was the parking cones leading to the finish line. SWEET!!

I looked and there was the clock staring me in the face. It took a second to sink in.  Then when it did,  I actually yelled out “WHOAAA, 5:36!!”   I crossed the finish line, gave Ben the handshake/hug and talked a little about the course and the day.  I looked over and there was my wife getting out of her car with her arms up.  “What are you doing?” she yelled in a way that questioned why I finished before she got there.  Ben offered to let me run though again to stage it so she could see it.  I passed, I ran enough today.

I finished as follows:

Total Time - 5:36.35

Avg. Pace – 10:50

9th Overall

5th in my age group

 

This race is top notch.  I can’t say enough good things about it, which is why I have gone back 3 years in a row.  A tough course that could be almost any condition, but will most likely be muddy adds to the fun/suffering (depending on how you look at it).  3 fully stocked aid station on a 10 mile loop is pretty excellent also, it really goes to show the kind of support the KC Trail Nerds bring from its members and the community.  I want to say thanks to all of those that helped put it on and supported it during the event.  Great job to all the runners too!!!

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