Long Play 33 1/3 Ultra Marathon
(Late and abbreviated race report (today is 4/22/22) )
This was my 7th time running this race , first time was in 2013 during its inaugural running. This is the second time I've run on the "new" course. Old course used to start in Nobleton, loop through Croom (Tucker hill area), then down to and past the Silver Lake camping area and then back. New course starts at Ridge Manor, winds north and does basically one Fools Run loop in Croom Tucker hill area. And actually, this "new" course was slightly different than the last time I ran the "new" course. Loop around Tucker hill area this time was counter-clockwise vs clockwise last time, there was no bike path "starter mile" this time, but there was a little added loop toward the end of the first 9 miles.
After feeling really good about Iron Horse, probably had my hopes set a little high. Iron Horse is run on some bike trail, some dirt road, pretty much all of it drivable (at least by Jeep), whereas this course is mainly good old trail, more hills, and weather was a bit warmer today.
Race started at 7:00 am, headed out with plan of 7/1 run/walk. The problem with that on this type of course is it gets awkward on single track, passing groups of people only to get passed again without putting in much distance between us (feel like an accordion). But, first few miles went reasonably well, running between 11:40 (first mile) and 10:20 for the first 7 miles.
Then all of the sudden, we (the line I was in), stopped. Someone realized we were much too close to the lead pack. We'd missed a turn. We went back a little ways to try and spot it with no luck. Then decided to just keep going forward and ask the race volunteers for guidance. (We would later find out that someone removed the flags that were supposed to mark the turn, otherwise course was very well marked).
Next aid station was nearby, we had missed close to 2 miles. I grabbed some food and started eating a PB&J sandwich while walking, feeling a bit discouraged.
Next several miles were slower, partially due to getting warmer and partially due to terrain, 13:01, 13:05, 11:13, 12:46, 11:37, 11:52.
Then I got a little faster approaching Tucker Hill. There was an aid station at the top, and then the backside down Tucker Hill is pretty rooty, so that mile was 14:59 (slowest for the race, although I didn't actually know my mile splits at that point because I had 7 minute run, 1 minute walk intervals so only saw the paces for those and my math brain while running wasn't going to calculate the averages. So, I just decided to settle in on reasonable running paces during the run section.
The next few miles heading back to that aid station where I grabbed the PB&J went well. I felt good and passed a few people. At the aid station I asked about making up the lost distance and they said to get instructions at the next aid station located at a campground.
Left the wooded area and ran along section of trail exposed to the sun, running parallel to a paved bike path. I saw a cactus so stopped and took a picture of it since I had no pictures of the race so far.
Crossed the bike path eventually and headed on the trail to the campground. Caught up to a few more people. Volunteers at the campground and me do a loop inside there which added back some mileage but would not be enough to reach 33 1/3.
About 5 miles later was nearing the finish line, thought about running around some more but there was no telling exactly how much I missed since the garmin doesn't always line up to the course mileage. So, decided not to worry about it and just finish.
Although it couldv'e gone better, was still a good experience, nice scenery, pushing through some lows and enjoying the highs and seeing a lot of famililar faces.
And the 11:43 average pace would not look all that bad after the Croom Fools run 50 mile race.