Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Post Oak Challenge Double - Marathon - Day 2

Overall this went very well considering I had run 50K yesterday. I decided to repeat the same meal at Incredible's Pizza on Saturday night and ate about 10 pizzas of pizza, pasta, and desserts.  It was a little less than the day before since I had eaten a little right after the race and stomach was a little queasy.  I headed to bed a little earlier but woke up before the alarm went off.  I even found a way to the race start avoiding road construction.  I got a better parking spot too.  I picked up my chip, drank a coffee, and used the bathroom while waiting for the start.  The temp was 46F so 18 degrees warmer than the previous morning.  I left a drop bag at the start since I assumed 2 loops meant we would go back to the start before completing a second loop.

I started with the guy I had run with the day before and he let me lead the way.  I felt pretty crappy the first 4 miles.  Breathing was difficult and stomach didn't feel quite right.  My pace was about 9:30 and no way I should be breathing so hard for that pace.  At about 4 miles, I suddenly felt really good and kept the same pace.  I didn't see my running friend until after the race.  I didn't think I sped up but I did kind of take off faster.  The second day ended up being 75% road and 25% trail and was a lot like the first day but fewer hills.  There was a little confusion with some of what I read on the web site and in some e-mails.  I thought the course had been changed to 50/50 based on what I had read.  We ran on some of the same trails as before and some new trails.  As the day before the trails were marked really well.  Also, the same rocks sticking up to trip me, but no falling.

At about mile 8 I noticed a bunch of people merging onto the trail I was running.  I was confused at first and then realized they must be running a different race. I asked a guy if he was running the half marathon and he said quarter.  I got behind 3 people running the quarter that were running my marathon pace.  At about 10 miles, we ran on the pavement to run out 1.3 miles and back.  I saw the guy I had run with the first 4 miles about a half mile behind me.  Once we got back I was directed to take a trail rather than up a huge hill back to the start.  I assumed the volunteer knew what he was doing although I was hoping to go back to the start to get 2 more Accel gels and a packet of Succeed.  I had to formulate a new plan since it was getting warm and I needed to refill my bottle.  The temp got up to 63.  My time for the first 13.1 on my GPS was 2:06.  At the next aid station I got plain water and drank a cup of Gatorade.  I also picked up two GUs and ate one.  The GU was just awful but I think it helped.

I am guessing I passed about 10 marathoners during the 2 loops and I was passed by 2 guys.  If someone had an orange sticker on their number I knew they had run one of the races the day before so I always tried to look when they passed me.  One of the guys that passed me did have an orange sticker.  The temp was warming up and I was running a lot in the sun as the previous day.  I took small sips of water but could not bring myself to take the other GU.  I had 2 pretzels at an aid station and decided I probably didn't need to eat anything else.  I was feeling pretty good but closer to an 11 min pace rather than the 9:30 - 10 pace I ran in the first half.  Slowing down my pace made me feel even better.

I was keeping the doubler guy that was in his 20s in my sights that had passed me earlier.  I got to the pavement to run out again and noticed he was walking up the hill and I was running.  After the turnaround I caught up to him.  I asked if he had run the 50K the previous day and he said he had run about 5:50 and asked how fast  I had run.  We were going downhill at this point so I took off and left him behind.  My last 2 full miles were a 9:30 pace.  However, the last 0.6 miles included a huge hill that slowed me down to 11-something for that section.  My running ahead map shows it going straight up at the end.  It wasn't a long hill but it was short and steep and I walked it and didn't have to worry about the guy behind me catching up.  I really thought this hill was worse than the hill from hell the previous day.  I can run a long gradual hill but a short steep is impossible to run.

My overall time was 4:35:28, a 10:22 pace so 22 seconds slower pace than the 50K.  The last 13.5 was 2:29 so slowed a bit but still passed a lot of people.  Splits are here.  Overall I placed 22 of 108 and 8th of 21 in my age group so no age group award the second day.  I got another medal like the day before and a special doubler award for running both the 50K and the marathon.  I went inside and once again they were serving the marathoners 2 meals and 4 drinks.  I waited awhile before eating and I was able to get 2 bowls of chicken chili down but it wasn't easy.  I had 2 drinks and took 2 to go plus the corn chips that I didn't eat.

