Well my second running of the Buffalo 50-miler turned out well. I was able to knock off over 1:20 minutes off my time last year.The RD Jim Skaggs did a tremendous job with organizing and had a tent and a fire to mingle around before the race started. Kendall and I arrived around 5:30. I had to rush to get my race number pinned on my shorts and make final pre-race preparation's. Consequently, I made my way to the tent several minutes before the race started. I ended up missing the last call for drop bags at the Elephant Head aid station, this came back to haunt me later in the run.
Kendall at the start
After the pre-race briefing, all runners toed the line and with a shouted -GO- off we went. The front-runners promptly went the wrong direction at the first turn and I found myself in first place for all of 5 seconds. My plan originally, was to walk all hills and to run all flats and down hills, but found that I was moving well and the incline wasn't too bad so ended up running the first uphill section. I kept Kendall in sight and used him as my pacer to the Elephant Head aid station. From there it’s a short out and back section with a return to the same aid station. I downed some gels refilled my water bottle then off I went. I lost Kendall at this point and could see him pull away from me on a long down hill section. At this point, I was determined to run my race, settle down and maintain a comfortable but competitive pace. The trail then came to a series of uphill switchbacks and I slowed to a fast walk. As I neared the elephant Head aid station for the third time, out popped Kendall from behind a rock and we ran the last section together. This was the last time I would see him for a long time.
At Elephant Head, I looked for my drop bag and found it hadn't made the trip due to my being late. I didn't have anything that I desperately needed except to drop off my jacket and pick up my sunglasses. I was bummed since my eyes are a little sensitive to the sun and I didn't look forward to running all day without them. As I left I could see a truck approaching. I stopped and asked if they had any drop bags and sure enough,...there it was. A lucky ending to my bad planning. The next aid station was at about mile 20 and went quickly for me. I was starting to feel some pain in the ball of my left foot, so I stopped to apply some Vaseline. This added a couple of minutes and several runners passed me. I left and made a goal of catching all runners that had passed and picked up my pace.
I set my next goal for the Lower Frary aid station, which is at about mile 27. I was able to maintain a good pace through out this section but started to have some cramping issues. I started worrying since I had experienced horrible cramping on the Moab Redhot 50k. I was taking 2 S caps an hour and I hoped the cramping would be minor. As I neared, Lower Frary I started feeling better and was excited to make a quick stop and push on as fast as I could. -NOT-. I made the mistake of not having a plan and ended up fumble F---ing around. Several more runners passed me.
The next section goes to approximately mile 33. I was anxious to get there and pick up my pacer Bryce. I was running well and was ahead of my goal time and was sure I could make up some of my lost time in this section. I was about 15 min out from the aid station when Kendall flew by me. I was impressed at his pace and knew he would finish well as I was counting runners passing me going the opposite direction. I wished him well and ran into the Ranch aid station, picked up some sandwich's, drank some Mountain Dew, and picked up Bryce. I figured I was about 30 minutes behind Kendall and was determined to make up some of the time. I let Bryce set the pace for me and promptly fell behind. I also started to have some stomach issues and wasn't feeling to good. I was jack rabbiting with Cory Johnson and he was kind enough to offer me a peppermint to settle my stomach.......thanks Cory.......it worked like a charm and I was able to pick my pace back up, and made good time back to Lower Frary.
I knew I was running well and was way above my goal of a 9:30 race. Bryce and I would trade places off and on through out the next section and I set smaller goals to run for 20 minutes then take a small walk break. This worked well and we made good time before stopping at the next aid station near mile 44. They said I was in 28th place and this proved to be a good motivator during the last section of the race. Bryce became indispensable at this point and would constantly look back and tell me how close the next runner was. I was passed by Amie Blackham with about 3 miles to go, but was able to keep her in sight and almost passed her at the finish. I ended up finishing in 9:03:34. I placed 7th in my age group and 31st overall. I beat my time last year by 1:20. My good friend Kendall ran an incredible race finishing in 8:09:55 and 11th place overall.