Monday, May 25, 2009

2009 WellAware 5K

I ran a 1.2 mi warm up and then had 10 minutes before starting. I was hoping I could finish at least 22 minutes today since I didn't feel great. I was up late last night cleaning so not the most ideal conditions to run a race. The rain had pretty much stopped but I wasn't worried about it raining. I really didn't care. The sidewalk in the park was not draining well so we were going to get our feet wet anyway.

I lined up near Chris C. and Bill S. and we were off. I felt like I was being left behind since about 20 or so ran ahead of me. I ended up passing all of them and then passed Chris in the first mile or so. I caught up to another guy that I passed in the 2nd mile. Hugh was working at a water station. He had gone there to watch me but no one was there so he took over. Sam was on the course taking pictures and got some good ones. Photos

The hills were tough for me today and slowed down but tried to make up the time on the downhill. About 0.3 from the end I figure I have a good chance of finishing under 19 min so pump the arms to get me up the hill before the finish line. I can see the clock says 18:50 so push hard and finish in 18:57. Splits were 5:57, 6:09, 6:04, and 48 sec for last 0.13. Course PR for me and it was certified this year so actually just a bit longer than the non-certified course.

Took awhile to get to the awards. They were giving a choice of water bottle and stop watch for 3rd place, a Flexifreeze cooler for second, and a coaster for first. I actually hoping for second since I wanted the cooler. I ended up with second and the cooler.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Berryman Trail 50 Miler

I left Columbia around noon on Friday with Jeff and we arrived about 3 pm at the Berryman Campground. There were no empty camping spots to park his truck/camper so we asked a guy if we could park in his campsite. He was hiking and didn’t mind. We then picked up our race packets and Jeff took a nap. While he was napping, the guy that let us park told me he was leaving since he didn’t realize there was a race going on and didn’t want to deal with all the people on the trails on Saturday.

Jeff cooked steak and a potato for his dinner and I had a whole Roly Poly Basil Cashew Chicken. About 9 pm the wind picked up so we put everything inside and went to bed. Then it started to rain and rained 4 solid hours, stopped, and rained off and on the rest of the night.

We got up at 5 am and it wasn’t raining. We had heard the day before there were many trees down on the trail due to a storm a week earlier. We could see where trees in the campground had been cleaned up. The trees on the trail were not cleared and we would have to go over, under, or around them. I figured with the mud and trees that I would need to revise my goal. I had hoped to come in under 8 hours, but was thinking if I could come in under 9 as last year that would be reasonable due to the conditions.

We were off running at 6:30 am. I started out slow and ran first mile in 9-something. GPS was not accurate (about 6% off) on this trail but did give me an idea. A guy named Dan was running behind me and it was his first 50 miler. He said he wanted to run around 8 hours. After a few miles, he told me he was going to slow down the pace and I went ahead.

From this point on, I mostly ran on my own passing back and forth a few people. I had to stop at about 8 miles, find some nice wet leaves, and go to the bathroom. No one passed me during this stop. I stopped at every other aid station to refill my bottle and eat about ¼ of a peanut butter and jelly. I probably should have been eating more, but didn’t feel like it and hated wasting time at aid stations.

I heard music behind me and there were a couple guys running with hydration packs and playing soft music. I would pass them back and forth several times. I ended up passing 3 people before the end of the first loop. Pat P. was running the marathon and we ran near each other for awhile and then he went ahead and ended up finishing 3rd. The last third of the loop had the most downed trees which really slowed me down. I came in about 2 minutes behind Pat at the end of my first loop in 4:08, 23 min slower than last year’s first loop.

I decided that I would not change my shoes. There was so much water and mud on the trail, it didn’t make a lot of sense since they would get muddy within the first mile of the second loop. My feet felt okay other than they were wet. I could feel the Body Glide on them so figured they would be okay for another loop. I had scraped my back under one of the trees and had that cleaned up and drank an Amp before starting the second loop.

I felt okay, and happy to be starting the second loop, but this feeling didn’t last long. The mud on the second loop seemed so much worse and was bringing me down. In some places I decided to walk through the mud rather than running it. I really had a bad attitude about the mud and was not enjoying it. I took the pace easy and did not push it. I was concerned I was taking it too easy but just could not motivate myself to go harder.

