Race Report: North Fork 50 Mile

I had a great idea for this race. Instead of just suffering and finishing the race, I thought – hey, why don’t I just suffer a little faster? There were 2 races starting together (50 mile/50K) and I ran the opening 1,200′ climb hanging just outside of the top ten overall. Way too fast for me in a 50 miler, but I was game. It was definitely one of my better opening climbs in an ultra.

I was working, but running well. I eased off a little on the next climb and a little more on the next. Then it got really HOT. I couldn’t keep up with my fluid losses and started suffering a little more than I had in mind. Despite sucking down tons of water and staying on top of my salt intake, it felt like there was a cramp convention in town and every muscle in my body had a ticket. Thankfully, my legs weren’t too bad, but my abdomen, chest wall, and even neck muscles were giving me tons of grief. That slowed me down quite a bit.

I had a tough day, but managed to come in 7th place in 9:45 and took 2nd in my age group. I don’t know how many finishers there were, lots of carnage out on the course. I was in rough shape at the finish, barely managing to avoid the post-race puke fest. My calves were jumping and twitching around like there was some sort of alien cage match going on inside them. It took me about 90 minutes to recover enough to gather myself and get to my car.

I was down 9 pounds when I weighed in at home after drinking another 60oz on the drive. Ouch.

They mentioned at the start that there were over 40 people in the events racing their first ultra. They picked a tough one!

Posted on July 17, 2011, in race, run. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. yeah, that race took it out on me last year. It’s tough as hell, even for a veteran like you. You’d have to drink 100oz per hour to stay hydrated there. Good job. 7th is sweet!

  2. Nice job, Chris. There’s so much exposure on that course, you’re almost guaranteed to be in for a sufferfest, but, man, those trails are sweet!

  3. I really want to run this race….if they move it to April. I’ve run on the course once and it was stellar, but to run it in July? Yikes. Well, I’m excited for your run at Pb. I’m sensing the experience you’ve gained in all your races this year has you ready for anything Pb will throw at you.

  4. There sure are a lot of ups and downs in that graph!

    Nice work.

  5. Scott Williams

    Hey Chris, looked for you at the start but didn’t see you. That was a tough tough course. Those steps going back up the mountain at mile 32 were like a cruel joke. I just kept imagining those guys at the bottom directing 50-milers to the stairs laughing it up as I’m climbing what seemed like a thousand stairs. After that course I’m actually excited about the first 50 of Leadville. Hope Pass is nothing to balk at but I think the first 50 of Leadville will be easier than this course was.

  6. Looks like a lot of elevation change!

  7. Smokin’ race. Way to go.

    From the map it looks like a lot of that course was out in the open, that had to have been hot. But I have to say the parts that are still covered with pines are some of the nicest trails I’ve seen in this area; light open pine woods, ravines, really great terrain. Good stuff.

  8. Thanks, now that I checked it out, I put it on my radar! That time and 7th is awesome!

  9. Everyone – thanks for the nice comments! Sorry for the delay in reply/approval, I’ve been off the grid backpacking up in the mountains this week.

    Scott – Sorry we didn’t cross paths again, I remember you saying you were going to be there. Congrats on your finish and see you in Leadville.

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