50 Miles in Mississippi and a confession.
I had the opportunity to run the Mississippi 50 mile trail race (http://ms50.com) recently.
The race is in the Desoto National Forest in southern Mississippi, near Laurel. The course is mostly flatish, single and double track through pine forests (very soft underfoot, almost like running on pillows.) There are a couple of dirt road sections, a couple of miles total and even those are softish, hard packed sand. There are a couple of creek crossings and a half dozen discrete mud holes per loop. The race is three long (12+ miles) loops and two short loops (6.7+ miles.) per 50 miles. Two long, one short for 50K. The course is mostly flat and not technical. If you wanted to PR a 50K/50M, this would be the place. The RDs have been at this for a long time, this is a very well run race and the swag is great.
Race day started out at 6AM Central, 7AM Eastern. The sun was just rising with a temperature of 48F. By afternoon, it was up to 68F. I started in one (!) long sleeve tech shirt, shorts and gloves. I didn’t sweat much so I didn’t have to change my shirt during the race. I started out towards the middle of the pack, and just kept running, with very little walking. My time was longer than the first time that I ran this race three years ago. Part of my goal was to keep a consistent pace, stopping as little as possible. I only spent 10 minutes in 12 aid station visits so I was happy with the effort. In addition to the 50 miler, the Mississippi 50 also has 50K, 12 mile and a 6 mile “fun run” options. Cassandra did the 12 mile race and I was able to meet up with her at about mile 6 for her, (mile 18 for me). I couldn’t stay with her for long, I had to keep moving to make the cut offs. I finished in about 11:12, about 48 minutes before the cutoff. I know 12 hours doesn’t seem like a reasonable cutoff for a 50, but the winner did it in 7:48! Cassandra was at the finish so it was awesome for me to see her at the finish.
Such interesting facts. Did you know that a panda poops 40 times a day? Neither did I. The sign on the bicycle says that you can rent it to bike to the finish. I never had enough money with me to rent it, the amount kept going up as the race progressed.. Haha. The aid stations had normal ultra fair (but no pickle juice. (Is that a northern thing?) There was even possum available (a sign said so.), but they always seemed to be out when I was there. Pizza at mile 44 is pretty freaking awesome. 🙂
So, confession time.
This was a sponsored race for me, TrailsRoc graciously awarded me one of there coveted sponsorships for 2018. I was pleasantly surprised in getting one of the slots, I had just applied on a whim. I know there were a few raised eyebrows with the fact that I was re-doing a race that I ran a few years ago. I was very specific on my application, but I had omitted a few details. The fact is that I was a bit burned out on the mid-range ultras two years ago, just after washing out of Twisted Branch, my only DNF. I took a year off of ultras (except for a couple of 50Ks and Many on the Genny.) I really wasn’t sure if I even wanted to run ultras anymore. My application was to get a gentle push to see if I even wanted to run 50s anymore. Now that this race is complete, I discovered that I still want to run 50+ races and now it’s time to start training for this year’s real goal: Twisted Branch, the only race that beat me. I will be forever grateful for the gentle push from the TrailsRoc committee.