2003 MS 50 Race Runner Reports

Many thanks to all the runners who sent these great reports: 
 Martha Ray Sartor, Beth Simpson, Jason Walz, Raz EstridgeDebbie Glass, Davy Kennamer,
Joe Beams, Dick Lipsey, Chris Cassell, Matt Wilson, Jeff Bryan, Walt Prescott


 A Novice Trail Runner’s View

Saturday, March 1 I did two firsts – ran a 20K and ran in a trail run.  I couldn’t have picked a better event.  The sponsors are to be commended for their support of an event that attracts nation-wide participation.  The folks who planned and implemented this trail run did a grand job!  It takes hours to clean and mark the trail, only to have to go back after the race (when you are already dead tired) to remove all of the markings.  If you got lost at this run, it was not because it wasn’t marked well!  This great experience has convinced me to enter this event again next year. 

 The event planners have you get your feet wet early.  Before the first half-mile you are already calf deep in a stream.  I now understand what the web site meant when it said water at every mile.  The water I was thinking about didn’t come to after mile four.  There was plenty of mud for everybody too.  Soft, pine straw laden paths gave us breaks from dodging mud and wading streams.

 The rest stations provided plenty drink and food and were staffed with enthusiastic, kind volunteers.  I should know because I spent several minutes at each station socializing while refueling.  The volunteers said most folks just whizzed on by.   Imagine that. 

 The gaiters for my running shoes Running Bear advised me to buy were much needed.  It was because of him that I also invested $27 in trail running shorts with pockets across the back that enabled me to take food and wet wipes with me. Both items were worth every dime I paid.   Howard Thompson’s advice on the Pine Belt Pacers February training run was much needed.  It was his voice that kept saying “you got to look at the ground so you won't trip on roots, logs, etc”.   I never fell down but I did hurt myself once while jumping over a stream.  The limb is no longer in my leg, but it did leave a small hole as a souvenir for my day’s accomplishments.  I thought the blood rushing down my ankle at the finish line was a nice touch!

Pine Belt Pacer, Ann Beardshall, was a hero that day.  She stepped up to the plate and became a score keeper.  Elmer and Ann also saved the day by going to Magee the day before to pick up the time clock.

There were several other Pine Belt Pacers that I know did well but I left before the 50K and 50 mile was completed.  I am afraid to report their names because I may leave someone out, so just read the results. 

 Martha Ray Sartor, Hattiesburg MS
Martha Ray getting her finisher plaque

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Steve; Just a note to say thanks for a job well done. Everything went off well. I know you and all your support did an outstanding job. Like I told you yesterday,  Carl would be proud the way y'all are upholding the tradition of the run. Again thanks for a job well done.  Joe Beams, Decatur Al 
Joe Beams finished in 6:40:51

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Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am proud to announce that I have completed my first 50K for 2003.
Very proud because I did a negative split AND set a PR for this course in
spite of the shoe sucking mud and less than minimal training due to
non-related running injury to my right foot and other reasons that I don't want to bore you with.

When I finished the first 12.5 mile loop, I employed a former Green Beret to kick my butt around the same loop for the second time and he did! He was still recovering from a hamstring injury and signed up for the 20k and had already finished it and was standing at the finish line looking like he needed something to do when I came around. I persuaded him that I would go slow enough on the second loop that he would do just fine. I was slow as I promised and he did fine, too.
I had to first change my socks/shoes. I felt a hot spot on the bottom of my right big toe and I wasn't sure if it was the socks or the shoes, so I
changed them both hoping to prevent a blister.

I heard this over and over again: "What-are-you-wait-ting-for?? Get moving!" "Come on, let's go!" "When we get to (he would name a certain spot) we are going to start running again. Let's go...." "You are spending too much time here. We came to run NOT to picnic." "You need to get movin'!" With all of the above, I would answer, "OK! I'm comin'." Then he made the remark, "Let's goooooo! It's going to get dark soon!" And with that, I fired back, "It AIN'T even NOON YET!"

