Monday, September 1, 2014

Dust to Dawn 50 Miler Race Recap


The SPUR (Southern Pines Ultra Running) club put on a run Saturday night in Southern Pines NC within the Ft. Bragg military training area. The course was run on two lane roads in the middle of a forest. The only light along the course was from the passing cars and our headlamps. I was surprised by the amount of rolling long hills. There was one hill early in the race in the teen miles that I would put against anything I will be running at Grandfather Mountain Marathon in July.


The SPUR group started with 3 rolling aid stations that would move as the pack of runners move along the course. The actual route was a 52 mile loop so you never came back to your vehicle until you were finished. The volunteers at the aid stations were super helpful and enabled the runners to get back on pace quickly. The aid stations were 3 miles apart.

The race started at 7pm and everyone was required to bring a light and hydration bottle. I used my waist belt with a 20oz bottle on my backside. The fuel I mixed with water during the race was Xtend Endurance.

Martin and Mose Smith
I rode to the race with Caleb and Shane. Caleb’s monster truck is a great vehicle to travel to races in as we each had plenty of room for our gear and coolers. We got there in plenty of time, said hello to the other runners I see at Ultra events and got ready to start. The race had some military runners, which was great to see. I set my watch to show my heart rate.  My heart rate was the only thing I focused on for the first 20 miles, as I would not allow myself to go over 145bpm except when I was running up the hills. The idea was to stay in my low aerobic zone early in the race so I could finish strong. I always feel in long races like I am a horse and I need to pull in the reins early so I don’t go too fast and burn up all my stored energy. Late in the race, I feel like I have to whip myself to stay on pace and finish strong. My heart rate drops going downhill so I really pushed hard on the down hills to gain time and keep my heart rate in the 145bpm zone.


My training has been going well. I have been doing a 2-hour run on Friday with a 3-hour run on Saturday and a 1-hour run on Sunday besides track on Tuesday and 8-mile tempo runs on Thursday.

When we got to the race site, everyone with the SPUR group was helpful and excited about the race. The aid stations were mobile (every 3 miles) so as the runners ran along the course, the aid stations would move along the 50-mile course.

The race started at 7pm. After the first mile, I think I was in 10th place as many runners went out super fast. My heart rate at 145bpm came out to a 7:30 pace which was fine with me. I settled into an easy pace and comfortable breathing while talking to some of the runners.

Around 4-miles, some of the runners started slowing down as they had gone out too fast to hold the pace. I was putting Scivation Xtend Endurance mix in my water bottle I was carrying in my waist pack to give me the fuel to keep the pace without bonking. At mile-24, the last runner in front of me started walking. I stopped and asked if he was ok and needed any water. He said he was ok and needed to take a break. My mind started racing that I might be able to win this event. I started telling myself –I have 26 miles to go and I need to focus on this mile only. I started asking at the aid stations how far I was in front of the next runner. Each time the volunteers would tell me that he was slowly gaining on me and I needed to keep pushing. At mile 32, I asked who was the runner gaining on me is and they told me it was Tyler Peek from  who won the Boogie 50 miler 2 months ago. I knew he was an accomplished runner so I figured if he wanted to win, then he would have to come and get it. I stayed with my 145bpm and plowed on. At mile 38, I asked again about Tyler and they said again that he was gaining on me. I had upped my pace heart to 150bpm to put a little distance on him and he was still gaining on me. The last 10 miles had some big hills. One of the benefits of running in complete darkness is you are not able to see the hills. I noticed my foot was landing at an upward angle, which told me I was running up a hill. Occasionally a car would drive by at 2am and I could watch the lights rise in the distance to tell me what type of grade I had coming up with the next hill. I finished at 3:01am and won my first 50-mile race. I told the folks at the finishing line a runner was right behind me and they started laughing. It turns out the 2nd place runner was having a hard night with the lights from cars and talked about stopping a couple of times. The race volunteers kept telling him I was slowing down and he could catch me if he kept going. Both of us ran better races because of the volunteers feeding us incorrect information. 

Caleb and Shane

Martin, Caleb, Tyler and Shane

My recovery drink was Scivation Xtend Intra-Workout Catalyst. Xtend (watermelon flavor) is chock full of amino acids to help with the muscle recovery and rebuilding process. I ran in Sketchers Ultra shoes, which have enough cushioning to handle 50 miles on the road. Caleb ran a smart race and got a new personal record. Shane made a wrong turn, ran 58 miles and finished with a good attitude. I ran in Skechers Ultra shoe. The shoe continues to provide me the comfort and support I need in a long distance shoe.

1st Place Female and Male

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