Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Black Hills 50 - - Some Summary Observations

I've had 3 days to review what transpired last Saturday.  I've taken some time to review other race reports and articles regarding the events of that day.  So I've come to a few conclusions and will simply list them as additional thoughts rather than rewrite a more detailed race report or modify yesterday's post.

  • The Black Hills course is very difficult terrain.
  • I didn't adjust my pace to account for the difference in difficulty compared to my training.
  • I became impatient with passing and being re-passed, so ran too aggressively on some downhills for the state of my knees.
  • While, I had made some intelligent decisions about what to include in my drop bag, I became rattled by a missing support crew and, therefore, left the Elk Creek aid without eating adequately. I also rushed through the next aid station without receiving much help and, thereby, missed another opportunity to eat more than gel.
  • I have never raced well in heat and I definitely became over-heated and showed some classic symptoms of heat exhaustion.
  • Other, more experienced, ultrarunners were also affected by the heat and a rather high dropout rate resulted from all 3 races.

But the weekend provided a lot of positives, as well.  Even with the DNF,  I had a great time and only regret that I didn't find a way to walk through to the finish.
  • The Black Hills are a beautiful place to visit...whether driving or running on the trails.
  • The race organization is great (both race directors are ultra runners themselves) and the volunteers were fantastic.
  • There is very good spacing of the aid stations to help make up for the difficult terrain.
  • A year ago, if someone had told me I'd be running 33 miles (in a 50), I would have thought they were crazy because of the knee issues I've been fighting.  This whole race preparation and participation are a bonus!
  • Sturgis has the distinction of the huge motorcycle rally in August, therefore, the selection of restaurants and saloons is excellent and I ate a couple of the best meals I've had in quite some time.  This includes "The Knuckle Sandwich", a 1 lb. burger with sweet potato fries at The Knuckle and a stuffed salmon the was heavenly at One Eyed Jacks!
  • There was enough free time the day before the race to see Mt. Rushmore for my first time and also see the progress on Crazy Horse monument.

This place was huge and includes acres that are not visible in this photo

Today I got out early because the weather forecast is for a steep rise in temperature.  The legs are getting much better and I almost walk downhill without favoring my steps.  I might even be capable of running again tomorrow or Friday.

4 miles in the AM.  3 mile hike after dark.

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