As we approached the last 2 miles of the second loop, I realized that if I kept pushing, I would have a negative split. I finished the second loop
eight minutes faster than the first time I did it. As I left out to do the last 10k, the GB gave me strict orders on how to run it. I did as I was told and came to realize again on the last two miles that if I didn't lolly-gag around, I could set a PR for myself. I got an adrenaline rush that made me push harder. I finished 22 minutes faster than
last year. I'm still in shock.

Bill McMullan who was on the clock crew said that if you are relaxed and your mind is set right, those things can happen-he was right.

Thank you Howard Thompson, the Green Beret, for keeping your foot in my backside.

I got home and took my socks/shoes off and noticed something strange on the bottom of the big toe on the left foot and to my great surprise, there was a huge blister. I was concerned about the right one and I did fine the remainder of the course and it's still a little tender, but nothing came of it. I had NO clue that I had a problem with the left. ???????
A very happy runner,
RAZ:-))))))),  Laurel MS

Raz approaches the finish line

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Swamp, swamp, swamp, swamp music
When the hound dog starts singin'
I ain't got them big ol' city blues
Well, hey pretty mama
Lord, just take that city hike
Said go ahead pretty mama
Lord, just take your city hike
Well, I'd rather live with the hound dogs
For the rest of my natural born life
  - Lynyrd Skynyrd

My Race Report by Jeffery S. Bryan, Tallahassee,
Carl Touchstone Mississippi 50 Trail Run
Laurel, Mississippi
March 1, 2003

     There was an old children's joke that once went: M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, spell it. Well as far as I'm concerned, it is spelled "Carl Touchstone Mississippi 50". The race web site (http://www.ms50.com), which is excellent, is handled by the back office expertise of the man known as "Running Bear" (He also doubles as the finish line photographer). The site provides the following description, "The Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail 50 is held the first Saturday in March each year on the Longleaf Horse Trail in the De Soto National Forest just south of Laurel, MS. The race was started in 1996 by Carl Touchstone, a local dentist and popular ultra runner. The next race on March 1, 2003 will be the 8th time the race has been held, and the third that commemorates Carl's untimely death due to cancer. The course features soft dirt trails, pine needle paths, and fire roads on 12.5 and 6.1 mile loops through the piney woods. It is a rainy time of year in Mississippi, and there are a lot of small creeks on the course, so hot dry feet are not usually a problem." 

     In the Star Wars trilogy, Jedi Master Yoda trained an aspiring Jedi Knight in the swamps and bogs of the Dagobah System. So what better place for Tallahassee Ultra Jedi Master Gary Griffin to drag two of his protégés for ultra training than the swamps and bogs of Mississippi. I have been studying under the Master for a couple of years now but for Jo Lena "the Kentucky Wildcat" Pace this was a brand new experience. Jo Lena had never run an ultra before and had only one marathon on her running resume (2002 Country Music Marathon). I have learned from observation that she tends to enjoy running in the rain and mud with John Kalin on the local Tallahassee trails but this poor girl had no idea what she was getting herself into by heading off with Gary and I on one of our ultra trips. She can't say that fellow Gulf Winds Track Club members didn't try to warn her.

     The trip up to Laurel was pretty uneventful. Since I was the one behind the wheel on this trip, my passengers had the pleasure of witnessing my wonderful Yankee driving skills. These skills involve rapid lane changes, repeated windshield wiper adjustments, and being able to simultaneously cuss out multiple drivers while searching for country music on the radio to keep Gary happy. The biggest highlight of the trip on the way up was the major traffic jam in some small town called Waynesboro, Mississippi. It seems there was a Gun Show taking place during the weekend and all the locals decided to head into town at the same time on Friday afternoon. Cars were backed up at the red light in all directions for what appeared to be a quarter mile. We managed to extricate ourselves from this situation by trading Jo Lena for a shotgun and a case of jerky (Just kidding. We all know that she's worth at least two cases). We proceeded on to nice town of Laurel and somehow arrived at our hotel without any
major harm to ourselves or others.

