Fat Ass 50K “Race” Report
I had a 20 mile run planned for today so I decided to run The Fat Ass 50K in North Adams as my training run. I knew I was committed to running 20 miles. I cut off 6 miles from one of my runs this week in case I felt like doing another loop today, running 25.5 miles at the race. And hoped I wasn’t so crazy as to attempt to run all 50K.
Their website gave very little information. The start was across the street from the State Street “T” which I had no idea what that was. Turns out it’s a tavern, kind of a dive. But it did have a bathroom. You signed up by adding your name to a poster board where everyone’s loops and times were noted. As you finished a loop of the course, you checked off that loop on the board. When you finished running, you wrote down your time on the board. Some people ran one loop, some ran all of them. 33 people ran this race, by far the smallest race I’ve participated in.
They didn’t have a course map on their website, but said it was six 5-mile loops around the Curran Highway. The course was a little different than that. It started with an out-and-back to the first turn. Then you did five 5.5-mile loops, adding up to 31 miles. While waiting for the race to start, I tried to get more specific directions for the course. But it was a lot of directions like turn at this landmark, then turn at that landmark…not the kind of directions I’m good at remembering. So my plan was to keep up with everyone through the first full loop so I knew where I was going. But this meant that I ran the first few miles way faster than I should have been.
Once we did the first out-and-back I felt way overdressed. I stopped by my car and switched my jacket for my vest and felt much more comfortable. By that point though, most everyone was much farther ahead of me. But I remembered the key was to keep turning left, and with the help of my iPhone, I managed to figure out the course loop.
Their promised “primitive” water stations did not disappoint. There was one at the start and one half way around the loop. They consisted of some jugs of water and cups if you needed them. The water stop at the start also had some cookies. Nobody was ever at a water station. It was a free race so this seemed to be what I expected.
After about 5 miles, I rarely saw anyone else on the course. I passed one person, and got passed once. That’s it. And zero spectators. Well there were two fellows in the bar that said hello when I went in to use the toilet after the second loop. Otherwise this was a mighty lonely race. When I go out to run 20 miles by myself, I expect to be by myself. But in a race, it feels different. I did get to give a couple directions to the Wallmart. And someone in a car asked me what the race was. He said it wasn’t in the paper. I told him a little about the race and he gave me a nice “Girl, go for it. Good for you.”
I actually felt pretty good running until that last loop. The temperature was starting to drop and the wind was picking up. I was getting cold. My legs started to feel tired and my feet felt sore. I stopped remembering to eat and drink as often as I should have. By mile 18, I had stepped in a few puddles and had wet feet. And my Garmin just gave me a low battery signal. Stupid watch isn’t taking a charge like it used to. I decided this would be my last loop. 20 miles was going to have to be enough for the day and my mileage would be short for the week. My time for 20.16 miles was 3:25:56, a 10:12 pace. I turned off my auto pause on the Garmin, so the time included all of my stops: bathroom, water, changing clothes, waiting for stop lights.
Next week isn’t an easy week so it’s probably good that I didn’t push it today. Actually I don’t have another recovery week in this plan—4 weeks of race preparation, then 3 weeks of taper. 7 weeks to go until the marathon.