I might be biting off more than I could chew this weekend for I am beat. I have slept whole afternoon on Sunday to recover.
First off, I did the Devil Dog 50k puppy/corona edition. I first heard of the Devil Dog 100 last year from someone at the Eastern Divide. He did the Devil Dog in 2018.
Second of all, I wanted to do some hill runs on Sunday in the Shenandoah National Park, However, ended up I did not have the energy to run it.
The name Devil Dog itself is scary. I was reluctant to sign up to run it – first of all it would be a 100 mile (previous year, 100 mile is their thing) and I was not (still am not) ready for it, and second it is happening in the winter. I hate running in the cold and being miserable. Never in my dream to think running the Devil Dog.
This year we had a break. Distance wise the race was reduced to a 50K, which is like 30-31 miles, so it is within my range of able to pull it off without stressing myself out. Second, even though it was forecasted wet and rainy, the rain came early the night of and did not rain during the event. Cold? not really. I could tough it out.
The course though was wet and muddy. Less than a mile in we already had to run through big puddles of water across the trail. There was no way avoiding them.
The race itself for me was anticlimatic. After doing Stone Mill nothing really scares me. I went to bed at the usual hour. Though kind of still awoken every hour (I set 3-4 alarms too). By 3AM was pretty much up. The race started at 7. I left the house a little after 5 and arrived at the race place at 6, when it was still dark.
We had 4 wave starts of 20 person per wave at 5 minutes apart. I was in the third wave.
People in my wave quickly disappeared. I was overly dressed for the occassion. Less than half mile in I was already overheated. I dressed the way I did because I was expecting rain and blustering 20mph wind with a windchill around 32F. However, the wind did not really come and the temperature was in upper 40s and might have reached into the 50s. So I ditched my long sleeves and was wearing the tees the rest of race. It was cold though whenever I stopped running.
The course was a 10 mile loop in the Prince William forest (a National Park). It was a five mile out and a five mile back with some changes in between to make it a 50K. We ran the loop three times.
There were couple “big” climbs. Big is relative of about 150 ft according to my watch. There was a long climb about maybe a mile long at the last mile of each loop. The first loop I ran up that hill but subsequent loops, I walked it. I walked most of the third loop anyway.
My goal was to finish by 7:38 (hr:mm). This was according to my mental math I did while at the start. We did the first loop at a very fast pace (I think I went out at a 9 min pace). People in my group joked about “you know we are going out too fast right?” Indeed. We would be running for the trophy. I finished the first loop under 2 hours.
10 miles in two hours does not seem to be that fast. However, one commented that the course seems deceptively slow. I was scratching my head what does this mean at the time. We seem to be moving slow, but we are actually was doing it pretty fast. I wouldn’t mind to have 2 hr per loop.
During the second loop, I was maintaining my blistering pace (I was following #72 who was running at 11:30 min pace). At the time, what scared me is with 20 mile to go, meaning only 230 more minutes (about 4 hours) to finish. No way in my mind I said I would finish in 4 hrs. I was actually aiming between 7-8 hours finish.
I did slow down though not because I didn’t want the 6 hour finish but my body couldn’t keep the pace any more. Those hills get to you. My hope was to reach the third loop by 11:00am. I didn’t arrive though until closer to 12 pm, 50 mins before the cutoff.
I started my 3rd loop moving very slowly. I knew I had 3 hours to do it, but my feet refused to run. #72 passed me about a mile in and I did not see her again. We were pretty much at the same pace until then. A few others passed me too. At first I thought they were running fast, but in reality I was slowing down. I think I reached the halfway loop Aid Station (mile 25 for me) at 1 pm. It took me an hour to do that first 5 miles in the final loop, but about 1.5 hrs to do the last remaining 5 miles.
I hit the wall. I think the main reason for that was I did not have a big hearty breakfast. I had some oatmeal but that did not give me enough calories. I was hungry through out the race. Aid Stations had sufficient food but I just couldn’t eat that much on the run. I seemed to be full at the Aid Station, but while alone on the trail, my stomach was rumbling.
I finished at 2:30 pm. 8 minutes before my expected arrival time. I did not reach my stretch goal of finishing under 7 hours. But I take it.
The race if based on the finishing time, would be my hardest 50K by far. Mentally, I don’t think it was that hard.