"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Double Chubb 50k

Yesterday Robin, Chuck, and I ran the Double Chubb 50k.  I have been unable to run this before because it falls so close to the GO! St Louis Marathon.  This year however I did not run the marathon, and got talked into Chubb instead.  It was a good decision considering I have a bunch of marathon medals and only a couple ultramarathon belt buckles, not to mention a day on the trail beats a day on the road hands down.

The morning started out cold, and it was hard to figure out what to wear.  Luckily I guessed pretty well and was fairly comfortable the whole time.  We started in the back of the field which I hoped would help me keep my pace under control at the start.  This worked for a while.  I took off pretty early leaving Robin and Chuck behind.  We all stayed together at Berryman last year which was fun if not competitive.  This time we were all running our own race though.  The start of the race was a pretty steady climb and I was shocked by how well I was running up.  Shocked because hills are not my strength and because I took a bunch of time off from training dealing with an injury.  I was passing a lot of people and felt pretty good.  Once at the top of the hill I turned it up and bombed the down side all the while the replay of my fall the last time I ran down this hill playing in my head.  My knee is still a little sore from that one.  I tried to pinpoint the exact spot where I went down but since it was covered in snow last time I could only narrow it down to a general location.

Elevation profile
When we hit the flat section I skipped the aid station since I was loaded heavy with Honey Stinger Gels, Waffles, and Energy Chews.  The Gels are the best I have used, and I like the Waffles because sometimes I don't want another gel and they are light enough for me to eat while I'm running.  Not long after the aid station there was confusing section and I was unsure if I was to go straight or turn.  I later found out that Robin was also confused and went straight for a while.  I let a couple people by me guessing that they might know what way to go.  They didn't.  Someone behind yelled for us to go right though so we were only seconds off course.  Now we were in the lower river section where all of the mud would be although it wasn't bad.  I was starting to feel like I needed to slow down when I caught up with Kat Yarger.  I knew she was to fast for me to run with but I did any way, a decision that would come back to haunt me on the second loop.

After the turn around I saw Chuck who looked pretty good, and once I got back in the lower river section I saw Robin, who was doing pretty well also despite having an injured foot.  I was still running with Kat when we made it the Acorn trail, a super steep but mercifully short section of trail.  Kat took off for good and I was left to suffer alone.  The Acorn trail really put a hurt on me and I was not looking forward to running it again at the finish.  I finished the first loop in 2:38 and headed out to do it all again.  This time though it would be much slower.  I grabbed some more Honey Stingers out of my drop bag and was worried I wouldn't have enough to get me to the finish.  Luckily I had just enough.  On this loop I stopped at all the aid stations and thanked all the volunteers.  The volunteers were excellent, they filled my bottle for me, and asked if there was anything I needed.  You can always count on the volunteers at a SLUG event to be great.  Although they are so great that when you are really tired it is easy to linger about.  I ate a bunch of potato chips and drank a lot of coke. Actually I kept my time at the aid stations pretty brief, just long enough to eat, drink, and occasionally do some stretching.

My hips were pretty sore and running uphill was kind of painful, so I walked the uphills on the second loop, and ran the downhills and the flats, although much slower this time.  I was slogging along pretty well clicking off the miles when I heard someone approaching from behind.  He was moving very fast which motivated me to pick up the pace to see if I could keep him behind me.  I couldn't, but trying was enough to snap me out of the doldrums.  He pulled away from me pretty fast on a down hill, but I caught another guy that had passed me earlier.  Then it was time to run the Acorn again and he passed me going up the hill.  I didn't care though because I was so close to being done.  I ran down the back side of Acorn and across the finish in 6:25 (unofficial time).

After a long day on the trail I enjoyed a veggie burger and some chips.  It started to get cold since I wasn't moving anymore so I walked over to the drop bags and got my rain jacket, hat, and gloves.  And started to walk back out on the course to cheer Chuck and Robin to the finish.  I saw Chuck as he was about to head up Acorn and wished him well, then it was off to find Robin.  She was worried about not making the cut off because of her foot so I thought she might need a push if it was going to be close.  I turned off my Garmin though so I had no idea how much time was left.  I walked for what seemed to be a long time, asking if people had seen her.  One guy said about ten minutes, but he was wrong.  Then I reached a narrow rocky section  that led to a long climb where I waited for a while before starting to head back.  Here is an interesting encounter I had as I walked back.  I guy came running up behind me and I asked if he had seen Robin and He told me that there were only two women left out on the course, one was his girlfriend so that meant the other had to be Robin.  I asked how far back, to which he replied, "Which one?".  Why would I care how far back his girlfriend was?  I guess that's what happens when you run 31miles, your brain gets a little fuzzy.  He told me that he passed Robin before the last aid station.  The last aid station was up and over the giant hill and that seemed like a long way to go.  I kept walking back and decided that I would wait at the picnic table near the Chubb shelter, but as soon as I got there Robin came running up behind me.  I didn't even have time to sit down.  We ran together to the bottom of the hill and then I let her run Acorn by herself.  Chuck pulled up in the van and we rode to the finish where we waited for Robin to run across the finish.

After the race we didn't stick around long.  Chuck drove us back to Robin's van which he said meant that he actually went farther since he had to walk to the van.  But since Robin made a wrong turn on the course and I walked back for Robin I consider it a tie.  Back at the van I took the opportunity to give Robin the Dean Karnazes book that she won in the recent Trail and Error give away.


  1. Great report! Congratulations!

    I loved running on the Chubb trail, but I'm not sure I'd love it that many times in one day. Way to go!

  2. Great Report Patrick. And thanks for running back for me, seeing you made the end feel near, plus you and Chuck cheering me on at the end helped me break 8 hours.

  3. No Problem. I was glad I saw you when I did and not sooner. I was worried that my legs would be so stiff that I would not be able to run and slow you down.

  4. Double Chubb rocks, favorite place to train to get ready for ultra's. Had a pretty good race, split 2:25 at 25k and with a huge smile on my face reached the finish in 4:59:39 (last person under 5hours) not bad for the over 50 crowd. See you at Berryman...Ron Ayers just an old guy who likes to run long.