      Packet pick-up and the pre-race pasta dinner were held at the South Central Regional Medical Center Wellness Center on Friday evening. A great spread was laid out before us. There was plenty of pasta, salad, and dessert to feed the masses. There were multitudes of door prizes given out and several individuals were recognized for their dubious ultra achievements. Andy Colee from the Florida Panhandle was presented a cake commemorating his 300th ultra and/or marathon. Many of the usual suspects from the southeast ultra running community were present swapping their fish stories, tall tales and lies. A great time appeared to be had by all. 

     Unfortunately, the morning came early. The endurance runs began together promptly at 6 a.m. in surreal predawn darkness. There are three choices of events. There was a 20K, a 50K, and a 50 mile. An interesting feature of this race is that the organizers allow runners to switch races after one or two loops. There was some switching going on but it was in the downward direction and not up. I noticed several 50 milers changing to the 50K but I didn't hear any 50Kers say "I have a few extra hours to kill so why don't I just switch up and keep going".

     Despite my best efforts and statements to the contrary, at the gun, I took off with the front runners. I guess that you just can't teach an old hound dog any new tricks. When the front runners contain the likes of Dewayne Satterfield and Dink Taylor, you know that you won't be with them for long. These guys take off in a 50 miler the way most of us take off in a 5K. The difference is that they don't slow down. They dropped me quicker than Jennifer Lopez drops boyfriends.

     Keep in mind that this is no city hike, the first stream crossing occurs in the first eighth of mile and your concerns of trying to keep your shoes dry goes out the window. You then don't care anymore and can settle into the task at hand. If the first stream doesn't get you, there are at least ten more on the loop to try to avoid. Good luck. This is a multiple loop course so you have the honor of hitting all of these streams again. As advertised, "hot dry feet are not usually a problem". The biggest thing that I learned when navigating the first loop was that remaining vertical while still moving rapidly forward becomes an acquired skill. I was able to successfully remain on my feet for the duration of the 50K. The first loop wasn't without incident, though. I did manage to get lost twice and run approximately an extra half mile. At least I had company when I did it. I don't recommend this as a regular ultra race strategy.

     Jo Lena was having her own fun out on the course. She witnessed a guy go down while attempting to jump a stream. I can barely believe her when she says that she didn't laugh when she saw it. These rookies never learn. You are supposed to laugh. It is proper ultra etiquette. Gary, you need to explain this part to her.         

     As the race wore on, it seemed harder to keep running. There were well supplied aid stations positioned every two to four miles staffed with incredible volunteers. No one has to worry about dehydration or starving to death at this race. The choices of nourishment were plenty. However, there was a full course chicken dinner waiting at the end so I avoided the snacks and saved my appetite. Boy, was I happy to see the finish line and the food. After crossing the line, I was unexpectedly grabbed and the third place overall award was shoved into my hands by the smiling Race Director, Steve DeReamer. Photos were taken and I suspect "Running Bear" will be forwarding copies to the proper authorities with the Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce Firing Range. Gary was the unofficial master winner. Officials in Waynesboro had no comments regarding Mr. Griffin.

     Gary and I  hung around the finish line area awaiting the arrival of the third member of our team. Jo Lena eventually emerged from the woods being chased by a pack of guys that were hooting and hollering after her. She looked no worse for wear as she crossed the finish line of her first ultra. Gary asked her what she thought. Jo Lena said something in Kentuckian that I believe translates to "I won't do another". With post race comments like that, she is well on her way to becoming a seasoned ultra runner. Not only did she finish her first 50K, she was the 2nd overall woman. I guess Gary, the Ultra Jedi Master had another successful student.

     All in all, the folks in Laurel, Mississippi are to be commended for putting on a first class event. All the volunteers were awesome, including "Smiley" who gave us the directions to the start and was manning the finish line aide station. I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a unique ultra experience with a great bunch of folks.

Lessons Learned:
1)  Learning to spell Mississippi as a child can help you later in life.
2)  Mud is fun and called "soft dirt trails" in Mississippi.
3)  If you carry your dinner plate near the finish chute, you must defend your biscuits at all costs.
4)  The folks in Waynesboro couldn't have had as much fun as the folks in Laurel.
5)  "Running Bear" lives along a golf course and has free food if you can find his house.
6)  Steve DeReamer and his volunteers are to be commended. The Carl Touchstone Mississippi 50 Trail Run is a First Class event and should be placed onto everybody's ultra running calendar.

