Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 Cheyenne Mountain 50K Race Report

Here is the short version if you don’t have time

- Finished my first 50K (31 miles) in 5:55:30
- Crossed the finish line with my kids and a smile on my face

Now the long version. I am going to break this up by the 4 major climbs (see pic below) and then the finish. Hopefully it goes well.

0 - 5 miles - Average pace during this section 10:52
The race start was slower than any race I have ever run.  I could have owned that race for a few miles but that wouldn’t have helped me accomplish the goal of finishing my first Ultra.  The super slow start went through the parking lot and we ran through a tunnel of 25K racers (they didn’t star for another 30 minutes) and spectators cheering us on.  Then we took a turn and went straight up the mountain for the next few miles.  I think I ran faster than I should have in this area but it was weird at the start.  No one wanted to be the first to walk.

5 - 11 miles - Average pace during this section 11:01On the way down the first decline I made sure to keep myself in check. I wanted to fly but I held myself to running 9:40 pace for the next 3 miles. The downhill seemed short lived and soon we were headed back up the mountain. Near the top of this climb I logged one of my slowest miles of the day 14:01, ouch. Overall I felt pretty fresh still and ready to hit the next the downhill.

11 - 20 miles - Average pace during this section 11:13
Coming down that major climb I again went under 10:00 pace for about 4 miles.  That would be the last time I ever saw anything close to 10:00 pace.  At a little over 15 miles we were at the bottom of the hill back at the starting line, one more lap to go.  It was getting warm out now but the breeze felt great.  Going up this climb I lost it, heat & exhaustion hit me hard my HR was in the 170’s.  I decide to take a long walk and eat my apple.   Miles 17-20 were dark times, I never felt more tired during the race. Mile 19 I completed in 15:12 the slowest of the day.  But quitting never crossed my mind, my kids were waiting at the finish and I wasn’t going to let them down.

20 - 26 miles - Average pace during this section 12:31
That apple did wonders and I felt a lot better running down the mountain.  Except one difference this time, it was hard to not walk even on the downhill sections now.  The downhill seemed so much shorter and soon I was on my way back up the hills.  Last lap this particular climb kicked my butt and this time I was much more tired and my quads were starting to cramp. I doubled my sodium intake and kept chugging up the hill with my quads in shambles.  Miles 23-26 were extremely painful and I averaged 13:00+ min miles topping out at 14:15 for mile 26.  During this time quitting again never crossed my mind this was just another obstacle.  

26 - 31.2 miles - Average pace during this section 11:20
Surprisingly my quads got better.  I remember looking at my watch and seeing 26.2 – 4:59:40.  Not a person in sight not a marker nothing, it was important to me because I was officially an ultra-marathoner, all that was left was 5 miles of mostly downhill.  There wasn’t any doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t finish.  These last few miles were like my victory lap.  Near the finish I watched my garmin like a hawk for another mile stone 29.8  29.9 30, I don’t know why but it was really cool seeing  that big 30 on my watch.  It hurt a lot but I ran nearly all the final miles, slowly. I couldn’t wait to see my kids.

I saw my kids about a 100 ft from the finish line and I went straight to them to get hugs (time be dammed).  I grabbed their hands and said “finish with me” and we all ran to the finish line together.  My 5 year old couldn’t run because she had flip flop sandals so I put her on my shoulders.  I felt no more pain and I was so unbelievable happy. 

Final thoughts
- Scenery was beautiful if l lived here I would be on this trail all the time.
- My mind was much tougher during the race than usual, I was 100% focused.  Quitting never crossed my mind.

Mistake #1 - I forgot sunscreen but I didn’t get burned (37F at the start about 70F at the finish)

Mistake #2 - I forgot body glide but I didn’t chafe once (I was afraid I was going to finish and have shirt that matches Trevor’s)

Mistake #3 – Didn’t bring extra shoes.  The race was about a 90 min drive from home, I was wearing the same shoes from 5am – 4pm. It would have been nice to have some fresh shoes for the drive home.

Huge Mistake #1 – a few days before the race I went to the website to get directions to the starting line. I noticed something odd, the race was until next weekend.  This was on April 18th and I had already been tapering for two weeks. Didn’t freak out too much and went with the super long 3 week taper.

My family and friends are already asking when I am going to run Leadville.  Which is about the same as asking a first time 5K finisher when the plan on running the Boston marathon.

Elevation Profile

First major climb

Around mile 16

I will post a finish line Photo as soon as I can. I hope they got a good shot of me crossing with my family.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Down but not out

On Saturday I had on the hardest run of my life. 20 mile trail run with 3900’ of total climbing. On the final climb the wheels fell off and I spent the last few miles questioning my sanity. I worried that I would not make it back to my car. I found out that when your legs turn to mush they don’t like running downhill. This 20 mile run took me 3:56:37 which is about 2 minutes on my feet more than my last marathon all while averaging a HR in the 150’s. I was ready to give up on my next race (switch to the 25K).

Mental Recovery in 3 steps:
1. I took Sunday off and didn’t think about running
2. This morning I had a redemption run 10 miles at 8:15 pace, my legs felt fine
3. Made the graph below to see the elevation of this training run vs. the upcoming race (red was the tail run this Saturday and blue is the race in a few weeks). The trail that I have been running is way tougher than the race will be.

I got kicked off the horse but I am back on board, confidence slightly bruised. Already looking back I can see a few mistakes I made that I can improve on for the race