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Autumn Leaves 50K Race Report

Autumn Leaves 50K Race Report

by macdaddy on October 31, 2011 · 10 comments

Post image for Autumn Leaves 50K Race Report

Friday night it rained—the hardest rain of the Fall so far. Pam spent a lot of time getting her costume together. It paid off in the end too, because not only did she win the ladies’ race, but she also won first prize in the costume contest. Her Medusa getup earned her a really nice Halloween basket full of yummy treats that the whole family enjoyed.

Saturday dawned a perfect day for running; it was foggy with a little mist and temperatures in the low 50′s. We arrived at Champoeg State Park in Newberg, OR with perhaps a little too much time on our hands before the race. We were able to fill it with the usual trips to the port-a-potty, chats with friends, and some nice time warming by the camp fire.

In case you missed the post about my goals for this race, here’s a little recap:

  • I wanted to break 5:00 for a 50K.
  • I didn’t want Pam to lap me. In other words, I wanted to run 40K before she finished her 50K.

Lap 1

At 7:00, we took off into the dark, foggy morning. Sunrise was around 7:45, so most of the first lap was run with head lamps or flash lights. I haven’t run much in the night, so this was a treat for me. It was really fun, but I think I was a little bit more cautious than I normally would have been due to uncertain footing. Perhaps this was a good thing though as I ran my first lap in a conservative 59:31.


The sun had come up by the time I finished my first lap. So on this lap, I felt like I really got to see the course. It’s a great place to run! Some of the great things about this course are that it’s very flat, mostly bike path, and a little bit of trail. Another nice feature is there’s a 3 mile section (between mile 1.5 and 4.5 that’s out and back so if you’re worried about someone (say your wife) catching you then you can tell how far ahead you are. During lap 2, when Pam and I passed each other, she told me her first lap was 48 minutes—11 minutes faster than mine. If we both kept up those paces, than I should have completed my 4th lap with 4 minutes to spare. I finished my 2nd lap in 57:41 and was hoping that I’d banked a little bit more time.

Lap 3

During my third lap, I started to think more about the race. I was used to the course now, so I could spend more time thinking about the things that my body needed. I concentrated on my hydration and on nutrition. My foot was still feeling fine at this point, but I spent some time checking in with my body. Every so often, I had little pains that came and went. Every once in a while, my foot would throb, or my groin would pinch, or my hamstrings felt tight. But those pains went away rather quickly. I finished my third lap in 56:30, but by this time it was clear that Pam was catching up to me. I just didn’t know if she was making up time quick enough.

Lap 4

All morning long, I had been running with another woman (Linda). She’s a much more experienced ultra runner than me, and was running the 50 mile race and was hoping to maintain a 9:20 pace for the entire morning. It was really nice running with her because she was a good talker and helped the time pass very quickly. During this lap, I started to get a little bit tired and it was here that I realized I was most likely going to get caught. A little bit after the turnaround at mile 3.25, Pam and I passed each other. I was about 1/2 of a mile ahead of her at that point, but she was motoring. So I picked up the pace as much as possible. Unfortunately, Linda decided not to come with me (I’m sure she could have, but she was running a very smart race) and I was only delaying the inevitable. Even though I ran my 4th lap in 55:04, Pam still passed me with at about 38K and she finished her race a little bit more than a minute before I finished my 4th lap. Close, but no cigar.

Lap 5

My fifth lap was pretty uneventful. I had run a smart 4 laps and had 73 minutes to get around that loop again to stay under 5 hours which was my primary goal. I ran this lap mostly with another woman that I didn’t know. I trailed her for the first half, passed her on the hill up to the turn around, and she stayed right with me for the second half before fading at the very end. I ran my 5th lap in 57:11 for a total time of 4 hours 45 minutes and 59 seconds. 18 men ran this race and I finished 6th, but 11th overall.

Salty Mess and Medusa after running 50K

It was a good day. I was happy with how I ran and I even learned a few things. I really pushed myself during that 4th lap, knowing that Pam was closing in on me. Running with Linda, and having Pam chasing me down, really motivated me to keep going. I’m certain that they pushed me to a new PR of 1 hour and 3 minutes faster than my previous best!

And even though Pam passed me, it was a good exercise in running uncomfortably. Yeah it was hard, but I pushed through it and didn’t blow up. Maybe that’s what I’m most proud of.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Meegan (redstar5) October 31, 2011 at 5:11 am

Mac – a 50K! Good lord I can’t imagine getting myself to a point where I could run 50. The 10K that Tara ran with me this month was epic enough. Congratulations on smokin’ your previous PR. This was a great recap post, lots of lessons in here even for an inexperienced runner like me.

I like your idea of going as a salty mess for Halloween’ – I should have skipped my shower after bootcamp this morning and gone with it for the day! They would have loved it at the office I’m sure! ;)
Meegan (redstar5) recently posted..Sea Change


2 macdaddy October 31, 2011 at 7:40 am

Thanks Meegan! Salty Mess was definitely a costume by default and not design! And yes you could run 50K if you wanted to. You of all people should know that! It would definitely take some dedication, but you’ve got that trait too. Thanks for the fist bump!


3 Medusa :) October 31, 2011 at 8:06 am

Mac – I am super proud of you! You looked great out there and ran a really strong race. And no “green face” at the finish! (or maybe your shirt just detracted from that??)

Now how many times do you think I could lap you in the 50 mile?? ;) Happy Halloween.
Medusa :) recently posted..The Good Life


4 macdaddy October 31, 2011 at 9:59 am

Thanks P! I felt pretty good for most of the day. Which I guess means I should have run faster and not gotten lapped, huh? I don’t think you’d get me 3 times in 50 miles. But I don’t think I want to find out either :)


5 olga October 31, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Shucks, Pam must have had her own goals, one of which was to pass you! :) But what an awesome pacing, smart race and fantastic finishing time!
olga recently posted..Another kind of ultra.


6 macdaddy October 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Oh yeah, Olga, I’m sure she wanted to lap me. She won’t even let her 6 year old daughter beat her at “Go Fish!” But that’s ok. I’m still learning how to race and with every one of these I get better. I still struggle with how hard to push myself. I felt really good all day so probably could have gone faster. But I’m afraid faster early=blow up late so I never go fast early.


7 olga October 31, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I actually for the most part do the same. I had not pushed myself in an ultra to the extent of blowing up, I am known for great splits, but may be that’s why I had never achieved my potential:)
olga recently posted..Another kind of ultra.


8 John November 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm
9 macdaddy November 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

John, I read that and was very fascinated by the title. I’m interested in minimalist running, pose method, barefoot, vibrams, whichever method you prefer. I was rather disappointed in the article that it didn’t give much more information on the “one true way” other than the little gimmick with the sticks. But it did give me some stuff to research. What were your thoughts?


10 John November 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I’m interested in minimalist running, but the one time I tried it (for ten minutes) my calves hurt for a week. I guess it doesn’t matter what shoes you wear; if the proper form is to land on the balls of your feet rather than striking the heel so hard, it doesn’t matter. But landing on the balls of your feet is going to make the calves work much harder, I think; hence my achiness.

I’m in NY, and watched the marathon this weekend, and saw none of the elites or sub-elites in minimalist shoes (a few racing flats excepted).

I thought the article was a little biased, frankly. I don’t know what the author has against Nike, but he has something.

By the way, I ran my first official 5K this weekend (the Dash to the Finish Line – down 42nd St, up 6th Avenue and into Central Park across the official marathon finish line) and broke my personal best by over a minute. 29:20!


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