2015 Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50K + Video Recap
Snow changing to sleet then to freezing rain at the start of the race…yup, Yankee Springs Winter Challenge was going to live up to its name this year! Leading up to race day I was uncertain how I wanted to tackle the run as I haven’t truly put in the long runs since the DWD Hell 50 miler. Yes I ran the Huff 50K just a few weeks back but the goal and effort of that run was to have fun and hang some friends. During last summers intense training months I usually knock out around 300 miles a month but for these last three months (Oct/Nov/Dec) I only averaged 150 miles per month. I will admit it has been a nice break though as last years races and long miles did add up and I really need a break.
New Year’s Day I joined up with some buds for our 5th annual Polar Bear Run to the John Daly One One Run. After getting home the run I felt really good (run was just under 16 miles) which set the stage of how I wanted to tackle Yankee.
Saturday morning rolled around and the first 2015 #SUITUP Facebook post was made. My fastest 50K out at Yankee was a couple of years back and I finished around 5:55. I knew going into the race now that I could hammer that PR and possibly finish under 5hrs but I didn’t make that goal as I just wanted to see how I would feel with very little training.
First lap’s plan was to roll into a comfortable pace in which unfolded perfectly. I ran with a couple of friends for a good portion of the lap. As I rolled into the finish of the first lap I felt great but I needed to swap out to some dry gloves. During the lap the snow switched over to rain and basically we were all soaked. At the time my feet where not frozen but they were wet but I figured I could handle one more lap and won’t need to swap socks/shoes.
As I was heading out onto the second lap I found myself shivering. It’s amazing how quickly the body cools down within 5 minutes while I was changing gloves. For the next three miles I pushed the pace just to get my core temperature back up. Just before the first aid station on the lap I was feeling better (warming up). As I rolled into the Deep Lake MTB 2 mile loop my body must have known that there was a bathroom at the end of the loop. And boy let me let you that was a loooong 2 mile as I had to go to the bathroom and go now! I really wanted to stop and add my DNA to a local tree but I knew the outhouse was just up ahead and I can hold off. Well after a 6 minute bathroom break I was back onto the course. I really need to work on my ‘pitstop’ times. 🙂 It took me about 4 miles to get my core back up to temp but at this time my feet were frozen. When my feet are cold, I’m not a happy runner. It is truly my achilles heal. Also at this time the trail was extremely iced and packed down along with rain run off which meant multiple trail puddles to splash through. Any other summer day this would have been great (like DWD Gnawbone) but when it’s 30 degrees, it sucks. When I came up on the last aid station (3 miles do the finish) I was shivering bad and I needed something warm. I could have just pushed the pace and passed the aid station for the last 3 miles and maybe finish under 5hrs but when I found out they had chicken noodle soup, I was sold and took my time to take in the soup while I walked the next quarter-mile in. Chicken noodle soup with Oreos is AWESOME. I glanced at my watch and realized that if I wanted to go under 5 I really needed to push it but I didn’t feel it. So it was cruise control speed for the last 2.5 miles.
Rolled into the finish-chute under a down pour of rain, high-fived the RD while she was in her car entering stats and grabbed my dry clothes to change into. After a couple bowls of delicious chili and a Dragon’s Milk I checked my times. 9th overall and finished in 5:03:15. 3 minutes, 3 MINUTES! Lessons learned…1) work on my bathroom breaks, 2) wear goretex shoes when you know it’s going to rain in 30 degree weather, 3) put RainX on your GoPro lens case and 4) figure out how to keep the GoPro warm so the battery last longer.
I am so happy though with my time. Haven’t put miles in since late summer but found that my summer ultra training base is still there. Now it’s time to start planning for 2015 as I haven’t picked my #WS100 qualifier yet. I’m leaning towards a couple of races but haven’t pulled the trigger on them quite yet. I am lined up for the 100K at Marquette in mid-August which should be an adventurous time.
Gear on the Run
- Shoes – Salomon Sense Pro
- Socks – Wrightsock Double Layer
- Bottoms – Sugoi tight shorts
- Gloves – Rotated two different pair
- Vest – Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Vest
- Buff – Merrell Buff
- Watch – Garmin 910xt
- Glasses – Rudy Project Rydon
- GoPro – HERO 4 Black