Monday, October 17, 2011

Palo Duro 50 Mile - 2011

I drove down Friday afternoon with Neil and Edgar. We got to the park around 8 PM and the gates were closed. So we camped outside the park in a little side camp ground. We got up at 5:30, broke camp and drove into the park. By the time we got parked it was 6:30 so we only had 30 min till the race starts. We picked up our packets, got out bags setup at bag drop and got to the starting line right as the race started. In such a rush I didn’t have a t-shirt with me so I had to run in the race shirt. At the start it was 50 degrees.

Miles 1-3 10:56 Ave. We started out on a single track trail so we got caught in traffic. Probably a good thing as it felt super easy. It was dark for the first 4 miles. At about mile 3.4 we hit the first aid station and the 50K runners split off from us and we had room to move.

Miles 4-6 9:39 Ave. I felt good and no more traffic from 1st and 2nd aid station. I took my first gel at mile 6. The mile 6 aid station would yell when they would see anyone and you could hear them from a mile away.

Miles 7-9 10:21 Ave. The sun had come up enough to turn the light off. Right before the mile 9 aid station I tripped on a rock sticking out of the ground and I went down. This was right before we had to go down the stairs. For the rest of the race every time I passed someone they would comment because my shirt was dirty. They would ask if I went down. I didn’t understand this question. It’s a trail race of course I went down. If you don’t go down then you aren’t running hard enough.

Miles 10-12.5 9:36 Ave. This is the most runnable section of the course. I picked it up here and the overall female winner caught me here and we would go back and forth over the next 2 loops.

First Loop 2:07

Miles 13-15 10:05 Ave. I had planned to slow down a little each loop as the temps rise. I was planning on 11 min pace on this loop so I am very happy with this pace. I am starting to pass some of the 50K runners as they ran a 6 mile loop first.

Miles 16-18 10:06 Ave. Still happy with how I feel and my pace. We are running in more sun but the temps are still OK.

Miles 19-21 10:40 Ave. I keep stopping at each aid station and grab a couple of items to eat. I am still doing 2 gels per loop.

Miles 22-25 9:52 Ave. Again the last section is the most runnable. Good pace and the overall female winner is pushing me a little from behind. Every time she passes me as I stop at an aid station I figure she is either going to leave me or she is going to wear out and I will catch her. It is always a little push for me to beat the overall female winner.

Second Loop 2:09 - 4:16 Overall

Miles 26-28 11:32 Ave. It is all out hot now. I hope to hold 11:30 pace on this loop. Good luck as I can feel I am starting to cook. The legs still have plenty left in them.

Miles 29-31 11:36 Ave. I am holding on and pouring water on my head at each aid station. I am taking one Endurolyte every hour. My handheld lasted 15 miles before I had to refill it the first time. I am refilling it at each water stop now. I have it filled with Gatorade and ice.

Miles 32-34 12:02 Ave. I slowed down a little at this point. This is where the 50K sounds like a good idea. It would be nice to be sitting around with a burger and a beer right now.

Miles 35-37.5 11:40 Ave. A little better here but this is the easy section with a little bit of shade. I did catch back up with the overall female and passed her for the last time. As I finished the third loop I felt good and I knew if I ran smart a sub 10 hr. was mine. I figured a sub 10 was a tough goal for me all along. I figured I was more likely to run sub 11. Enough for a Western States qualifier.

Third Loop 2:26 - 6:42 Overall

Miles 38-40 11:37 Ave. My goal this loop is to run sub 13 min pace and even if I run 15 min I will still hit my goal. I find it is hard to make it 3+ miles between aid stations with my one handheld.

Miles 41-43 13:11 Ave. Drinking all I can at aid stations to get me from one to the next.

Miles 44-46 13:24 Ave. At some point I am doing all the funny math in my head and thinking I can go sub 9:20 for the race but after the last 6 miles it looks out of the question. But it looks like I have a shot at sub 9:30 if I hold it together. The last mile here I am being chased down by a guy in a red shirt. He is closing fast and all bets are off once my ego joins the race.

Miles 47-50 10:15 Ave. So I hit the last aid station behind a guy in a black shirt and the red shirt guy comes in behind me. We all go thru the shower to cool down and both of these guys get out of the aid station right in front of me. Black shirt goes easy but red shirt guy is moving and has a pacer wearing jeans. I get behind red shirt guy and see if I can hold on. Once I get going I feel like I can redline at this point and figure if a fly by him with 3+ miles to go he will either go with me and blow up. I figure if all else fails if I can stay close I can out kick him the last ¼ mile which is on the street. After a ½ mile I dropped him and got out of his site so he wouldn’t chase. I kept pushing the whole way to see what I could do.

Fourth Loop 2:37 - 9:19 Overall

Total - 9:19:12
I finished 3rd Masters and 10th overall.

