Oil Creek 50K Trail Run, Titusville, PA

Elevation Gain: 5459'; High Point: 1595'

October 10, 2009 - Entering the Oil Creek 100-mile event was a last-minute decision to attempt a hundred-miler before the end of the year. Since the event is just an hour drive from my home it simplified the logisitics of getting there, even though it was far from an adventure I would normally choose to participate in. From the Middle School the hundred-milers would set off in darkness in an early morning light rain. The air was damp and stuffy from 24 hours of raining. The first section to the vicinity of Boughton Bridge followed a bike path mostly and served to separate people before hitting single track in the woods. I set an easy tempo of 5 mph and relaxed, but still found myself moving up on people before going into the woods.

Titusville Middle School to Boughton Bridge

The first three-and-a-half miles of the trail would deliver us to the first aid station in
darkness. Despite having my good headlamp I continued to have difficulty seeing
well in the woods in the dark. I stuck with a woman named Charlotte from Ontario
to enable me to better navigate the trail in the dark. The single track trail wound its
way up and up across small drainage streams back and forth on switchbacks. I
had no difficulty keeping a 5 mph pace through the first aid station which came on
quickly after a rather steep downhill to bring us back down into the valley.

Boughton Bridge to Wolfkiel Run AS#1
I grabbed a swallow of fluids at AS#1 and continued through the woods with Charlotte
to the second aid station as daylight overtook us.  Charlotte proved an interesting 
companion for much of the morning.  She had just returned from running in the U.K.
in the Lake District, representing Canada in an international ultra event.  She knew many
of the female runners I know and have participated with.  Conversation was engaging
and helped the first 14 miles pass without thought.  We continued at a 5 mph pace 
through AS#2.  Here I stopped to get rid of wet clothing, find dry gloves, and resupply.
Wolfkiel Run AS#1 to Egbert Farm AS#2

From Egbert Farm the trail heads up hill promptly through the woods.  I was really 
soaked and it was clear I was carrying more weight than I needed to but I didn't
want to shed layers yet because temps were still in the 40's.  So I continued after
catching up with Charlotte and felt reasonable, keeping pace with other runners that
had joined us.  Still keeping a 5 mph pace - in fact, right through 25 miles - I cruised 
through Cow Run Shelter.  
Egbert Farm AS#2 to Cow Run Shelter

I was feeling heavy with sweat, but didn't want to shed any layers as the temps 
were still in the 40's in late morning.  It still felt cold, despite being soaked.  I could 
feel this heaviness beginning to take its toll.         
Cow Run Shelter to AS#3 Miller Farm Road Bridge

Somewhere after 25 miles I began to lose Charlotte and another Canadian.  At the same
time two other runners fell off behind me.  My muscles were beginning to stiffen and 
ache strangely from feeling cold, contributing to a compromised pace.  My energy level 
seemed good.  I was drinking and taking supplements on schedule.  But I was cold, almost 
AS#3 Miller Farm Road Bridge to Jersey Bridge Parking Lot

With the ups and downs of running the ridges and woods of western Pennsylvania I was
quickly losing enthusiasm for the day's effort.  By the time I reached the bike path for a
return to the school to complete the loop I decided to call it a day after completing 50K
of the 100 miles.  Call it a lack of good attitude, but hypothermia was the precipitating
factor in my withdrawing from the race.  The sun was shining, but the thought of doing
two more loops, given the way I felt, just didn't get me excited.  So after running for
6 hours and 20 minutes I turned in my number and dropped out.         
Jersey Bridge Parking Lot to Titusville Middle School AS#4

Looking at the results I see that Charlotte dropped from her pace by a significant 
amount during her second lap and was way off her expectation at the finish, not to
mention dropping from first woman to second.  Oh well, oh well, ce la vie.  Call it a
31-mile training run.  I survive to race another day. 
Jedirunner - Larry Creveling