Last Saturday September 27th, I ran the Flatrock 50-kilometer trail run. Flatrock race director, Eric Steele, advertises his race as the “the first, toughest and best trail ultra in the state of Kansas”! It is certainly the toughest course of all the ultra-trail courses I’ve run during this last year.
In the pre-race briefing, Eric Steele asks runners not to come back to him after crossing the finish line whining about how tough it is. He says: "If you whine you will be openly scorned and ridiculed. If you need to whine call your mom or call someone who cares."
This is my second year in a row to run Flatrock. In 2007, Flatrock was my first ultra-marathon distance ever. This year it was equally fun but perhaps doubly hard (even though the course was in much better shape this year than last) – but I really don’t know why. I finished over an hour faster last year although I believe I am in even better shape this year. Some suggest it was because of my mileage lately and the fact that I ran two races last weekend – caaaaan’t be! Nothing went wrong, nothing was hurting, just lacked the drive to push harder so I basically took it easy in the second half of the event.
The Flatrock course consists of lots and lots of rocks underfoot. I lost track at the number of times I tripped or stubbed my toes at like 30 (in the first half of the course). The course is an out an back of 15 and ½ miles each way. Somehow it appears that more rocks and hills appear on the way back. I even saw a 2 1/2 ft brown snake on the trail and let out a frozen, frightened, yelp!
Allen Smelser finished 30 minutes faster than me (go figure!?) for the second year in a row. As is apparently now a tradition, Jesse and a couple of his students from Northridge accompanied us on the trip. I was also joined for the Friday/Saturday weekend by Eric Linville, Pastor at Ramona Friends Church which is in Oklahoma just south of the Elk City Resorvoir/Lake where the race is held. Eric joined me for the last four miles. Eric was my roommate at Barclay my senior year and is a good friend. Jesse was responsible to bring the tent. He brought it and it is a very nice big tent. He forgot the poles. So we slept on instead of in the tent on the gravel driveway to the tent camping site. Sleeping on rocks is not really a feasible solution to a night’s rest – just to set the record straight.
There is something about Flatrock that while it at first beats you up, after you heal you are so much stronger. I look forward to a good fall of running because Flatrock beat me up this year.
Flatrock 08 results: http://flatrock50.org/results/2008results.php
I don’t have any clue why but I’ve already registered for Flatrock 09. Okay, now I admit I am nuts!