Jeff getting his 3rd place trophy from Steve
(before Steve gave his hat away)

Jeff, Jo Lena, and Gary

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 I have to jump up and shout that I loved the race conditions at the Carl
Touchstone 50 mile this weekend - I thought the course was moderately
challenging but do-able, with a lot of runnable stretches (like the first
two miles and most of the sections between the last aid station and the
start finish line).  The mud was occasionally annoying, but it seemed to fly
off my shoes pretty easily for the first three laps, and only became Bothersome after the horses and wagons went through between my laps 3 and 4, when some deeper (and heavier) mud was exposed.

 I'd heartily recommend this course, as is, to anyone out there. It's well directed with several great aid stations (even though the first aid station did not have potatoes and salt, due to difficult getting to it, I believe), lots of great people, and a genuinely wonderful race setting - Michael Montgomery and I were chatting during the second or third loop, and he commented that a lot more people seem to be participating in ultrarunning - and I think it's because of events like this, with great race direction, a great course AND a 20k option - that we'll hopefully see more people back.

 --Jason Walz - and no, I'm not biased just because I won the great Carl Touchstone Mississippi 50 hat in the pre-race raffle!  Really!

 Oh, and race directors:  Seriously, great job, but can you take the T out
of my last name on the race results? :) 

Jason Walz completes the 50 miles, ironically wearing a 50K shirt
Also see a longer report from Jason.

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Absolutely a fantastic race!!!  I only did the 50k but I beat my PR.  Next year its definitely the 50m.  Camping was great and the entire support was very helpful.
See ya next year!

DOC (Chris Cassell)

Chris Cassell finishes strong

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Again I just wanted to extend my thanks to you and your wife for being so hospitable and enduring my phone calls to enter at 10:00 pm.  I appreciate it and your event was top notch my friend and I truly enjoyed the run, I look forward to seeing you all next year (at the banquet too) . Take care and God bless.

Your Friend,
Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson accepting his first place trophy in the 50K

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Steve- Just wanted to thank you again for a great race. Everything from start to finish was first class!  I really enjoyed the course, great volunteers, very well marked trail and a beautiful belt buckle. Thanks again, Beth Simpson

Beth Simpson, first in the 50 mile race

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Hi Steve

I'm the guy from New Hampshire that sent you a check for registration in the Miss. 50K, but you didn't receive it.  You let me run the race, and told me that you would look again to see if you could locate my check.  

You and all your volunteers do a great job with the race  (this was my third time running it, and it won't be my last).   Everyone is so friendly and helpful. Thanks for all the hard work that you do.  

Please let me know what you find out about the check.
Thanks again
Walt Prescott

Walt Prescott finishes with Layne Reibel

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From:    Dick Lipsey 
Subject: Miss 50 report & jimp sighting
Hi, all,
Dead Ed Payne and I went to Laurel, Mississippi, over the
weekend for the Carl Touchstone Memorial Mississippi Trail
50. Ed was entered in the 50 mile, and I was in the 50K.

In brief:  I finished in 5:56, 25th of 64 overall, enjoyed the mud and goo in my first trail ultra.

At length: This is a well-run race that I recommend for a first event
for anyone interested in getting into trail runs. Race shirts were nice, as were finisher plaques. Also, there was a very generous random drawing at the
Friday night dinner.

There was rain during the week, and a bit of light drizzle as my daughter and I drove out to the race site. The 50K had two big loops (12.5 miles each) and one short loop (6.1 miles). About a half-mile into the first loop, we hit a wide water
crossing that was unavoidable, so from then on everyone had wet feet. At four miles I had a close encounter with a root or stump that gave me an up-close and personal view of a nice section of mud.

The course had occasional stretches of trails thru the pines that were very runable, interspersed with low, boggy areas where you had to splash thru the mud or try to pick your way around the fringes. Also met some riders on horseback on the
course. Reminded me of the back woods of Fort Benning, except for the

With 120 or so runners in three races, much of the trail was very sloppy after the first loop, which was probably harder on the 50-milers, who had four trips around the same route.

