Sunday, February 15, 2015

Race Week 2/9/15

I assume others are like me, in the week(s) preceding a race, in the midst of a taper, my legs feel like crap.  They usually feel heavy and achy doing anything and sometimes at rest.  Not the most uplifting things when you are trying to assess your goals for the race.

I'm going into this 7th Holiday Lake 50k and my 35th Ultra with a time goal range of 4:29:59 - 4:40.  I'm feeling good, my training has improved week by week and I'm rested and healthy except for a right ankle issue that keeps hanging on. 

I don't think there is any other time I have run so much in one run/race as in Holiday Lake.  Except for about 4 spots on each loop I run the entire race.  There aren't that many places around here where you can do that on an off road run. 

Race gear;
Salomon Speedcross
Camelback podium chill handheld with 20oz of Heed
1 emergency Clif Gel
Couple e-caps and protrypsin pills

I don't like to fight race traffic, so I usually start off close to the front.  I started off with Matt Prescott and Johnny Robinson and we were able to run at a good pace and chat a bit.  In the first 4 miles to AS1 I took a few swigs of Heed but not enough to need anything at the AS so I cruised on by after dropping my flashlight off to Gina.  On the way to AS2, at mile 8, I started having a bubblin' crude and knew I would need to head off into the woods.  I think I topped off my bottle with water, grabbed some paper towels and off I went to find a suitable somewhat secluded spot to go #2. 

Out of the woods I felt much better and was able to catch back up to Johnny and then go it alone to AS3 at mile 12.  I topped off my bottle with water and grabbed 3 PB and J squares and was off to the turn.  I reconnected with Matt at mile 14 or so and we ran it in together to the turnaround.  I think we got in at 2:12 or so.  About a quarter mile from the turn I felt another rumble in GI system and knew I would need to stop again.  Out of the facilities I grabbed a fresh bottle of Heed, 2 HS waffles, and took 2 e-caps and 2 protrypsin and was on my way. 

I hate loosing time to bathroom breaks but I didn't have a choice.  I was hoping to catch Matt since I knew we were on a similar pace and he was going to finish in 4:40 or so.  I had visual confirmation of Matt at about mile 19 but didn't catch him until mile 22 or so.  At AS4 I topped off with water and grabbed a coupe PB squares.  AS5 I took water and finally turned on my Ipod.  From here to the finish I was in a kind of no man's land.  There weren't many people around and I was happy to have the tunes. 

Through the race I was looking at my average pace.  I never once looked at my total time.  The screen I had on was one of HR, mileage and ave. pace.  I knew I needed an 8:30 ave to PR and just a bit under that to get a sub 4:30.  I was able to roll to AS6 at mile 28 and was happy with how I was feeling.  The legs were turning over and I didn't feel like I was in jeopardy of the dreaded cramps which I knew could creep up with the last few grunts in the last mile or so of trail.  With all this I did see that my ave pace wasn't coming down so I knew a PR wasn't going to happen.  The goal now was to run smooth and strong to the finish and to not give up any places.

If I ever make it back to HL I need to remember that the last 2 miles of the course have a few more uphills than I remember.  These are kind of time/energy sucking hills that I will need to bank some time for.  I was able to pass a few people in this last section to pull out an 18th place in 4:35:46. 

This might be the smallest amount of food and drink that I've had in an ultra.  I'm not sure if it was the weather or the aerobic low HR training or a combination of the two that allowed for less consumption.  I think time will tell on this. 

Take away the two bathroom breaks and I should have been able to run a sub 4:30.  So I think it is possible.  The conditions were as good as they could have been.  One of the things that I noticed from my garmin info -  is that I only had one mile above 10 min pace and that was the bathroom stop at halfway.  And, I had 7 miles under 8 min pace. 

Next up is the Terrapin Mtn 50k on 3/21/15

2/10/15 - Ran the 6 mile loop and did a 1.5 mile cool down.
2/11/15 - Ran a 4.5 mile loop around the hood.
2/13/15 - Ran an easy 2 mile shakin' out the kinks run.
2/14/15 - 32.25 miles at Holiday Lake.
Total for the week; 46.25

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Getting Ready for my 7th Holiday Lake 50k

This coming Saturday will be my 7th Holiday Lake.  My times have varied quite a bit.  I was looking through my training log and this is what it told me.
2002 - 5:28:23
2003 - 5:28:23 Snow / Mud
2004 - 5:31:31
2009 - 5:04:04
2010 - 5:37 Snow Year
2011 - 4:33:16

I think a similar performance to 2011 is possible.  I think, with good weather, a range of 4:20-4:40 is doable.  We'll see. 

Training so far in 2015 has been pretty good. 
The first week of the year ended with a 17 mile loop at the peaks of otter - Falling water cascades, Flat Top, Harkening Hill and then a balls to the wall run up Sharp Top.  51.13 miles for the week.

The second week was a recovery week with no run over 10 miles and a total of 38 miles for the week.

The third week was a big one.  I had a 22.5 mile long run on the Glenwood Horse trail.  From Day Creek I ran up to Black Horse Gap, the AT to Spec. Mines, down to the gravel road to Hammond Hollow Trail, the AT to Bobblett's Gap, down to the GHT and back to Day Creek.  Total miles for the week 64.5

As a final big week for Holiday Lake I decided to do a faster long run.  At Heart Rate (142), I ran from home to Mill Mountain, did Woodthrush, CRL, Fern Park, and then a mix of greenway and road back home for a 20.5 mile run.  I was able to hold an 8:20 pace for this run.  Total for the week 50.15

For the last week of January we had plans to go down to Brevard and run in the Pisgah National Forest.  We did a few moderate runs with elevation but nothing to rough.  In this down week I got in 41.7 miles. 

In this last week of tapering we had our wazUPwidis race.  These stressful weeks don't lend themselves to good training but I was able to squeak in a few 8 milers to get in 31.5 miles. 

The plan for this week will be to run my usual 7.5 miles on Tuesday, 4-5 easy on Wednesday and then coast in to Saturday's race rested and ready.