Sunday, July 12, 2009

Psycho Psummer Race Report

Yesterday Sam and I did the Psycho Psummer trail race at Wyandotte County Lake Park sponsored by the Trail Nerds. We both did the 50k (31 mile) distance. Let's sum up the day.
- Only a couple 12 mile long runs leading up to the race
- 90 degrees and 80% humidity, felt like 100
- 2, 15 mile loops with 12,000 feet of total elevation change (not all Kansas is flat!)
- Race started at 8:00, not 8:30

We have been busy lately and traveling, storms, and social engagements have done a pretty good job of shortening our long runs to 12 miles or so. We both had planned on racing this one and not just trying to finish, oh well maybe next time. For whatever reason we thought the race started at 8:30. We showed up a little before 8 planning on getting ready, going to the bathroom, and visiting with people. I commented on how full the parking was, boy seems like everybody got here really early. While walking to the start one bystander kindly informed us the race already started. So frantically we laced up shoes and took off. But on the bright side I passed the most people. On the not so good side I had to spend the energy to pass all those people.

The course is a 15 mileish loop which we helped weed wack and had a pretty good idea of distances between aid stations. Most of the race had good shade. The three hills section to the archery range was dry and fast. The open hike across the archery range reminded you how hot it was and to slow down. Fester's wander was clear and fast. Both Sam and I fought the urge to run our normal Thursday night speed which is much faster than race pace. The paw paws were dripping with sweat from the previous runners. Hedgehog hill had just been bench-cut and was better than normal. Although the runners around us cursed thinking a race in Kansas was flat. Megerson's mound and Shane's debacle were well-shaded and a good place to cool off before the dam. The scout's loop was hot. The asphalt and gravel sections were semi-shaded and really sucked energy. The triangle was in good shape, although much less runnable the second lap, funny how that works. The usually muddy bridal trail sections on the east side of the lake had good lines compacted by the time we got there and were probably the fastest and driest of the year. Some people were tiptoeing around the mud, but I went straight through. It's faster and more fun.

The first loop was tough running with the 15 mile races who were always 15 miles closer to the finish than we were. The weather was really hot and muggy and it didn't take long before our shorts felt like wet diapers. Luckily the aid stations were 4-5 miles apart and stocking ice. The first lap was uneventful and we cruised through in about 3 hours 15 minutes. The speed wasn't blazing, but better to run conservatively in 90 degree heat than go to the hospital (two people were taken out in the ambulance). The worst part about the first lap was knowing a second, hotter one was coming.

Lap two was interesting. We were drinking copious amount of ice water to stay cool. Half my water went in my belly and half on my head. Food didn't go down well and the urge to drink too much water at the aid stations meant the mile or so afterward was spent deciding whether or not everything was coming up, luckily nothing did. Not soon after starting the second lap I realized wet shorts and seams on the inside of the legs don't work. The aid stations had Vaseline which kept the chaffing under control. Today however I look like yesterday was spent riding an obese horse with a sandpaper saddle. One downside to getting to the race late is not having enough time to body glide the important bits and pieces. We dropped into a slow rhythm and pounded out the last few miles. At least we were close to the finish before Sam's brain thought singing the She's Too Fat For Me polka was a good idea.

Sam again ran like a champ and took second. Her official time was 7h 8min, her actual time was 7h flat. The results showed only 9 women finished. I finished 23 out of 50 male finishers with an official time of 7h 6min. My watch time was 6h 58m. We heard an unconfirmed comment about the finish rate being only about 50%. Our times weren't bad considering the weather and our lack of training. Both of us beat our winter times, hmmm seems like that was an overtapered race too.

Big thanks to all of the aid station workers. Without ice water, mine and everybody else's race was a disaster. The folks at shelter 10 raced across the parking lot to grab water bottles to fill. The next shelter had Kelly, Sophia, Laurie, and lots of other friendly faces reminding everyone to take some salt. Normally a shot in the face with cold water is in bad taste. However at Pat Perry's aid station in the scout loop, the ice shower was fantastic. James held down the fort at the triangle and gave us the energy to head for the start/finish line. And as usual Ben, Shane, and everybody else at the ranger station got us going for the second lap. It wasn't hard to convince me that cold beer was the perfect recovery drink.

So in summary:We survived with no lasting scars and managed to avoid any ticks, chiggers, poison ivy, leaping tree gators, and excessive mud. Especially those races below freezing and above 90 degrees remind you that there is pretty much nothing as fun as getting out and going for a run even if it results in some chaffing.

Photos by Dick Ross at

1 comment:

Mark Berry said...

Great review. Until I read your posting, I had no appreciation for how the course would change - due to use and temperature - from one lap to the other. Thanks!