Bryce Canyon 50k Race Report – 2014

Last year at Bryce I ran the 100. 80 miles of it was spent with Mr. Jon Stuart. It is my most successful “mountain” 100 to date, so Bryce holds some significance for me. This year was going to be different. While I wanted to be on the course again, 100 milers were out for 2014. I haven’t been able to train adequately or sleep much so I decided to put the 100 mile sufferfests on hold. Matt Gunn added a 50 mile option for 2014. I signed up for it. About two weeks ago, in a sleep deprived state, I decided to back down to the 50k.

Enough of that… on to the race. We made our way down on Friday. Leo was pleasant in the car. We checked in and hung out with the HUMR contingent before getting our race bibs. After dinner with the gang, we made a quick trip to Bryce National Park and took a few sunset(ish) photos. IMG_2095[1]

I had the privilege of sleeping in until 5. It was wonderful. At the start I met a few people running the 50k… One was from Australia. The other was German. The German fellow started asking me a few questions about what time I was planning to run the race in. I told him I thought 5:30 would be a solid time. Unsure of my response he asked what my road marathon PR was. I told him 3:05. His was 2:40.

The race started. Two fit looking guys raced ahead. My new German friend and another dude made up a small chase pack. I settled into 5th. The first 8 miles or so are my favorite on the course. They were as beautiful as I remember.

IMG_2127[1]

The mile 10 aid station came and went. I eventually got tired of my new Tailwind liquid fueling strategy. I passed a few HUMRs that were running the 50 miler between there and the mile 18 aid station. The Clark kids were helping man the mile 18 check in area. Madi looked happy. Gage, not so much. Lane and Pam helped me get some Coke in my handheld. The Tailwind experiment was over. I was in and out. My water bottle filled with Coke exploded in my face. I laughed hysterically. IMG_2120[1]

On I continued to the last aid station I would hit before the finish. I passed a few more HUMRs before I cut off their
route and made my way to the mile 24 aid station. Miles 23 or so to 26 had some rough climbs. This was the only point I felt pretty terrible. I reminded myself how terrible I felt last year in the 100 for miles 20 to 44, this wasn’t so bad.

Not much to report on the last section. There were still a few sneaky climbs. I was still able to hammer the downhill pretty well. About a mile and a half from the finish is where I managed to pass the dude formerly running with German dude. I slipped into 4th and ran well to the finish in 5:43, about a minute or so out of 3rd (my new German friend).

Observations:

– There are sections of this course where the scenery literally brings me to tears.

IMG_2125[1]

– I transported a full 2 liter hydration pack the entire 32 miles.

– My stomach shutting down has nothing to do with fuel/food choices. I need to train at race pace more often.

– For shorter 50k’s or 50 milers I need to be able to run steeper grades and resist the urge to power hike.

– I owe my successful race to my lucky Orange Smith Optics Mastermind’s.

– As long as I am physically able, I’ll be back to Bryce every year for this race.

– I wore my trusty orange Pearl Izumi N2’s again. I’ve raced all year in them and will be sad when I have to retire them soon.

– I look forward to some structured training for my last race in October.

– Pacing people at Wasatch and the Bear this year will be so much more fun than running them myself.

– I listened to Pearl Jam for roughly five hours of this race.

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