Friday, April 5, 2019

Forget the PR Race Director 50K: April 5th, 2019

There is one thing that has been consistent over the last 8 years and that is Forget The PR 50K.  Upon volunteering at this 50K race in 2011 I got pumped up to try to run an ultra which I ended up doing at the same race in 2012.  After that I volunteered at the race every year.  Cool thing about volunteering at this race is the Race Director who use to run it (Rob Powell) would let the volunteers come and run the course while treating us to pizza and beer afterwards along with getting race shirts and finisher buckles.  When Mark Carroll and Chad Heald took over the race in 2017 they decided to carry on the tradition of the volunteers Race Director Race.  Fast forward to 2019 and even though I moved to other side of the country I still felt compelled to come back and volunteer for the race weekend.  The main reason I did this was to see all of my Ohio trail running friends which have become like family over the years.  When I decided this I let Chas and Ron know that I was going to run the course on my own the Friday before the race since I could not make it to the Race Director Race.  They instantly said they would take the day off work and run the course with me.  Then Johnny Rutherford also decided to run the course with us.  Later Sheldon Campbell said he wold meet us out there and run some miles with us a well!  Now we had a posse of 5 on a Friday nonetheless!

I flew into Columbus on Thursday afternoon.  I got my rental car and drove to Mohican where I met Chas and Ron for pizza and beer at Trails End.  We went back to the campground to get ready for our run the next day and try to get some sleep.  I was on west coast time so at 12:30 am I was still laying in bed twiddling my thumbs because it was only 9:30 pm for my internal clock.  Not sure what time I actually dozed off but I do know I only had a few hours of sleep at best.  We got up and it appeared like it was going to be a cold and rainy day.  However the rain only lasted for a little while which turned out to be a bonus since morning temperatures were in the 30s.  Loop one we were moving quite well and as usual Big Ass Hill didn't disappoint!  It seemed like we made it to covered bridge in no time where we ran into some people and ended up chatting for awhile.  Chas had stashed a bag of goodies for us at covered bridge so we were able to fuel up and make sure we had enough water.  Then we met up with Sheldon and he did the dam loop with us.  This is definitely one of the toughest and most fun sections of the course.  Unfortunately we were not able to do the famous root climb part any longer but there is more climbing then before so that was good.  We had a great time shooting the shit and trying to figure out where the hell we were supposed to go since the course was not marked yet.  Ended up navigating it the correct way as far as we know!  We arrived back to the start line at the campground and done with the tough loop and in pretty good time.

Happy Faces before the climb up Big Ass Hill
Oh how glorious the pain is climbing Big Ass Hill!

Our make shift aid station at covered Bridge
After refueling we were ready to run the last 13 miles and it's always nicer to have a shorter loop for the second half of the race.  Although we were all feeling the burn on the second loop we still managed to keep moving.  It was relieving to get to the covered bridge because all we had left was the flat section along the river and the climb up North Rim Trail.  I always love the added challenge of doing that big climb up North Rim Trail toward the end of the race when our legs are completely destroyed.  I think that is part of what sets ultra runners apart is that we, for some stupid reason, love the pain but revel in the accomplishment.  We got back to the campground and crossed the imaginary finish line.  Relieved to be finished and we all stumbled our way to the showers.  At this time all of the runners had started showing up at the campground for the actual race which was the following day.  We ate some food and sat around the fire with some good people drinking many beers and telling stories.  Johnny brought us some really strong Founders Imperial Stout and it was delicious!  These guys have become some of my closest friends in recent years and it was so great seeing everyone.  The race went well the next day as we were busy volunteering from 5:30 AM until about 5:00 PM.  I am really glad I was able to make it back to Ohio for this event.  For many years now it has been my favorite weekend of the year and it never disappoints.

Strava Data:

Done and ready for beer!

Forget the PR Course