I changed my shirt, gloves, and shoes after the first loop. Shouldn't have bothered with the shoes, because there was that water crossing again just a half-mile into the loop.

I was fine thru about 17 or 18, but ran out of gas after that. I was doing about 10-minute run/2-minute walk intervals to that point, but after that I walked the uphills.

The course was well marked except at two points. At about mile 9.5 of the first loop there was a sharp left that was marked by a ribbon, which several people took. The actual route, straight ahead, had no markings and nobody in sight when I and a couple of others got there. We started checking both ways, and after three or four minutes we met a group running hard ... on the way back from having gone
the wrong way. It was marked when I came back the second time.

Starting the short loop, I caught up to the guy ahead of me because he was looking for the route. There were three possible roads to take, and we couldn't see anyone ahead of us on any of them. After a couple of minutes, several people who knew the course caught up to us ... turns out that none of the three roads was the right one ... we were supposed to backtrack into the woods on the way we had come in on the big loop.

Lessons learned: It should be obvious, but know the course. I lost five or six minutes, and five or six places, because I didn't.

Don't waste time at aid stations. I passed thru the aid stations
on the course quickly. Since I was only in the 50K, I didn't eat much, just grabbed some water or drink. Some of the 50K people seemed to be there for the food.
But I lost a lot of time changing my shirt (twice), gloves (twice), and shoes and socks (once) at the start/finish area. I stopped long enough there that it was hard to get going again.

Don't get sick... I got the flu about three weeks before the race and lost a week of training, including my planned longest run (24 miles). My longest turned out to be 20, but my best run was 15 miles on trails much harder than the course turned
out to be.

Train to run more. I spent too much time walking.

Focus. With more concentration, I could have run more than I did, instead of just sort of going along, enjoying the day.

Summary: I was satisfied with my effort. Only one person older than me finished ahead of me, and he's someone I would never beat anyway. (But it appears that most of the better runners were in the 50-mile.)

My quads are sore today, but I'm hoping to recover faster than I have from road marathons. And I'm looking for more trail ultras for the 50 states marathon

--Dick Lipsey, Lawrence, Kansas<

For anyone who got this far, some race photos are at www.maddogs.org or
click on the "Miss Trail 50" link on the home page

ObJimPsighting (maybe):
Seen on the drive back:
"Puckett's Paint & Body Shop, Mendenhall, Mississippi"
Also, the city of Puckett, Mississippi.

Dick Lipsey

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 (Lisa, you and David really should've came down for this one!) - Jason

 Squish, squish, squish, squish.  I once wrote "The sound of onomotopoeia
resounded through the air," in a tongue-in-cheek line of poetry, but last
night, falling asleep blissfully at about 8:30 PM, the sounds of the day's
running would not leave my ears - squish, squish, squish, squish...

 This weekend's 50 mile run took me to the exotic locales of the Longleaf
Trail in the De Soto National wilderness south and a bit east of Laurel,
Mississippi.  I fly through Dallas to get to Jackson, and of course the
plane to Jackson is delayed; I get into Jackson at about 5:30 PM (instead of
4:00) and quickly go to pick up my rental car - which is within WALKING
distance of the terminal.  And no, I don't mean walking distance like _my_
type of walking distance - I mean about anyone's!  It's actually only about
three hundred yards from the terminal gate... chuckling about this (and the
fact that the Jackson airport is, in size, somewhere between Springfield, MO
and Pittsburgh, PA) I hop into my Chevy Malibu and head south - apparently,
all of the compact cars had been rented, what with Mardi Gras and all.  Free
upgrades are good.

 Laurel is about 95 miles away, and I get to see a good bit of Mississippi
on the way down highway 15 (including friday evening traffic around Jackson,
which isn't that bad).  I'm happy to be back in 50 degree weather, rolling
hills, and all of the hardwood that I'd almost forgotten about being so
prevalent here.  Huge copses of various types of pine are everywhere, and
I'm content to just sigh and let dusk settle in as I head south.  I pass
through Collins, Mississippi, which FEELS like it should host a long
endurance run - sleepy and small, with that mountain-bike type of small-town
feeling about it.  I also drive by (but not through) Hot Coffee - I begin to
think that I might have to upgrade Mississippi on my favorite states list.

