Saturday, March 22, 2008

Just a Gigolo: A Grasslands Ultra Race Report

In case any of you were curious I can now confirm that 50 miles is a long way to run. I started the morning with Garmin malfunctioning and I had some bad lower GI problems and was running late for the race.

However, I got there 5 minutes before the start and once I hit the trail things started to improve, all except the GI problems but they cleared up after maybe 12 or 15 miles. The course was nice and the volunteers were great and the race was well supported with aid every 2 to 4 miles. The sports drink they had was Succeed, which seems to be the ultrarunning world’s Gatorade Endurance Formula. This is the first time I have ever had it and it worked great and had a very light flavor…I could not have done Gatorade that long.

I started the day taking a lot of pics with my new wrist camera and it was very easy to use and worked like a champ, well, except for the fact that it didn’t take any pics but instead made a pleasant “beep” every time I hit the button. I’m not sure what went wrong because I used it successfully at home. I’ll have to take another look at it.

I was running pretty well for about the first 40 miles. Once at mile 28 some guy in an SUV saw me walking up a hill and he shouted out his window, “Hey, yu better geet on thu stick, yer slowin down.” Thanks buddy. Then about mile 31 me and a guy from Philadelphia ran into a group of 5 or 6 horseback riders sitting astride their horses on the trail. They were just sitting there and I chatted with them a bit and turned up the trail, which had suddenly become a narrow single track. I ran along for a bit and the guy from Philly was close behind. Suddenly I came to a giant puddle in the trail that had no way around except through some brambles. This did not look right and I didn’t notice any shoe prints on the ground. I looked up the trail and saw what appeared to be a white blaze; we were on the “white” trail at that time and were following white paint marks on the trees.

I went ahead and went through the brambles and ended up getting caught up in some barbed wire, which definitely sucked. I ran a bit further up the trail and then saw that what I thought was a white blaze was a broken branch that had been sun bleached giving the appearance of being white…DAMN! Wrong turn. I started to run back and came across the horse people again and I asked if they had been following a trail with white marks all over it and they said “I don’t know this is the first time we have been on it. We don’t know where we are.” Great.

Me and the Philly guy ran back to where we had first encountered the horse people and there was the right trail as big as day. They had been parked right on it and from our vantage point they had completely obscured the trail. What’s more it was freakin COVERED in white blazes! I guess when you aren’t doing any of the work and are just sitting on your ass nothing really matters.

I finally made it in to the central aid station/drop bag area at mile 39, at least that was the official mileage I also had a “bonus mile” under my belt. I grabbed more gels and ate one and headed out feeling surprisingly great. I was running well and then I had my one and only fall of the race. I did not feel particularly energetic after that fall. When I got up I was pretty sore and could only shamble down the trail.

The fall seemed to make my whole body tighten up and it was difficult to get back into a rhythm and then at mile 41 or so Garmin gave up the ghost…frankly I’m surprised it lasted that long considering the trouble it had given me earlier in the day. I eventually loosened up a bit, both figuratively and literally. I was running well again and since nobody was around I decided to have myself a little sing so I started belting out the song that that had started threading it’s way through my head, “Just a Gigolo” by David Lee Roth…seriously I do not know what occurs in my brain on these ultra events but what can I say I’m an 80’s guy. The song was going quite nicely I must say, that is until I stumbled on to an aid station that was secreted away in some shrubs. The volunteers were quite discreet about the whole, um, incident.

Shortly after departing the aid station I was suddenly overcome with fatigue and I could not take another gel and the fluids I was drinking didn’t seem to have any effect good or bad…I was just flat. I started walking a lot and not walking particularly well. It was at this point I noticed that my feet were swollen in my shoes and it felt like I was wearing children’s shoes, there was pressure everywhere and my toes were smashed up against the front of the toebox…about 7 miles to go, crap.

The next few miles was a real slogfest but there was a bright spot when I can across another aid station that, while I was chatting with them, offered me “Genuine North Carolina Moon Shine” Ok, I have had Guinness in an Ironman but moonshine in an ultra…should I, nah! I know I only had a few miles to go but those could be exceptionally long miles especially the way I was feeling. I ran on and by maybe mile 47 started feeling better again and started running far more than walking.

The rest of the run was uneventful and when I got to the finish the GEEKGRL was waiting for me and got some good photo ops. I headed to a nearby pond on her recommendation and waded in to the cold water, it felt fantastic! The youngster came down to the pond and seemed kind of grumbly and I asked him how his first marathon went and he said, “I’m never doing that again, that was hard!”…kids. I congratulated him and told him all the usual stuff that would appeal to a teenage boy, “your so tuff”, “the girls are gonna be impressed”, “none of your friends can say $hit to you now” etc…and he seemed pretty pleased.

I’m beat, running 50 miles is tough. I ended up running it in 10:28 something. I might have met my sub 10 goal were it not for the wrong turn or the GI problems or the fall but who cares, right? It’s all in a day’s work.

Enjoy the pics.
Oh yeah, Blink's shades were in da hizouse, you didn't think I'd forget now did you buddy...just a gigolo.


  1. Great job.. Woohooo

    Yes, 50 miles is a long way, no matter what the course is.. But everything less than that will seem like a training run now..

    great pics, gotta luv the "buckles" baby..

  2. Hey brian-way to go and what a journey! You said exactly the right thing to the little Baboo.What a great example of courage and termination you are to all of us!

  3. I bow down and repeatedly say "I'm not worth"

    I am glad to hear confirmation that 50 miles is a long I don't ever have to find that out myself.

    Very commendable job and I can only wonder what ultra long super thing you have planned next.

  4. WOO HOO! Way to go!
    I get songs stuck in my head for miles. Just a gigolo might have driven me nuts on a 50 miler (not that I plan to try that out soon or anything!)

  5. Awesome!

    BTW, have I mentioned that all you ultra people are nuts?

  6. Congratulations!
    Also on saying just the right thing to MB. He'll be back I am sure :)

  7. YES! Congratulations and some nice hardware too!

  8. Way to go Brian! Great report!! I can NOT even imagine 50 miles. You ROCK!! (in a sick, twisted, ultra, kind of way) :-)

    Makes my feet hurt to even think about it.

    How do you deal with the mental aspect after hitting 30 miles and having 20 more to go?

    a good song can carry you many miles! :-)

  9. That's waaaayyyy better than the Disney tunes that get entrenched in my brain...congrats Baboo and great report. Looks like you made it relatively unscathed!

  10. Great job Brian! You da man!

  11. Congratulations! That is a long way to run!!

    When I'm doing a long run (which is a very short run to you) I start singing out loud during the last miles :)

  12. Great run ... love the photos - nothing better than getting in cold water after a run.

  13. You Da Man Brian!!! Congratulations! It's going to be tough to give you grief at the next 5k we do :)

  14. Congrats! I hope the water was cold (and the beer too!)
    Cool buckle-wear it proudly!

  15. Sorry for the late comment. My dog chewed through my internet connection cable. Really it's true, no lie.

    Great run man! Awesome! But I think we need a pick of you wearing the shades. That was the deal.

    And the buckle, Very Cool!

    Now "just a gigolo" is stuck in my head. need to move on to "I'm your ice cream man."

  16. Great job Brian!

    Thanks for the report.