Sunday, May 31, 2009

Training For May 24-May 31

May 24- 31 miles- PCTR Forest Park 50k (3:41:39) 2nd place, 3,500 ft. +/-
May 25- 6.5 miles (46:21) AV 7:18 Home-Rexius-Amazon x1. L Knee Sore
May 26- 11.5 miiles (1:20:04) AV 7:03 Home-Rexius TR-Amazon x 1.5-Campus Cemetary
May 27- 10.5 miles (1:14:17) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Back
May 28- 10.5 miles (1:15:30) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Back, Lift at Gym
May 29- 13 miles (1:56:33) Headwaters TR-Ridgeline-Spencer Butte Summit- Back x2, 3,000 ft. +/-
May 30- 12 miles (1:21:10)  AV 6:46, Home-Rexius-Amazon TR-24th-Campus-Pre Trail Theater LP, Fartlek 10x2min w/min Recovery (5M- 6:22, 6:19, 6:06, 6:19, 6:25) 

Weekly Total- 95 miles  6,500 ft. +/-

Monday, May 25, 2009

PCTR Forest Park 50k

It was hard to believe that I had lived in Oregon for 13 years and had yet to experience the Wildwood Trail of Forest Park within downtown Portland.  That changed this past weekend when I headed north for the PCTR Forest Park 50k.  Forest Park is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the United States, stretching nearly 8 miles (5,100 acres) through the hillsides overlooking the Willamette River.  The Wildwood Trail seems to be the most popular and travels 31 miles end to end.  The majority of this event was run on the Wildwood Trail but started at the Lower Macleay Trail and utilized other trails and dirt roads in a lolipop configuration.  In retrospect, most of the race was on rolling single track with a few longer climbs.

This event was a chance to put in a good hard training effort, while not backing off to much in volume like I normally would.  It seems I had just returned to normal training volume this past week and wanted to stay focused on bigger events this summer.  Having said that...I still would like to have a shot a winning the race.

I arrived early to make sure I got where I needed to go and learned as much as I could about the course.  According to the RD, the course markings have been vandalized (moved) by the those hoping to guide runners off course the past three years.  This year the RD made the ribbons very small so as not to offend the locals.  At the start my biggest concern turned out to be not missing a turn and being sent off in to the wilderness.

Within a few minutes we were on the single track and climbing.  A few guys took off up ahead, while I was happy to run with the a guy I knew had won the race last year (Ruben Galbraith).  I knew he new the course!  He tucked in behind and we started the normal conversation that runners start up during a lower key ultra event (the course, the weather, why some like to vandalize course markings, etc.).  The weather was great and the course very rolling, winding, and mostly dry and fast.  I always come to a time during the first 20 minutes of a new trail event where I feel like I am running in to the great unknown.  For the most part, I have no idea what to expect out of this course.  What I do know is ~3,500 ft. gain/loss, single track, and aid every 10k.

I lead the way up to the first aid station at Firelane 1, refilled my bottle, and headed out with Ruben down a wide dirt road to the next section of single track.  It was hear that we picked up one of the members of the early break away group, Ryne Melcher, and we were now three.  This was also the turn around for those running the 20k event.  As I lead the way back onto the single track, we came across a guy cussing and swearing coming back at us and looking for the 20k turn around.  After pointing him in the right direction we continued on.  Ruben and Ryne were talking up a storm behind me while I was just content on keeping the train rolling.

Since the American River 50 April 10th, I had been dealing with a knee issue that had pretty much kept me on the flats.  Therefore, I was really trying to focus on how my knee was feeling on this rolling terraine.  I was very happy so far and felt pretty good.

Somewhere around the 1 hour mark Ruben was at the front leading (after I took a wrong turn and then caught myself) and Ryne was in the third position.  We made it to the Saltman 1 aid station (20k) uneventfully.  However, soon after leaving the aid station, Ruben and I separated ourselves from Ryne and would not see him again until the finish.  From Saltman 1 to Saltman 2 aid stations we would tackle the longest climbs and decents on the course on our way around the 10k loop.  Just prior to leaving the aid station I over heard Ruben tell the volunteer that he was going to leave his bottle on the table (which I thought was odd) until he got back.  This is something I would not do, as I would not want to be without fluid for the 45 min loop. However, strategically he probably saved a bit of time at a crucial part later in the race.