 I pull into the spaghetti banquet just as it's winding down, and manage to
grab a large plateful and a sweetened ice tea and talk to several of the
race providers, as well as pick up my bib (#21), my T-shirt (long-sleeve and
cotton, but definitely a nice shirt - not as nice as my LeGrizz shirt, but
almost as much so).  I glance over the huge number of people entered into
the fifty mile race (58 or so, and there were only like 13 finishers in the
fifty mile last year). I think I just might have some company over the last
two loops of the course, and go check into the hotel for an early (8:00 PM)
sleep, after laying out my clothes for the morning.

 The Carl Touchstone Mississippi Trail Races are actually three different
races rolled up into one - a 20k (12.4 mile, actually 12.5 here), a 50k
(31.1 mile), and the fifty mile. (I'm a huge proponent of the 20k race -
gives people an idea of what an ultra feels like, without having to kill
youself.) There are four 12.5 mile loops for the fifty milers, two loops and
a small 6.1 mile loop for the 50kers, and a single loop for the 20k folk. I
make the short drive down to the race start (in a light drizzle), realizing
in the process that I left, of all things, my watch back in the hotel room.
I marvel at the large number of people here (primarily 20k runners), and say
hello to a few souls, looking for the yellow bibs that indicate fifty mile
runners (a seemingly common convention).  I see few, but there are a lot of
runners.  We're milling about the starting area when the airhorn goes off.

 Did I mention it rains a lot in Mississippi?  Fortunately, the rain mostly
held off yesterday, with only smatterings of light rain and a light drizzle
throughout the day.  However, the previous weeks' worth of rain had made the
trail pretty muddy.  Well, actually, I'm not sure how it could have been
much muddier in places.  Starting in "surreal pre-dawn darkness" (as their
website says, and it is definitely that, with a light haze/drizzle hanging
in the weird grey air between large pines), we're off on another oddysey.
The first two miles are a gentle downhill run on soft trails and fire-roads,
with a couple of mudbaths and one of two stream crossings where you
absolutely have to get wet (about 20 feet across).  We all bound right
through, hooping and hollering as we go.  The next two miles are on runnable
(at least, for the first loop) trails with a little bit of up and down, but
most of us ran the hills the first time around anyway.  After mile 4, you
come to the first aid station, which is after about a quarter mile on a fire
road - looking (and feeling) very similar to the second aid station at
Sunmart.  The aid station volunteers are great, and I only stop for a couple
banana slices the first time through.  Miles 4 through 8 are a mix of up and
down, pine-needle and muddy trails, with the worst mud puddle (about 30 feet
through shoe-sucking mud if you don't try to skirt it at all) right after
mile 5.  Right before mile 8 you come to the second aid station, by far the
friendliest on the course - and the one that sucked probably three or four
minutes off my time, which is fine, because I always left the aid station
feeling better (primarily because of hot chicken soup and potatoes with
salt, true ultrarunning race staples).  Miles 8 through 9 are probably the
hardest to run on the course, because they're both the newest (created for
the race) and because they have the most odd switchbacks and varied terrain.
Crossing up to get to the final aid station on the loop before mile 10, you
find another well-manned
 aid station - this time ran by a first time volunteer at the station, who
did a fantastic job nevertheless.  (In all, I cannot say enough positive
things about all of the race volunteers - truly a top-notch job!)  The last
2.5 miles back to the finish are probably the most enjoyable to run, with a
lot of good downhill running, slight uphill road running, fewer (overall)
mud pits, and a couple of places between miles 10 and 11 on curving, sandy
courses that would be an absolute joy to train on (good stability, lets you
cut your downhill running teeth, just challenging enough that you have to
pay attention.  The last 0.3 miles are downhill to the start finish area.

