2 October 2011. by Viktor Trukov
Fork Area Trail System 50 km Trail Ultra Marathon Run.
Long awaited run near Augusta, SC. My recovery from twisted ankle on Long Cane 50 km run is almost complete with very little residual pain in foot occasionally and I’m almost back to my pre-injury speed. From the beginning of 2011 my dream was completing one Marathon or Ultra a month, but injury set me back for two months… I will try to squeeze additional two marathons in the remaining time, if possible. We’ll see. I did not run much in August and September, sadly missing the only one Terri’s run in 2011 – Chattooga 50 km, where I volunteered. My first recovery run of 50 km total distance was at Woods Ferry 24 hour run. In training for this run I had only one long run of 16 km (10 mi) previous week, yet felt quite ready! What also helped is that I recently discovered that my Employer – Greenville Technical College has a designated shower for people who come to work on bicycle! So, for two weeks I was coming to work either on bicycle or running! Greenville Swamp Rabbit Trail is just over 1 km from my home, and it gets almost to the gate of GTC – 10.5 km to work, 10.5 km back = 21 km (Half Marathon) a day, three days a week. Perfect! 🙂
FATS 50 km Trail Run is a final in 2011 series, organized by Terri Hayes of UltrasOnTrails.com As usual, event was very well-organized with cheerful volunteers, enough refreshments for everyone! Fork Area Trail System is looking on the map as a flower with four loops getting close to each other at the base. This arrangement made possible to set up only two Aid Stations (AS)! To the first one we would return three times, so it’d be #1 (12 km – 7.5 mi), #2 (22.5 km – 14 mi), #4 (38.5 km – 24 mi), and AS #3 was separate (30.5 km – 19 mi). All were fully stocked with everything needed – electrolyte pills, water, drinks and food.
We had to run the Great Wall (12 km – 7.5 mi), Deep Step (8 km – 5 mi), Skinny (9.6 km – 6 mi) and Brown Wave (9.3 km – 5.8 mi) Loops, then repeating the Great Wall Loop going back to the finish. Terri mentioned that we will be running “Terri Miles”, meaning that the course is actually a few miles longer than 31.1 and we’ll get a couple of bonus miles. General consensus after the finish was that we ran at least 51.5 – 53 km (32 – 33 mi), with some people even recording 56 km (35 mi).
North Augusta is about 2.5 hours drive South from Greenville, and a start time was 8:00. So, had to get up early and left home with enough time to get on time, but… got lost twice, losing about half an hour or more. Thanks for straight and empty Highway 67, I got to the start line 5 minutes before the run. Barely had enough time to say Hi to friends, got the race number on, made a photo with Terri, and the start command was given!
Per my modus operandi I took off my shirt and started to run in a vanguard of the cohort of runners. Weather was cool, about 8-10 Celsius (47 – 50 F), so we did not have to worry about overheating! After taking just a few steps on the trail I felt that my shoes are too loose..? Forgot to tighten shoe laces… 🙂 It took less than a minute to do it, and I continued ahead. I felt very well, hoping to have a good run. Soon I saw Joe Parker and ran with him for a while. We discussed future runs, then Joe decided to speed up and I followed for about a kilometer. We had fun passing people by going on the edges of the trail, leaving some friends – Drew Walker, Bo Millwood, Chad Hallyburton, Jason Sullivan and others behind. Most of them would pass me sooner or later. 🙂 It did not take Joe long to run away from me, and I settled into my own pace, while runners started to pass me in groups. Some of them I was able to overpass for a while claiming my 15 seconds of fame! 🙂 Just to be eventually passed by them again. But, hey, we’ve got to have fun somehow!
First loop was long 12 km, but I did not take any water with me, running with empty belt, because I had drunk enough coffee during driving on the way to start and had a couple of cheese and ham sandwiches about an hour before the run. Sent my drop bag with juice bottles to the AS #1/2/4.
With weather being cool I did not feel a need to carry water with me. But when i came to a water drop in the middle of the loop, I took one 24 oz (600 ml) “Essential Water” bottle (water, sugar and vitamins) to try. That water drop was ingenious, thank you Terri! I drank just the half of this water till I got to AS #1, greeted enthusiastically by volunteers. First loop was over, I felt good, by the time I finished it, stomach started to feel lighter, with food pushed to intestines, and not much of water in it. Drank some HEED, water, took two electrolytes pills, ate one banana piece, filled up the same bottle with water, and ran off.
Second loop, “Deep Step” was only 8 km, so I was hoping it would not be very hard. During the Summer, in hot weather, by this distance most runners would get into their paces with very little passing happening on the trail, and I remember running long stretches completely alone. But in this cool weather there were people running everywhere, all the way to the finish line! Much more company and fun! I had a few 15 seconds of fame over-passing some runners and running ahead, before they’d pass me. 🙂 Second loop was not too hard also, some hills, but not too steep, and I was able to keep running clean – without walking. Decided early in the run, that if able to run – will run, if it gets too difficult, will start walking uphills. Usually I can run up to a marathon distance before resorting to walking uphills, and only my first 50 km Harbison Ultra Run in January 2010, I ran completely thru, even skipping some Aid Stations.
