This was a repeat of last year's 50K in many ways, including carpooling with my very accomplished running friend, Jen Pfeifer. But unlike last year, I wanted to run a shorter distance because I have the Oakland Marathon just a month away, and I didn't want to have to go through a longer recovery that the 50K would entail.
Jen picked me up at 6:15am, which was plenty early for the 8:30am start. (I think we were parked at 7:05am or so.) I saw several other friends, the air was cool and crisp, and soon enough, we were off!
The course was very well marked, including the novel practice of using a special colored blue ribbon to mark trails that we are *not* supposed to run down. For the first couple of miles, I hung with Jen and my friend Dan Rhodes, from my running club. I thought we were running a bit on the fast side, but I didn't have the pace information showing on watch. (I got a new Garmin 910XT, and hadn't configured all the screens yet.) Jen informed us that were running right around 7 minutes per mile. It felt a bit fast, but doable.
Dan was in the 50K and said he would treat this race as a supported long run. Yet, after a couple of miles into it, he started pulling away from me and Jen. He's a fast runner, but even for him, this had to count as a race, and he had a whole half-marathon to go after I would finish!
Somewhere in the hills, near the gun range (which wasn't so annoying as last year for some reason), and perhaps on the Brandon trail, Jen continued going straight up a steep hill, not seeing the pink ribbons on the trail heading to the left. I called out to her to get her back on the course. Close call! So I got to return the favor from last year, where she pointed me in the right direction when I was about to miss the trail markings.
I made a special effort on the short but steep uphills, to run every step. Last year, for the 50K, I "power hiked" on the steepest sections, to keep my heart rate down. I also let loose on the downhills. On one of the miles, Jen called out "6 Oh 3". I didn't quite understand her and she explained, "we ran that last mile in 6:03". Oh, wow, OK, that was a bit fast for me. My heart rate was high, but I felt in control.
Jen's plan was to run 8 miles on the easy side and then pick up the pace for the last 10 miles or so. So, I'm huffing and puffing and in total race mode, and she puts in her ear buds and gently pulls away from me. (Or maybe I was slowing down a bit or both.) My heart rate seemed high and I was only half-way done, so, I didn't want to push too hard. We passed some runners who were either in the 30K or 50K.
Eventually, I started running into the half-marathoners, who didn't take this 10K extension that the 30K runners did. I was starting to feel cramps coming on and was really feeling the effort, so it was a nice mental boost to be passing other runners. I tried to drink more. I was eating an energy gel every 45 minutes. I was looking forward to seeing the lake again, because then I knew I would be just a few miles from the finish.
My legs started feeling heavy and I couldn't sprint up the short steep hills any more, and my heart rate fell a bit, and I fell further behind Jen and could no longer see her up ahead. I passed Colleen, from my running club, who was in the half-marathon, and we yelled encouragement to each other. I recognized that I was nearing the finish and there was a helpful "1 mile to go" sign, but I couldn't really sprint, as I was very close to having bad cramps. Finally, I rounded the corner. *whew* I was glad to finish!
All-in-all, I'm happy with the results. There were some strong competition in my race, but I got 2nd place in my age group of 40-49. And I finished just about a minute behind Jen, which I take as a good sign. (She was first place woman by about 17 minutes!) My friend Dan was about 45 seconds in front of me at the 30K mark and he went on to have a strong 50K finish.
So, for my first race of 2013, I'm happy!
What went well:
- No trips, no falls, and I didn't get lost.
- I averaged about 7 minutes 27 seconds per mile on some hilly terrain, for about 18.4 miles.
- No chafing or blisters, except relating to my new heart rate monitor. (See below.)
- I had a good time!
- My new Garmin 910XT watch seemed to work great. (I had broken my Garmin 310XT in a fall a few months ago, and the super-glue gave way.)
- I got some cramps and I probably pushed a little too hard in the middle of the race. I think I would have had a slightly faster time and a slightly better experience if my hardest effort were towards the end.
- I may not have drank enough or had enough salt.
- I dropped my water bottle once.
- The Garmin 910XT's heart rate monitor band really dug into my chest. I knew it was likely to cause chafing and I had used Body Glide, but not enough and not in all the right places apparently. The strap wasn't too tight -- I started the race with it too loose and I had to tighten it shortly after the start. I have to go back to using the Garmin 310XT's heart rate monitor for anything over an hour's run.
- I don't know how much I weighed because my scale's batteries went dead, but I think I was between 164 and 165 lbs.
- Ate an energy gel every 45 minutes.
- Results are here.
- Garmin data is here.
|nice shirt & mug!|