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<p>Please be kind.  This was not only my first attempt at a 50 miler, it was my first attempt at a RR.</p>
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<p>Micah</p>
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<p>After a 14.5+/- hour 2 day drive, the race weekend started off great with a get-together with other runners.  A local family of runners with an open field offered the space to campers.  I had a room down the road but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pick the brains of more experienced ultra marathoners.  After the fact, I realized I was actually given the opportunity to hang out with an elite crowd.  I was hanging out with both the eventual 1<sup>st</sup> and 2<sup>nd</sup> place finishers of the marathon as well as the 2<sup>nd</sup> place finisher of the 50.  Also in the group was a well known barefoot runner and some of his protégés.</p>
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<p>After realizing that I drank all the Gatorade I was planning on putting in my Camelbak and having to drive down to the gas station hoping they were open, (which they were), I managed to get a decent night sleep.  I woke up minutes before the alarm and was out the door about 15 minutes later.   After a quick short stack (with lots of syrup) at the local “Kozy Kitchen” restaurant it was off to the races.  I got to the race site about an hour before the race and had no problem with parking.  I was beginning to get a little nervous as this was my first attempt at a real “ultra” distance, (other than my 50k during training).  After dropping off my drop bags for both the 13.4/38.4 and 25 mile aid stations, I just kind of hung around and soaked up the Ultra atmosphere.</p>
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<p>Shortly before 7:30 they began the pre-race announcements, had both the Canadian & US national anthems and moved us over to the start.  The weather was clear ~58 deg, and about 95% humidity.  The course starts with a loop through a parking lot in an attempt to separate everyone a little before the single track trails.  Although you don’t really separate, it does give you a chance to shift into the group running the same pace as you.  Now, we were off to the single track trails (paths to anyone from the NY area).  The trails are a mix of hardpack, sand, pine needles and roots.  There really aren’t any rocks or technical terrain to deal with.  The first half or so of the 25 mile loop is over gently rolling terrain.  The second half is hillier with fairly constant ups and downs.  There is a nice mix of pines stands and deciduous tree areas as well as some areas of fern glades.</p>
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<p>I tried my best to take everything in as I knew I would only get this one chance at my first 50, but the whole race is still a bit of a blur.  I do however remember some things.  Several miles into the race, (I don’t know the mileage).  The stakes marking the turns in the course had been pulled the night before.  This caused a good portion of the lead group to go off course for anywhere up to 3 miles from what I was told.  Eventually an extremely helpful mountain biker who knew where we were supposed to be directed them back to the correct location.  Thankfully, I got to this intersection just as this line of runners was departing onto the correct trail, so I was able to jump right on the back where I belonged.  Another thing I remember is being passed by most of the faster portion of the marathon field as they started a half hour behind us.  The RD assured us he is changing that for next year and they will start first to alleviate this problem.  Although, some of these marathoners gave me a boost later in the first loop as I passed back some of those who “blew up” late in their race.</p>
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<p>I was really good about pacing over the first lap.  I was looking for finishing ~9:00+/-.  I came in for the first lap at 4:35.  I got a real boost when I came in because I thought I was behind on pacing due to my gps losing signal and running about 1.5 miles behind.  At the drop bags at the start/finish, I changed into a fresh shirt and was off again.  At this point it was ~80 deg and about 60% humidity.  It was starting to get hot.</p>
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<p>Unfortunately, the boost I got at the start of the lap induced me to pick up my pace a bit.  I was feeling good and let myself get sucked into thinking it would last.  Within the first couple of miles of the 2<sup>nd</sup> lap, I passed 5 or 6 runners.  All was going great.  Of course, anyone who has run an ultra knows the old adage, “If you’re feeling good in an ultra, just wait, it will pass”.  And, it did.   After leaving the 35.2 mile aid station, I could feel myself slowing down a little.  I was still maintaining 10/1 run to walk, but the running part was getting a little slower.  Up until this point, I had still been steadily passing runners.  This was the first time on the 2<sup>nd</sup> lap that I got passed.  I think that may have hurt my mental state a little as I am not a fan of getting passed.  However I pushed relentlessly forward.  After the 42.1 mile aid station, my 10/1 started turning more into 5/1.  I was still maintaining the running speed I had after the 35.2, but there were more walks involved.  After the 46 mile station I knew I was only 4 miles away from my goal.  About a mile into this leg, I finally passed another runner.  Between passing him and knowing I only had 3 miles to go I started to pick it up again.  I knew that the last aid station was only .9 miles from the finish.  My intentions were to just run past and not stop.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of trying to confirm there was only .9 left.  They told me I had 2.1 to go!!!  This demoralized me.  It made me stop at the station and stay for ~3 minutes.  About ¼ mile after I left the aid station, I started seeing people walking up the trail.  I called out to one of the to find out if the finish was ahead.  They told me I had less than a mile to go.  From that point on, I felt no pain.  I was running like it was the start of the race again.  Here I came, around a bend and out into the opening.  I hear a volunteer radio my number into the finish line announcer.  I hear my name over the loud speaker.  I’m going to do it….50 Miles!  I cross the line in 9:25:30.  In all that pain I was feeling in the second half, I only lost 15 minutes.  Later on, I found out that the marathoners had 2.1 miles to the finish from the last aid station and the volunteers didn’t realize the 50 milers only had .9.  Oh well, next time I’ll trust myself.</p>
 

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<p>Congratulations!! <img alt="" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/hello2.gif" title=""> I finished my first 50 this past April.  Took me quite a bit longer than you, but doggone I was proud - and you should be, too.  What's next?</p>
 
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