I wish someone could have gone with me to this race but it turned out to be an enjoyable weekend and a fun event.  I am now 2 weeks out from Syllamo so a good dress rehearsal for that 3 day race.

So far no pictures but they do have results.  The picture below I had a woman take for me at the end.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Post Oak Challenge Double - 50K - Day 1

Arrived in Tulsa on Friday picked up my packet for the Post Oak Challenge Double, checked out another running store and then checked into my hotel.  It was very challenging getting around Tulsa since there is so much road construction.  GPS said to take exits and streets that I could not take and traffic was horrible.  I ate at an Incredible's Pizza buffet that was 4 miles down the street so no chance of getting lost.  Even though I am following Primal Blueprint (lower carbs), I wasn't going to sacrifice carbs before this race so really enjoyed myself at the buffet, eating about 10 pieces of pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, pasta salad, chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, and ice cream.  Totally skipped the veggies and lettuce salad.

Other than a couple wrong turns race day went very well. There was an early start at 7 am and then the main start was at 8 am. It was around 28 degrees when I arrived and since there is so much road construction in Tulsa it was good I had my GPS since I had to go off route and then get back on but made it there just as the early starters took off. They didn't give us our chip yesterday so picked that up and had a cup of coffee, relaxed inside, and used the bathroom a couple times. I used the last time about 10 min before the start and there was no one using the outside bathrooms. We took off and found myself running with 3 other guys. We introduced ourselves and talked about our goal times. I really didn't have one since I didn't know what this course would be like. We ended up not staying together but one of them stayed with me. The first wrong turn was totally my fault and I took him with me. There was a sign pointing right but I was thinking it was up ahead a little further. The course was marked with 3 colors of flags (10K, 50K and 25K and marathon - which is tomorrow), The first wrong turn added maybe 0.1 mi to the course. We ran in a compact area so a lot of the trails they had us running on were very close. They had yellow tape on the ground that we were to not cross.

I ran quite a bit with the guy that took the wrong turn with me. He is training for Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa and is in his 20s. I decided to run with my water bottle even though the aid stations were frequent. I have not been using any nutrition during my training lately but planned to use Succeed and Accel gels for the race. The guy I was running with used the bathroom at an aid station and said he would catch me later. I caught up to some funny guys with British accents. I didn't think I was following them although I was catching them and this is where the second wrong turn happened. I am not sure how we missed the turn but probably added another 0.3 mi. There should have been yellow tape in the wrong direction here but there was not.

The course was quite rocky and parts reminded me of Flatrock in Kansas with the rocks sticking up out of the ground. Some in the woods and some in grass and in the open but pretty much single track most places. We had to run a few places that had some gravel. Three hills stood out to me on the course. The first reminded me of the hills at Kettle Moraine where it was a wide path and went up abruptly. I walked it. The second one was a butte. I walked but the guy I was with wanted to get it over with so he ran it. When I got to the top you could see all around for miles. I caught him soon as I descended. The last hill was the hill from hell and it just was a long ascent of several hills that never seemed to end. and we ended up finishing the first loop together. Another guy I had been running with came in shortly after and decided to call it a day due to his foot. I had 16.3 miles on the first loop with the extra 0.4 so either way the course was going to be long. Some parts were very runnable and it really didn't get tough until the last 5 miles of the loop.

I got rid of one shirt since it had warmed up, ate a banana, refilled my bottle with Succeed and picked up more gels. I wasted about 5 minutes before taking off and didn't see where the guy I had crossed the line went so took off on my own. Time was 2:37 when I took off. The second loop I ran all by myself and didn't miss any turns. I passed 4 people that I know of. My time at 26.2 was around 4:17. After I was descending the butte on the second loop I saw the guy I had been running with earlier over on another trail. I thought he was a few minutes ahead. Somewhere along the way he said he used the bathroom and that is where I must have passed him since I finished ahead of him.

