No lie, the rain was pelting down my roof at 4:45 AM Saturday morning. The sound was the second thing that hit my brain after my alarm. For fleeting second, I had thoughts of rolling over and going back to sleep.
I had to run sometime. At least this way, I had motivation so after 2 hour drive, yeah, between the rain and the slick roads, I finally pulled into the Derby community center parking lot. Many other runners had already arrived. I made my way inside, and I picked up my race bib. Now, all I had to do was settle back in my seat and rest.
45 minutes went by real fast, and we gathered at the starting line. The temperate was around 34 to 35 degrees according to my car. A steady down pour was already pelting us runners. Not to mention, we were standing with our backs to the wind.
I had selected my race apparel and hoped for the best. I'd be wearing it for the next 4ish hours.
Mark gave us a some prerace instructions. Most of us were anxious to get started. No body was getting warm standing around.
With in ¾ of mile, I moved to the front and was pulling away. At the first left turn, I felt the wind picking up now. By two miles, I was soaked. Coupled with the temperature and the wind, plus the fact that I was running into the wind, my lips fingers, and quads were literally numb.
By the time, I turned left on Derby highway, I could hardly open my ziplock bag of Cliff blocks.
The right by Sycamore camp rounds, I could feel the wind ease a bit since it was hitting me from the side.
I rolled the downhill and turned left on the dirt road cut through. Actually, this is my favorite section of the course. The road starts out pretty flat but soon begins a gradual climb over the next couple of miles. Only one or two spots were slippery.
Back on the asphalt, we run perhaps another mile before turning left and tackling the the longest and steepest hill on the course. Nothing to do but sink down in the a low gear and let my legs climb to the top.
With another left on Derby Highway, the wind was finally at my back. I was soaked and cold but at least the wind was no longer freezing me.
Right on Jones Rd took me back by the Derby Community Center and the completion of lap number one.
My race plan was to stop at my car and grab a new set of hand held bottles. I must have lost two minutes here. I keep my key in a Velcro pocket on my shorts. But my fingers were so numb that I could not feel the buttons. Finally, I laid down my gloves and hand held bottles to fish out my key and unlock my car.
Mark asked me how I was doing. I responded that I was wet and cold but still moving.
About ¾ of the way through the second lap, the rain finally slacked up. In the 3rd lap, the wind eased up and the sun popped out. I actually started to sweat in the latter half of the 3rd lap. I could finally feel my fingers again.
During the first and second laps, I found difficult to drink from the my hand held bottles so I started taking the caps off. By the 3rd lap, I decided to forgo the the bottles and make do with just eating my Sports Beans.
While 35 degrees isn't that cold, when combined with the wind and the rain, it really put a drain on me. At one point my teeth were chattering.
To survive the difficult condition, I broke the race in the chunks and focused on completing each piece. Also, being in the lead, made me want to keep going because I wanted a second Derby hat.
To give you some back story, for years I knew about the Derby 50k but I could never make it work with my Thanksgiving schedule. Then, 4 years ago, things fell in to place. I went and came home with my first Derby hat. Over the last couple of years a friend of mine picked up a couple of Derby hats for himself. This year my schedule again fell in to place and I headed back to see if I could perhaps grab a 2nd hat. In deed, I did. I am sporting my latest Derby hat while writing this post.
As I wrap up this post, I cannot say enough about the Magnum Track Club, Mark, and his team of volunteers. Saturday was miserable for the runners, but I can only image what it must have been like for the volunteers supporting us along the course. My hat is off to them along with a heart felt thank you for giving of your time to help us runners.
Oh, and before forget the local Jones Church puts on a spaghetti dinner complete with deserts. They had banana pudding. When the lady found out that I liked banana pudding, I had to literally tell her to stop piling it on my plate, and it was GOOD!!!. Your entry in the race gets you a meal afterwards. You can literally finish and walk in the door to eat.
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend checking out Mark's Derby 50k. It is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I promise – you will not regret it.
1st overall in 3 hours 55 minutes and 40 seconds.
The Cool Down Runner