Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ouachita Trail 50 (50K) 21 April 2012

Ouachita Trail 50 (50K) April 21, 2012

Elizabeth Quinn, Lisa Gunnoe, Andi Stracner, Mark Cato, Susan McCourt,
Have you ever had one of those races where nothing went wrong, but nothing went right?  Well, I have now.

My goal was to achieve a PR (personal record) on this course.  My current PR on this course is 9:08:40, and after today's race it is still 9:08:40.  My time today was 9:19.18
The weather was perfect for this run.  I didn't go out too fast, dialed in on hydration and nutrition, saved my music for the second half, everything, but it wasn't meant to be.  I got to the 50K turn around almost 30 minutes slower than last year. 

(22 Apr 2012)
24 hours to reflect on this race and I think I know what is behind my frustrations during the race.
I did everything perfect in preparation for this day, and nothing went right.  With every race I can look back and see what I could have changed, done differently and had a better race.  I can't do that with this race and it really set wrong with me.

My plan was to run the race as much as possible with Susan, Andi & Mark.  Mark dropped us all shortly after the start.  I got left behind with my first "comfort stop", dang I don't like races when many stops are needed.

I met Elizabeth about a mile before we started climbing Pinnacle Mountain (800 ft in .3 miles huge rock pile).  She was running her first 50K.  I very much enjoyed our time together.  She dropped me as we were climbing the mountain.

Most of this race was spent running alone.  I was saving my music till at least the turn around.  With frustration growing at not making the desired times I was shooting for I decided to listen to a podcast.  Trail Runner Nation was just the ticket.  They guys and Faith (guest Kate) had me laughing in no time.  Everything went well, I didn't fall, nothing hurt, hydration going right, but I got to the turn around a full 1/2 hour later than last year.
Solid food really didn't interest me much.  I ate fruit at the aid stations and that is about all.  I used 2 Hammar Gels, 2 Strawberry Ensure and 2 cans of V8 at the Hash aid station, 1 pickle and 2200 calories of Vitargo.  

For the outbound trip I used Injinji socks and Altra Lone Peak running shoes.
For the inbound I changed socks and shoes, another pair of Injinji and Hoka One One Bondi B
 This combo has been working great to keep me running injury free and keep my feet happy.

About 3 miles before the turn around I caught up to Elizabeth.  She had lost a contact lens at about mile 7.  She had a bandana tied over her blind eye and was determined to continue.   She reached the turn around aid station right as I was leaving.  She said she had left her tears, for this race, out there on the trail and was going to finish.  

After the turn around I started using my music.  I felt frustration building again, this race should be going much better, nothing is going wrong, but nothing right.
I had a very good MAD on by the time I caught up to Andi, Mark and Susan.  I told them I was in such a crappy mood that I wouldn't be good company so I just kept running. 

I ran most of the uphills, all the downhills and all the flats.  By the time PoDog caught up to me I had about 6 miles left.  While racing my time I also race PoDog.  He does the 50 miler while I the 50K.  I always try to be a bit closer to the finish line than the year before when he passes me.  This year I was way behind schedule!  He asked me how my race was going, I told him awful.  He then reminded me, in not so many words, that I could choose to have fun.  I needed that spiritual boost! 

By the time the trail portion was done and I got back to pavement I was toast!! no motivation left at all.  I did mostly a run/walk/run back to the finish line for my finisher's medal and Chrissy hug (don't tell Chrissy, I would run it just for the hug!)

My amazing running friends finished shortly after I did and they had fun.  If I would have just re-set my goals after I knew I wouldn't make my PR I could have had fun with them.  
So my lessons are these:  
Sometimes even with perfect preparation things will still not go right
Its okay to reset goals during the race, having fun is a great goal to have.

Elaine ran with me a few times on and off.  She is amazing to run with, fun, inspiring, she is just the best medicine out on the trail!  
Elizabeth finished her very first 50k (running it before her first marathon) with one eye covered.  She is my new favorite superhero!  She is amazing! 

Along with the finisher's medal and hug I got a sore throat, head cold and ick lungs!  LOL
With this super whiner race report, I have to say that if knowing in advance that I would have had a miserable time I still would have run it again.  
I'm sure I'm not finished learning what there is to learn from this race.  I will think of is some more.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Little Rock Marathon - March 4, 2012

In short: My goal, coming off a trail 50K 2 weeks ago, was a time of 5:30. I'm very happy with how the race went today. Managed pace, ran strong.

In full: My race 2 weeks ago left me with doubts about my ability to work a physically strenuous job and run. The only element of life I had to adjust was my diet. I have been eating totally clean, no junk food, no fast food, no soda for the last 2 weeks.
With the 50K being 2 weeks ago and with my best marathon time being 5:26.54 on a flat course in Houston in January, this being a hilly course, I had a goal time of 5:30 and knew I would have to work hard for it.
The clean eating was a miracle for recovery and preperation for today's race. I had energy, I ran the hills with a 30 steps run/15 steps walk on every hill. I perfectly managed pace and fueling and had an amazing race.
It got kind hot out there in the afternoon with highs in or near 70 degrees F. (21.11 degrees C.) and even with sunscreen I have burned ears :) Life is happy and I will sleep well tonight, should I take that BIG medal to bed with me? to work tomorrow? shopping? LOL