We had a fun trip. I had insisted on driving down to Arkansas, as flying with little kids stresses me out. We packed 5 people and too much junk into our aging minivan (the "busboos") and drove south.
Arkansas is beautiful! Who knew? I guess I knew about the Ozarks, but still. Coming from brown Wisocnsin to green Arkansas in March is definitely cool. We drove up to the race headquarters at Blanchard Springs on Thursday night to check in. The campground is surrounded by little mountains in all directions and trails shoot off in all directions.
Since most people come here via the Girl's blog, they know that I ran the 50K and the 20K and did come in first in both. Now, there were plenty people signed up to run just those two races (ie. skip the middle 50 miler) but they tended to be the less serious runners.
The 50K was fun. I ran the first half with Nick Lewis, the eventual overall winner and Brad Bishop, who ended up taking 5th overall (I think; the results are not up yet). Every time I run an ultra, I am surprised by how everyone has a similar frame of reference. Only first names are spoken, and you are expected to know who they are talking about (as in, "Hal really shouldn't have sold Tony those short-shorts in a women's small"). It turned out Nick Lewis had taken second at Leadville (that race probably has a real name, but one should never call it anything else than Leadville in ultra circles). He more or less floated both up and down hills, making me feel old and stiff.
After halfway, Nick slowed down a little and told me to go ahead. I did, and essentially spent the next two hours worried about getting lost. The course markings were so sparse that I ran miles without seeing any ribbons. I wouldn't say the course was not well-marked, because each intersection was marked adequately. But I am the type who needs to see a ribbon at least every half mile or so. If not, I start playing head games, and several times I did turn around to wait for Nick to show up in the distance. I ran the 50K in 4:13.
The Girl ran the 50K in some good time I can't remember. She took second, which was surprising to both of us.
I got to watch the 50 miler from the sidelies, which was fun. The Girl dug very deep, as she got passed at the end and tried to keep up. Everyone now knows how she passed out in the shower. She lay in bed for an hour and was so sick that I had to keep it a secret from her mom. Her mom would have called 911 immediately, had she seen how pale the Girl looked. I was really worried: not about the Girl, but since we have no health insurance, I was freaking out about the ambulance bill.
Amazingly, she bounced back and took second among the overall contenders on day 3.
Having "only" run a 50K on Friday, I was able to win the 20K. A few days ago, I would consider that to be some serious recovery, but everything is relative.
Of course, I felt pretty good in my skin. My training has been going well, and things are clicking. Next up is a 5K in two weeks and then maybe the Mad City 50K.