Monday, September 1, 2014

American Discovery Trail Marathon

Colorado Springs, CO
26.2 – 3:41:24 

Pre-Race, Goals and Strategies. 
I was sick off and on all last week and I cut both of last weekend’s runs short because of stomach problems. During the week I thought I was getting better but Saturday and Sunday were not good, I felt like I was pre-race hydrating with pepto bismol. Needless to say any plans and goals I had made for this race were off the table. I didn’t take any medicine after about 3 pm the day before the race because I didn’t know how it would react to long distance running and I don’t want to run races that way. 

Surprisingly I woke up race morning feeling good. Because of the point to point course I now had a 30 minute bus ride to figure out today’s race plan. I decided that I needed to go out fast enough that a PR would be possible but if anything went wrong just back off and call it a training day (no gutting it out today). Really I decided that I would make the call on the run but I want to keep that PR door open. I was ready for a nice flat fast marathon… 

Miles 0-8 (8:02 pace) 
I saw my friend at the start of the race who was pacing the 3:45 group. I looked at his pace chart and saw that the mile spits were all over the place to account for the hills. I did look at the race profile and saw that it dropped 1200 ft over 26 miles. I was pretty shocked that there were any hills on this course. My buddy reassured me that they were small hills but to watch out for mile 9 and 22. I took off running many of the first miles under 8 min pace. If I hadn’t stopped at the bathroom this section would have easily averaged sub 8:00 pace. When I got out of the bathroom the 3:30 group had caught me and I spent the next few miles near them. The course had been 100% dirt so far but it was not the nice hard packed dirt I was also expecting. It was soft and almost sand like in places, other runner and I shifted back and forth across the 8ft wide path trying to say on hard packed dirt. The course featured a lot of little hills very short but steep hills. Enough to knock you off your comfortable pace and make to need to accelerate to get back on pace. With the hills, trail surface, possible illness and warm weather I called it off right there and started enjoying my day. 

Miles 9-20 (8:32 pace) 
As my friend warned mile 9 did feature a long slow climb. But to tell the truth I would gladly take this over those short steep climbs. The short hills kept coming but now that I was in cruise control they didn’t bother me so much. This part of the course went through the air force academy it was gorgeous out there lot of trees and huge mountains. The race began to spread out and it got a bit lonely it felt like just another long run. I forgot to mention all those short steep hills where also accompanied by a short steep downhill’s. The downhill’s might actually be harder on your quads then up but downhill fatigue sneaks up on you and all the sudden I noticed at mile 18 that my legs felt trashed. 

Miles 21-26.2 (8:50 pace) 
Suddenly the race wasn’t so lonely and I was running with people again (only about 400 in the race). The final miles were on a bike path in town which was paved at times. At this point I was feeling pretty good although overheated. I was thinking that I could run 3:38-3:39 if ran a little harder. All that was left was another mystery hill at mile 23. It was a big hill and this time I attacked passing a bunch of people on the way up all while laughing at the handmade signs. The signs were staggered every 20ft or so with 1 word per sign “Shut”, “UP”, “Legs!” it was just so fitting. After the hill I coasted down an equally big downhill and then some flat miles to the finish. I kept trying to calculate how fast I needed for 3:39 but my brain refused to work. I actually had a small kick coming into the finish my watch said 7:35 for the last 0.2 miles not much but it felt good to know I could speed up. 

Post Race – and pics 
Mini milestone - this was marathon/ultra #20 when I joined Loseit I had 2 completed. 
Lesson Learned - I run lots of hills and trails but not at that pace. This hills shouldn’t have caught me off like that, I should have done my research and known what was on the course. 
End of the day - After the race I felt about as tired as a hard long run which is fine because I have other long races I need to run this fall, “Live to fight another day”. 

I think this is at about mile 8. Good shot of the loose dirt I was talking about. 

I took this one around mile 12 while running 

On the pavement somewhere around mile 22 

I only look like I am walking, still moving at sub 9:00 pace 

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