Sunday, February 15, 2009
Psycho Wyco 50k 2009
I haven't written a race report in a while, but this year's Psycho race deserves it. Arguably the toughest 50k in the Midwest, Psycho Wyco boasts three 10-mile loops of relentless elevation change, roots, rocks, and soul-sucking mud. Add in veteran ultrarunner volunteers at every well-stocked aid station and a crazy race director, Bad Ben, and you get a one-of-a-kind event.
My goal for this years race was a sub-5 hour finish. Last year I think I missed it by 3 minutes and change. December and January were kinda high mileage for me (7o-80 mpw) and I spent many weekends training on the Psycho course.
As usual, I started out way too fast caught up in the moment. At about mile 4 I basically stopped on the trail and let a bunch of people pass me; running an 8 minute pace felt like I was being pushed a little too hard. The rest of the loop tried to maintain pace discipline. In training runs I run all of the hills but in this race I kinda enjoyed walking some of them. Finished the first loop in 1:26, said thank you to the volunteers as they were filling up my bottles, stopped at my drop bag for 2 gels and some m&ms.
Started the loop choking on frozen M&Ms. I don't get how people can run and eat solid food at the same time. The trail condition wasn't too bad at this point. The first aid station you come to is the Wyandotte triangle manned by the loudest, rowdy KC Trail Nerds. Aid station tip: always run into an aid station and--even if you don't feel like it--SMILE at everyone, say thank you a lot. Volunteers feed off of this energy, and it gets passed on to other runners. Roughly 6 miles into this loop is my favorite part of the course, Fester's Wander. It starts with a fast descent down the ridgeline section followed by winding single track over some short sweet climbs. By mile 17ish it was starting to get a little soft running towards the Amos aid station. It had to happen sometime: the mud was coming. Took it easy on the 3 hills section and finished the second loop in 1:33.
Enter the Gabe
Seven days prior to this race I paced 40 miles for Gabe Bevan in his 5th 100 miler, the Rocky Raccoon 100. In that race he didn't get the time he wanted, but still, despite intense pain he put down an impressive sub-21 hr finish. Gabe was signed on as a volunteer for the Amos aid station but I knew he wanted to stretch his legs and get in on the action so I told him to run the last loop with me. We both took off on the last loop. Even after a hard 100 Gabe was hungry to run. I had to rein him in a couple a times reminding him I needed to be able to run the back half aggressively and not limp in to the finish. Collectively we've run hundreds of miles on this course together in training so I knew that he knew how fast I could run a loop on tired legs. The rest of the loop I just tried to remain upright and everything was kinda of a blur, as I tend to blackout on the difficult sections. Hit the finish line at 4:41 (1:42 loop) happy to be done running for the day.
Thank you to all KC Trail Nerds
Special thanks are in order for Gabe and John, Kyle, Tony, Caleb, David, Shane, Gary, Willie at GPRC, you guys have taught me to chase instead of follow.
Bad Ben congratulations on being a zen master of race directing, try to get some rest.