Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Bit Of Progress

Feb 22- 15 miles (1:52:37) Rexius-Headwaters-Ridgeline-Blanton-Back, AV 7:30 Hilly
Feb 23- 9 miles (1:03:06) DAC-Pre-Finger-Back, AV 7:09
Feb 24- 10.5 miles (1:15:17) DAC-Amazon-Rexius-Headwaters-Back
Feb 25- 10 miles (1:10:50) DAC-Pre-Finger-Theater LP-Back, AV 7:05, 6:49, 6:48, 6:53, 6:43
Feb 26- AM 8.5 miles (57:21) DAC-Amazon-Back w/3M Tempo (6:02, 6:04, 5:58), AV 6:50, Lift PM 11 miles (1:32:56) Thornley's-Rexius-Headwaters-Butte-Blanton-Back, Hilly EZ AV ~8:30 w/Lamps
Feb 27- 9 miles (1:01:19) DAC-Pre-Finger-Back, AV 7:02
Feb 28- 8.5 miles (57:06) Home-Rexius-Amazon x3 w/ 3M Fartlek (1 min on/off), AV 6:50, 6:26, 6:20, 6:18, 6:53, 6:44

Weekly Total- 81

Looking forward to another longer run tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunmart 50 Race Report

Back-up plans are a good thing.  My original plan for the fall of 2008 was the Masochist Mountain 50 in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The goal being a top 3 finish and the automatic qualification for the 2009 Western States 100 that goes with it.  Unfortunately, falling down the front steps three weeks before would deny me the chance to tackle the notoriously brutal east cost course.

After regrouping and refocusing, I would ultimately end up in Huntsville State Park, just outside Houston, Texas for the Sunmart Texas Trail Endurance Runs on December 6th.  I new qualifying for WS100 would have to wait until later.  So, for my back-up plan I would just try to run a fast "flat" 50 miler.  The only 50 under my belt was the White River 50 in Washington earlier in the year, and that is not flat.

The weekend definitely did not start out smoothly.  I missed a connecting flight while traveling down from Eugene, Oregon and did not arrive until 8:00PM the night before the race.  Knowing I would miss packet pick-up, I called ahead to have mine left at the front desk of the host hotel.  After grabbing a quick bite to eat (missed pre race dinner and speaker Bob Kennedy) and getting situated in my room, I was finally able to lay everything out for the early rise at 4:30AM.  I got a solid 3 hours sleep.

One of my biggest concerns was the weather.  The 2007 race was dealt temps in the mid 80's and most of the runners suffered.  However, this year conditions were ideal.  Getting out of the van at Huntsville State Park it was a crisp 28 degrees.  Perfect.  My first order of business upon arriving was to find a cup of coffee and use the facilities.  I would pass on the full breakfast that was being served to all the runners.  After that was done, I just jogged lightly for 5-10 minutes and got my bearings with the general flow of the start/finish area .  By the time I knew it, it was time to go.

I really had no idea what the field was going to be like.  The only person I recognized at the start was Mark Godale, who had run 5:56 at Sunmart in the past and a 3:16 50k earlier in the year.  My plan was just to run how I felt with whoever was there.  Having run 3:17 at the Autumn Leaves 50k three weeks earlier, I was not worried at all about the pace.  My only concern was how I would feel after 40 miles, as this would be new territory at this sort of pace.  The horn went off and I felt great!  After about a half mile, I looked over my shoulder and saw just one guy 10 meters behind me.  Soon after, I yelled back to him "What's ya name?".  He said "Martin" (Martin Tighe from Providence, RI).

We ran together for the first 11.5 miles with great conversation about all things New England (myself being from the Boston area and the University of New Hampshire).  At this point I made a quick jump into the bushes carefully checking the area for the Texas alligators.  When I reached the end of lap 1, of which there are 4 (12.5 miles each), Martin was taking on fluids and snacks at the aid station and digging in his bag for a hat.  I think he regretted not carrying a bottle or gels with him throughout the race.  After passing him here, I did not think I would be on my own for the remainder of the race.  I guess the pace was a bit quick for the first loop (1:23).

