Mendon 50k er um 30k race report

I did not finish today in the 50k.. D.N.F….. That sucks. I feel a bit down about it, but that’s all there is to it.

So lets do a little play by play.

The Set up:

50K – 5, 10K Loops each loop over 1100 feet of climbing.

Temps 35  degrees at the start- windchill low 20’s – Rain – snow – sleet- A wintery mix for sure. The lodge was warm with a fire burning!

The plan was to run my laps between 1:10 and 1:20 – and just ease my way through the course.

Having a little fun before the race

Loop 1 – fine and dandy.  I noticed the wind on the back 3 miles was much worse than the first 3. It was cold, but I was dry so it zipped right by. I ate my Shot Blocks on schedule, drank my Nuun on schedule and cruised in to finish lap one to a cheering Sheila and Joe in about one hour. I had filled up my water at the previous aid station, so I just kept going through this one without stopping.

cruising through loop 1

No transition needed

From mile 3 until this race was over for me I ran alone, 100% alone except when a few 20k/10k racers zipped by, and when the winner lapped me, on his way to a course record. That solitude on muddy slippery trails wasn’t all that fun.

Loop 2 – The wind picked up. Weather man wrong again. Lap 2 got me pretty soaking wet. but I was moving great. I had water to get back to the start aid station so I skipped the mid course station. I decided to just run how by feel here.  This meant coming in at 1:08ish for the second loop and I felt GREAT.

Quick stop at the aid station

TRANSITION 2 :I stopped at the Start aid station, took my gloves off and retied my right shoe (don’t ask why not my left shoe) I decided to leave my gloves behind (mistake) and in what turned out to be a killer I forgot to refill my water. The little crew with me kept asking what I needed, I said nothing and headed off back up the hill. More friends here cheering for this one. Thanks Mike and Jamie for braving the weather!

At the top of the hill I realized I had forgotten to fill my water. I was only about 30 yards from my refill bottles. I mentioned it to Joe then I decided I should be o.k. and off I went at the same pace as before, still feeling pretty good.

Loop 3  – 

I headed up the hill, feeling pretty solid, at the top of the hill before turning back in to the trails I got passed by the lead runner. He had his own mini aid station at the top of the hill. I had just finished the last drops of my water and thought about asking if they had more. I didn’t. Mistake.

I stayed alone on this loop again.

The rain picked up, the wind picked up, and the temps def dropped, it snowed hard at some points. I was soaked through at the time (also apparently sweating like crazy, but it was hard to tell. About half way to the aid station going up a hill some guy ran past me (finally some company), told me I did not look so good, I told him my stomach was a mess and  he asked if I had any salt tabs. I said no. He gave me one. It saved this lap. I did pass him at the end of this loop. Thanks random runner guy!

Top of that hill I stopped to pee. Dark, but not scary. I slowed a bit, and then had to wait in line at the aid station where the lady filled my water bottle about half way and told me they didn’t want to run out. Odd, but whatever. Half was better than none. I  continued eating my Shot blocks on target.. but this half water bottle was out REAL fast… I felt dehydrated, which is frustrating when it’s 30 degrees out.

On the final push to end loop 3 my legs began to cramp. I got back, sat down, and that was it. I had to sit, which ended up being a bad idea as the cramps took off. I just wasn’t mentally ready to fight cramps on a cold weather run.. I quit. That sucks. That’s on me.

1:20ish for the 3rd loop  That put me at 3:32 ish for the 30k mark. I wasn’t really tired, my heart rate was not up. I was just shivering and cramping. The shivering making the cramping worse.

My team was amazing though! They gave me dry clothes, they gave me s caps, they even tried to massage cramps out of my legs, they even changed my shoes and socks for me in an effort to get me back on the course. What a group!. It was too much though. I was shivering like nuts, I was cold, I was cramping like crazy. I even burned my leg on the camp heater trying to warm up.

I tried to head back out, started to head up the hill and the hips cramped and said no. We all  know the hips don’t lie, right Shakira?

I turned back. I tried to warm up. Everyone kept trying to encourage me to go out, to just start the lap. I couldn’t do it though. So, I dropped. Thats frustrating.

So what went wrong.

This is what DNF looks like

1. I did not drink enough. I did not expect to dehydrate and cramp when it was 30 and snowing. My own mistake. I needed to monitor this better.

2. I under dressed. I knew it would be cold. I did not plan for it to rain and snow the entire time. That’s on me. I should have been prepared with the right gear. Better coat, tights not shorts, etc. This was 50k, not 5k. Any suggestions for an affordable, waterproof, lightweight jacket send em my way!

3. I should never have left my gloves behind for lap 3. I wanted them.

4. Should never have sat down. I needed to change shoes, but I should never have sat down. As soon as I did, it was over.

5.Shoes. I wore the Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove – which I love, but all of my training was in the New Balance mT101 which fell apart a few weeks ago. New Balance replaced them… but they did not come in in time for the race. So I had to compromise because I did not have the money to go out and buy the right kicks. So that stinks.

20 other people had a DNF – only 52 finished the course – Some pretty high attrition right there…

Pace had nothing to do with this DNF. I ran the overall race pace that I wanted. I felt fine, I was running great.

So, below are the results as pulled from my Nike Run+ GPS

Loop 1 : 1:01:30

Loop 2: 1:08:00


Loop 3  1:18:07

Extra before giving up: .27 in 4:40 which is like a 17 min per mile pace….

Overall time: 3:32:29 overall pace about 11:14/mile

A huge thank you to those of you who came out to say hello, to cheer, to visit with Sheila or do whatever. The weather was horrible, seeing you guys made it not so bad! Thanks so much for coming by!

10 thoughts on “Mendon 50k er um 30k race report

  1. Heather@Just a Colorado Gal

    I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t go as well as you hoped, but I think a 30k is still something to be proud of! Plus, it sounds like you learned a lot of good lessons for next time 🙂


  2. Eric, I saw you warming up in the lodge. I DNFed after 30K when I tried to do the 50K three years ago. Brutal conditions that year too. Don’t worry, there will be other races that you will succeed at!


  3. Lauren @ mostly i run

    That sucks that you had to DNF, but there’s no shame in that … especially in those weather conditions. I hate being cold. I especially hate being cold and wet!

    I haven’t truly tested it yet, but I bought an Outdoor Research “Helium” jacket last year on a recommendation from a trailrunning group. (Looks like they have a newer version now). Not exactly cheap, but I found a deal online, probably Sierra Trading Post. It’s like a waterproof shell, so probably not breathable, but you’ll stay dry.

    I also have an Asics “Storm Shelter” jacket ( has the men’s version pretty cheap right now) that it amazing. I actually can’t wear it much because I get too warm unless it’s well below freezing. I haven’t been in soaking rain with it, though, but it seems like it’ll protect you for at least a little while.

    Good luck with your future runs!


  4. Jenn

    Eric, did you carry some kind of electrolyte with you?? The only mention of it I see in your post is the salt tab you got from the random runner guy and (maybe) the chews you mentioned?? Maybe the lack of salt and other electrolytes could have been an even bigger factor than lack of water. Just a random thought I had….


  5. Ben Murphy,

    Nice recap; you’re right – it was a nasty, cold, windy, snowy brutal day out there! Ultras offer a steep learning curve sometimes and it sucks when they do. Next time, man… Still, 30k? Not a shabby day!


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