Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 YUTC 50K

This year I finally took part in the Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic in Mill Creek Park. Every year I usually have some other race going on or I just am not trained enough for it. Well this year, I didn't have another race going on, but I certainly was not trained for it. My mileage for the last 5 weeks starting August 11th were 3, 4.5, 20, 12, and 15.5. My only double-digit run came on September 7th, which was 10 miles. Definitely not ultra training but what the heck, at the very least I knew I would finish it.

Early morning fog on the way to Mill Creek

My dad and I got to the start line by the Old Log Cabin at 7:15, 45 minutes before the 8 o'clock start time. My dad volunteered again to do the timing and my brother also volunteered this year and was there for the early start.

Lake Glacier

It always is a great atmosphere at the start line at YUT-C. There are many familiar faces and local runners. I was happy to see a few "old-timers" who ran marathons with my dad, including Dave Wilkes (50K) and Mark Sorrentino (25K).

After talking for awhile, I got my number and got ready for the race. Bob Combs gave a few race instructions and then started the race with a simple "Go." The pace is always too quick in the beginning (especially with 25K runners mixed in), but by the time I got to the Covered Bridge for the first time, I slowed down to a comfortable pace. My plan was to walk most inclines and run the rest.

The first two loops go counter-clockwise around Lake Newport, crossing the Covered Bridge by the Mill each time. My legs felt really good for both of these loops. My stomach on the other hand felt a little upset. I ended up having to go #2 3 times.

I had a good time running with Nick Billock and Mark Carroll for a good portion of the race. Nick first came up behind me on the first loop around Lake Newport and made some comments about me being a road runner and how he loves passing Musicks'. This made me laugh, but also helped motivate me for the rest of the race. I ended up losing contact with Nick after going to the restroom, but latched on to Ron Ross since I knew he notoriously moves up in the pack as a race continues. For the rest of the race, my goal was to catch back up with Nick.

Ron Ross and me

Once I got back to the Covered Bridge aid station, it was time to head back to the start line and mentally prepare for two tough loops around Lake Glacier/Cohasset (from the Old Log Cabin to the Covered Bridge). This loop is much hillier than the Newport loop and involves the famous Monkey Hills. This section goes up and down the side of a large ridge about 3 times.

As I got to the boardwalk, close by the Mill, I finally caught up to Nick! To his credit, he is running the Akron Marathon next weekend, but I was still excited to catch up with him. Mark Carroll also caught up with us as we got closer to the aid station.

The last loop was tough as expected, but not unbearable. I walked a few more hills, but was able to keep a steady pace. It was a welcome sight to finally be on top of the last ridge along the west side of Lake Glacier. I came through the finish in a PR of 5:33:02 and finished my first official ultra race (I've done 4 50K FA's before).


The food and drinks afterward topped off an awesome day! I had a fun time running with good friends and really surprised myself with how good I felt with so little training. Thanks Nick for motivating me whether you realized it or not. I'm already looking forward to my next ultra event at Oil Creek pacing a friend for the last 30 miles of the 100-mile race.


Kim said...

Congratulations Jeff,on your "official" 50K finish!!!

So who are you pacing at Oil Creek?

Jeff said...

Thanks Kim, missed seeing you there!

I'm pacing Don Baker for the 100. He's from around the Warren/Youngstown area.

What events do you have coming up?

Mark Carroll said...

Good job Jeff! I had a blast running with you and Nick!

Anonymous said...

Great job Jeff. We will be seeing your times drop many times over in future races. You caught the bug and hopefully will keep it for a long time. Great finish...................Ron Ross.

Nick Billock said...

Great job, Jeff, and great job taking home the "Musick Gold"!!! Pretty cool that you'll be at Oil Creek, too. It'll be good to see some familiar faces during the 12hrs of darkness overnight at the 100. See you then!