Sunday, December 13, 2015

It doesn't matter how fast or far you run if you can't make it to the start/finish line...... (**With revision**)

Oh Hellgate!
This was my third Hellgate 100k and this year it was the anchor event of the Beast Series.  It's been long year of racing and trying to keep the mental and physical wheels rolling.  These last three months have been more about tapering and recovering than training.  Thus the title of this post.  Even when you see what others are doing and you think to yourself, am I doing enough, you have to place physiology ahead of the desire to do more or what your friends are doing.

I had some mixed feelings on what this race would be like.  I got a bit, post Thanksgiving Illinois trip, run down 2 weeks before this race, so that was on my mind in regard to how I would perform.  Overall I felt like I could match my 2012 fitness and work on a 12 and a half hour finish and possible top 10.  I knew from 2012 that I spent a lot of time not moving and I didn't want that to happen this year.  I had my pre-race oatmeal and then bulletproof coffee on the way to the start.

It was gonna be warm so I started out in short sleeves and gloves and handheld.  HR was a bit high at the start but I knew it would settle down after the first climb.  I mentally set the limit at 155 and then wanted to stay below 150 after mile 8.  I switched out my handheld for a pack at Petites Gap.  I had Heed first and then went with EFS at the other drops (mile 25 and 47).

Everything was going pretty well until the rocky section before Bearwallow.  That kinda gut punched me and set me back mentally.  You just have to see it to believe it.  It's a gnarly section!  I just couldn't navigate the leaf covered rocks.  My right knee was a bit sensitive and was a minor factor at this point but I kept thinking about how this rocky section could really ruin you for the remainder of the race.

My problem from mile 50 was just not having the will to run when I could have on the mild ups.  You always do some bargaining with yourself and this is where I started.  I wasn't sure why I couldn't muster the will to run, I just didn't have it mentally.  Not sure why.  Low training during all this race tapering?  Being run down?  The unseasonable high 60 degree day?  The Beast effect?  Who knows, I'll probably have to do this race again to figure it out or come up with another theory.

**In hindsight, the lack of training after Grindstone had to be the cause.  The 50+ mile endurance just wasn't there.  There just wasn't time or I just didn't have the ability to put in high mileage weeks following the GS100 and the recovery from it.  I was able to hold on for a good MMTR50 finish but that only got me a decent 50 miles at Hellgate.  I just didn't have the endurance to have a good, last 16 miles of the race.  That doesn't change the overall feeling I had about it being a good finish to a tough year.  And, although I can analyze it now, I don't think I could have changed anything.  The only area to improve upon was the fitness leading up to Grindstone.**

I'm pretty happy with my performance at Hellgate and the overall plan for this year.  I could have done more, but keeping in mind my overall health, I think I took the right approach and stayed on the conservative side.  You have to make it to the start/finish line.  I hadn't planned on mental side of the Beast.  It's a big investment mentally and physically.  The further you make it in the year the more paranoid you get about making it to the next race and then it switches to just wanting to be done.  I do know that with the amount of tapering that is involved I actually looked forward to the races and getting to go for a long run.

You are better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can....  Where will this adventure take me in 2016.

14th Overall/First Master in 13:23:42
Lynchburg Ultra Series - 4th Overall in the 24:26:05
Beast Series - 2nd Overall in the 61:06:50

Racing Miles in 2015
Holiday Lake 50k - 32.25
Terrapin Mtn 50k - 31
Promise Land 50k - 34.5
San Juan Solstice - 50M
Iron Mtn - 50M
Grindstone - 101.86
MMTR 50M - 51.25
Hellgate 100k - 66.6
Total - 417.46

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