Saturday, May 20, 2017

Berryman Trail Marathon

Today was the Berryman Trail Marathon near Potosi, Missouri.  The course is a multi-use loop in the Mark Twain National Forest.  All week the forecast predicted thunderstorms during the morning.  For the most part, the rain had quit before the race started.  The trails were still wet, muddy, and often flowing.  The numerous small creek crossing were wet.  Sometimes you could step on rocks to get across, sometimes you didn’t bother.  There was one big creek crossing, but that was just fun.  It was probably only a foot deep.  Although the course was located along the Ozark Trail, it didn’t have too much elevation change.  Only approximately 2500’ of climb and 2500’ of descent.  Nothing too crazy. There were some longer, gradual climbs and descents, but nothing steep.  The trail was extremely rocky, and not with flat rocks, but with pointy and knobby rocks.  I caught one and took a spill, cutting my knee, but nothing too bad.  The morning started out cooler than predicted, with a starting temperature of 58.  It eventually got up into the mid-70’s.  I felt decent starting out.  I carried my camelbak and my trekking poles.  If I was more serious about time, I might have left both behind, but the camelbak really helps me stay hydrated and the poles are nice on the climbs.  I think both ended up helping me in the long run.  I settled in with some folks that were doing a nice pace.  The course had six aid stations, and I just focused on the up-coming aid station.  I ran all of the first leg, to the aid station at mile 5.5.  I was shocked when I looked at the time, and I was over eleven and a half minutes a mile by the time I left the aid station.  That was the first clue that today wasn’t going to be fast.  I also knew I wasn’t going to significantly get faster.  The funny thing was, I felt like I was doing well.  I was really stretching out my stride on the down hills.  I was powerwalking up the hills.  I wasn’t delaying too much at the aid stations.  I ended up with a time just over 6:16 (unofficial).  That was just over a fourteen minute mile pace, including aid station stops.  Other than being slow, I did everything else right.  I did not get chafing, muscle cramping, or gut issues.  I took my salt tablets, in addition to dipping boil potatoes in salt at the aid stations.  I drank constantly.  I was mostly alone after the first half hour.  I saw an occasional person for the rest of the race.  But then, somewhere between aid stations four and five, I caught up with another runner.  I would catch up to him on the down hills, and then let him pull away on the climbs.  We didn’t talk too much, but it was nice to see another person.  I eventually passed him before aid station six, then he caught me at the aid station, then I repassed him on the last leg.  I finished the race strong.  It was fun to see Joy, Laney, and Gloria at the finish line. I don’t know why my time was slow.  It was humid and warm, but not that bad.  The trail was very rocky and muddy, but that doesn’t affect me that much.  The hills were really pretty gradual.  I never hit the wall.  I suppose the most logical explanation is that I am just slow.  ;)  I had a fun time, enjoyed the course, and felt strong, so I’ll take it.  Stay posted for video.
The guy in the center with the green hat and blue pack was the guy I  finished with

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