After last years introduction into ultraTrail running at this event, I was content to never run trails again. Fortunately, time heals all.
The Black Warrior 50k is a truly great race. The RD, Keith Hallmark, keeps the field small emphasizing quality over quantity. In today's oversold, prepackaged, cookie cutter style events, the Black Warrior is a real treat. It's the kind of event you hear about, but can't quite ever find. You know those sweet, old school races the seasoned ultra guys talk about, the ones that have yet to be corrupted and exploited? The Black Warrior is one of those races.
Getting into my day,
|Shoal Creek Preserve's creek crossing|
The meat & potatoes is pretty boring, honestly.The first climb is the monster on the course. Again, I was engulfed by runners on the initial ascent; it's a long day and there wasn't a "1st up the 1st climb" prime, so patiently I did my thing. I was onto the trails <100 yards behind the leader and in my ideal position.
|3114 feet of gain according to my 910xt. Notice the sporty first ascent!|
Once in the woods, I was basically solo for the next 4hrs. My only company was a runner that got detoured on the trails and spent more time than I wanted trying to convince me I was lost. Other than that, I was getting updates on the leader and trying to remain a mature, responsible racer.
Closing in on the last hour, I was informed I was 10 minutes down. This was exactly where I planned to be. My plan was to hammer the final hour, be the hero, and save the day in the nick of time. Unfortunately, the final section of the course was a nasty, sloppy mess of recently groomed clay, snow melt, and the previous night's rainfall runoff. I ran hard, I just didn't go anywhere. I continued getting updates that I was ~10 minutes down despite my increased effort. Popping out of the trails, I'd only managed to get within 8 minutes of the leader.
As I alluded earlier, a few changes in my typical nutrition strategy:
Calories/Hydration consisted of 300C of gels, no water.
Average Heart rate was 148bpm
I don't normally rock the HRM, but I was curious.
|still in flight, but going nowhere|
|I am still amazed my friends don't call me Goldilocks yet.|
Overall, 2nd place doesn't give me any warm fuzzies, but I'm not whining either. I'm happy to have had the chance to play in the mud, and I furthered my education considerably. Had DeWayne fallen apart and let me slip by, I'd have a little less smarts next year. Thanks for the lessons, my man.
|The TwoBordens are developing a collection!|
|Wee Borden in Flight!|
|Em nabbed a 28 minute PR, I got 5 minutes slower.|
She's always upstaging me.
|I always appreciate a cheer section, especially when they pedal 100 miles to see me. |
Emily sent out a text as we descended into Brushy Creek warning the guys about the loose gravel in the switch backs.
|Unfortunately, that text didn't go through. |
The good news is that Dr. Hill from North Alabama Bone & Joint was on hand to kiss his boo-boo.
The Recovery Party was just the right amount of irresponsible, too.
The Good Dr. Diaz let me play with the liquid nitrogen, and we made ice cream!