URINEO is a 50 miler put on by the great people of the NEO Trail Club. It takes place in Mill Creek State park in Youngstown, Ohio. This was my second time running at Mill Creek and it's a really beautiful place to be. The course was an 8.33 mile loop which was run in alternating directions each time. Although this was a 50 miler, only 2 runners actually finish the whole 50. I think most, including myself stopped after four loops, 33 miles. I was a bit worried about coming back to Mill Creek after my last experience here with countless navigational blunders leading to a 8+ hour 50k. I know this being a FA run with no course markings wouldn't making the route finding any easier. Luckily I had someone to run with that knew the course for the first three miles and with the assistance of Opod we were able to find our way on the fourth loop.
There were somewhere between 10-14 runners for the race. We started in the cold and dark at 7am. The first loop everyone stayed pretty close together. I was doing my best to pay attention to all the turns so I wouldn't gett lost if I was eventually by myself. No one was in a big hurry, we were all just enjoying the day on the trails. The conditions where pretty good. The trails were leaf covered and a little wet but there was no snow...yet.
On the second loop I spent most of it with Dan K. and Jeff M. The time really flew by running with these guys as we chatted about "Into the Wild" Among other topics. Coming into the race I didn't really know how I would feel. It has been a month or two since I have been on my feet for 7+ hours and I have been doing very low mileage training lately with my increased cross training so I didn't know how my legs would respond. Early on they felt really strong.
On the third loop my legs started to tighten a little but I was still feeling good. While running with Dan we were talking about how as you get into the later miles of an ultra your able to detect every little incline in the terrain, I coined a new term by calling this the "Human Level"
By the fourth loop it was very apparent that there wasn't going to be time to do the whole 50 miles before dark. I didn't know the course well enough to run it in the dark so I decided I would only do four or five loops. I was leaning towards doing five (42 miles) but I though even then it might get dark by the time I finish. As I was trying to decide what to do the bottom dropped out of the sky and it began to snow. ok, that decides it, 33 miles it is. I finished up in 8:04 which is pretty slow, but it was a FA and I had originally planned to do 50m so I was pacing myself.
It was a fun day out on the trail. I look forward to seeing everyone out there again in the near future.