This race went much better than I expected. This was supposed to be a training run for Cactus Rose 50. After how well this went I will probably skip Cactus Rose and work on my speed for some shorter road races. I am still sore 2 days later but that is what they call DOMS. I think my lower mileage training for Lakefront caused my legs to be a little undertrained for this distance. Edgar, Neil and I had a great time. Edgar ran 7:43 and third overall and Neil ran 10:0x and finished with a beer in his hand. That would have made my run better. We drove back that night and I will be back next year. I am still learning not to race Ultras and just enjoy them. I will let the time and place sort itself out. My real talent still probably lies on the road but time will tell. I am still a little scared of running 100 miles.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Lakefront Marathon

This was my first small marathon. (3000 runners) Hardly anyone in town even knew there was a marathon going on. We were walking to the host hotel to catch the buses to the start and the streets were empty. We looked at each other and asked if we got the date wrong. It was 5:30 AM in downtown Milwaukee and we did not see another person for the first ½ mile of our walk. I always have a Gatorade in the morning to sip on till the race starts and to wash down my first pre-race GEL. I forgot it in the hotel. We rode the bus to the start and when we got off it was in the mid-30s at Grafton High School. We went in the school and got to hang out and use the bathrooms in the school. About 20 min before the start we went outside and walked to the starting line a couple of blocks away. I lined up about 10 feet from the start. Although small the race officials at this race take the rules very seriously. One walked up to me and asked what time I was shooting for. I told him 2:56 which is maybe top 30 the previous year. He told me if I was going to be top 10 I would need to turn off the GPS on my watch. I could have HR and time but no GPS, headphones or pacers. I figured I was good as I would have to have a great day and the top 20+ racers would have to DNF.

Mile 1 - 6:40 First mile is downhill. Any traffic was done after a ¼ mile.
Mile 2 - 6:32 another downhill mile. I realized I forgot to take a GEL before the race started. Another mistake that probably didn’t amount to much.
Mile 3 - 6:50 this mile was uphill. I took my first GEL at 3.75.
Mile 4 - 6:43 this is where the course just started to roll. Front here to the end the course was consistently going up or down.
Mile 5 - 6:34 First funny mental moment here. I am thinking like I do in all marathons how I am going to write my race report. How I am going to describe how I knew it just wasn’t my day and I just never felt good. Then I looked at my watch and realized that I was a few seconds ahead of pace. I instantly started re-writing my RR in my head. How I started out too fast and crashed later in the race. I giggled at myself and thought, could we just run this race all out and right the race report later. Just too many negative thoughts.
Mile 6 - 6:42
Mile 7 - 6:49 this mile was going thru Concordia University. We had some crowd support but it was very hilly. I think I cussed one of the streets.
Mile 8 - 6:45 this is the first time I started to struggle. I was a third on the way thru but it felt like my legs were already starting to take a beating with all the hills. I made a huge training mistake with this race. I had abandoned my weekly hill runs for more speed and social runs. I was about to pay the price.
Mile 9 - 6:47
Mile 10 - 6:40 at most marathons mile 10 is tough for me. I was mentally prepared and probably overcompensated here. This mile is uphill and still I ran a fast mile.
Mile 11 - 6:43 took my second GEL here. Started to get a side stick soon after that.
Mile 12 - 6:48 I knew I was about 20 seconds behind pace. I was hoping to hold on for now and make it up on some down hills later.
Mile 13 - 6:52 this was not a good split. I hit the halfway point at 1:28:36 about 30 seconds off pace. I figured I could still salvage a 2:57 with a nice 1 min PR.
Mile 14 - 6:44 Pretty close to pace. I just needed to hold this till 20 and then pick it up.
Mile 15 - 6:42 another good mile. Could I hold this for 11 miles? Sounds easy enough.
Mile 16 - 6:38 Wow, this is a good sign. Just 10 more miles of this.
Mile 17 - 6:50 this mile was uphill or my legs were done? I was thinking just a loop around the lake. I meant to teak my GEL this mile and just lost focus and ran thru the water stop with the GEL in my hand. Another mistake.
Mile 18 - 7:00 I really lost it here. I know it was uphill but this was easily 10 seconds too slow. I took a huge mental hit when I saw this split. A mile starting with a 7. (ugggg)
Mile 19 - 6:57 not much better. I thought I always run a couple of 7:0x miles in Boston on the hills. I could pick it back up.
Mile 20 - 6:42 I took my 3rd and final GEL. Somehow I had picked the pace back up. I was not looking at my watch and just going on feel. The problem is I need to press with all I had and instead I think I was jogging.
Mile 21 - 6:47
Mile 22 - 7:11 obviously jogged out this mile. Just a bad job of holding focus. The last 10K is a fight and I just wasn’t able to fight back for whatever reason. I think the legs were too beat up from the hills.
Mile 23 - 7:05 I had kept hearing about a big downhill at 23. I couldn’t find it. It finally showed up at the end of the mile. Since my auto splits were ahead of the mile markers it probably showed up in the next mile.
Mile 24 - 6:53 by now I knew it was just about breaking 3 hrs.
Mile 25 - 7:16 I was pretty well jogging it in and trying my best at math. This is where we hit the beach at the lake and it was starting to get warm. Around 52 degrees I guess.
Mile 26 - 6:56 I figured I was going to have to pick it up a bit to go sub 3. Funny how sub 3 was my ‘C’ goal. How things have changed.
Mile 26.2 - 6:19 I started picking people off the last half mile as I knew I was close. Passed the 4th overall female in the last 200 yards and tried to pull her but she was done.
Total - 2:59:40 Not a PR

Finished 50/1202 overall 5th in Age Group

I had a great time with my friends over the weekend and loved how they all had big PRs. I was probably in 2:58 shape but went for a PR and made too many mistakes. The biggest was my loss of focus over the final 6 miles. I underestimated the course and trained poorly. Too much trail running and slow long runs. And the biggest mistake was not doing my 12-15 mile MLR on my hill route. Because of the summer heat my long runs were too easy and slow. I think Texas runners are much better off to shoot for a marathon a little later in the year so their last two months of training can be in the fall.