Tuesday, May 29, 2012

pineland 25K Race Report

It's funny how I can plan my races down to the smallest detail and somehow I think I can follow the format and accomplish the goal......it never works out that way and the 25K was no different.

First, let me say that when running a race of this caliber and by caliber I mean the venue (erik, Ian and the rest) It is very reassuring to not have to worry about anything but myself because I know there will be no logistical problems related to the race......this allows me to concentrate on my own running.

Judging by last weekends (appr) 12 mile and the weekend before of 10 miles, even though the Garmen is not too accurate at times, I pulled off somewhere in the 10:30  minute plus average which is my PR on this course.

So my goal here was to PR this race (2:48 in 2008) and if things went well perhaps pulling off a 2:40ish, then if I had that perfect day when everything just seemed to fall into place, maybe as well as 2:35.

What worried me most was if I step it up, will the calf's fail me like years past.  Normally I wear the leg sleeves and that helps a lot but on a hot day like this, the sleeves would probably work against me.

My plan was to start near the front and allow the group to pull me enough so I wouldn't settle into too slow of a pace off the start but still not get caught up into racing for the first 10 miles.......I planned on skipping all the aid stations except for the first time by the Yurk which is when I would suck down a gel. I also planned on powering the uphills so I could take it easy on the downs.

I know this plan is a bit different than most as usually they slow down and even walk the uphills then use the downs to catch up.  Instead I would merely slow down a bit on the downs and cruise with gravity.
if I could maintain an even pace on the first 10 miles and have relatively fresh legs for the last 5, then I would race the last 5 and surely guaranty a PR.

I did a good job in the first 3 miles of keeping my pace and heart rate where is should be but had wicked dry mouth so at the first stop I broke my plan (already!) and stopped long enough to take a sip of water. I was glad I did.

I was feeling pretty good and had settled into a nice sustainable pace, didn't really care how many people were passing me ( and there were a lot until about mile 5).

Second change of plan was the first Yurk stop....I was nowhere ready to take a gel, it felt much too soon so I grabbed a water took one sip and dumped the rest over my head in anticipation of a beating sun through the fields.

The fields seemed easy and the memory of last year faded away quickly. I was at the Yurk again and still felt it was too soon to gel so I skipped it completely, but something in the back of my brain told me it would be a mistake.

I powered the hill and then opened up the stride on the downhill, another change of plan....but it felt so good at the time and set up the new plan of cruising the downs.

On the third trip to the Yurk I decided it was time, I stopped, sucked down a gel, drank a cup of ( what ever that yellow drink was) took 4 or 5 sips of water, dumped the rest on my head and hit the trail.things were going well and time was on my side.

The Grove came up quickly and I felt so strong running past all the cheering people. The time was looking pretty good and I felt I would have to really fall apart to miss out on beating my PR. I stopped at the aid station long enough for a couple sips of water and a dump on the head.

Now I needed to pick things up and turn on RACE mode. There would be no more stopping and nothing but pushing the ups and downs until I see the finish line. The first mile hit me hard as I tried to pick up the pace and even though I didn't feel I was slowing down, I also didn't think I was speeding up.....so much for racing, I felt more like I was in survival mode and for some reason, I couldn't seem to get  a grasp on what to expect for a finish time.

This is when I know my body is fatiguing, when I can't do the math anymore.  Come to find out, I heard that a few of the last K marks were off, if this is true then that could explain my calculation problems. Miles 12-13 really seemed to drag but once I  got a glimpse of the runners in the field, I knew I was in good shape and breezed right by the last aid station.

The field gave me perspective as I finally had vision of my finish and I still had some energy. I passed several people through the field and could feel the pace picking up. I had a strong finish and of course was extremely happy with my finishing time.

(1)    9:07 ---(7)    9:51 ---(13)    8:09
(2)  10:23 ---(8)  10:35 ---(14)    9:09
(3)    9:17 ---(9)  10:06 ---(15)    9:24
(4)  10:16 ---(10)   9:56 ---(15.5  ) 8:12
(5)    9:01 ---(11)   9:10
(6)    9:57 ---(12)   9:43

Garmen even had a good day as it read very accurately 15.51 miles.
15.5 @ 2:28:08   9:34 pace and a new PR
Last 5.5 miles 49:31  (9:00  average pace)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Big A Race Report

When I originally signed up for The Big A 50K, My intent was to run a lead up 50K to the Pineland 50K or 50 miler as I had planned on one or the other.  My goal at the time was just to finish the big A as time was not really a factor plus this is fairly difficult terrain so running on time would probably set me up for dissapointment.

As it turned out, I did not get the distance running in this winter and spring so I only signed up for the 25k at Pineland. Because of this change, I felt it was a good oppourtunity to hit the big A with a race mentality and see what I could do.

