Monday, November 1, 2010

McNotAgain 30 Mile Race Report

This past weekend, I finished the McNotAgain 30 Mile Trail Race in a time of 5:59.  I wanted to break 6 hours and I did...barely!  I was running really hard the last 5 miles to get that sub-6 finish.  Too bad there wasn't a video of the finish area--it would have caught me sprinting the last 100 meters across the open field to the finish chute.  I had only seconds to spare when I crossed the finish line.  It would have been an awesome video.  Still waiting on race results to be posted.  I'm curious where I fell in the overall results. UPDATE:  Results now posted.  I came in 8th place out of 38 finishers. My race splits were 1:59, 2:03, 1:57.  I was the ONLY RUNNER to have the last loop be their fastest.  Sweet.  I'm happy.  Next year I'll break 5:30 and catch that Kevin guy!

While I did run hard for the last 5 miles, I took it fairly easy on the full first 10-mile loop.  I ran in my Vibram FiveFinger shoes.  With all of the acorns and leaves on the trail, I had to focus pretty hard on the trail and each foot fall.  My feet were a bit sore after that 10 miles.  I switched to New Balance 790s for the remaining 20 miles.  The NB 790s worked well.  I could feel a few rocks and acorns through the soles, but nothing hurt. I did a fair amount of heel striking on the last 10-mile loop.  I was pushing the pace and the NB 790s, like most shoes, have that raised and cushioned heel that allows (almost encourages) a heel strike.  They may be a "trail racing flat" but they still have quite a bit of cushioning. One day I'll be able to run a full ultra in my FiveFinger shoes.

The weather was almost perfect as the day started in the high 30s and ended in the high 50s--we had partly sunny skies with a slight breeze all day.  It was a bit cold at the start, bit you quickly warmed up and after one loop I was tossing my gloves and hat into my car.  On the last loop, I actually felt rather warm and was splashing water on my face to cool off.  To accompany the good weather, we also had perfect trail conditions.  We haven't had much rain in central Illinois lately and the trail was in EXCELLENT shape.  Probably the best I've ever seen it for a race on this course--and I've run the McNaughton Park (April) race many times.  Even the creek crossings were dry--you could hop on rocks and barely get your feet wet.  Last year at this same event, the first creek was almost up to my waist and flowing fast!  Dry feet were a blessing.  Not slipping up and down hills was fantastic...and a welcome change.  Considering how great the racing conditions were, I really should have run much faster.  Pushing from the start, I think I could have notched a 5:30 finish time.  Maybe next year.  I ran faster than last year at this race and I ran faster than the Farmdale 30 Mile race just 3 weeks ago.  That's progress.  No need to beat myself up.  I'm pretty darn happy.

For those considering a fall ultra marathon next year, I encourage you to check out this little race.  It's a great time of year to run a trail ultra in Illinois and Mike the race director does a fine job of organizing and cheering on the runners. It would be an awesome first ultra venue: generous cut-off time (11 hours), small crowds, easy access to your car, good aid stations, challenging (but reasonable) course, and fairly inexpensive.  If you live within driving distance of Pekin, IL (near Peoria), give this race a chance next year.

As you might notice on the right side of this blog under the "My 2010 Races" listing, McNotAgain was my last race of the year.  I'm feeling so good today, I'm thinking about adding another race or two to my 2010 schedule.  Here are a few possibilities:

Owen-Putnam 50K (Nov 6)
Run for the Library 5K (Nov 13)
Tecumseh Trail Marathon (Dec 4)
Deer Run 8K (Dec 11)
Huff 50K (Dec 18)

While I feel good today, I also feel good knowing I don't have any races planned.  I can just run. I probably should skip all of these possible races and just train the rest of the year.  There will be plenty of races in 2011.  Of course, there is a difference between what I PROBABLY should do and what I ACTUALLY end up doing.  I hope I can hold back.


Harriet said...

Congratulations on a fine performance.

I was one of the walkers who finished Waaaaay after you did. :-)

ed said...

Nice run!! I'm sure you placed well with that time!

If there's one race I'd like to try with Vibrams, it would be McNaughton but only when it wasn't real muddy -- I wish I could have joined you this year.

I was wondering, what kind of maintenance do Vibrams need when they've been repeatedly run thru mud & creeks -- seems like they would eventually get less pliable?

Chris said...


Well done. Walk or run, slow or fast, it's an accomplishment. Especially that hilly McNaughton Park trail!


The Vibrams hold up pretty well in dirt and mud--I hose them off outside and occasionally put them in the washing machine (cold water) for a thorough cleaning. If anything, they seem to loosen up and become a little more flexible. Do not put them in a dryer--they need to be air dried. Outside in the sun is OK, but not on a heater or a dryer.

I've used the VFF on roads, bike paths, and most trails in the area (Clinton Lake, Farmdale, Mahomet, McNaughton Park, etc)--they work fine on all of them. I haven't gotten past about 12-15 miles in them, but I think I'll work my way up to a full 50K in them next year. If we have a mild winter, I hope to utilize them all winter.

Ian said...

Good job Chris. Way to break 6 hrs on a not easy course. Hope you add another race. Heard Tecumseh is closing on a sell out (as Brian reported) and heard HUFF might be last year due to changes in INDNR rules. Maybe Mitch can get a new venue or change in DNR policy.

Guess in 2011 you can run CL30 and not have to worry about RD stuff (although I am sure you'll be thinking of your baby)

Chris said...


I was really pleased with my finish at McNotAgain. Still feel great tonight.

I'm skipping Tecumseh. I've done it twice already and don't feel like paying $75 for a marathon. Thanks for the heads-up on HUFF 50K. It's a nice race and I would like to run it one more time...before it possibly goes away. Next year I may run Clinton Lake. I'm happy not to be RD, but it still would be weird running "my race."

Michael Wentz said...

Not sure if you or any of your readers would have an interest in this but I wrote a book chronicling my training and CDR story.

Check it out...

Chris said...

No interest in CDR...or promoting that race or any runner trying to make a buck off of it. CDR is way over-hyped and not that hard of a race, plus they seem to care more about money than actual runners.

Kevin said...

Chris-Congrats on the finish. It is my favorite course - Can't wait till the Potawatomi trail run this spring. I'll be looking over my shoulder for you ;)

That Kevin Guy

Mitch Harper said...

There will be HUFFs in 2011 and beyond.

I am becoming more confident that The HUFF 50K will retain its home at Roush Lake for many more years. Hope that we can make an announcement soon.

Chris said...

Thanks Mitch! That's great news that HUFF will likely continue in its current locale.