I felt like I finished strong with lots left in the tank so hopefully that is a good sign for tomorrow. I have never felt so good at the end of a 50K. Even sprinted the last 0.2 miles at 7:39 pace. Time was 5:21:34 so ran the second loop 7 min slower although with the time I stopped between loops actually running was probably about 3 min slower. I ran 32.2 miles since the second loop was shorter without wrong turns and had a 10 min flat pace. I placed 9th overall and not everyone had finished when I left but I think there were close to 100 that had signed up. There were 10 year age groups and I placed 3rd in the 40 - 49 so got a special award. The medal I got is a huge piece of metal. They had some food afterwards and the 50Kers could get 2 meals. I have my second meal to a 25Ker that was still hungry since I couldn't eat that much yet. We could also get up to 4 drinks and they had soda, water, and beer. There was also a beer stop before the hill from hell. Temperature at the end was 61 so warmed up just a bit!

At packet pickup we got a nice shirt and it has the 2 races on the sleeve that I am running. Also got a bright yellow running hat that says Hill From Hell Double Survivor, a Koozie and a cup. The course was kind of nuts with all the trails running so close together, but I think they did a really good job. I saw several guys that were at the Pumpkin Holler Hunnerd (in Talequah OK) that were either running or working an aid station.

Tomorrow I run the marathon which is on some of the same trails, some different, and some road.

Course Map and Elevation from my GPS - This course kind of made me dizzy at first with all the turns.
Splits from GPS

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2012 Master's USA Cross Country Championships 8K

I planned to not write reports for races less than a half marathon this year, but I will make a few exceptions and this race deserves a report.

I ran against some of the best Master's runners in the country and was hoping to not embarrass myself too badly. I knew it wouldn't be pretty even if I was in top shape. I felt pretty good going into this other than feeling out of shape to run an 8K. It was ridiculously cold and I am guessing around 20F with wind chill in the single digits. My feet were numb from walking around before our race. We watched Nancy's race and she brought home the gold for the 50 - 55 year old women. Our male master's team race was at 10:45. Warmed up a bit on the course. The ground was pretty solidly frozen but a few spots feeling slick with the sun warming them up. It snowed enough to cover the ground a bit last night but the sun quickly had melted it away.

I wore 2 long sleeve shirts and my Columbia Track Club shirt over the top. I opted for shorts but if I had brought tights I would have likely worn. I wore some wind shorts underneath the shorts. These shorts were 1.5 inch inseam so pretty skimpy. My legs were fine and wasn't as cold as I thought it might be. The course was divided into Ks and there was a clock at each 2K but used my GPS. My first mile was 6:19 so faster than I expected. I settled into a pace and not a whole lot happened. We had to run 4 loops but it was a curvy course. The middle two loops we had to merge out and then merge inside on the first and last so I was hoping I wouldn't lose track. It wasn't a problem since I had lots of people to follow. I passed a couple guys back and forth and was able to out run them at the end since they were much older than me.

The course was hillier than I expected but the hills were short. My foot didn't bother me during the warmup but was a little painful running at the faster speed on the grass and some uneven ground. The cold and not being in shape were probably my the best excuse for not running as I wanted. The 2nd and 3rd miles were under 7 minutes, 4th mile just over 7 and last under 7 minutes. GPS had 5.1 miles at 34:26. Tough course, but would have liked to run at least 2 minutes faster. We had to wear our age groups on our back and I didn't see any 40 - 44 around me. I did see a lot of 50 and 55 and a few 60 and 65. The reason I didn't see anyone else is I finished DFL in my age group . I did manage to beat all the 70 and 80 year olds. I was 31 of 31 runners in 40 - 44 and 81 of 96 overall. To further rub salt on the wound they had my age-graded results as 91 of 96. I'm glad I ran it and it was fun and I am proud to take last place among this stiff competition. Dan E. on our team was next to last in our age group so I saved him from being last. Our team placed 6th 1 point behind St. Louis. 

Results here