My plan was to really push the first loop then see what happens after my body blows up. My hope was to do at least two laps but perhaps three if I felt good enough. I didn't really plan a pace but was hoping for at least 12 minute for the first loop and if I was lucky 13 minute miles for the second.

I knew this was a bit aggressive for this terrain, but I had nothing to lose because I only needed 16 tough miles to fit into my 25K training plans. Last year I ran 2:16:01 for the first loop but was off course and racked up about 9.5 miles instead of 8 miles. My second loop was 2:07:00  with a total time of 4:26:09

I figured I would be happy to at least beat the 4 hour mark this year. It was overcast and chilly when I arrived and my first thought was that this could be a good thing as far as heat goes but perhaps not so good with all the rock and ledge at Mnt A.

 I am not sure why I did this, but I wore the Nathan vest fully packed and loaded on the first loop ...what was I thinking? It is only 8 miles then I would be back at the start where there is an adequately stocked aid station and all my gear in the truck.  I guess I was still thinking long Pineland or perhaps I was going to need something out on the course....

There were only about 30 or so runners and the group took off quick putting me about 25 back. I figured I would be running mostly alone, until the leaders caught me on their second loop. Instead I found myself hanging with the pack and passing at least 3 runners on the first hill.

 I settled in rather quickly except for the vest which was bugging me and I kept wishing I could shed the extra weight. Wearing the Inov8 295s seemed to give me a bit of an advantage on the wet rocks, which allowed me to really let go on the down hills which is where I did all my passing after the first hill.

 Somewhere around 5 miles into the first loop I started feeling real good and I was still passing people. A little bit of worry came over me because I shouldn't be catching this many people and I wasn't really pushing the pace. I think the slippery conditions were causing a lot of caution.

The last 2 miles of the first loop was so much fun, I leap frogged with a woman runner who seemed detirmined to keep me behind her. After pocupine trail, I knew it was all down hill and I just let go, opened up the stride and ended up coming in1 minute ahead of her and surprised to find myself in tenth place. Of course the difference is that I was racing and was pretty sure everyone else was gearing their pace toward the 50K. Still, a 1:33:01 was very respectable for a midpacker.

 I actually felt good, even after the 3/4 mile kick, so I dropped the vest off at the truck and looked forward to a second lap without the nusance. I didn't feel too spent until about mile 5 of the second loop and up until that point I was leapfrogging with Joe W for a couple miles. I passed him on two down hills but then he would catch back up and pass me back.

After mile 5,  I never saw Joe again as I suspect he was warming up and speeding up. I did notice he had great form and a fairly short stride which I suspect worked well in this terrain. The last three miles of this loop were pretty slow and I was now walking the up hills and tripping my way down the other side. It was appearant that my legs were starting to feel the result of the speedier first loop.

 This loop Porcupine trail lasted forever and I was experiencing some hip pain on the left side. It felt so good to crest porcupine knowing I had mostly a downhill to the finish. I came to the aid station at 1:43:03 for the second 8 miles.... still not bad for me.

I decided even though I felt I could pull off a  third loop, I didn't see sense in it with the hip pain and low energy. I was comfortable taking my much speedier two loop time of more than one hour faster than last year and calling it a day.

1st  loop 1:33:01 (11:38 pace)
2nd loop 1:43:03  (12:53 pace)
16 miles overall including stops 3:23:11

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In The Interest Of Time

My weekend was jam packed with things to do and none of them were running. In the interest of time, I opted for a ........road run. I know it's a nasty word but sometimes you do what you gotta do.

I would have much rather been sailing around the single track at Bradbury but I had an early morning window of only one and a half hours. I decided this would be a good time to speed up the pace a little and get as much out of the run as possible.

I was surprised how chilly it felt at the start but I actually warmed up fairly fast. I have an 8 mile loop from my house that I used for training back when I ran a lot of road races. It has a good mix of hills, one being almost a mile long.

Funny how things change, back when I trained on this loop I was running mostly 5ks and this was my long run loop. I would bring water, power gels and electrolytes. I would stretch before and after the run.

 This day, I just hit the road and ran the loop, no prep or support items because I don't need them now that I run longer distances.  A 6-8 mile run is  just my normal training distance on any given day.

I was quite surprised to find myself enjoying this road run, of course being early morning, there was no traffic to worry about. I settled in nicely and because I didn't have to think about foot placement and such, my mind was able to wander and just relax.

The long hill that usually left me struggling at the half way mark was .......well just a hill ......I worked a little bit harder but settled in and just powered up it. It really felt quite easy and actually the whole run felt that way even though I was running a faster pace than trails.

I sped up the last half mile and pulled off a decent kick. In the end I accomplished a pretty good training run that would have been much to short if I drove somewhere and ran trails.

Next weekend will be totally different running the Mnt A 50K course. I am planning 2- 3 loops but who knows, maybe I will end up doing the whole thing.

8 miles (road)
1:08:43 (8:35 pace)