Day527 Naked Nick 50k

RP of Naked Nick 50k, a race I ran few weeks back in December. Though I said I was not going to write a report, but here it is. Enjoy!

We drove, up to Reading, Pennsyvania, about 3 hours away. We drove past York. York was like two third of the way. It is maybe an hour north of York. The drive reminded me a month ago when I when to Baltimore for the NCR marathon. I rarely drive up this part of town.

We left around 3:30 in the morning. I set my alarm for 3. It was hard to fall asleep at night but I did catch a few hours. I usually only need about 4 hours to be functional.

It was a long drive for sure. I have been to races that were farther away but I usually would go there a day before so as not to make an early morning drive.

This time though I was trying to save money by skipping the hotel since it was not an important race to me because I just finished a 100 mile a few weeks before. There would be no way for me to do well in this one. I was going to run it to just stretch my legs out – a recovery run.

The day before, I did search for hotel, but prices were reasonable. However, I promised to carpool with a friend, I did not want to bail on her. That weekend though my friend was actually in Pennsylvania, and I wanted to tell her, no need to come back to Virginia for me.

Luckily, my friend decided to drive at the last minute. This helped a lot. It was like a godsends that I did not have to drive there or back myself.

My predicted finish time was over 7 hours from the signup website. I know that is probably my pace because the site is usually accurate for me.

The course was simple. The race director described it as a lollipop. We would run out 5 miles on the stick, then we do a 5 mile loop, and we come back on the stick for a total 15-ish miles. The 50k people would run the course twice.

We arrived at the race early around 7 AM. The race started at 8. We got our bibs and I got dressed and changed into my shoes. The day started near freezing temp. I don’t remember but it felt like 28-30 F degrees. It might have been evem colder. I had multiple layers of clothes on. I had my gloves and my head buff/wool cap. I was shaking. I do not like the cold and prefer to be hot than cold.

This race is very popular with the locals (Philadelphia people), and we had 500+ runners that day. This is huge for a trail race and a 50k no less. Sure many only wanted to run the 25K but still we had a festive crowd.

We had a mass start. I was in no rush so I ended up kind of in the rear. After the first mile, I settled well into my pace.

It was not long until I followed Jennifer, who was a friend to Caroline. At the time, I did not realize but after talking a bit I made the connection. Caroline introduced us earlier but I was bad with faces. By halfway another woman passed me and separating between me and Jennifer. I did not say anything for awhile and just kept my pace. Little did I know, later when I tried to get my spot back, the woman turned to me and said Antin! It was my other friend from DC! I did not recognize her at the time. Lucky I did not push her off the trail! Kidding, I never push people. I wouldn’t do that but you know when someone passes you, you kind of give that stink eye. Yana, I didn’t mean to if you happened to read my blog. Yana was invited to run with us (David and his friends) on Christmas to do the reindeer run. It was a small world.

There was also a third lady, who saved my hat when it felt out my pocket. Sorry I forgot her name. However, three of us were pretty much in sync with our pace. The third lady and I took off as we near the finish line. She was doing the Half (25k, but we called it a half). I paced her to the finish. Yana and Jennifer were maybe a minute behind us. They too were doing the half.

I still had a second loop so I went back out. It got warmer now, near noon time. The temperature was around 45 F. About a mile out I saw Caroline coming in. She was doing the half too. I felt sorry she would have to wait for me to come back and I still have maybe 3-4 hours for the second loop. Because she was my ride home. She told me later that she went to the car and sleep (and warmed it up for me by the time I finished). It was a cold day.

Second loop was definitely slower. I walked a lot especially all the hills. The course is hilly. I met Keith and Ruth. We basically did run walk together for most of it.

Aid stations were at about every 3-4 miles and they became important. I tried to stuff myself with something such as oreos whenever we got to one. I had plenty of liquid in my hydration pack but I still picked up a cup of gatorade or water when we went by.

I could tell that Ruth from early on was much stronger among the three of us, however, she was staying with us. She planned to run her first 50 miler in California in January, so I guess she did not want to go all out in this race. Halfway through the loop, Keith dropped back. I was then left with Ruth for a while. At one of the aid stations, I lost Ruth too and I ended up by myself for about the next five miles. However, when there were about 3 miles left in the course, Ruth came back strong.

I could hear her from behind me but I did not look back. Steadily, she closed the gap. I tried to keep her within sight but she was pressing all the hills. The course became flat near the end. She and couple other ladies just put on speed.

I finished at 2:50 pm (6:44:00), which gave me a time of under 7 hours. I bested the prediction. I hobbled a bit. Got some warm food in me. Found my sweater and put that on (backward but too late to correct it). I was getting cold and I think the temperature might have dropped to the low 40s now. I was beginning to freeze. Just as I about to go to the car, Caroline came with my pack and winter coat from the car. I told her I likely would finish around 7 hours+. So she came out on cue. She finished more than three hours before me, and went to the car to sleep. I was happy to see her.

We took our celebratory picture at the finish. She got me more food. I changed into dry and clean clothes and shoes. The course had sections that were muddy, so having a pair of clean shoes at the finish was a good idea.

Caroline had moved her car to the finish, so I did not had to walk far. She parked next to the ambulance. I mean I would not have minded some walking. Our initial parking spot was not too far away. Note though some late comers had to park maybe a mile away (and RD delayed the start for extra 5 minutes to wait for those runners). So it beat to get to race an hour early for a good parking spot.

The drive home was uneventful. I was the navigator because we could not get signal on the iphone to work. Somehow we went kind of a round about way to get back on the highway. We finally got the phone to work. I slept a bit on the way back.

I was still cold but the car was already warmed up. We made a pitstop in town and I got myself a gatorade, which helped. It was hard to walk after sitting in the car. I was kind of hungry later on and I did not want to request a stop because I knew I would have food once we got home. If I was by myself, I would probably stop in Baltimore for food.

I was asked if I would do this race again. I might. It was a good race. Low cost, good food at aid stations and finish line. Because the race was so cheap I did not expect food at the aid stations. We had a big crowd. Trail. Hills. Also generous cutoffs (race closes at 5 pm, 9 hours for a 50k). There was nothing not to like about it.

For me, it was a bit far to drive to, but I would not mind getting up at 3 AM. It was in the winter, when normally I don’t do winter races. Also I was not in a racing mood, so I did not have the I got to run this every year feel.

If I could go there with a friend though, yes I would be down for doing it again.

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