Monday, October 22, 2012

BBU--Pounder Race(s) Report

In my title, I put races as plural because in essence I ran two entirely different 15  mile races. The description however is the same………wet, slippery, muddy, gnarly, hilly, relentless and beautiful terrain. The only consistent factor throughout the day was the drizzly fog and never ending choices at the aid stations.  I felt like royalty as these more than helpful volunteers not only offered any aid needed  but treated the whole visit like a party that was just waiting to peak on my arrival.  One very cheerful volunteer (who,  I am sure I do not have to name)  ran toward me before I even made it to the aid station yelling out for my demands……..on top of that there was bacon. As much as I love any aid station snack with chocolate in it, nothing tops the smell of bacon cooking as one is running out of the woods. I also found a new favorite food…..baked potato smeared with peanut butter and dipped in salt, add in the bacon and I think it covers all the major food groups.

As usual this event was top notch, put on by runners who know what it takes to bring an event like this together. I have yet to figure out what higher power Ian is connected to, but he seems to consistently get the trail conditions he loves so much. The course could not have been better for a hard core trail runner, just the right mix of mud and water, enough run off to cause the streams to bubble with pleasure and just enough mist to keep one cool but not a heavy enough rain to cause discomfort (except maybe for the 50 miler start)

I am proud to report that only fell once and I am not sure how it happened, but it was mile 7 of the 2nd lap. There were no roots or rocks to blame it on and I landed on the edge of a very muddy puddle. My left calf locked up so bad (because of trying so hard not to go down) that I had to sit for a few seconds before I could get back up and then it took a little messaging to get it to calm done enough to start walking.

I didn’t train very well for this event as far as high mileage goes and it showed in the later miles.  I felt I trained very well for a tough 15 mile trail race and knew I would have to run smart to accomplish the finish here that I desired. In retrospect I did not run very smart but did  learn some extremely valuable lessons. I opted to run the first loop as bare as possible by leaving the Nathan vest behind and depending solely on the aid stations for fluids. After the first loop I planned to  change into lighter shoes, possible put on dry clothes and gear up with fluids and gels.

The core of my plan was to start very conservative and save something for the last 6-8 miles …….that didn’t happen and I really do not know where my brain was,  that is why I split these loops up. The first loop was amazing and I ran it like a 15 mile race. I guess I just got caught up into the flow of it. I felt strong and very much in control for the whole 15 miles. I even told some runners I was passing that I was probably running too fast….. so I knew what I was doing but somehow must have felt I could pull a rabbit out of my hat for the second 15 miles…….mistake number one!

Mistake number two, I didn’t bring my stuff to the tent, I just left it all in my truck and figured I would just jog over to gear up for loop two…….I didn’t do it. You know, the truck wasn’t that far away, was I too lazy or maybe I felt so confident from the first loop, I don’t know but I do know it was a bad decision. I felt it immediately as I WALKED up lunch break hill, I was in for a tough finish. I kept the pace conservatively slow and patiently waited for the moment after the bonk when the body decides to let things flow again and it came at mile #19.

Problem is, a disturbing pain in the outside of my right knee also seemed to appear at the same time. At first it was more bothersome than a problem but the more I ran the down hills the worst it felt. Like most aches and pains, I figured this would pass because I didn’t remember a point where it felt like I tweaked it……but it sure felt tweaked and instead of passing, it kept barking louder. Eventually I had no choice but to drop the run part of my run/ walk 2nd lap  strategy and  then it even  hurt while  walking down the hills.

There were some short spurts of running but only long enough to convince me that it was a mistake. The most difficult part of this for me was the fact that I had cardio and though my body was fatigued, I could have continued running if it were not for the knee issue. It was so discouraging to have runners pass me that I should be able to stay in front of. Then the oddest thing happened, I took a wrong turn ……not sure how that could happen when I knew the terrain, I knew the course and I checked to find that the markings were all in place. I guess I was so caught up in feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t pay attention. Luckily I didn’t lose any time as I caught it fairly quickly.

I kept plugging along and had it in my mind that I would finish at all costs. At about one mile from the end I decided I was going to run to the finish regardless of the pain and even though it was probably a mistake, I just could not bring myself to walk it in. The finish was an odd experience for me, It didn’t feel like a finish at all… just felt done and my thoughts went directly to the Stone Cat 50 miler in two weeks…..will I be able to run it?  Did my lack of training and executing a solid plan ruin my first 50 miler attempt?

I went home very discouraged and not too happy about my performance but now that a day has passed and I can look at the race as a whole, I realize that I created my own hardship and that the hardship is exactly what happens in the ultra races. It is inevitable and for some runners anticipated in an enjoyable way. As I look back now, I see all the moments I enjoyed and am proud of weathering the storm.

This was a very tough  race,  was exactly as described on the website and what I knew I signed up for. I  am proud to say I attempted and finished it. I can’t however say I conquered it, cause I kicked it’s ass the first lap then it turned around and kicked mine on the second ( I would say that puts us even) ….So…I will save that statement for the BBU next year.

1st lap 15.7 miles @ 3:06:18  (11:52 pace)
2nd lap 15.4 miles @ 4:09:03 (16:11 pace)


Anonymous said...

Kevin, great report! You were really looking strong out there!! You will do great at Stone Cat!! I can so picture Ryan doing that!!


Sparkplug said...

Kevin, way to go! I know your 2nd lap wasn't quite what you were hoping for, but you kept going and did what you had to do to finish. That is definitely to be admired and is definitely an accomplishment given the course and the weather, and your leg bothering you too!

I think you will kick BBU's butt next year for sure :-) And I hope your leg feels better with a little rest and a few short runs!

mindy said...

Kevin, sounds like maybe an ITB issue for your knee? Have you gotten on the foam roller or rolling pin to work it out? First time race, you get a course PR! I think you did great and it was exciting to see you finish with that awesome kick. Glad you enjoyed it and hope you'll be back for the 50k again or 50m next year!