Rockin' K 50 MilerI had looked at the Rockin' K and had thought about going but doing my usual head thoughts "Kristen you're going to ask more time off work, spend more money, figure out who wants to watch Gretchen so you can run another race." I decided maybe I shouldn't since it was also just far enough away that I would have to go out the night before. Then one morning my friend Katie texted that a guy was giving away his race bib on FB. I messaged him and a couple of hours later the race director had approved the transfer, just like that I was in the race. My mom offered to come with so I could bring Gretchen and we drove out Friday evening after I worked all day. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Topeka for dinner when I loaded up on my favorite pre race foods of white carbs and protein. We finally made it out to Salina, KS around 10pm and I pretty much went straight to bed. Sleep pretty well though not as much as I would have liked I was up at 4:30. I found a ride out to the race with a pack of trail running women so thankfully my mom and Gretchen didn't have to get up for that. It was about a 30 minute drive out to Kanopolis State Park and we were pretty much the first ones there. Picked up our packets and time past pretty quick. It was less than 30˙out when the race started but it seemed to feel a little warmer out than it was. We walked out of the shelter and then a short bit later we were off. The first bit was on road and I kinda made my way up closer to the front of the pack since I heard it was kinda single file once you get to the trail. When we did hit the trail there was one women in front of me but I kinda traveled with her and about 5 or so men for several miles. The pace didn't seem to fast but early on you never know. There was a water crossing early on. It wasn't too deep, the crossings got deeper later on but freezing! My toes didn't care for it at all! Miles after I was still getting sharp pains from my toes but I concentrated on moving them more with each step and that seemed to help. There were no mile markers and I didn't have a watch for the race so I didn't really know where I was at distance wise on the course the whole time. It was a two loop course and I didn't really care the first loop, there were marathon runners on the first loop so a few people around to keep company and make the miles go by faster. The second loop there was a lot of alone time and a lot of where am I at? Shouldn't I be to the aid station by now? The course had 2 aid stations, one unmanned with water and heed and one manned station with the usual ultra race buffet. You passed both aid stations twice on each loop. I ran out of water twice on the course. The day started out chilly but quickly warmed up to 70ish and with no shade on the course it was toasty. I think I may need to buy a larger hydration pack, I really like mine but it only holds a liter.
This is the first ultra I've run that wasn't in the woods, trails but all out in the open. It was mostly packed dirt but also cross-country, gravel, big rocks and sand. The sand surprised me, it seemed to last forever towards the end of the loop, not the easiest to run in especially uphill.
While the water was so so cold on the first loop it was very welcomed on the second loop. I was hot, my legs and feet were all kinds of achy so it was an ice bath of relief on that second loop. I looked forward to each one.
The first loop of the course was marathon distance and the 2nd loop had a cutoff init to make the entire race 50 miles. That's what they told us anyway. I didn't have any GPS device and the second loop didn't feel any shorter.
Gretchen was not impressed and just wanted to know what took me so long. All the pictures on this post are from Mile 90 photography. Free with race entry and such good pics!