I’m not sure what possessed me to agree to run a 50K, but it seemed like a good idea when my friend suggested it. So last weekend I headed back to KC for the Trail Nerds’ Psycho Wyco Trail Run.
I rolled up to Brad’s house around 6:30 on Friday night. We decided it would be wise to visit the old neighborhood watering hole (and fine dining establishment), 75th Street Brewery. The new menu was impressive, and the beer, as always, was great.
Anyway, after an easy going night and a quick sleep it was time to head to the course at Wyandotte County Park. We arrived at the park, dropped our gear box at the main shelter, and took our morning constitutionals. The 8:00am start time for the 50K and 20 miler arrived quickly. With the sound of the horn, a couple hundred people stormed the trails (at a reasonable pace).
The first 10 mile loop was a pleasant experience. Footing was great, and the starting temperature of about 32 degrees allowed much of the damp ground to stay frozen. There was plenty of good company and after a few miles I found a crew of runners that settled in to a common pace. My main goal for the first lap was to stay aerobic and walk the steep climbs.
Carrying a little mud on my shoes, and feeling pretty fresh I hit the main aid station and filled my Perpetuem and water. I started my second lap at 1 hour 52 minutes.
Thirty minutes after the start of the 50K/20 mile events the 10 mile runners hit the course. The two hundred plus runners in the 10 miler might as well have been a herd of bison. The trail that I experienced on the first lap was gone. In it’s place was something that resembled a carpet bombed swamp. There were sections of the trail that were great, either solid hardpack or frozen ground, but it was not the majority. I was able to move pretty well on the flats and down hills, but the climbs had little mercy. Short and patient steps had to be taken to avoid slipping down the climbs.
About halfway through the second lap, 3 hours of wet socks had started a hot spot on the inside of my right arch. Other than that, I was feeling great. I had managed my hydration and nutrition much better than my marathon. Hunger, thirst, and cramping were not issues at 4 hours. It wrapped up my second loop and hit the main aid station for a change of socks, Pertetuem, and a couple of chips (salty goodness). The hotspot on my right arch had turned into a quarter inch blister. I didn’t want to take the time to tape it up since the wet trail would probably make it a moot point, so double socks would have to do.
I started the last loop at 4:06 a little tired, but not worn out. The trail… was no more. Where there used to be traction on the margins, everything was a soft mush. Multiple laps by multiple hundreds of people had compressed the moisture out of the ground and was actually streaming down several parts of the trail. Descents on tired legs were exciting to say the least, and the single-track sections were ridiculous. Sections that were merely muddy had turned to shoe sucking, ankle-deep clay muck.
The last five miles were pretty intense. I was struck with crazy urges for oranges and chips, which luckily were stocked at the aid stations. It became incredibly hard not stop and stuff myself at the last aid station, but only 2.5 miles from the finish was close enough for me to feel excited about the end. The hardest thing was convincing myself that I needed to start running again at the top of each muddy, nasty hill.
The finish has a way of sneaking up on you. You climb up a short, steep hill, and come to a rocky flat, and then make a left turn and it’s a smooth downhill 400 meters. The only thing better than seeing the finish line was seeing the soup, chips, and cookies next to it.
My first 50K went as well as I could have expected. No major chafe issues, no cramps, bonks, falling, sprains, or brain trauma. The KC Trail Nerds and BadBen know how to put on one hell of a fun event. A great thanks goes out to them.
Next on the race on the horizon?
- Trail Mix 50K, Bloomington, MN