 I finish the first loop a little fast (1:55) - I'm coming off a really bad
cold and I knew that I should hold back and just race as I felt.  (Not
having a watch really helped with that, I might add.)  It's light out, so I
switch to my racing amber shades, decide to keep my longsleeve Chicago 50k
shirt on (making three fifty milers and several other ultras I've worn it in
the entirey, with a short sleeved body armor base layer - a good choice, as
I stayed wet all day from sweat, mist and drizzle, and having the two layers
helped keep me warm despite the moderate temperatures, which I'm guessing
never hit 60.  The second loop I hook up with a couple of runners at odd
times, including John Michael Montgomery, whom I run with for about three or
four miles at the end of the loop before I break off his pace.  I still
finish the second loop fast (2:10), and I contemplate how I want to tackle
the last two laps.  I quench another Ensure, remember to swallow a couple of
salt caps, and head back out.  I start being much more cognizant of walking
more and running less, as my goal is to finish, not to race for any given
time - besides, being qualified for Western States AND nursing a body whose
immune system is still down, I would have been more angry if I'd pushed
myself.  I check in at the second aid station and find out I'm in like 7th
or 8th place, and only about 25 people are running the fifty miler - and
some of them may have dropped down to the 50k.  I chuckle at this, but know
I'll give up a few more places ultimately, as I plan on taking it very easy
for the last lap and a half.  I finish the third lap in just under seven
hours (total), being lapped by the two leaders at about miles 8 and 9, and
head out for the last lap.

 The last lap was actually odd - I was able to run good portions of it,
though I still held back a lot.  I felt pretty good, despite a couple of
nagging blisters that I didn't dare pop due to the amount of mud and crap
that would get in them, and the general muscle soreness in the legs, feet
and back that comes from running all day.  The first six miles are very
lonely, and I see no one except for the aid station volunteers at mile 4.
Miles 3-4 were particularly taxing, as a horse party with a wagon had gone
through right after I had passed through the last time, making the course
incredibly muddy, and bringing out much thicker mud that stuck to my shoes.
Right before the second aid station another runner catches up, who describes
himself as almost spent.  I'm actually enjoying the day at this point, just
glad to be out there, watching for animals that now are actually making
themselves known now that most of the people are gone.  He's doing well, and
I tell him that he has a good shot at ten hours.  He does the math, and
although this is his first fifty miler, it looks like he'll be able to
finish well.  He eventually shoots off ahead, and I spend a few extra
minutes downing two cokes and some chicken and noodles at the second aid
station.  I mostly walk to the third aid station as the drizzle decides to
get a few drops of rain in every now and again.  Between aid stations three
and home, I'm passed by two more people - watching them I know I could keep
up if I wanted to, but I follow my race strategy (if taking it easy can be
called strategy!) and just let them go.  Still, at mile 11 I can smell the
barn and I start to run more and walk less, and feel pretty good in the
process.  I'm actually in sight of the finish line when I see it roll over
to ten hours (which is odd, because it went from 9:59:59 to 0:00:00) - so,
my official finishing time on the clock was 39 seconds.

 Steve DeReamer, the RD, stops me after I finish and gives me my finisher's
award - a nice, gold and silver belt buckle with Carl Touchstone - 50 Mile
Endurance Run on it, as well as something I had won the night before at the
pre-race banquet raffle - a really nice, Carl Touchstone 50 Mile endurance
run hat, which joins my Sunmart hat as my favorite, possibly even more so,
once I get all the dirt and grime off it!

 I change clothes (interesting to do in a rental car when you're covered
with mud!) - thankfully I'd planned ahead and was able to get all of my
muddy stuff into one bag.  Saying goodbye, I head back to town, taking a
wrong turn and heading south instead of north.  Oops. I recognize my mistake
and head back north - which is when I see two beautiful white tail deer on
the side of the road.  I slow, and they eventually see me and bound off into
the woods, those beautiful tall, slender hardwoods with the gray mist
hanging between them. A fitting sight!

