Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chase the Sun 12 Hour

I went into this race wanting at least 60 miles, and preferably 100K.  I had a modified 1 week taper and wasn't sure how I'd feel.  Plus, the route is mainly on a rooty (although flat) trail, and forecast called for at least some rain off and on.  But I ended up with 72.93 miles, an overall win, and the new course record!  

I started out a bit too fast (8:00 pace) but figured I'd soon settle into whatever pace felt moderately fast that day.  That turned out to be about 8:45 overall for the first 4 hours, and then I slowed down a bit over time.  At the beginning I ran a few laps with Tom, the eventual male 12 hour winner.  He's a really nice guy, and I definitely enjoyed running and chatting with him.  After we stopped running together I didn't see him again until the finish, but we were on the same lap all day- I was just consistently a half lap ahead!  

Then my friend Elizabeth came out in the morning and ran 9 miles with me at about a 9:00-9:15 pace, which was faster than her normal pace.  I was worried I was going too fast for her but she did great!  I hit marathon at about 3:53 and 50K at 4:41.  At the 6 hour point I was actually a full lap (1.87 miles) ahead of my winning 6 hour race mileage from last year.  

I took a short break at that point, since it seemed like a nice stopping point- also I realized all I'd eaten the first 6 hours was 3 gels and 2 half cups of coke, and I was feeling a bit dizzy.  I drank some more soda and ate some bacon, which helped a lot.  After that  i still kept a sub-10:00 pace to reach 50 miles at 7:41 (a new PR).  I realized by about 4 hours in that I could probably get close to 70 miles, and once I reached 50 miles and still felt good I knew I could do even more, so I went for it!  

At 8 hours I took another little break, as I was starting to feel light headed again.  I had a Hammer bar and some more coke, and started carrying Tailwind for the rest of the race to make sure I kept taking in calories.  My friend Tina came out to do her long run with me, and we ran just under 3 hours together, which was really fun.  My GPS had died around 8 hours, but I was doing around 3 laps/hour at this point, around a 10:45 pace.  It was nice to have someone to whine to towards the end, when I was hitting that "I'm just sick of this" point :)

I actually slowed down a bit intentionally in the last hour, because I knew I wanted to stop at 39 laps and I didn't want to be in a position to have the time to do more!  As it was, I finished with 7 minutes to spare and was told I had time to start another response was not language used in polite company!  I was very happy to stop when I did.

I am very happy with this race...I would like to break 75 miles in the first half of Icarus 24 Hour in November, and if I can do 73 on a trail I should be able to do close to 80 on pavement.  I still have about 4 weeks of hard training, and then a 3-week taper to make sure I go in to that race fresh.  I know from experience that long tapers make me miserable, but they do work well for 24 hour races!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Summer Recap

A busy summer of racing is over!  I have really slacked on posting due to a variety of factors, but I'm back, and I'll try to keep on top of things this time.  After my big success at GSEC (which is now officially listed on the USATF website!), I completed 3 ultras over 6 weeks (Bad Marsh 50K, Merrill's Mile 24 Hour, and Double Cremator 50 Mile).  I definitely don't think I was at my best- I think I generally need 4-6 weeks between big races to recover.  But although I wasn't fully rested I still did pretty well at my summer racing.  Then 5 weeks after the 3rd race I ran Homestead 10x5K, which also went well.  Here are a few brief write-ups for each race:

Bad Marsh: This was the day after my 5 year wedding anniversary, so I ran it with my husband.  It was his second ultra (he ran the 6 Hour at GSEC), and he did great!  I may have held him back a bit at the beginning, as he's faster than me at short distances, but by lap 5 of 7 he was suffering.  We had vowed to stay together, so although it was slightly frustrating- for us both, probably- I stayed with him through walk breaks at that point.  He rallied in the final lap though, and we finished strong in 5:35.  It was a really cool experience to finish hand in hand with my husband!  And the time was good enough for 3rd female as well.

Merrill's Mile: My IT band was a bit sore after the uneven ground of Bad Marsh, and as this race was on gravel I was a bit concerned.  I raced hard for the first 12 hours, managed the heat well, and ended up with about 69 miles in the first half.  But overnight the uneven ground started hurting my knees and IT band.  Knowing this wasn't an "A" race, and I had another race in 2 weeks, I decided to take it easy, and primarily walk.  I knew I could have gotten around 120 miles had I pushed harder, but I think I made the right decision not to risk injury.  I stopped after about 23 hours, with just under 111 miles- good for 1st female and a new course record.  Alec did a great job crewing as always, and he was supportive of my decision to walk.  He also didn't hit me when I spent hours whining that I was lazy and terrible for walking, haha!

Cremator: I was very nervous about running back-to-back races, and expected that day 2 would be much slower no matter what.  So I went out pretty hard on day 1, but tried to keep a bit in the tank so day 2 wouldn't be a complete sufferfest!  I felt really good throughout the day, and finished in about 8:02- 2nd female on day 1.  That night I wore my compression sleeves and elevated my feet on a pillow, which I think helped a lot.  Day 2 was much harder- for starters, it rained heavily at the start so I was wearing wet clothes all day (the chaffing that night literally made me sob!).  Then it got super hot and humid in the 2nd half- I was refilling my water bottle every 2-3 miles just to stay hydrated.  I was pretty miserable by the end, but I still managed a decent finish of about 9:18- 1st female on day 2 and 1st female overall in the double.  Thank God for my crew at this race!  Alec crewed/paced me on day 1, and my friend Kara crewed while Emily paced on day 2- I don't think I could have done it without them!

Homestead: This was a very unique race!  There is a 5K trail loop, and you run it on the hour for 10 hours.  Each lap is timed individually, and they are added up at the end for the final result.  My plan was to run moderately hard but consistently, and count on people going out too fast early on to help me place high.  This worked out pretty well!  All my laps were within 2:30 of each other, and I was very pleased with the consistency given the brutal 102 degree heat (with a 126 heat index!).  Most people did slow down more as the heat worsened, and I found my overall standing rising after every lap.  I finished with around 4:22, good for 3rd female.

Next up is Chase the Sun 12 Hour this Saturday.  I'm trying to just view it as a good training run with friends, and not push myself too hard.  I'd still like to finish in the 60-70 mile range, but we'll see how it goes!