The Illinois Fat Ass 50K was a real treat on January 9. Being my first 50K, it will have a special place in my memory.
I also thought you might enjoy some photos from the race. Not only was the race fully free but so were the photos. One of the pals of the RD posted these for all to use...no $20 cost, plus shipping, for a race photo. Since most FA-style races are on trails on public lands, I also thought I'd show you a way to do such a race in the fertile prairie of the Midwest.
Here's the pre-race start photo. The RD is giving us our instructions which mostly consisted of pointing out the clipboard on which he wanted us to post our time and distance when we finished. 78 folks started the race, each with his/her own distance targets for the day.
We flowed out of the school parking lot onto the adjacent asphalt-covered county road. 400 meters into the race, we were already stretching out.
As we passed the school after the short starting mile, our intrepid photographer snapped this photo of me behind a fellow runner. You can see how we were bundled up against the 17F temperatures. There was, fortunately, no wind and the blue skies were beautiful even though the sun imparted little warmth.
You thought we only have corn fields and no trees here in the Midwest?? Check out this magnificent oak we ran past six times. What a story I'm sure this tree could tell if it were an Ent.
RD at mile 9 uphill
Here you get a glimpse of a hill in Illinois. We had several of these. It was pleasant to enjoy the winding, climbing, tree-lined roads. Not quite foot trails through groves of mountain firs but, hey, it's the best we can do.
Race Director Bob is in the center. After getting us all started, he fell in line to enjoy an 11 mile run himself. He farms nearby and has been organizing this race for 16 years now. He told me, pre-race, he had an implantable defibrillator placed three years ago, yet still ran two marathons and one ultra in 2010. An amazing guy who clearly enjoyed hosting all of us on a cold day in January.
In the middle two miles of the course, the road curled alongside this pleasant stream. A stream on one side, big round hay bales on the other...it was a treat.
Somewhere along here came one of the funniest moments of the day. A fellow runner caught me from behind and told me she thought I had a "wonderfully color-coordinated running outfit." I smiled but hardly knew what to say. NEVER in my life has ANYONE ever complimented my clothing color choices. I'm an engineer. Shoot, I'm lucky just to get dressed properly every day. I've learned that navy blue Dockers always go with a shirt that is basically blue. And that's about as much as I ever think about it. And it's not like my color choices for running capture subtle effects of tone and texture to communicate a particular mood; I just got it all from Brooks. The only thing this garish combination of neon yellow and black communicates is "Please don't hit me with your giant SUV while I'm running." That bit of humor carried me all day long.
Here is a compatriot crossing the finish line well ahead of me. You can see here the combined race expo, registration pavilion, information desk, central aid station, timing technology core and finish coordination. All on a piece of plywood across a couple of sawhorses. Just love it.
Twenty-two folks finished the full 50K; I was 19th among them. Lots of others ran either 11 or 21 miles or some other combination. It was a fun day.
Enjoy the photos. And keep persevering.