It’s crazy how long I’ve gone without writing a race report. I’ve done a lot of amazing races in the last year and a half, saved pics, wrote reports in my head (and in some cases wrote half and just never finished)….but it just stopped being fun. So, while the magic of the Boogie is still fresh, here we go!
The Boogie’s been on my radar for years – before I could wrap my head around the 50 Mile distance. Mr NCathlete did the Boogie in 2011 and ever since I’ve looked it up every year. And every year I chickened out. Fifty hilly miles starting at 6 pm in the middle of summer in the south…with a 40% drop rate?? No thanks, I’m a pansy.
However, the broads talked me into a little race in Oregon the weekend before Hood to Coast that might kill me…so I needed to do more things that might kill me (to practice not dying). The Boogie gave me the perfect conditions for a suckfest, which is really the only way to train for a tough ultra in my opinion. Sure, running a ton of miles helps but if you don’t know how to keep moving when you’ve spent the last 5 miles wanting to cut your feet off because you’re pretty sure running on the bloody stumps would feel better than 20 more miles on your swollen, blistered feet, you’re donezo.
Sorry for the tangent.
Runs leading up the race sucked. Old Manfriend has been sick for way too long and, while I never got sick, I could tell I’ve been fighting his cooties. I felt so drained running! So, like any smart person, I spent the night before the race with his coughing, resulting in a less than ideal pre-race night of sleep. If I had to DNF, I could just blame him, right? Glad we’re on the same page 🙂
The 2 hour drive to the middle of no where was uneventful (other than the fact that I was already sleepy on the drive down). My plan was to crew myself out of the back of my car, which I’d pass at mile 6 and 10 mile or each 10 mile loop. Other people had chairs and tents though. I love the tailgate atmosphere of low key ultras
I quickly started seeing people I knew from other ultras and talked strategy. The RD warned us not to go out to fast and to assume cars out that time of night were drunk before pretty much just saying “Go.”
It was warm, 86 at the start, but with humidity at only 37% it was way better than I expected it to feel. I passed the first 3 miles talking to my friend George and the next 3 talking to whoever I caught up to. Everyone was social and quick to include you in their conversation if you happened to be going the same pace. Before I knew it the 6 mile loop was done and I was back at the start. If I had been on a training run I would have bagged the run at 6….too bad I had 44 left.
After the 6 mile loop was the infamous 4 mile out and back, which was basically 2 miles of downhill followed by 2 miles of uphill. Going out, the steep grade concerned me. I have to climb this 5 times? WTF? However, seeing the fast people coming up the hill was fun. This was the only time I’d see their faces…in other laps I’d just see head lights…and it was fun to smile and cheer while I was still feeling fresh and happy. The climb back to the start was just as suck as I imagined, but I got excited to see that people were behind me…I thought I was DFL before the turn around.
Lap 1: 2:00:28 (8:00 PM)
Although I didn’t have a goal for the race other than to finish, the race plan was to finish the first 2 laps around 2 hours, the next 2 around 2.5 hours, and hopefully have enough in the tank for a 5th lap. So let’s just say I was pretty happy with Lap 1.
I stopped at the aid station and again at my car to get my headlamp, and headed back out for lap 2. Lap 2 was pretty uneventful during the 6 mile loop. It was still light for most of the way and the crowd was thinning so I spent most of it alone. Boring.
The downhill on the out and back started a trend I’d repeat throughout the race – passing people on the downhills and getting passed again on the uphill. I passed a number of faceless headlamps only to have them catch up later. By pure luck, I recognized 2 guys in the dark and picked it up to run in lap 2 with them.
Lap 2: 2:09:22 (10:09 PM)
I started feeling a bit awful at the start of lap 3. Not super horrible but the thought of 30 more miles made me a bit nauseous. It was a warm, muggy night…and the humidity kept climbing. I tried not to think about it. I took off alone for the 3 mile downhill section of the loop…and the 2 guys from lap 2 caught up to me near the 3.5 aid station. We spent the rest of the loop together and the out and back section as well…picking up and losing people but managing to stick together. It was a dark night so it was nice to have friends.
Lap 3: 2:29:38 (12:39 AM)
I felt a little more awful starting lap 4. I let the 2 guys go and stopped at my car to refill my pack with Tailwind (best stuff ever), change my shoes, baby wipe myself and reapply body glide, and take some painkillers. I dont always take meds, but when I do….I’m feeling pretty darn craptastic. First mile of the loop sucked because I was alone and the new shoes were hitting a blister so painfully I almost turned around to put on the old shoes. But either the blister shifted or the pain meds kicked in because I started to run again. Fatefully, my pace was fast enough on the down to catch back up to the boys before the aid station.
The aid station was manned by some country guys who didn’t seem to know much about running. I assume they’re friends with the RD and liked the excuse of getting to sit outside all night drinking beer. We were warned not to expect them to fill our cups or get anything for us…but they were really nice and helpful. Since I hadn’t been feeling well in the heat I hadnt been taking much from the stations other than water and a few twizzlers/M&Ms…but I really wanted a beer. They told me they’d share on my last lap.
Heading back to the church, we heard the cheers for the winner. Many cars were already gone so it was clear there were a lot of DNFs already. But I didn’t dwell on that because my Rasians (Racing/Running Asians) showed up with coke and ginger ale! One was in a boot after putting up 113 miles at 3 days at the Fair 24 Hr…and the other was going to run the last lap with me. Seeing them really perked me up.
Despite the perk, the out and back sucked even more than the 3 previous times on the 4th lap.
Lap 4: 2:36:05 (3:15 AM)
It turned out my pacer was sleeping when I came back through, so I told my booted friend I’d prefer the company on the horrible out and back anyway. My runner math was even more horrible at 3:15 am…and I figured in a major slow down after 40 (similar to RR50) so I told her I’d be back from 6 a mile loop in 2 hours.
I’d never been so happy to hit 40 miles! The race has a cut off at 40 and wont let you start lap 5 after 4 AM. I made it!! In my excitement, I took off….putting up some decent (downhill) paces for how long I’d already been going. Just like lap 3 the boys caught up to me at the aid station, in time to split a Yuengling. It was awesome.
The uphill on the back half of the loop put me to sleep. I seriously closed my eyes and walked towards the sound of the guys’ voices. I was getting so tired! But once we started moving again I woke back up. Unfortunately, my runner math was way off and the loop took more like 70 min so I didnt see any of my Rasians. It was a bit sad, but I figured I’d run the downhill and let the boys catch up to me on the up. I took off, feeling surprisingly good for miles 46-48. After the turn around, I kept jogging. My pacer caught me in time to run the last mile with me…and I finished just as the sky was starting to get light. Other than leaving the guys I ran a lot of the the race with like a jerk, it was a perfect finish!
I really dont get it, but I felt better miles 41-50 than I did 20-40. But I’m not gonna ask questions. I’m just thankful the suckfest ended. And it should have been way more of a suckfest for me given my total lack of training. Even though it was on the road, it was a tough course on a warm, humid night. Out of 97 starters, only 50 finished (15/34 women)…which should tell you how much of a suckfest it was for almost half the field.
Thank you Boogie for all the friends I saw and made on the course….and for not killing me. In hindsight it was a lot of fun….and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night 🙂
*Many thanks to Kevin at the Pee Dee Post for pics. He also wrote up this article about the race.