Last year, Vulture Bait 50km was my first trail race, so I was excited to go back to the race that got me hooked. It was on Sat Oct 16th, great weather. It was a little warmer than last year, started at about 5 degrees then climbed to 13 degrees or so by noon, very comfortable for running. I was a little worried about my legs tiring out, I'd done a 60km run 5 days prior to this. When I did a 10k run 2 days prior, legs were still sore and tired. VB has some hills but overall it's a relatively flat course compared to most.
I got there with just enough time to run to the bushes and pee, then checkin and grab my number. I had to pin my number on right at the starting line, got it pinned just in time and we were off! Last year I was fascinated by the aid stations (having never run an ultra before), I would spend way too much time at each one chowing down and drinking way too much. This year I just gabbed a few pieces of banana and a few chips while I kept moving. Didn't need any drinks, I had 2 10oz bottles of Eload on my belt so I'd rather drink that than the HEED drinks they were giving out. I also didn't want to drink too much and cramp up, so this worked out well. I took salt pills every 45min or so, plus at least 1 gel per hour so this was ample nutrition for me.
I forced myself to maintain a stready pace and not go too fast on the first 25km loop. Last year I went way too fast and started cramping up as soon as the 2nd loop started. I seemed to be running behind some older guy for a lot of the first loop (early 60s maybe?). For the last few kms I was ahead of him and he kept saying something about picking it up near the end. I told him a few times that I was doing 50k, not 25k like him, but each time he didn't hear me. He passed me at about 23km and he made some comment about me being passed by an old guy. He seemed excited by this so I didn't ruin his fun by letting him know I still had 27km to go, not 2. Finished the first loop in 2h 11min, I was feeling great.
I barely saw anyone on loop 2. At about 38km I passed a guy who was having issues and walking, this was the first person I'd seen on the entire 2nd loop. It felt like I was running all by myself. At about 40km, my right shin was really hurting, other than that I was feeling good. With about 5km to go, I caught up to 2 more runners and passed them. Just after this, I heard someone speeding up behind me, then I got passed by Paul C. He's out of my league, I cheered him on as he passed and I kept going. I picked up the pace at this point (Paul still kept getting smaller and smaller though). With 3k left I took it up a notch knowing I was almost done. When I got near the finish, I did my usual routine and broke into a full out sprint for the last 100 meters, the crowd was cheering like mad. Finished 4h 44min in 13th place, I was happy with that. Last year was 4h 58min.
I was extremely happy I didn't cramp up like usual, I'm getting much better with my nutrition and hydration. No knee issues at all, just a very sore right shin. VB is the last race of the Ontario Ultra Series, so after the race there's a big meal and they hand out the awards for the year. I got called up to accept my award for 3rd place Male Under 40 for the season. Got a plaque and a hat. I also chatted with a girl who did HURT this year and is going back next year, so I'll be in touch to get some info from her. Had a great time, looking forward to this one again next year!