Psycho Psummer 20 Mile Race Report
For me this was a race I was quite excited about but ended in defeat. I'd like to blame the heat & humidity, but it had to be more than that. Sometimes it just isn't in the cards and that was the case for me at Psycho Psummer. I was registered for the 50k and quite excited about it. I had run one official 50k (Blue Springs in Oct '11) and one unofficial 50k (Gen-no's 4-OH! Run), but this would be the toughest course & conditions so I wanted to meet the challenge. Distance wise, I've been training pretty well, but it's been tough. It's been near-record heat, near-record draught and extremely high humidity. I like hot weather, but this year has been crazy! I've been doing my runs but they've been tough and very slow. Even with that I felt plenty ready. I knew it'd be tough with the weather so I set out a plan for the day that I thought would get me through it. The cutoff for the race was 9 hours; three 3 hour loop. I figured if I could do the first two loops in 2hrs 40min each (approx) then I would have 3:40 for the final loop. I've done this course in 2:40 in the heat and I felt like it was slow enough to leave me enough to do the full three loops but with the heat the last would be mostly walking so I wanted to leave a cushion.
I got out to the race early for a picture with some fellow Marathon Maniacs and get ready. It was already fairly warm when we took our group picture at 7:30 am. I chatted with Maniacs and fellow Trail Nerds, got my drop bag over to the main aid station and went over to wait for the start. Been said a few words then sounded the gun and off we went. There is a long open stretch (interrupted by a small bridge) from the start line leading up to the entrance to the trail. The group was mostly running until we hit the trail and things bottled up. We slowed to a walk with some running in spurts as the crowd slowly thinned out over the first mile or so of the trail. After that it was smooth sailing as far as the crowd goes.
The first several miles are on the bridal trail leading up to an aid station at the entrance to the interior single track trails. I was still feeling really good when I got to the station so I grabbed some watermelon and took an S-Cap before crossing the road and heading off onto the interior trails. These trails are less hilly, less rocky, more shaded and generally easier to run than the bridal trail so I was excited to hit that section. I was ready to make up some time! I was moving pretty good, but it didn't take long to start to feel the effects. The day before the race there was a brief rain that had shot the humidity through the roof and the close quarters of these trails just trapped it. Rather than getting relief, it was almost worse; stuffy, humid & generally stifling. I was making good time and mostly feeling comfortable but it was slowly getting less & less comfortable.
|See KC Run's photo of me|
starting down Fall Down Hill
|Ava (Ammanda's daughter), Ammanda, Bryan & Keke at|
the Shelter 14 aid station
|Me headed up the toughest of the 3 or |
4 HUGE hills the course finishes with.
Remember above when I said I wanted to finish each of my first two loops in 2:40 each? I walked across the finish line to start my second loop at EXACTLY 2:40:00!! That gave me a big boost as I head out for loop #2. Okay, I was getting hot but I was right on plan so no worries. This attitude and excitement dwindled quickly as I headed up the long, hot, sunny field to the entrance to the trail. My legs were getting heavy. As I turned onto the trail I felt drained. It was like in the 1/4 mile from the start to the trail I had run 20 miles. I went from pretty okay to sore and drained in that short time. I hoped that as I walked I would cool down a little with the ice water in my bottle and cold Nuun in my pack and hopefully feel better by the time I got to the aid station at the entrance to the interior trails. Beck passed me along the way to her first 20 mile with a big smile on her face! She chatted with me for a minute and I told her how I was feeling. She encouraged me and reminded me that things tend to turn around in a long run. I appreciated the encouragement and hoped she was right. As I came out of the woods at the aid station, the opposite was true. I was drained. You guessed it, I grabbed some watermelon and took an S-Cap as I tried to just keep moving and got over to the start of the interior trail. As I was getting onto the trail some of my Maniac friends were there waiting for someone to catch up. Through the rest of the interior trails we played leap frog. I'd catch them, they'd get out ahead, I'd catch them, etc.
|The Shelter 11 crew (before my wife & mother-in-law|
got there. Captained by Erica & Elliot
|Dam Hill (photo credit to Linda Ballard)|
|Trying to muster a smile at Shelter 14|
(photo credit to Keke Pounds)
|Me, Lee & Ben walking to the finish|
of the 20 mile.
The other guy went on his way eventually and Lee got back up. Now it was just about surviving to the finish. He was feeling better and looking better so we just took it really slow and easy. I stayed behind him so I could keep an eye on how he was doing. Hill after hill we both said "I think this is the last one", it never was!! Eventually as we were nearing the finish Ben came walking the other direction with a bag fill of ice. He asked us if we knew how the guy that was down on the trail was doing and Lee said "yeah, that was me!" Apparently the guy who helped him had let Ben know when he got to the finish. Ben put the bag of ice around his neck and we walked to the finish line. We'd missed the cut off for the third loop, not that we would have done another anyway, so we were credited with 20 miler finishes. It's actually 22.5 in 6:30:30. This is a pathetically bad time and result; I was very disappointed. But I was glad Lee was okay and we were both done. I sat around and chatted with Lee and many other friends. I even got the chance to talk Megan into doing the Kansas 70.3 with me next June!!
This race was a disaster for me. I'm disappointed, discouraged and in general not real happy about it. I'll get over it, but it's tough to take a hit like this. The event was extremely well run and well organized. Ben did an amazing job and the volunteers did the best job I've ever seen at a race. I later found out that there was a major ice shortage due to a truck of ice that was ordered not being delivered. Not one runner ever knew about this during the event. They had PLENTY of ice and gave it out freely. Little did we know they were scrambling off to the store over and over again to get more. What an amazing effort by them. Although my result wasn't what I wanted I am proud that I took the time to help a fellow runner and I'm proud to be a member of the Trail Nerds after seeing how they all worked so hard to make this race a success and safe for everyone. I will most likely be at this event again next year knowing that Ben & the group will have things well in hand. Time to move on from this one and on to bigger better things. I need to get this one out of my head.