Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stone Steps 50K Trail Race

Stone Steps 50K, Mt Airy Forest
October 19, Cincinnati, OH
37*, sunny

I finished in 8:48. It was the longest trail run I have ever done. Definitely not a blazing fast time as I went into it as a training run
for JFK. The course is rocky with a lot of hills. A lot more than I remember from running there Labor Day weekend. I never did see the "Stone Steps" when I was there to check out the course. But on race day... they were impressive in a quad-killer-climb sort of way.

For a week or so I have been having some right hamstring pain, but shortly after the first mile I fell pretty hard and the bruise on my
left knee made me forget all about my hammie.

There are 2 loops for the course- the first 5+ miles followed by a 3+ miler. We ran the long loop 4 times and the short loop 3 times,
starting with the long loop. The covered shelter was the aid station and a great place to keep your stuff since we passed through it after
every loop completed. I was able to adjust clothing needs throughout the day as it was 37* at the start and 60's when I finished.

Although I have run out there a couple of times the only part I recognized was some of the short loop. It was a lot more technical
than I remember- lots and lots of imbeded rock and tons of foot tripping roots. On the long loop I fell 3 times between miles 1 and 2
during the first 3 times I ran it. The trail is very narrow and goes over a ridge with the left side (downhill side) banked by tons of
jutting rocks. I have always had to be mindful of my left foot because it seems to be the foot that trips me me up, so this
particular stretch was hard for me. My most spectacular fall was on the short loop going downhill about halfway through the race. I have
a huge bruise on my left thigh and shoulder from the fall and roll.

I'm pretty sure I was DFL. Full results are not up, but they had 68 starters. When I was getting ready to do my last long loop I had 30 minutes to finish within the official time. I need to bust out five 6-minute miles or finish on my own. I finished just ahead of the race people taking down ribbons and flags and got a nice email from the RD telling me he heard I finished strong and would include me in the results. He was a great RD, he puts on a good event.

Ironically my last long loop was my fastest by a minute and the only time I didn't fall.

All in all I'm happy with the day- I got in 31 miles on a tough course. My hamstring held up and actually feels better today than it has in a week. Today I'm sore, but not as sore as covering the 24+ miles at the MT a couple of weeks ago. I think I'd like to do this race again next year. (I can drive up and train on some of those hills- sort of a 'home court advantage'.)

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