Friday, August 5, 2011

Training the Week of 7/25/11

Goal this week is to get my legs back and ready for Saturday.
7/26/11 - 20 miles cycling to Green Hill Park
7/27/11 - 3.5 miles at Fishburn Park
7/30/11 - My 3rd attempt at the Catoctin 50k (20th Ultra) in Frederick Maryland. First time was in 2003 and my training log entry started with "that was one rocky bitch!" Last year I went back to see if it was as bad as I thought. 2010 went well until I got off course and added 3 miles. Met back up with James Decker at the turnaround and we took it easy on the return for an easy but slow 50k.
This year I was HOPING for a 5 1/2 hour finish. The weather on Friday on our way up to Frederick we saw the temp gauge go all the way up to 104. Not really what you want to see. Race morning the temp got all the way down to 80 degrees when we got in the car at 6:30am. Anyway, we were informed on what to expect with the last weekend in July and 8:00am start. The race webpage makes the statement of all runners must carry at least 1 handheld bottle and 2 if you want to finish. My plan of attack was 2 20oz handhelds.
This brings up an interesting aside. Gina only wanted to carry 1, so we packed 1 bottle for her. On the way up she decided she needed 2. So we looked for place to buy a handheld. Fortunaty we found the Trail House in downtown Frederick and they had a Camelbak handheld with a Podium Chill Bottle in it. This ended up being the best thing for a hot race. The Podium Chill is a bottle similar to the Polar Bottles. It is unsulated, holds 21oz, isn't as bulky as the Polar Bottles, has a switch so that you don't accidentally squish water out of it (which I almost did in a fall), and had a great snug fit for holding by hand. Now the great thing was that I could run with ice water and not freeze my hand and I could have water or Gatorade that stayed cold all the way to the next aide station. Perfect. I'm ordering some more of these bottle and putting them in my Nathan Handhelds.
So, race starts and all is good. I hit the trail in 8th place. At the 2 mile mark I see the lead out guy moaning at a tree after he rolled his ankle; 7th. I started feeling a 2 week old hot spot by mile 6 (not good). Now this trail system is one of the rockiest trails I've ever been on. and it goes on forever. From mile 5-7 I talk with Serge Arbona the course record holder, the guy that won the Philly Back on My Feet 24 hour road run the weekend before with 145.25 miles, the guy that said he had already run 2 40 mile runs earlier in the week. He was pleasant but I had a feeling I shouldn't be running with him.
I hit the 16.25 mile turnaround in 2:43 and 6th place. Not bad and about what I expected with the hot conditions. To get to the turnaround you have to run about 3 miles downhill. So you know what that means. I started feeling the first hint of a cramp and was passed by what ended up being the first female shortly after the turnaround. My mind wasn't looking forward to battling cramps for 16 miles.
From here I'll be short. For the remaining miles I hit a real low, the lowest I've ever been in 8 years of training and racing long distances. Physically I was cramping here and there, was a little light headed, feet were blistered and bruised in a couple places, stomach a little upset, and just in a poor me state (granted all of these symptoms would go away and change and come back over and over again for the rest of the race). Interesting enough as the low was beginning I thought to myself "this is what it is all about." Overcoming the low and being better for it. So I went into survival mode and just focused on moving forward, staying hydrated, keeping up with my electrolyte caps, and calories.
Long story short I survived and finished in 10th place in 6:22:47. My return trip from the turnaround was 1 hour longer than the first half. I drank over 2 gallons of liquid during the race (2 handheld bottles between each aide station and in places this wasn't enough). 153 runners started and 123 finished a 20% drop rate.
This was supposed to be a test for entering the Cheat Mountain Moonshine Madness 50 miler at the end of August. I'm 90% sure I'm not doing it (it was 110% last weekend). Who knows what is next. Will this be my last Ultra? No! Do I need to get out and enjoy some no pressure runs and rides, Yes. Do I remember how bad it was, no. The mental and physical pain has melted away as each day has passed. Reinforcing again, it isn't what we remember that matters it is what we forget.
I did get out for a 20 mile road ride to Green Hill Park on Sunday. This was mainly to cover up some of the negative memories with something positive and fun.
Totals; 37 miles running and 40 miles cycling.

Training the Week of 7/18/11

7/19/11 - Ran my usual 6 mile loop with a 1.5 mile cooldown. 40:30. Started out easy but the run ended up pretty fast.
7/20/11 - Ran at the Cove - Hotel, up Buck, and down Hi Dee Ho. Went too hard today. Felt good but afterwards I was feeling pretty rough.
7/22/11 - Bike 15 miles at Douthat. Legs so so.
7/23/11 - Easy run on trail at the Homestead.
7/24/11 - 18 mile road ride; easy. Legs have felt dead since Wednesday's run. Not a good feeling going into a pre 50k week.
Totals; 21.7 miles running, 15 mtn biking, and 38 cycling.