Sunday, December 16, 2007

Festivus FA 50k Race Report

I got to the starting line about 5 minutes before the start and had to throw on all my gear in a hurry. At that point I realized I didn't have my waist belt so the only food I had for 31 miles were 4 Little Debbie snack cakes I could stuff in my jacket pocket, with no aid stations on the course this was less than ideal. I also realized I didn't have any water to put in my water bottle, so I would have to wait 10 miles (where there was a water stash) to get some water.

This race based of "Festivus" The holiday celebration made famous by the television show "Seinfeld." A very low key event made even more low key by the fact that the weather was bad and hardly anyone wanted to run in it. The RD said he was originally expecting 30+ people but there were somewhere around 11 that showed up. This race is and out and back on the Olantangy bike path in Columbus. 31 miles of pavement isn't my favorite running surface but it would have to do on this cold December day.

The first half of the race I was feeling pretty good. I was following the two guys that organized the event (I can't remember there names) So I wouldn't get lost. We were running just under a 10 minute pace. By the time I got to the halfway point my legs were toasted and with the wind picking up and chilling me to the bone, any motivation to maintain this 5:10 finish through the second half of the race was gone. I was worried at this point because there was no one around me and there were many turns on the bike path that I knew I wouldn't remember. Most of the times there were signs at the turning points but not always.

As soon as I turned around for the second half and lost the two guys I was following things started to deteriorate quickly. The wind was really howling and I was running straight into it. At this point I didn't even want to keep going, but when your running an out and back, once you get all the way out there there's nothing else to do but go back. Especially in an FA with no course support. So I spent the next 3 hours and 45 minutes slowly working my way 15.5 miles back to the finish line.

After taking a couple wrong turns someone that knew the course caught up to me. I decided he was my only chance of finishing without getting ridiculously lost so I kept him in my sights the rest of the race. I was running a bit faster than he was but I would take walk breaks to let him catch up and pass me so he could show me the way. My legs were tired but I think a lot of my struggles had to do with my bad mood from the cold windy snowy wet weather. My hands and face were frozen. My main motivation to maintain a steady pace was the Chipotle burrito I promised myself once I finish. Chipotle is a very strong motivational tool, I use it often.
After what seemed like an eternity I finished in 6:24, then immediately got in my car and cranked the heat up on high and munched on anything I could find. I even tried a new recipe, peanut buter and Gu sandwich, it was pretty good. This race sure was an adventure. As Kramer would say "It's a Festivus miracle"


Rob "Buckeye" Powell said...

What a busy weekend you had. To think I let a little cold slow my weekend down. Great Job!

Anonymous said...

I both wish I was there, and am glad I was not. HA! What time did you leave my house?

Funny thing is, you have a miserable slow 50k and it is all of 9 minutes slower than MY PR. Damn I am slow.

Sorry I bailed on you, and sorry we didn't run much together at URINEO. We will have many more chances to share Office quotes though I am sure.

tony said...

Not too shabby, Josh! 2 days, 2 more ultras!

Thanks for stopping by on Saturday night, it was great to see you and get to talk again!

Nick said...

I woke up on Sunday and was supposed to go to Mohican to run. I heard the wind and said no way am I running in that today.
You are brave to do so.
I know the RD of that race. He tried to get me to run it, but 31 miles on pavement didn't sound too good to me. Even though that is my old marathon training ground.

I am going up to Mohican today so we'll see if peanut butter and Hammer gel is appealing at all after my run.

Josh said...


Don't worry Rob, the cold slowed me down too, by an hour atleast :)


Sure, it was only 9 minutes slower than your PR but it was a FLAT PAVED bike path! If I was running a 50k at Mendon Ponds I would still be out there now!


Two more notches on the belt! It's always nice talk to you!


Brave? I didn't feel brave yesterday at mile 17, moronic, maybe, but not brave! Well you be up at Mo for the Raindeer Run on the 23?