By the end of this loop I finished 600 ml of Essential Water/water drink and on return to AS #2, left it there. I must say that I don’t like carrying bottle in the hand, or two bottles… It feels heavy, and I think it tires a runner faster. Also don’t like carrying a camel water bag or anything else on the chest. I prefer fuel waist belt! All the weight distributed to the pelvic girdle evenly, and is not on the way of breathing. But that’s a personal preference, everybody is different. 🙂
At AS # 2 went thru usual routine: drank some HEED, water, took two electrolytes pills, ate one banana piece, took two bottles with juice for my fuel belt, two Hammer gels and off I went.
Third loop was “Skinny” (9.6 km – 6 mi), I still feel very good, running was pleasant, with cool wind often blowing head on! Trails were quite clean, with very few roots or rocks, and some of them we kicked off the trail. After about kilometer of running I started to reach a runner in red shirt, and when I got to about 10 meters behind him, I realized it was Drew Walker! When did he passed me? Must be in the packs of runners on the first loop. I was sure that I’d get to him, as he was so close, but then hills started, and I found out that it’s not only me, who loves downhills! Drew started to pull away and then disappeared completely, never to be seen again till after the finish. (He made a PR on this run!) Somewhere in the middle of the loop one runner in white shirt got to me, and I offered him a passage, but he declined, saying it’s okay for him to hang on with me. On all the races there is always a runner in white shirt, that I’d come into contact!? We got acquainted, Kent Kronowski run with me all the way to AS #3, he knew the terrain, we talked a bit. Soon we passed a bare-chested runner, and I sure was glad to see a brotherly soul! Everybody mentioned how perfect the weather was for the run – cool, and many were aiming for a Personal Record (PR). I too, was hoping for that. I did pulled a bit ahead on downhills and got to AS #3 first. Did exactly the same routine as usual, but spent a few minutes for lubing my armpit folds with Vaseline, because they started to chafe, as in a rush at the start I forget to lube them, and by now salt started to accumulate on skin… We already completed 30 km with 20 more to run. It’s all downhill from now, we joked! 🙂 Less than a half of the distance.
On the fourth loop “Brown Wave” (9.3 km – 5.8 mi) Kent went ahead of me, and it took me about a half of the loop to reach him! Right before that I passed a runner, who over-passed me before, on the first loop! We ran with Kent a bit again, and then I started to pull away. About a kilometer before AS #4 I had a runner on my hills, which was Chris Dillard, he also declined to pass me and we ran together. About half a kilometer before AS, we saw volunteers offering a pizza slice, and then others offering donuts! By that time both me and Chris were running on empty, with no water, naturally declined both offers. Good intention, but… Agua, I told them, we need agua!!! Soon we came to AS#4. Completed 38.6 km with “just” 12 more to run. Almost a Marathon distance already behind us! The running time was 5 hours, so I was surely on the way to make a PR!
Short break and casual routine refueling at AS mixed with jokes and encouragement from runners and volunteers, and runners quickly started to get back on the trail! It’s definitely All downhill from now!
One of the volunteers heard it, and tried to explain to me that it’s a half downhill, half uphill! To which I told him, that he is WRONG! IT’S ALL DOWNHILL FROM NOW!!! He got the joke and started to laugh. 🙂
We need to complete a final loop “Great Wall” (12 km – 7.5 mi) a second time, and there is a Water Drop about a half distance! Chris went out a few minutes earlier than me, I followed after getting two bottles with juice from my drop bag. It took me about a kilometer to reach him, and I got to about 20 meters behind him, hoping to reach him eventually, but he gradually run away and disappeared into woods. Last loop, final stretch, always the most difficult running, as general fatigue is building up, and I always try to see how much more I need to run. So far I was able to run between ASs clean, without walking uphills, but getting close to a Marathon distance, I told myself, that if it gets too hard, I’ll walk uphills. It’s not the goal to run thru, but a possibility. I was getting tired, but legs still run, so I was going to the finish! Before the water drop, I already finished my both bottles of juice, 400 ml total, and ate one Hammer gel. I was sure glad to see a water drop, got one Essential Water bottle, filled up my belt bottles with it and drank the rest. Just another 6 km to run. When I started to run I heard voices behind me. Other runners were following closely! But running started to get tough, the only desire was to get to the finish line and stop! I started to think of eating one remaining Hammer gel, but reasoned myself out of it, because it’s so close to finish already. Mistake… Should eat it, as it always gets you power, including psychological! Pretty soon Thomas Bussiere in yellow shirt passed me quite easily, and with less than one kilometer to go, Bo Millwood reached me too. He said – It took me all day to get to you! I said – I was waiting for you! Bo started to pull ahead as well, I tried to keep up to no avail. Bo finished less than a minute ahead of me. Congrats Bo, on the first timed Ultra! I was still running thru all uphills, and with less than 1 km to run, I was not about to start walking them! We were greeted at the Power line by a nice volunteer woman, who told us that it’s about a half a mile to finish. As soon, as we pulled away, we heard that she started to greet other runners, they were very close. By this time I had about a half a bottle of water and I gradually finished it. Still feel okay, just tired and waiting for a finish. I asked every bicyclist, how far it is, and most of them were polite and letting runners of this timed event to have a road, with only a few, mostly younger ones boldly riding ahead, not even looking at runners. Trails were quite clean, with very few roots and rocks, I just kicked a couple of them lightly, so no black toe nails! The closer I was getting to the finish, the closer I heard voices behind me… Finally three young walkers appeared ahead, and told me that finish is less than 100 yards ahead. Hooray! I thought (Ура! in Russian, of course;) and spurted as fast as I could! Finish appeared suddenly, just 10 meters ahead, and it was over in a few seconds!!! Mama took photos of finishers and me!