At about 7.5 hours, my GPS has 0% power so I shut it off. It continued to show the time for the rest of the race so I had some idea how long, but may have been better off not knowing. I was ready for this to be over and figured at the pace I was going I had another 2 hours. I was fed up with the mud. I decided if I ever did this trail race again, I would run the marathon. One loop in the mud was doable but 2 loops is too much knowing what is coming in the second loop. Of course there is no guarantee what the trail will be like on race day and this year we were just unlucky. I questioned why I put myself through this and whether I should do another 50 miler ever again. I was thinking how ridiculous that I thought I could run 100 miles later this year. I had a very poor attitude, but kept moving and trying to run.

I was getting passed by other runners and ended up getting passed by 6 runners. I kept hoping that maybe I could run with one of them since I really needed someone but figured if they were passing me, then they were feeling better. I was able to pick up the pace when the 6th guy passed me and stayed with him for a few miles and then he went ahead. A few minutes later, I felt like something magical happened and suddenly I was able to run faster again and felt good. I caught up to him at the next aid station with a little over 5 miles to go. He took off with a girl not running the race and she paced him to the end.

I could see them for awhile, but eventually they went ahead. I decided to just make it to the next aid station and hoped no one would pass me. The last aid station was 2.3 miles before the finish. I figured I could run that section in at least 30 minutes and possibly finish around 9:15. I hadn’t considered all the downed trees that would slow me down again, but with my slightly faster pace maybe it was possible.

I kept pushing on and made it through the mess of trees and mud to the finish in 9:15:36 without being passed again. I was glad to be done and not hurt. This would have been a good day to do only one loop and I would have been happy and placed well. The second loop was frustrating, not being able to keep my pace and getting passed by so many people. The times were slower this year but I felt like I was struggling more than most. I was not having a good day.

I was able to eat right away and the solid food was really good after drinking Accelerade and eating 9 gels. I have decided I need to find something other than Accelerade to drink since it is not working for me. It made me feel bloated a good portion of the race and my stomach did not feel good. Thankfully, I had run out of it with about 14 miles to go and started drinking Gatorade and things returned to normal.

There were 70 people signed up for the 50 miler but am not sure how many started. I placed 12th overall which was disappointing to me. Jeff finished 11:02, 43 minutes faster than last year and also ran negative splits on the loops. I was just amazed at how much he improved with the conditions. Dan, the guy I ran with at the beginning and wanted to run 8 hrs finished about half hour after Jeff so unfortunately he was probably having a much worse day than me.

After a decent night’s sleep, I was ready to start thinking about attempting a sub-8 hr 50 mile next year and again considering the 100 mile trail race in November. I am glad this one is over and I guess what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. My plan is to take it easy for about 3 weeks and then figure out what I want to do next.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

2009 Jay Dix Challenge to Cure 5K

Today I ran the 5K at the Jay Dix Challenge to Cure. This is one of my favorite 5Ks and it benefits cancer research. This year there were a record number of participants and looked to be well-organized. There is a 5K, 10K, and 5K walk that all start at the same time. The race is chip timed as well. I lined up behind Tony R. with Brad E. Katie and Dan were nearby. I was thinking Katie might be good for to pace since she was running the 10K and is faster than me for 5Ks.

I was not sure how fast to start or if I was going out too fast. I didn't have any reason to expect that I was any faster than last year so was hoping to run around 19 min. I decided to try to stay with Katie as long as I could. We passed a few runners along the way and this course seemed to go by quickly. The race is a loop plus part is an out and back. At the turn around, I ran ahead and again was not sure how hard I should push. I felt really good but if I pushed to soon, I wondered if I would lose steam at the end. At this point, I was in 4th place with two 10Kers and one 5K runner ahead of me. I was able to see everyone on the way back which was a nice boost.

I felt strong on the few hills in the last mile and still was under 6 min pace. My overall time was 17:47. I finished 2nd of 291 runners and 1st in age group 40 - 45 out of 12. Hugh placed 2nd in age group and 31 overall. Dan placed 1st in age group and 8th overall. Brad E. was 3rd overall and Katie was first female in 10K and 4th overall. As last year, the course was just a bit (0.07 mi) short. I counted my time last year as a 5K PR so if I count this is a PR and a course PR by 35 seconds. I think if the course had been correct, time would been more like 18:15 which is still faster than any PR not on this course. I am really surprised and don't know where this came from. I have been tapering for my 50 mi so maybe that helped. I felt strong at the end and was sprinting up the last hill and then going strong into the finish.

Race Start
Andy at finish (above) - Hugh at finish (below)