50's For Yo Momma 50K, Circleville, OH 4,4
 Elevation Gain: ~5000'; High Point: 700'
May 12, 2012 - The day dawned just as the picture above as we assembled
near the starting line with the sun filtering orange behind the clouds over Hargus
Lake.  I signed up for this race because it sounded fun, from the name, and it
was off the beaten path that I had been following with a more aggressive
racing agenda.  I've grown weary of taking it all too seriously, so planned to
run this one just for sheer entertainment (and I was not disappointed).

After driving the four and a half hours the evening before and sleeping in the
car bohemian-style I arrived dark early to pick up my packet and relax a bit
before the 0645 start.  Temps were at 48 degrees, but a short-sleeve shirt
seemed quite comfortable to start an event where temps were forecast to
rise into the seventies by early afternoon.  The lake area in A.W. Marion State
Park was very pleasant.  A mockingbird was singing its heart out and everyone
seemed to have come for the same reasons as me - no one seemed anxious
to set a PR by running too hard.

The runners in the 50-mile event started at 0630 to prevent trail congestion.
We'd all be following a 5.2-mile trail around the lake multiple times until we
achieved our distance - for the 50Kers that would be six laps.  Normally I
have little patience for a lap race and get bored by the second time around.
Not so with this one.  The woodsy trail is so varied, challenging and pretty
that I never lost my interest.  As trails go this one was everything a trail
runner could dream of - the perfect trail.  While extremely rooty it did not
have that many rocks to kick or lose footing on.  Generally wide enough to
pass anywhere along the trail it wound back and forth through the woods
with tight turns as it undulated non-stop, up and down, with both gradual
and steep hills. 


My first two trips around the lake and back to the starting area were casual.
While I deliberately tried not to engage in too much conversation it was not
because I had put on my race face; it was to keep my focus on the changing
terrain and the endless roots.  I absolutely hate to catch a tip and stumble, or
worse - crash.  I told one fellow that I had not decided whether I would race
or not, which was accurate.  My tempo was conservative, I walked when
I could have run sometimes, and all systems seemed good.  I was tired though.
Too much training or racing or working or something.  Just plain tired, but
my attitude was good.

Each loop took about an hour to complete, equating to about a 5 mph pace,
which was fine, given the trail challenges and hazards.  I completed the fourth
loop in four hours before slowing on the fifth and sixth loops.  Once I got into
a rhythm after the second loop I socialized more and put more effort into the
hills and more speed into the straight-aways.  It just felt good to work at it.
I gained on the field throughout the race, continually improving my finishing
place.  I considered it a smart race - not too fast, but no letting up either.

The two aid stations enabled me to run light, without the need to wear a waist
pack or carry gels.  Wearing my Brooks Cascadias kept me as light as possible,
so I was able to glide comfortably despite being generally tired.  Despite 
multiple stream crossings I was able to keep from getting muddy or wet by
being careful or creative in my crossings.  The only fall I sustained was an
outright tumble near the halfway point.  I was speaking to a hiker along the
trail and not paying attention.  Aside from a bruised shoulder and a few
scrapes, there was no blood and I was able to continue without distress.
I must have stumbled most of a hundred times during the event, always
catching myself before hitting the ground.  Stumbling causes more wear, I
sometimes think, than the running itself.  Following the race my legs are
generally good - it's the rest of me that is sore from either falling or saving
myself from a fall.  


I rolled into the finish in 6:18:36 for 14th place of the 67 people I started with.
Lots of people got beat by the trail, but then lots of first-timers achieved their
first ultra as well.  It was a good event.  A beautiful course.  I was appropriately
prepared to run it and ran it with strength.  Yo Momma didn't kick my butt.
After a quick trigger point session with a masseuse to work out a cramp in the 
hamstring of my driving leg I returned home looking forward to some rest before 
celebrating Momma's Day with the family the next day.