Derby 50K, Derby, NC 2,1

Elevation Gain: unk; High Point: 600'

November 27, 2010 - A chilly 32 degrees welcomed eighty-some runners to the Derby Community Center on the sunny Saturday following Thanksgiving. Knowing I would be holiday feasting in Pinehurst, NC, with family it was a foregone conclusion that I would toe the line for the Derby 50K since it was so close where we were staying. This is advertised as a no-frills event - no shirt, no port-a-toilets, no big hoopla - just a benefit run for an animal shelter and the Community Center of three 10.5-mile loops in the Carolina piedmont on mostly paved roads past odorous chicken ranches with a bunch of other crazies wishing to run off any gorging of turkey and fixins from two days before.

The event started easily enough on a slight downhill before going through a series of long slow grades up and down through the countryside. In the first of the three loops I felt alright through much of it, but realized my lack of training on pavement made the steady pounding more noticeable. A mile-and-a-half section in the middle between 5.5 and 7 miles was a sandy road that didn't spring back much, so I slowed here each time around before speeding up again once we hit pavement. Below is a view of the start and surrounding countryside.

It was pleasant running overall. As I slowed before completing the first round in about an hour and a half, a few people filed past me with a slightly quicker leg turn. I continued to lose position on the second loop, but kept an even pace, crossing the start line a second time at 3:11. The third loop saw me pass as many folks as passed me, again - seeming to hold a steady pace, without any apparent loss of strength or tempo. My finish time was 4:57:01 at 31.5 miles in 25th place overall, giving me splits of 90 minutes, 101 minutes, and 106 minutes. Results

Overall I was satisfied with a time under five hours for such an easy, though mostly paved, jaunt. Given that I don't train much faster than 6 miles per hour I was able to run 50K at essentially my top training pace, which is good enough at this stage. My Achilles heel gave me no problem, but I knew it was there. No after-effects other than fatigue followed me home, with medallion in hand and memories of the nice people I mixed with there.

As a side note, I drank only my own Propel mixtures during the event, eating one Power Bar gel every three miles on the run for 110 calories and 50 mg of caffeine. The calories and/or the caffeine saw me through the race without any noticeable drop in energy or power. After consuming over 300 mg of caffeine (the equivalent of 10 or 11 cokes) I had trouble falling asleep at night. Will adjust the caffeine intake for the next trail ultra and see what the difference is.