Monday, December 8, 2008

One Hill At A Time

My final ultra of 2008 went as well as I could have hoped. The 50K (31 mile) on Saturday was called "One Hill At A Time". The course description is advertised as "Long Hills, Short Hills, Large Hills, and Tall Hills" (sounds like good stuff for a Dr. Suess book) on gravel and rocky roads. Total climb of 3,380 feet for 50K. The course was just southeast of Concordia, in north-central Kansas. The event benefited a local non profit org. This inaugural year of the event had a very small crowd. The course and event organizers where both excellent. The weather, which could have been interesting for a December day in Kansas, was awesome as well with 40s for most of the run and cloudy with minimal wind.
There were only two of us in the 50K. Matt from Galva, KS finished in 4:22 and I finished in 5:22. I ran with Matt for the first 7 miles or so at 8 minute/miles on these hills! My finish time was my best 50K time by an hour and six minutes. It averages to 10.4 minute/miles. I ran the first 16 in under 2:30 and faded a little on the steepest hills in the second half. The Aid Station folks were as friendly as can be and Steve the race director did a fine job of charting a challenging and fun event! As I begin to formulate my 09 goals, I see it as a possibility to finish an off-road but not rugged trail 50K in just under 5 hours.

The "monument" was on the course. About 10 miles from nowhere - literally!

Kansas is not flat. I can still feel the Kansas' unflatness in my quads and calves today as proof!

Wind Mills in the distance.

Running downhill is fun. Uphill is fun too. Not!
I think there were about two 200 yard stretches of "flat" on the course.

The finish line! ("turn right at the sign and run to the picnic table!")