Sunday, March 25, 2018

Land Run 50K 2018

I have toed the line and ran all three LandRun 50Ks, and this year it was DRY!!! The bikers just blazed by on roads that are actually BETTER than most streets in Tulsa. GONE was the endless miles of shoe sucking mud, the clay pancakes on the feet, and the 50 lbs of gunk on all the poor bikers spokes and gears.
OK, I'm a thief. I prefer to call myself a borrower though. This pic was borrowed from the LR100 FB page
This year Johnna, Lynna and I were chauffeured by BfkaM (Bryan formerly known as Mitch) over to Stillwater and back to do this race. Carpooling is the best. Especially with friends.

Picture by Lyda McWilliams
Lyda met us at the starting line all geared up and decked out for her first 50K. I believe she picked an easy one for her debut, although some people would disagree since there are (heaven forbid) HILLS. But none are ridiculously steep, and only a few are long. I am sure that the front runners run every step of them. And I think I could do the same, although I have yet to prove that theory.

Picture by JC Runner
Running her 2nd 50K was none other that Tiffany Fielder--the current leader of the Oklahoma Dirt Trail Series (which I have yet to update since I am still waiting for official results from AOK a few weeks back.)

Picture by JC Runner
After a reported 1200 bikers were sent off at 8:00 am, us runners took off at 8:10. I had my Salomon S-LAB 15 full of snacks, gels, a filled bladder, and other necessities one might need in a long run with minimal aid.

The course was the same as last year, and I pretty much knew every turn and what to expect. The first aid station was right at 10.5 miles, the second was 20.5 miles. The crew at aid station one also set up at mile 22.5. This came in handy for Lyda, and I'll elaborate later on that.

Picture by Lyda McWilliams
Look at that stinker go!!
This motley crew stayed together for about the first half of the race. Johnna and I have a light hearted grudge match in races. Sometimes I whup her butt. Sometimes, however, she makes me eat her dust. Occasionally we act like civilized runners and run together. Shortly after leaving this aid station, either I slowed down or she sped up. Twice I pushed the pace and caught her, but after the second run-down, she took off and put a sizable distance between us. When I could no longer see her in the distance, the "reel it in" affect was gone.  I'd accuse her of cutting the course, but there is no way possible to do that. In fact, she did miss a turn and added a little over a mile to her race and still beat me by over an hour.

We had received an email about drop bags for the race. I rarely use one, and with my stuffed pack and aid stations with the basics every 10 miles, I was good. Lyda was doing her first ultra, and being vegan, she was concerned that there would not be anything she could eat at the stops. She paid the $20 to have a drop bag delivered, and it was unclear to her where it would be. Someone told her it was halfway on the course. At mile 15-16--no drop bag. She made a phone call to someone with the race and was told it would be at the next aid station, but the aid station folks knew nothing about it. Then someone told her it was only for the 100 mile bikers. Funny, they had no problem taking her $20 for transport. She did get a small bag of pretzels and some fruit at the second aid station, and probably had more stuff she could eat at the impromptu station two miles later. Despite this issue, Lyda kept up a good pace and finished around 45 minutes ahead of me. Not sure if they ever found her drop bag or refunded her $20.

BfkaM was also told upon picking up his packet that he had paid for drop bag service when signing up online, but he did not remember doing that. Like me, he had no intention of using one anyway.

Picture by JC Runner
Last year the mud through this stretch was so bad, Johnna stepped in a hole and sunk up to her chin! After a drought year, the roads were dry and dusty, but this spot STILL had mud a year later. With a little tiptoeing, bush-whacking, and scrambling, we were able to get around it with our pretty trail shoes still dusty. It was also around here that Lynna found her rocket fuel and left BfkaM and I behind.

BfkaM and I were content to be the two middle-aged fat guys in last place. We even had a Jeep escort tailing us. If they would have had a cattle prod handy, I am sure they would have used it on us. About 1.5 miles from the finish line, we both ran out of water--within a few steps of each other. But being the resourceful trail runner that I am, I remembered a quickie store a mile ahead, and decided we should stop there and get a beer to get us to the finish line. For whatever reason, the only singles they had were the 25 oz Ultras and Bud Lights. I went with the Ultra, and a mile later, I had downed almost all of it and raised it high as we crossed the amazing finish line.

Pic borrowed from the Land Run 100 FB page

The finish line at Land Run is like no other. Now remember, this is really a gravel bike event. As slow as BfkaM and I were, there were still a lot of 100 mile bikers behind us. (The coolest thing about all the bikers passing us was that they nearly all shouted out and cheered us on. It was uplifting!) When these bikers finish, they all partake of the free beer, and just hang around to party and cheer everyone on. That includes us runners. We are treated like celebrities when we trot across the line.

Picture by Belle Vie
Johnna and Lyda collected their patches and waited around for us. I felt great for having shuffled around the countryside for almost nine hours.

Not sure who took this picture. Probably because of the green beer.
Mike had found some green wheat beer, and that just sounded wonderful to me after drinking 25 ounces of watered down beer. Everyone was in, everyone felt good, and we were hungry!!

Lynna had lost her Patagonia jacket she had bungeed to her hydration pack when she took a diversion into the woods. BfkaM drove us back to the spot, and found it easily. We were the last runners on a seldom driven road. 

I said it last year, and I'll probably kick the idea around some more. I think this would make a good 100 mile ultra. They make a provision for anyone wanting to do a run/bike double to run Friday and bike Saturday. What if maybe me and a friend show up and just run the 100 mile bike course self sufficient. Leaving out Friday at 6:00 am should get us to the finish line by noon or so Saturday. Hmmm....

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