Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 Sage Burner Race Report

Quick Stats
25K Trail race(actually 16.5 Miles)
2:38:40 (9:37 pace) over challenging Terrain.
Avg HR 162 (Averaged 158 HR in my 3:27 marathon)
17th place overall, 4th in my age group

Mini Vacation Summary
Monday - 25K Race
Monday – 12,300 Summit
Tuesday – 12,000 Summit (twice, once on the way out and once on the way back from the 13,000 ft peak)
Tuesday – 13,200 Summit

25K Trail Race
On Sunday night I drove up to my friends place in Gunnison Colorado. The next morning we got up early and I was very surprised that it was only 27F outside. By the time the race started it had warmed up to about 30F. I striped off all my extra clothes and started the race in shorts and short sleeves. I knew that I would be warm in a mile or two.

I may have started too fast on the first climb. I was quickly in the red zone and spent most of the first downhill recovering. During the first downhill was the only time I was passed in the race. I was still not sure how well I was going to feel since I had run a great marathon just one week ago. I was taking the race more as a fun training run and I was just out having a good time and the views were amazing.

I took it easy till about mile 9 when I took my only gel of the race. I ran the first 9 miles at about 10:00 pace mostly because I wasn’t sure how I would feel on this terrain. But mile 9 was a huge turning point in the race for me because that’s when it became a race and not a training run. It’s a good thing that I felt really good too because starting at mile 9 we had to climb 1,300 ft over the next 3 miles.

I ran the last 3 miles (lots of downhill) as hard as I could and I passed a ton of people. The entire race felt like a long acceleration. Some of the downhill were so steep I was afraid of falling on my face but I was just in mad man mode. My watch said I ran the last 0.5 mile at 7:00 min pace.

Monday after the race
My friend that I was staying with won the race and set a course record. We ate lunch and then went to the next town over Crested Butte to see a movie (Gunnison doesn’t have a movie theater). After the movie we decide to go hike Mt Emmons (12,392 ft), we parked at about 9,000 so we ended up climbing 3,000 ft and adding 6 miles round trip to our day. The hike was really tough on my battered legs. The last bit of this climb was really technical and steep. There were sections about 5 feet tall of vertical rock that we had to climb. In between these verticals it was so steep that I only felt comfortable crawling. The view on top was really awesome view but the wind made really cold. The sections that I thought were scary on the way up were terrifying on the way down. Nearing the car my knees and feet hurt so much, Tim and I had cover 22 miles on foot for the day.

Tim and I were both feeling a little beat up so we called off our original plans of hiking a 14,000ft peak for an easier hike. The easier hike was actually 2 peaks Terrible Mountain at 12,012ft and Fairview Mountain at 13,214ft. Terrible was an easy climb that we had to pass on our way to Fairview. It wasn’t much of a climb except we had to climb it on the way back to the car too. Fairview was an awesome climb and much easier than yesterday’s crazy technical climb. I didn’t feel like I was in danger at any point on this climb. The last few hundred feet looked like we were on a giant pile of rocks, it looked really bizarre. On top was another awesome view of the neighboring mountains. Again the top was so cold that we didn’t stay long. The hike back to the car was pretty painful my quads were shot and I could feel my toes hitting the front of my shoes with every step. This hike ended up being about 5 miles round trip and another 3,000 ft of climbing. Every time I visit Tim we have had similar endurance adventures.

That was my weekend of attempting to keep up with an elite ultra-marathoner. Tim has won some prestigious ultra-marathons including the
Leadville 100. And now time for some pictures.

Me near the end of the 25K race

Tim and I after the race

Tim with 12' snow behind him, on Mt Emmons

On top of Mt Emmons, Crested Butte in the background

Tim on top of Mt Emmons

Climbing down the hardest section of Mt Emmons

Near the top of Fairview. We are headed towards that fire lookout that you can barely see

Top of Fairview

Top of Fairview

Last one of the view from the top of Fairview

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

2012 Colfax Marathon Race Report

I woke up at 4am and had my banana, coffee and oatmeal.  This race starts earlier than most at 6:00 am but I was particularly happy because we would be out of the sun an hour earlier.  I had to walk about a mile to the starting line, I arrived at about 5:30 and spent most of that time waiting in line for the bathroom.   I was unable to find the bag check so I left my bag under a tree near the start which was gone when I came back.  At the start it was about 45 F and still dark.  The day before it had rained all day and never hit 50 degrees, today the weather would be perfect.

