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Bobcat Bait 50 Mile Trail Race Report

Posted September 21st, 2014 at 07:48 PM by Black Spurs

September 20, 2014 was the second annual Bobcat Bait 50 Mile/50K Trail run in Mandeville, Louisiana. The race is held at the Nature Center, right off of La. Hwy 190. The race is a lollipop course that is roughly a 2 mile loop with an out and back section of just over 7 miles. Originally, the course was a 10 mile loop, but water forced a change in the course. As a result, the 50 milers ran 7 full loops and the 50K runners ran 4 loops plus another short loop to finish the 31 miles in a 50K.

Only 12 folks came out for the 50 mile race, while around 19 or so were signed up for the 50K. Lots of people used this as a training run, which is why I was here. The only aid available at the start/finish area is water. This is a self supported race, but ultimately, I guess they are all self supported races.

My goals were simple: focus on nutrition; run it like a 100 miler; be patient; take care of myself early on in the run; and maintain my mental focus. I figured I could probably run this course in 10 hours or less (But I always “think” I can run faster than I actually can), but I wanted to start my last lap in 10 hours and just get a really good day on my feet.

We had some pretty solid runners in this group, and I knew there was the potential for some speed. I also knew there was great potential for carnage out there because the heat would be above 90 degrees and there was a great deal of exposure to the sun in more areas than I wanted. Heat and direct sunlight are my arch enemies when running, and I am not a particularly strong runner among folks who run. I was determined, however, to avoid being a casualty today by being conservative and staying focused. Temperatures and humidity were fine when we started, and I felt really good. But I have been there before. Things can change quickly. I had inadvertently gotten up toward the front of the pack of 30 or so starters as we rolled through the single track on the short loop. It was just a situation where I happened to be standing near the person who said “Go!!” I saw the guy up front, a 50K runner, take off. He left us all behind. I wondered how he would fare going so fast so early.

I made sure to immediately start drinking Tailwind, which would be my only source of nutrition except for a couple of peanut butter crackers. That worked fine. At times, I will forget to drink. I think we rolled through the first loop in about an hour and 15 minutes, slow and easy. I knew that I would lose some time as the day heated up.

I did begin to notice certain 50 mile runners on the course as we periodically saw each other on the out and back loop. In particular, the guy who was leading the 50 mile race was about 25 minutes ahead of me, which is a long way. However, I realized after about 21 miles, he was walking. I passed him once, and he said he was having some stomach issues. The guy who was in second place had already dropped at about 14 miles, I think. I just know he was gone, not sure of the issue. I wasn’t feeling bad, and I was still running fine. And, at this point, I began to think I may be able to work my way into second place and stay there.

By the time we reached 50K, I saw the guy who was leading sitting on a bench at the start/finish. I looked at my watch and asked if he had already finished the 50 miles, which was just something to say. I knew he wasn’t running a sub 7 hour pace. He said he was throwing in the towel at 50K due to cramps. I refilled my bottles and kept on running. The next loop went exceptionally well. But I had been dealing with something that would normally stop me in my tracks, and it was certainly slowing me down: chaffing. It was not good. And frankly, I am not sure how I continued.

I kept lubing up, but the heat was so bad that Vaseline, Body Glide, or anything else would just come off. I got virtually no relief from the chaffing for the last 20 miles. I think I changed my gait somewhat to compensate, which usually causes other problems. In this case, my back began to hurt terribly. I would stop periodically and just squat down to take a little pressure off my lower back. I am not sure what the issue was with my back, but it is fine today.

I rolled out on the last lap right on time: 10 hours. By this time, everyone in the 50 mile race had dropped to the 50K. I was the last man standing. As a person who isn’t fast, or even a very good runner, I’ll take a win by attrition and be happy with it. I finished up in 11:50, just what I needed six weeks out from the Pinhoti 100.

Today, my legs feel fine. I took care of the chaffing once I got home. I am fine and ran some strides today just to shake things out a bit. Tailwind continues to impress me. I never had a cramp; I never had a down period of energy; I never had a sugar crash. I just had a good day, and I played the hand I was dealt pretty well, especially considering heat and direct sunlight usually zap me. Also, the Altra Olympus worked well. My feet felt great all day. I never stumbled; I never had any issues whatsoever with my feet. Thanks for reading.
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