Saturday, March 28, 2015

Forget The PR Race Director 50K: March 28th, 2015

Ready to rock!  Mohican hills behind me calling my name.
Finally back to the trail running paradise of The Mohican State Forest!  You may remember from the last few years I volunteer at Rob Powell's trail race Forget The PR 50K and 25K.  Rob graciously invites all of the volunteers to come to Mohican and run the course a few weeks prior to the actual event.  Rob is such a great race director and friend that he not only let's the volunteers run the course he also gives us the same schwag and 50K buckle received by the runners of the actual event. Another cool thing is that he treats us to beer and pizza after our volunteer run.  Before I get into the details of the actual run I want to say a few things about how Forget The PR was the event that gave me the final nudge to get me into running ultra marathons.  After high school I did very little running until the fall of 2009 when I started getting back into shape.  I did my first trail half marathon in 2010.  Then in the spring of 2011 my great friend Lucas Hardbarger, who had been around the trail ultra scene for a few years, introduced the me to the scene by inviting me to come down to Mohican and volunteer with him at Forget The PR.  I really liked trail running and decided to come down and see what an ultra is all about.  Lucas seemed to have a lot of fun running the crazy distances and these ultimate tests of human endurance just seemed like an adventurous and fun thing to do.

Scott and Lucas on Big Ass Hill Round 1

In April of 2010 I met Rob along with the other volunteers and I could already sense an awesome vibe surrounding this event and ultra running in general.  They were full of passion about this race and also pulling out all stops to ensure the runners were going to have a safe and fun time.  They also discussed how almost all of the proceeds were going back to the park and the groups who maintain the trails.  Then on race day I could see how much fun the runners were having and how grateful they were to have us out there for support which gave me a big rush of excitement.  I met so many awesome people that weekend and I could see why Lucas was hooked.  I knew right then and there that this was something I wanted to do.  A year later I completed Forget The PR 50K with Joe Gatton and since then I have never looked back.  This is not only a fun trail race but also a tough trail race.  There are over 4,500 feet of ascent / climbing, a section where you have to literally climb up roots, and 5 river crossings for the 50K, which is pretty serious for the midwest!  I love this event and was really excited to go down there this year to see all of my trail friends and get my fourth year Forget The PR 50K buckle!  A cool thing about Forget The PR race director 50K is that it is kind of the official kick off to the trail race season.  It is in late March and the weather has usually shown a little sign of improvement from the cold winter.  The final epic thing about this years event is that Lucas had taken the last year and a half off from ultra running and over the winter he started training again and now he is back!

 The crew looking happy before climbing the Dam Wall
I arrived at the starting point, Mohican Adventures Campground. around 7:30 am for an 8:00 am start.  I said hello to many friends that I have made over the last few years and was happy to see them all.  Then Rob came running into the campground and we found out that he and Don Baun had started running around 4:30 am to mark the trail course turns for us!  How cool are these guys to get out that early for our benefit?!  Rob informed us that we would have to run the 25K route twice because the rivers were way to high for us to cross in the southern sections of the course.  I kind of liked that because we would be able to stop at our car around the half way point.  Rob also informed us that he added in some more hills for us and we would have about 5,600 feet of climbing which is 1,100 feet of bonus elevation gain!  My quads are still thanking him for this new punishment errr...I mean challenge.  Lucas, Scott Love, Amanda Mowery, and myself ran together for almost the entire 50K.  We had a great time exchanging stories and politely cursing Rob for sending us up North Rim Trail four times and also Big Ass Hill twice!  There were two different roving aid stations for us and it was so nice of them to give up their day to give us food and water.  We took our time and enjoyed the nice weather and each others company.  Finishing was great because I had been thinking about the beer and pizza for the last two hours of the run!  The weather turned out to be perfect.  It was in the high 20s for the morning start but got up into the low 50s and it was sunny.  One of the first nice days of the year, thanks mother nature!!  The course was pretty dry overall which was surprising since the winter thaw had just happened and it rained two days before the run.  There were three different spots on the course that we were not sure which way we were suppose to go but we guessed right every time!  If you want to see a video of this years course then click this link.  That video was taken on the day of the actual event.

Climbing the roots
Running into Rob at covered bridge
Big Ass Hill Round 2!!

I was proud of Lucas because this was his first ultra in awhile and it was a tough one!  He was struggling in the second half of the race but he kept pushing on.  He toughed it out and finished strong.  At our post run pizza feast we discovered that Lucas and I both got our 4 year buckles so that means next year we will be going for our 5 year buckles!  We had a great time at our post race dinner as we listened to Rob Gannon tell us the story of his son pulling a seabiscuit move and winning state in the 3,000 meter.  Rob Powell called us up individually to give us our buckles and he had some really nice things to say about each of us.  I can't explain in words how awesome this community of trail runners is.  After a beer or two and a bunch of pizza it was time to make the long drive back to Detroit but the drive is a small price to pay for the amount of fun I had on this day.

Enjoying the day

It's official, the 4th year FPR 50K buckle!