0-13.1 miles 1:45:18 – 8:02 pace, Avg HR 150
My plan was to toss out my conservative instincts and start the marathon off fast.  My goal was to go out at or near 8:00 minute miles (in my head this felt like a suicide mission).   Because it was so crowed at the start I just went with the flow and ran the first mile in 8:22.  I didn’t know till after the race while analyzing the data that mile 1 was my slowest mile of the day.   Once traffic thinned out I settled into a faster pace near 8:00.  My HR was pretty calm staying in the 140’s for most of the first half of the race.  I felt like I was working much harder than my HR was showing.   I clicked off many miles just under 8:00 pace, I felt really good and I was passing people nonstop.  They had a big clock and banner at the half way point and I was pretty surprised to see 1:45 (fast enough to be my second best HM).  I thought to myself maybe I could run 3:30 today.  My only worry was my calf that sort of felt tired or just off, I wasn’t sure.  I’ve had a lot of calf problems mostly minor but I don’t like them feeling weird at all.

13.1 -20 miles. Avg Pace 7:51, Avg HR 161
 Shortly after the highs of crossing the 13.1 mark I hit some rough patches in mile 15 and 16 which had a long steady low climb (not steep at all but tough at 8:00 min pace).  My HR exploded into the 160’s and my pace slowed back above 8:00/mi.  I thought to myself “that’s it my HR going to skyrocket until I slow into the 9:00 -10:00 pace”.  I tried to keep that in the back of my mind and I knew that miles 17-20 were mostly downhill (out and back course).  Also my family was waiting for me at 20 so I clawed out of my funk and returned to a pace just under 8:00.  I hit 20 miles in 2:39 which is my fastest 20 ever in any race or training run.  Once again I was feeling really good. My calfs were still my only worry they didn’t feel great but they were still holding.

Mile 21 – 7:50 – 168 HR
Seeing my family and my 20 mile time changed my state of mind.   “I want 3:30 I am ready to hurt” and hurt I did.  I wasn’t the only one either people around me were starting to break down.  I was passing people like crazy, I looked at my watch and I hadn’t speed up at all.  I can remember a single person passing me again not even relay runners that had just stared their leg at the 20 mile mark.

Mile 22 – 7:46 – 172 HR
At mile 21 I was supposed to eat my last gel but my stomach was starting to feel queasy so instead I went without and only had some water (couldn’t even look at Gatorade).  My calf continued to feel funny, I hoped it would hold a little longer but I tried not to think about it now.  My calfs have always been my week link and if anything is going to cramp or get injured it will be my calf so it’s hard to ignore their complaints.

Mile 23 – 8:02 – 173 HR
Coming off all that downhill was a hard transition now I had to work for those 8 min miles not just coast and get them for free.   Last year in this exact spot my calf started cramping and I was scared it would happen again.   I decided to not worry about pace and just get through this section.   Which was good because my watch started acting weird so I couldn’t tell how fast I was running (because of the downtown buildings).

Mile 24 – 7:23 – 174 HR
My Garmin was really going nuts and it was telling me I was at 8:40 pace.  But maybe it wasn’t messed up, I sped up to try and get my pace under 8:00 and when I came out of the big buildings my watch corrected itself from 8:00 pace for the current mile to 6:50! And then I hit a huge hill.  I went way into the red zone from going too fast and then climbing up this hill.  I spent the rest of this mile recovering at what I think was about 8:30 pace.  On my overall summary my watch said I max out at 193 HR and I am pretty sure it was during this hill after running 6:50 for half a mile.

Mile 25 – 7:55 –  174 HR
This mile really hurt, I was still in pain from that hill but I couldn’t let up.  I crossed 24 at 3:10 I knew I could get 3:30 if I just run the last 2.2 in 20 minutes.  I tried to do the math but failed to figure out the pace I needed.  For the first time in the race I was feeling too hot, in reality it was only about 55 F but I was sweating like crazy.

Mile 26 – 7:33 – 177 HR
12:00 to run 1.2 miles which now I can easily see is 10 min pace but I failed again to compute the pace needed and just kept pushing.   With about a mile to go we entered the park where we started and I just took off.  This is the first time I ever had a marathon kick.  I got some great comments from fellow marathoners as I passed them “you’re kicking ass” and “finish strong”.

Last 0.2 – 7:20 pace – 186 HR
Crossing the 26 mile marker felt awesome and suddenly the pain dissipated (runners high).  I continued to speed up as I charged towards the finish line.  I have never felt this good coming into the finish of a marathon it was a wonderful feeling.  I would have sprinted but I didn’t trust my “no pain feelings” I knew my body was really hurting and my calf was near failure.  Wasn’t worth a few more seconds and I already had a huge PR.  I couldn’t see my family but they could see me finish strong.  I usually look like I am about to die at the finishes.

A Few Fun Stats
- This was my 7th marathon (8 if you count the 50K)
- First time I ran negative splits in a marathon. First half 1:45, Second half 1:42.
- Fastest miles: 7:23 in mile 24 and 7:33 in mile 26
- Slowest mile: 8:22 in mile 1 
- Average Pace 7:55, Avg HR 158, Max HR 193 (second highest Max HR for the year)
- Miles between 7:45 – 8:05 = 17, Miles between 7:35 – 8:15 = 23