Thursday, May 9, 2013

Single Track Maniac 50K

Finisher's Medal and T-shirt
This was the first year of the Single Track Maniac 50K in Williamsburg, VA. Race director Ellen Womeldorf and her race crew did a fantastic job at every aspect of the race. It was well organized, had a great selection of food, much needed motivators at the aid stations, awesome ceramic medal (my first legit 50K medal), and no ridiculously priced race photos (photos were free to download). The race was really a great deal when you think about the price paid for the mileage run. With big races, you pay so much for all the additional hoopla like bands, the expo, crazy elaborate medals, etc. This race, like it's course, got down to the roots (pun intended) of just being out there for the thrill of running.


Course Map
I've run a lot of races in the past, but this was the toughest course I've ever run. Since this is only my second 50K experience, I only have Seashore Nature Trail 50K to compare it to for the distance. The terrain of this course was much, MUCH harder than the first. The course is a series of single track mountain bike trails of varying difficulty levels. From what I remember, each of the trails is run twice. The D course was the toughest, and with such a small participant field, you wonder if you're going the right way. Looking back on the fact that it's a single track course, there really isn't any place else to be, and the course was very well marked. But when you're out there for hours alone in the woods, you have your doubts about whether or not you're headed in the right direction...and everything else...

Weather and Wardrobe

The weather was perfect for this distance. About 52 at the start of the race. Being so deep in the woods, there was no wind to deal with. I didn't shed or add any layers that day. Started with sleeves down on a very lightweight Brooks Equilibrium shirt. Pulled them up after about 3 miles. Wore my favorite pair of Brooks shorts - Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project red, yellow, and black shorts. Got many compliments on my shoe choice (The Launch) from some of the volunteers. Had a very short conversation while on the move about The Launch being the best shoe in the universe and how the people are happy that it's back. Conversations are very short and choppy during an ultramarathon.

Food and Hydration

SJ Ultra Vest
There was a varied assortment of food. Honey Stinger Waffles were an awesome selection! I love those things. (Thanks MaryBeth!) Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were also a big hit since I failed to eat some at an aid station on the last 50K. My favorite thing though was Fig Newtons covered in Nutella. They were so tasty, and I'll have to remember that for the next super long race. My only criticism of the entire race is the sports drink choice. The drink was Lemon-Lime Heed. I don't think necessarily that the drink itself didn't taste good. I think it may not have been mixed well enough in the big coolers. I'd never heard of Heed before. I'll have to buy my own to give it a try and assess whether or not it was just not very well mixed.

My SJ Ultra Vest by Ultimate Direction definitely came in handy. On my last 50K, I didn't carry a pack. Thusly, I didn't carry my phone, and I wished I did because of the awesome ultramarathon sign at 26.2 miles. Fortunately, someone else had taken a picture of it, and I was able to get it.  I was able to carry gel, phone, water, and Aleve with me. I barely noticed it was on, and I was quite happy to have everything with me on the go. It's very lightweight, has plenty of easily accessible pockets, lots of reflection, and most importantly, it has a built in whistle in case of an emergency - which is always a big possibility when you're alone in the woods.

At The Finish


This was a difficult course, but I do think I'll be doing it again next year. Ellen put on a really good show, and I hope more people show up next year for the race. It's always exciting to be part of a race that's run for the first time - especially when it goes really well. And next year, I'll already be familiar with the terrain.


In other news, the Color Me Rad 5K the next day was painful, and the race was more annoying than fun. Christy and I talked about it, and we've decided that we're done with gimmick races like that. Now, to focus on my yoga instructor course and general streak running over the summer. More races to come in the fall, including the Marine Corps Marathon.

Run Happy, folks!


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