My 8th Marathon/Ultra Marathon this year completed! Uneventfully: no trauma, no getting lost on trail, no overheating! Injured foot hurt a little on the first and on the final loops, but not for a long time and no pain in it later!
On top of this a Personal Record – 6:48, about a half an hour less than before!!! Perfect! Started to feel drunk with success, with all those endorphins floating in me!
My result: 36. Viktor Trukov 48 SC 6:48:34 (bib# 345)
This time I was again able to finish at the middle of the pack, overall # 36 of 67 finishers!!! In 45 -49 y.o. age group I’m #5, in 40 – 49 y.o. age group I’m #10. And in “age and older” group I’m #5!
Many thanks to Terri Hayes, Race Director of these series for organizing 2011 season. Your efforts greatly appreciated!!! If we can only ask for more runs a year..?
When I started to run long distances, and people told me – Enjoy your run! I thought it was some kind of a joke. How you can enjoy a Marathon distance – 42.2 km, or even greater Ultra Marathons – 50 km or more?? It’s a torture, not a joy! All you can do is just persevere thru it somehow, but certainly not enjoy it. Oh, how wrong I was..! Turned out you really can enjoy a long run, after some preparation, of course, with proper training regimen and experience! The going might get tough in the run but your body is able to handle it and your legs are still running, and you are enjoying it! Plus recovery period is getting shorter and less painful with time! So, I must say this was one of the most enjoyable runs for me to date!
Now it was a time to talk with friends, drink some fluids, eat pizza (Thanks again, Terri!), and take some more photos!!! Fun time! I discovered right after a finish that I can walk around normally, without limping, because I did not have any pain in legs! That is strange and the very first time ever! I started to hope that I would not have any pain in legs, but next day started to feel a bit in flexors of thighs and legs, and still no quadriceps pain! Had to work next day, standing and walking and nobody noticed anything unusual.
Results of FATS 50 km Trail Ultra Marathon Run-> http://ultrasontrails.com/FATSresults2011.html
All pictures of this Trail Ultra Marathon Run you can see at my Picasa Web album:
It’s open to public, so you welcome to download, add, upload your photos, tag and comment! Also, the same album will be on FaceBook.
Congratulations to first three 50 km finishers:
1. Thomas Gamblin 48 SC 5:01:18 (bib 287) New Course Record!
2. Mike Grady 49 GA 5:02:57 (bib 353)
3. Andy Bruner 30 GA 5:08:37 (bib 229)
First three 50 km female finishers:
4. Caitlin Schier 27F SC 5:11:30 (bib 339) New Female Course Record!
9. Stephanie Miller 32F GA 5:43:17 (bib 320)
12. Laura Haupfear 46F SC 5:51:30 (bib 296)
Congratulations to 38. Paul Duso 63 GA 6:54:38 (bib 278), as a most senior runner, at 63 y.o. of this event!
Damage report: 1) Only one small blister on right II digit of both feet. Cut out small hole with scissors, drained the lymph. 2) Small chafing areas around arm pits.
Recovery: No pain in thigh and leg flexor muscles on the fourth day. Quads are pain-free thru-out recovery! 5 km runs on fifth and sixth day, considering returning to 10 km routine runs!
Resolutions: 1) Lift legs higher on the trail, do not kick roots! 2) Do more cross and strength training. 3) Keep losing extra weight.
Good exercises for good health everyone!!! Do not overdo, do no harm to yourself!!! Exercise safely!!! P.s. Please, tell me if you want your name to be partially omitted from post (e.g. last name removed), or on opposite, you realize, I’m describing you (e.g. man in white shirt) and you want me to put your name in post instead. Also, please, let me know of any mistakes I made, English is not my native tongue. And feel free to talk Russian with me any time! 😉