So I was crazy enough to go back to Boogie again this year. Originally I wasn’t going to since Boogie was on my Kami’s birthday, but she decided I should go again. I ended up setting an overly ambitious goal and fell flat trying to complete a sub 9 hour 50 miler. I didn’t even bring home a sub 10. But I did manage to drop around 45 minutes off my time from last year. Just remember the races catch phrase and you will be fine. “Come with no expectations and you will not be disappointed.”
About Boogie. It is a 50 mile race consisting of 5 “lollypop” laps consisting of a 6 mile loop and the remainder an out and back. Based off my Garmin, there is a little over 1000 feet of elevation gain per lap mostly between miles 4 and 5.5 and 8.5 to 10. Start and primary aid station are at the Bethel Hills Baptist Church. Aid station 2 is about 3.5 miles into the loop. Aid stations had standard ultra foods and some really bad water.
We arrived in Ellerbe around 4:30pm, stepped out of the car and immediately started sweating. Picked up my number (no packets here, just a bib), chatted with some runners, and tried to relax by the car before the race brief. After the mandatory watch for rattle snakes and drunken rednecks out driving speech, we were off.
The first lap was uneventful and I spent much of that lap talking with other runners. The roadbed is rather beaten up and the camber on some portions is difficult to compensate for. Pay attention during the daylight lap and make mental note of the best sections of road to run (hint: most of the time it isn’t near the left white line) note where the real inclines are because once the sun goes down some of the flats feel uphill. Ran past aid station 2 with a wave. Finished out the 6 mile loop just over an hour. Stopped by the car and picked up another Tailwind, water, and a snack and rolled on. I noticed the sections at the bottom of the hill that had been marked by DOT at some point last year for repaving still weren’t repaved. Made the turnaround and went back up the hill. At the car I was feeling pretty good still, just completing the lap in 1:48:53. Slightly off pace for the 8:45, but not so far I couldn’t recover.
Lap 2 through to the aid station was good and I was able to find a pace that would get me right on the goal. Grabbed some chips and kept moving. My left knee started bothering my between mile 14 and 15. Think I subconsciously wanted Kami to make me drop the race at mile 30, but she told me to keep going. Lap 4 was 2:25:39. Saw several snakes including a rattle snake in the middle of the road. Looking off the side of the road, I saw several critters throughout the night. Plenty of stars out and it was really starting to cool down into the upper 60’s. Humidity was a beast overnight.
Realizing that I was going to miss my fallback goal during lap 4 was crushing. The knee pain was rather unbearable at this point or I had just let that thought get into my head. Kept moving forward but really wasn’t happy at that point. Going back out on the final lap, I knew I had to push harder or at least I wanted to. I finally dug in during the last 4 miles, “running” up the final hill. Lap 5 took 2:14:07. Total race time was 10:55:22. Total moving time was 10:22ish minutes. The battery on my Garmin dies around mile 47 so I don’t have a perfect record of that.
Overall, I’m happy with the improvement over last year and I realize that an 8:45 50 miler is probably a bit ambitious for a third year runner. In any case, it’s a PR since it is the second time I have ran that distance. Also, I’m pleased with the results of moving to Tailwind Endurance Fuel from Gu Brew. I like it because it isn’t as sweet and didn’t cause me GI issues like GU has been over the last few months. Tailwind was probably 80% of the fluids I took in and accounted for a good portion of my caloric intake. Even with that I ended the race somewhat dehydrated. I ate at least 2 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a Boogie burger overnight plus lots of smaller snacks.
Boogie has a great group of volunteers and the people of the Bethel Hill Baptist Church grill food for us crazies overnight. In the end, I like Boogie because it was my first Ultra. I Probably don’t like it enough to go back for 2015 though now that I have two coffee mugs, I really need (want) four. I appreciate the ability to use a finishers award for something other than a beer opener.
Huge photo gallery and a local article about Boogie: http://peedeepost.com/latest-headlines/2014/06/peek-mcelroy-prove-theyre-born-to-boogie/
Keep running and have fun while you are doing it!