|Big Butt 50K Â– Race report
The BB50K was a Blast! It had the fun and amenities of a large production marathon rolled into a nice little package and
stamped petite-Ultra.Â The event took on a light hearted tone from the beginning as the race application foretold of potential
broiling heat and soup-like humidity mixed with possible dog bites and unblocked road traffic then nicely had a place for
signature indicating your desire to take part. This spirited acceptance of difficulty and challenge is a trademark of ultrarunners
and is one reason I signed up for the BB50K.Â The festivities began the day before the race with a pasta dinner provided gratis
(read Â“freeÂ”) for runners at the RDÂ’s home, a hop and one jump from the start and finish lines.Â The RD, Claude Sinclair,
does everything he can to make sure the runners have an enjoyable event. After some nice food, race stories (read Â“tall
talesÂ”), and t-shirt pick up, the runners returned home for hopefully a good nights sleep.
At 6:00am we crowded 40 or so strong on the road that would begin our days run. The RD asked why no one stood at the white
start line laid out on the road.Â I offered that it might have something to do with our respect for the long rifle he held in his hands
at the line [Claude is a civil war enthusiast also]. We inched up closer and Claude ignited the musket with a thunderous Boom!Â
There was definitely no mistaking the beginning of this race.Â We all headed down the road with hearts pounding from that
magnificent send off.Â My brother Todd jogged along beside me as we had both signed up to enjoy our first 50K ultra at this
race in Lancaster, just down the road from our hometown Charlotte.
We ran about a mile out and then up the highway for about one more and it was time to head onto the country roads.Â The
highway had a few big vehicles buzz by but the distance was short and we heeded the warnings of the RD to run eyes open and
respectful of All road traffic.Â I jogged along with a young woman dressed in blue who spoke of long ocean swims off Hawaii
and the next two miles passed easily as she described competitive swimming techniques and painted a picture of the clear,
blue, island waters.Â Next came a four mile out and back, which gave us our first series of hill work. My brother and I each had a
GU during this leg plus a bagel and banana.Â The volunteer aid was fantastic as by the time we reached the 13mile mark we
had already been offered food no less than five times and had even obtained water bottle refills from a girl riding a bike on the
out and back stretch.
The day was slightly overcast to this point and actually had felt pretty good but soon the sun was to come out and begin to spoil
the mood.Â We trudged along at approx. the 10min pace we had decided on for our first 50K and did well until the heat and
humidity began to tag team us.Â Calories were sustained as we continued to eat pretty much to plan but I believe we started
getting behind on liquids. By mile 16/17 the brim of my running hat was beginning to drip perspiration and my shorts were totally
soaked which is unusual for me.Â Around mile 18 we choked down some cliff bars IÂ’d grabbed, using the last of the drink from
our previous aid stop.Â From here on out we needed to fill our water bottles at each stop to keep from drying out.Â Volunteers
were still pretty frequent and we had a roving station of our own giving assistance but primarily just keeping an eye on us.
Around 20 miles the humidity began to take its toll and we were working to maintain 11 min miles.Â Each mile was marked on
the road and someone had added to mile 20 Â“thewall begins hereÂ”.Â This was not news to us as we were feeling it, but I
looked at my brother and said Â‘Hey, we donÂ’t have to climb the wall we can just walk around itÂ’ and that is exactly what we did.
Â We began to walk the stepper hills and probably extended the aid station visits more than necessary but we maintained a
vigilance of Â“Beware of ChairÂ”.Â Even though the race was only 50K on a hot/humid day like it was you could easily take a
20min break in the shade if not careful.Â At 22 miles ToddÂ’s internal energy stores began to dry up.Â HeÂ’d injured his back
while lifting a heavy pump at work and had been fighting off nagging pain from before the starting gun. Just two days earlier he
had been unable to get out of the bed in the morning so I really appreciated the effort he made to run this event with me.
The hills continued up, down, up, down and it became hypnotic.Â We actually began looking for the up hills to come sooner so
we could walk again.Â One woman whom I can only refer to as orange tank top (sorry I canÂ’t remember your name) said that in
Columbia, SC where she runs there is only one hill but that this race had a hill for every quarter mile. I can only assume her
quads and calves are not happy today because there are plenty of low hills near my home and IÂ’m feeling it two days later.Â
Around mile 23 we entered a long down hill with a sidewalk winding by manicured lawns and under a canopy of yard trees.Â It
was quite pretty to view but more importantly it was easy running and in the shade and really felt good.
By 24/25 we caught up with a walker who had run in the #2 position up until mile 18 when heÂ’d bonked.Â The heat/humidity
had drained his tank but he wouldnÂ’t quit and was walking it in. (This was a common story that day as even the raceÂ’s winner
had slowed greatly during the final stages of the race.) We walked across the marathon line next and all three of us remarked
how this was the slowest 26 any of us had done in a race, however, there are many races yet to be run so we didnÂ’t linger on
this dayÂ’s race time. We began to discuss other races weÂ’d seen, read about or would just like to run.Â Todd and I jogged off
and did the next mile around 12min.Â I stopped to put a band-aid on my little toe, which had begun giving me trouble.Â IÂ’d duct
taped the middle toe before the race as the nail was finally coming back fully from a marathon last year. We looked up and
behold there was #2 walking by.Â Goes to show how a steady pace can keep you in a race.Â I had no intention of rushing
ahead to grab 19th place and Todd was hanging in there but still not up to strength so we said lets mosey along a bit.Â We
walked with #2 for the next two miles just shooting the breeze.
At mile 29 I looked ahead and saw a runner walking on the side of the road. I figured the heat had smacked him around too and
turned to my brother with a small gleam in my eye.Â We had long ago given up on reeling people in but here was a chance to
make headway with only a bit of effort and we had been walking long enough anyway.Â I asked Todd if he was ready to bring it
on home and he said sure.Â We began trotting and caught up within a hundred yards.Â The fellow looked a bit below our age
(39) and said it had been a long run and we agreed wishing him a strong finish. We moved along and finished the mile in just
over 10min pace feeling good that we had some left after all. The next mile seemed to go on longer and I kept looking for the
highway to take us back in.Â IÂ’d forgotten the end of the race approached the RDÂ’s house from the opposite direction.Â After
a while I figured it out and we kept telling each other that just beyond the next tree line was the end.Â We ran on whichever side
of the road seemed to have some shade and soon I saw a small red arrow a hundred yards up on the right.Â I grinned and we
gained renewed life.Â We decided not to run it in, as it seemed kind of silly to end a six-hour 50K by running for the finish.Â Our
goal at the beginning was to shoot for five hours but be happy with whatever we got.Â We only missed six by two minutes and
the pizza, lasagna and soda soon wiped thoughts of timers away.
I rinsed off at the end with a hose conveniently provided by the RD and changed into a clean dry outfit IÂ’d brought along.(This of
course included the race t-shirt.)Â We sat around nibbling food and sharing our tales of woe about the dayÂ’s run.Â The
winning runner and second place finisher (female) both hung out and talked about this and that. He was from Raleigh and
worked in a sports store and she was the only one who had stepped up to the starting line while Claude stood there with his
gun (No Fear). It was nice to see the swift of feeted hanging out with turtles like myself, and being so amicable. It is not this way
for many other races. Maybe they had just caught the mood of this race, which seemed to say Â‘Come along and enjoy the run,
the runners, the road, and the rest afterwardÂ’. If you havenÂ’t done this one I recommend it to anyone with a zest for running. We
were mostly locals but I did notice a Floridian and couple others in the mix.