Cake by the Ocean (but actually the sound)
10/17/2021 | 6HR Trail | 52.68M
Ryan ran 2.1-mile loops at Sunken Meadow State Park in an attempt to set a new 6hr personal record and take down a 17 year course record.
RYAN'S WRITE UP & MORE
This has always been a race which I have wanted to do, but because I was away at either Mansfield, or Minot, I was never able to do the event. Coming 3 weeks off of the Ocean to Sound 50 Miler, I had a pretty good idea for what I should have been able to run for 6 hours. I did end up coming a bit short on my goal, but the terrain was surprisingly more challenging than anticipated. Overall, I ran 52.68 miles in 6 hours, completing 24 2.1-mile loops and a handful of the smaller loops.
Due to lack of information, and no access to course maps before the race or at the race, I ended up putting my aid station about 8 feet off of the course which added several seconds to each lap. I pre labeled all of the water bottles with the corresponding number to the lap that I would have completed along with attaching any snack, GU, or gum depending on the duration I would be off at the race. This made the supply pick-ups super easy and efficient. When Kelly and CJ showed up for a few laps about 2.5 hours in, they handed me the goods. Same with when Cody and Kelly showed up about 4.5 hours into the race. Overall, during the race, dehydration was not an issue, consuming 208 fluid oz total. This in fact may have been one of the biggest successes of the race too.
The race started a few minutes late due to the introductions of the 1960 birthday people as well as the 1961 birthday people (COVID, am I right). It wasn’t too much of a hassle, because we were going to be out there anyway. Once the gun went off, I got out pretty quick, and figured I would be running the entire race by myself since there weren’t any takers. The interesting thing about the loops is that the first mile was flat and fast, but the second mile was a bit slower, sandy and technical. After going around the loop a few times I decided to take advantage of the faster part building a time buffer and picking up the pace along that section. The second half of the course I decided to just conserve energy as much as possible and be efficient with the terrain. By the beginning of the 3rd loop, I was already lapping people. Luckily everyone was pretty chill about it, and I just kept saying on your left and people moved over.
Major hiccups for me personally during the event included stomach issues on and off for the first 3.5 hours. I did my typical pre-race prep and morning routine with two bananas, but even that was no match for eating dinner too late the night prior. Between moving into an apartment, and working crazy long hours, it is no surprise that something like this happened. However, you live, and you learn. I had to use the restroom at 1 hour, 2 hours 15 minutes, and 3 hours 30 minutes. After the second time I was already pissed about this and ended up downing 3 tums to hopefully help alleviate any issues.
This was also around the time when people tried to offer me food, and water, because they hadn’t seen that I was drinking or eating since my aid station was set up by the parking lot which was out of sight.
After getting past that wall, I hit another speed bump, dragging time. You know it is bad when you pass the finish every time and you see the clock only change about 15 minutes anytime you go by. Regardless, I just kept telling myself that I will listen to music on the next loop. I did this for 8 loops until I finally tuned into the studio. That was at hour 5. Between hour 3 and 5 certainly was the toughest to get through mentally, but physically my legs were starting to slow up as well. I knew I was already well ahead of the course record, so for about 50 minutes I kept the paced decently relaxed hitting in the mid 7:30’s. I also started putting ice in my hat to stay cool and would switch hats each few laps past hour 3. Temps only reached mid 60’s, but 35% of it was completely in the sun and I didn’t want a Heckscher 50K championship repeat.
At around 4:45 into the race, I started to feel much better and more like myself and decided to push off the listening of music until 5 hours in, this way I could listen to one Big Bootie mix, and then be done with the race. Around here, I had slowed to about 16:15 per 2.1-mile loop, whereas at the start of the race I was clearing the loops in 14 minutes and some change. Once I hit those last 60 minutes, it was power hour. My pace had picked back up to mid 6:00’s for the flat sections, and 6:30’s for the more technical sections. I was cruising and feeling good. To reverse some of the effects of the tired legs, I also threw some horse lineament on my glutes and hamstrings which were getting a little sore. The course in my opinion at this point was easier to run because the number of people were limited, and everyone was very spread out. I will say that the one double back section made that section of the course dreadful, having to meander around people in the race, and people that were just out for their Sunday afternoon stroll, but it worked out.
After coming through my 24th loop at 5:45, the race officials pulled me off onto the smaller loop. I still had about 15 minutes left, and figured I would get at least 2 miles in. After the results were calculated, I would have actually been good to do another big loop but am glad that we didn’t risk it. For those last 15 minutes, I kicked it into high gear, and was easily cruising at 5:40 pace. At that point I didn’t have much to lose.
Overall, I finished 1st, besting the previous course record of 46.99 miles set in 2004 by 5.69 miles with an official distance of 52.68 miles or 6:50 per mile. My moving time was 5:56:26 which is even more impressive because I stopped to use the bathroom those 3 times. At 4:52 into the race, my GPS watch decided to stop mapping the course, so I suppose I will be in the market for a new watch very soon. Still unsure if I would have gone with a trail shoe if I knew how much of the course was trail per say, but I am kind of happy I stuck with the Clifton 8’s!
Complex breakdown of nutrition during the race:
After lap 1: 8 oz water
After lap 2: 8 oz water
After lap 3: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 4: 16 oz Tailwind mix
After lap 5: 8 oz water, Rice Krispy treat
After lap 6: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 7: 8 oz water
After lap 8: 16 oz Tailwind mix
After lap 9: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 10: 8 oz water, mini beef jerky stick
After lap 11: 12 oz Gatorade
After lap 12: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 13: 8 oz water, gum
After lap 14: 16 oz Tailwind mix
After lap 15: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 16: 8 oz water, mini bag of fruit snacks
After lap 17: 8 oz water
After lap 18: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 19: 8 oz water, squeezable apple sauce
After lap 20: 16 oz Tailwind mix
After lap 21: 8 oz water, GU
After lap 22: 12 oz Mountain Dew
After lap 23: 8 oz water
After lap 24: 8 oz water