Ruben was one of the nicest competitors I have come across.  He was very relaxed, talkative and polite throughout the whole event.  At one point around 35k he stopped to wait for me while I re-tied my shoelaces.  This he did not have to do and in a 50k event is rare.  All of this combined with the bounce he had the whole day told me he had alot left for last half of a course he trained on daily and had won the year before.  When he opened a gap on me on the longest climb of the day back up to the 30k Saltman 2 aid station, I was not surprised.  I still felt great and was running well but he seemed to have a bit more pop and opened a gap.  I climbed well up to Saltman 2 and realized, as I filled my bottle that Ruben picked up 20 seconds or so by just grabbing his filled bottle (that he had left at the start of the 10k loop).  Damn!

Up through 30k, I had stuck to my typical nutrition plan of a Powergel every 45 minutes and as much electrolyte drink as I could get down (~16 oz. every 10k).  Leaving the 30k aid station at 2:14, I would up my Powergel consumption to every 30 min.  Initially, we were back on the wide expansive dirt road and I could see Ruben up ahead 200m.  I felt like I was maintaining or closing the gap.  However, once we got back on the winding single track, I did not feel safe taking my eyes off the trail to look ahead for him.  Still feeling good I just ran my rythym.

When I hit the Firelane 1 aid station, which involves a bit of an out and back from the return trail, I did not see Ruben and new that he had a good gap.  Leaving the 40k aid station  at 2:59 with my 6th and final bottle of electrolytes, I new I was still at course record pace (3:45 by Mike Wolfe).  After a mile or two, I was starting to slow a bit on the rolling up hills but felt great on the downs.  Recalling that Ruben said the final three miles was mostly downhill, I felt encouraged.  As I approached the final 30 min of the course, winding my way back down to Lower Macleay Trailhead, I had an odd sensation of just being on a training run on the Ridgeline Trail in Eugene.  I ran by 2-3 people (not in the race) that I knew and we yelled a hello.  It was the first time I was finishing an ultra event with a fresh mind and body.  I guess I have learned much over the last year since my first ultra at the Way Too Cool 50k.  Much of what I learned has been about the importance of calories and electrolytes.  At WTC, I only put down 2 1/2 gels and a few bottles of electrolytes.  Contrast that to the 5 gels and nearly 6 bottles of electrolytes consumed this day would explain why I was feeling the way I was.

Back to the race.  As I ran down the last 1-2 miles to the Lower Macleay Trailhead, I had to do a fair amount of shouting  of "coming up behind you".  This was because of the locals out on the trail with young children, dogs, etc.. who were for some reason not expecting a half-naked, approaching middle-aged ultra running zealot to be barreling down the trail at them.  Needless to say, I had a strong finish feeling great and surprised by my time of 3:41:39.  Ruben had set the new course record of 3:38:48 and Ryne (the Canadian) came home 3rd in 4:02:09.  On the Women's side, Erin Perkin of Portland 4:19:01 had a smokin last 100m to run away from Martha Blackwell 4:19:09 and Amy Cowan came third in 4:44:07

I was very happy with my result but would be lying if I said I was not surprised my the young Galbraith lad.  I look forward to seeing his debut at 50M at the PCT50 later in the summer.  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Training for May 17-23

May 17th- 29 miles (3:49) McKenzie River Trail w/Woodke and Wolfe. Warm 91 degrees
May 18th- 12 miles (1:22:00) DAC-Pre's Trail-VR Bike Path LP, AV 6:49
May 19th- 12 miles (~1:28) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius- Ridgeline TR Headwaters Hill- Dillard LP w/L. Taylor
May 20th- 13.5 miles (1:33:20) DAC-Amazon TR x8-Thornley's House-Back--3.25 WU, 1M w/8x stride (6:06), 4x Mile w/400m Recovery- 5:35, 1:41, 5:36, 1:40, 5:31, 1:37, 5:32, 1:38- 5M  (28:53) AV 5:46.8 (5:33.5/1:39), 5.25 WD, Lift at Gym
May 21st- 10.5 miles (1:15:08) w/L. Taylor, DAC-Amazon TR- Rexius- Headwaters Hill-Back AV ~7:10, Lift at Gym
May 22nd- 8.5 miles (57:31) Home- Rexius TR-Amazon TR x3- Back, AV 6:52. Felt Good.
May 23rd- 8.5 miles (57:16) Home- Rexius TR-Amazon TR x3-Back, AV 6:50 (6:43, 6:40, 6:39) Felt Good.

Weekly Total- 95

Will run PCTR Forest Park 50k tomorrow as "good" training run.


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