Thursday, March 19, 2009

Way Too Cool 50k report

In keeping with a general theme of lack of preparation, I overslept by an hour on race morning. I took care of business and got out the door about 15 minutes after I had planned on leaving but was as ready as I was gonna get. Got to cool in time to warm up my legs for a moment and then the “race” began. The first 7 ish miles were a blur for me, I just started in the middle of the pack and forced myself to keep the pace slow, all I remember was slowing reeling in a lot of familiar faces all the way to highway 49 (55 minutes). Once we crossed the highway and were on the perfect singletrack descent, I was itching to move, but stuck behind about 7 runners. On the short gravel stretch I launched past them then fell immediately upon hitting the singletrack again, but jumped up with only a few scrapes. At the bottom of the singletrack I came out onto Quarry Road feeling very good, and noticed myself passing Tim Twietmeyer. I knew that I would really regret it later in the race but felt like I was going the right pace for the moment. By this time the slight tension in my shins was entirely shaken out and I really enjoyed the run out to ALT 1. I was cruising in a pack going at just over 8 minute mile pace and felt comfortable. Felt myself slowing down a little bit on the loop from there and didn’t really know what to expect for the rest of the day so I allowed myself to slow down a little and really enjoy the scenery. On the way back to ALT we came across a group of probably 20 hikers that obviously hadn’t heard about the race. They were spread out over a very long and steep descent but they were very accommodating and didn’t become obstacles. I never pushed the downhills in this race like I usually would because I really didn’t know what to expect from my shins and from my body in general beyond mile 20. Shortly before I got to ball bearing there was a gushing knee deep creek crossing that I could have sat down in and stayed for the rest of the day, but just quickly waded across and hoped that my feet would dry out. After a tough hike up ball bearing my run was pretty much over. My groin cramped up like crazy and I would have to alternate running and walking to try to keep it loose. Feeling done but generally fine I just zoned out until it came time to hike up goat hill. I pushed up it with encouragement from a friendly Canadian, still feeling like my worst-case goal of 5 hours was within reach. It wasn’t until I was cramping like crazy trying to make it to highway 49 that I pretty much gave up on 5 hours and was ready to just walk it in. And that’s when Matt Keyes came along. I had promised myself that if I took off ahead of him, then I would have to stay ahead of him so it was incredibly frustrating to see him coming in hot behind me. He got very loud in a hurry and when all is said and done saved the day for me. We came into highway 49 together and I was ready to stop for aid but he wouldn’t let me, so with Matt’s encouragement I started to run hard through the cramps until they went away. I was able to keep going about halfway up the climb then got into a very strong hike until the flats. From there I “ran” hard to the finish with aim to put some distance between my co-worker and myself. I crossed the finish like in 5.01.52 which it good enough for me to be happy about. Matt came in about 30 seconds later looking about 10x better then I must have. Being done was good enough for me and after a few days of reflection and recovery I am pleased with the way things turned out. My initial goal was to just go out and finish an ultra, and I ended up doing it in a pretty decent time considering my poor training and health leading up to the race. It was a good race day learning experience for me and I look forward to doing Cool again next year but I promised myself I won’t sign up for anymore races until I am ready to race the way I want to…

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