 The rest is minutiae - I finish driving back to Laurel, grab a
double-pepperoni and tomato pizza and gobble down about three quarters of
it, along with several glasses of root beer; I go back to the hotel, have a
nice long hot bath, where it takes me a good ten minutes just to clean my
feet.  The bath is quite nice, and I then watch the last half of the
Indiana/Iowa game while elevating my feet, and head off to bed at about 8:30
or 9:00 PM.  I probably managed to get ten hours' worth of sleep which, for
those who know me, is almost as hard to believe as me running fifty miles!
(Actually, probably tougher to believe!)

 10:00:39 - on one hand it bugs me that I didn't break the ten hour mark,
but on the other hand, this was far and above the hardest fifty miler I have
ran so far (due to the mud and conditions), and I know I could have pushed
myself much harder - and probably could have even beat my best fifty mile
time, based on the first two loops.  Today, I'm glad I didn't, as I actually
feel strong, my legs aren't that sore, and I was able to drive up from
Laurel to Jackson without any problems, so hopefully I'll be back to my
normal running regimen by Wednesday.

 I would also be remiss if I didn't admit that there's a part of me that
always creeps up, usually around mile two when "48 miles" seems like an
eternity to run, and again after mile 20 or so and all the way to the
finish.  That part of me doubts that I can finish the run.  I think that's
ultimately what makes ultrarunning such an amazing thing - your body thinks
that it has its limits, and will always try to tell you what they are.
Experience, fortitude and just sheer will are what gets you through that.
Results and more information on the race are available at www.ms50.com.

 The next run will be the Ouachita 50 miler near Little Rock, Arkansas, in
April, which features climbing Pinnacle Mountain at about mile 4.  I'm
especially looking forward to this one because my beloved grandfather will
be crewing for me - I've missed him a lot since moving to Chicago three
years ago - not that I haven't seen him or anything, but because I used to
travel with him a lot, to all sorts of trade shows while he promoted
business to the Branson area.  It will be nice for him to come to one of my
events and be out just having an adventure again.

 Sorry for such a long email - but hey, at least I don't send these out
weekly anymore!  Cheers, Jason

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  As a long time marathon coach for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I have run many hard miles, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into with a 50 mile trail race. The mileage didn't scare me; the unknown scared me.
  I was so surprised at how much fun I had. I met Lou Peyton who showed me the ropes. Thanks to Lou the first 25 miles just flew by. Lou had to leave me at mile 25 to go the other way and finish the 50k. I then met Bob Haugh who ran the next 25 miles with me. We stumbled to the finish together. There I received my 2nd place trophy and belt buckle. It was the one of the most hard earned trophies I have ever received. However, it was the one of the most rewarding.
  I would like to say thanks to you and the entire race crew. They were all great! I would also like to thank all the runners that I coach in Nashville. They were a great inspiration. Thanks also goes to my friend Vicki. She drove to MS with me and ended up helping keep time for the finish line. I appreciate my husband, Robert, and my kids, Kaitlyn and Jamie for who always support me. But most of all I thank God for giving me a strong body and strong will. All glory goes to Him.
  I certainly plan on running more trail races. You have made a convert out of me. Thanks again for everything.

 Debbie Glass

Debbie (with Bob Haugh) receiving her trophy

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 Just want to say thank you to you and all your great workers responsible for the race this past weekend. We all had a great time  at the pre-race dinner and the race. Looking forward to coming back next year.
Davy Kennamer
Dana Overton
Regina Martin

The top 3 in the 50 Miler: Davy Kennamer,
Scott Belland, and DeWayne Satterfield

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Mr. Peyton:

Please announce to the distinguished group that the MS 50 Mud Race is a must do for an endurance runner, as I might someday become. Inform them that one has to be mental to want to finish the 50 mile, throughout the running of the course. Oh, and tell them that it is a soft course, one with a total of 416 (count them) mud holes. But, don't go near the course with a case of sciatica. Please give my regards and admirations to runners Lou, Chrissy and Stan (Belt Buckle) Ferguson . Thank you for your unselfish support. Inform everyone of the great performance of Race Director Steve DeReamer. Please tell Vic that it might be necessary for me to pass up the 46 mile bike ride next Saturday...I can't even step over the yellow line, yet. 

Yours almost truly,

Maurice Robinson

Maurice finishes in a nice light drizzle

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