One great thing about the Sunmart course are the two out and back sections where you are able to keep tabs on those ahead or behind.  It was here on lap 2 that I saw my lead growing over Martin and Wynn Davis in third.  Feeling good, I just kept the effort solid and steady flow of Power Gels, electrolytes, and S- Caps.  As a result, I hit the 25 mile mark at the end of lap 2 in 2:48 (1:24 split).  At this point my lead was 6 minutes over Martin.  I knew it was still very early and I needed to keep putting fluids down and to get through lap 3 of this often slightly technical and rolling course.

By the time I got myself around the 12.5 mile circuit of the penultimate lap, the fast early pace had started to catch up to me.  I new this would happen, as it is the nature of the beast.  Lap 3 went in 1:31 for a cumulative time of 4:18 at mile 37.5.  A bit of quick math told me I could be well under 6 hours but I was approaching the uncharted territory that worried me before the start.  Without the higher temperatures (high was 62 prior to my finish), the only worry was how my body would react to the distance over the final part of the course.

On the final out and back, my lead was 12 minutes with approximately 1 hour of running left.  It was here I noticed my body weight getting very low and new I was low on calories.  I began taking a Power Gel every 15 minutes along with 2-3 S-Caps.  With 4 miles to go, hamstring cramps and an abdominal stich forced me to take a couple of walking breaks to clear it up.  Then I realized how close I was to the finish and saw my sub 6 hour finish going out the window.  This was enough to rattle my cage and get the legs moving again.

Through the final aid station I started to get excited because I new the win was coming.  I crossed the finish line in 5:56:06.  A time I had aspirations of running, but was unsure that it could actually happen.  I sat down in a chair in my post race haze, smiled, and almost shed a tear,  I don't win many races and not everyone gets the opportunity to win a race like Sunmart.  As far as back-up plans go, this was a good one.

Martin Tighe (6:20:36) held off the hard charging Justin Ricks of Colorado who finished third in 6:21:10.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nothing Exciting Yet

2/15- 9.5 miles (1:07:51) Rexius-Amazon TR-Campus, AV 7.12
2/16- 8.5 miles (59:44) Rexius-Amazon TR x3, AV 7:12 
2/17- 8.7 miles (1:01:26) DAC-Pre TR-Finger, AV 7.04
2/18- 9 miles (1:04:06) DAC-Rexius-Amazon TR x1, AV 7.10 
2/19- 8.8 miles (1:02:04) DAC-Pre-Finger w/Lewis Taylor, AV 7:10
2/20- 10 miles (1:10:37) Rexius-Amazon TR-Hendricks, Hilly, AV 7:10
2/21- 9.5 miles (1:06:50) Rexius-Amazon TR-Campus, AV 7:07

Weekly Total- 64

First longer run tomorrow.  Feeling a bit anxious to get on the hills again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finally Back Running

After spending the better part of 10 weeks since Sunmart on the shelf, I seem to be back on the trail again.  I am still dealing with the hip flexor issue, but it is getting better, stronger, and allowing me to build back up in the running department.  I spent the last couple of months mostly on the Eliptical for 60-90 minutes at a time and recently began adding walk/jog sessions afterwards.  The following is essentially my first week back running:

2/08- 7 miles (52:53) Rexius-Amazon TR, AV 7:34, 52 min walk/jog hilly, Ridgeline TR
2/09- 7 miles Rexius-Amazon TR (52:58) AV 7:34
2/10- 7.5 miles Trail (54:50) AV 7:22, R Hamstring, Rolfing Session
2/11- 7.5 miles Rex-Amazon TR, AV 7:18
2/12- 8 miles (57:13) DAC-Amazon-Rexius TR
2/13- 10 miles (1:17:45) Am-Rexius-Headwaters-Dillard LP, AV 7:11 (1st 6.5), 2nd 1/2 Hilly
2/14- 8.5 miles (59:20) Rex-Amazon TR, AV 7:04, Better (6:56, 6:51, 6:47)

Weekly Total- 55

It feels great to be running again.  Hopefully in 4-6 weeks I will be much further along.


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