tBunk Endurance Challenge “Fifty” Miler

Why the scare-quotes? Because, for me, the race only lasted 35-36 miles.

10 minutes before the 7am start

10 minutes before the 7am start

I actually got off to a great start. The headlamp was only necessary for about 15 minutes, and I spent the first 3.66 mile loop chatting with a guy from Chicago. At the aid station I said a quick hello to Allison, shed my inner thermal shirt, and started off on my first of “five” 9.19 mile loops.

Allison, Don, and Andrea were my support crew for the day. Thanks guys!

Allison (not pictured), Don, and Andrea were my support crew for the day. Thanks guys!

The weather was absolutely perfect for long-distance running: mid-40’s with lots of fog and intermittent rain showers. We even got some hail at one point. So it probably wasn’t perfect weather for all the non-runners huddled around the campfire.

One of many scenic overlooks along the trail

One of many scenic overlooks along the trail

The first 9.19 mile loop also went well. I ate my hammer gels about 30 minutes apart, which seemed to work pretty well. I was feeling relatively fresh when I came into the aid station, said a quick “hello” to everyone, and took off with some fresh bananas and a full bottle of Heed.

Mile 22

Mile 22

I really don’t remember much about the second loop, except that it seemed to go quickly. I was starting to get some nagging pain in my left knee, but didn’t really think much of it. My energy level was fine, and I was on pace to shatter my goal of an 11 hour finish.

Mile 26

Mile 26

Somewhere between miles 25 and 30, the knee pain started to become significant. I tried listening to music to distract myself, without much luck. I kept thinking of the Frozen Otter race from two winters ago, when I gritted out 20+ miles of knee pain and ended up with a limp for the next three months.

By the time I finished the third 9.19 mile loop, my pace had slowed to a 4 mph speed-stagger.

DSCN4692

Mile 31

The frustrating part was that I still felt fantastic overall. Were it not for that 2 square inch area of iliotibial tendonitis, I think I could have made it through 100 miles, much less 50. I tried fixing things up with new shoes and some duct tape, but only made it about 4 miles into the next loop. I lost my footing on a slippery hillside, felt a lightening bolt of pain in my knee, and decided to call it quits. So I ended up with my first ever “DNF” in a race (did not finish; did nothing foolish).

Sooo…I’ll give my knee a few weeks to heal, then start training for another 50 mile attempt next spring. My splits:

tbunk splits

Published in: on November 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice run! I don’t think you can be too disappointed ONLY completing 35-36 miles!

  2. Wow, that takes a lot of grit! I’m proud of you, and I’m praying that your knee recovers quickly!

    G’pa R.

  3. I can’t believe anyone can run so fast over all the bumps and slick grass. Take care of the knee; you’ll be ready for the next run. G’pa and I walk almost every day. Proud of you! Love, Grammy

  4. […] weeks ago, I dropped out of a 50 mile race around mile 35 because of iliotibial tendonitis in my left knee. It was a little disappointing, and […]

  5. […] November I managed an unsuccessful 50-mile attempt, then got mad at myself for DNF-ing and ran a solo 50-miler two weeks later. Now I can finally say […]


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