Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Revel Canyon City Marathon

Had fun running from Crystal Lake down to Azusa last Saturday.  Got to hang out with friends, including Jenny Welch who ran a marathon PR, and Wendy Barth who ran a half marathon PR.

My goal was to run under 2:30.  I ran 2:31:00, close but no cigar, oh well.  Somehow I was the first finisher.  GI issues plagued me from early on, had to use the port-a-potty once and puked a bit.  Wasn't able to take in much water or calories (250?) but it was cool and I haven't been taking in many calories in training so I didn't fade too hard.

Coming down the mountain

Around 5 miles into the race Angel Echevarria, Ryan Lucker and I bunched up and ran together for 9 miles until Ryan pulled over to puke his guts out (and eventually dropped).  I think I passed Angel around mile 20 and kept the lead, he finished 2nd and Robert Leonardo 3rd (full results).  I'm not used to being able to run 3 people wide down a paved winding canyon road for miles, chatting a bit in the cool morning air.  It was fun for a change.  Sure beats being stuck behind some loudmouth beatnik from Bishop on buttery mountain single track.

I like that grass

Ahhh, shade

The significant net elevation drop for the course puts a big asterisk on my marathon PR, but I enjoy running downhill and maybe running for 26 miles at a faster pace will help me speed up in general?  I'm going to call it a nice tempo 4 weeks out from North Face 50M in the Marin Headlands.  Time to head back to the mountains...

Sponsor shout outs:

Shoes:  Hoka One One Clifton 2's.  When these shoes first came out I thought... what's wrong with the original Clifton's?  After this race I realize that this updated model is more comfy and it feels like they'll be able to log more miles than their predecessor.  GREAT shoe for running hard downhill on asphalt for 20+ miles.  Feet felt fine afterwards, and they're so light!

Sunglasses:  Julbo Blast's with light photochromic lenses were perfect.  Lenses got darker as the day got brighter.  I knew it was going to be a bit breezy and the glasses kept the wind out of my eyes.

Socks:  Drymax Thin Running Socks. No blisters, no hotspots.  Stoked to see Drymax is the official sock of the US Skyrunner Series next year.

FLUID:  After every hard run I pound a bottle of Chocolate Wave Recovery, and it hit the spot after 26 miles on pavement.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rut 50k & Beyond

Elissa & I flew up to Bozeman and met up with the Schulte's at the Big Sky Resort before the race.

Idyllic setting for a Skyrunning event

Mike Wolfe bugles on his elk call and we're off.
photo by Myke Hermsmeyer

My knee had been pretty tender and temperamental in the weeks leading up to race and it flared up the day before the race on Erik and I's 4 mile shake out/cheering 25k racers.  I stretched a bit the night before the race, put a hand warmer on the knee the morning of the race and hoped for the best.  Surprisingly, the knee withstood all the rocks, 10,000' of climbing and 10,000' of descending on the course.

Up & over Headwaters Ridge, then Lone Peak
Saw a lot of Hoka Speedgoat's on the mountain, four of them here making their way down Headwaters Ridge.
photo by Dom Grossman

If my knee held up, I thought I was in sub 6 hour shape for this race, which would put me right around the top 10 in years past.  I finished in 5:59 and 12th place, 2 minutes out of the top ten.  While finishing in the top 10 at a competitive race like this would have been 100x cooler than finishing 12th, I'm still happy with my race.  It wasn't an A race for me (but should have been), I didn't toe the line in my best shape, but I was in decent shape, and these mountains and this type of course inspire me.  I paced myself well and had a blast.

Cruising over a graupel covered bridge in the early cruiser miles around the resort base.
photo by Meghan Hicks irunfar.com
After Hardrock back in July and some backpacking adventures in the Sierra's, my brain has constructed a governor for my speed, making it feel a bit unnatural to spin the wheels as fast as I should for a 50k.  Putting in some faster training runs prior to the race helped loosen up the governor a bit, but it's still there.

The Rut was an awesome event and I highly recommend it to people who appreciate big mountains, and aren't afraid of rocks.  I liked the energy of the event, tons of spectators, cowbells, hundreds of runners in each event every day, and the international field.  Little local races in majestic mountains are more of my "thing" but the atmosphere at races like the Rut are very cool to immerse oneself into.  It's easy to feed off all the energy around you and use it to fuel yourself up, over and around the mountains.  In addition to the Schulte's, we got to hang out with Andrejs Galienks, Dom Grossman, Katie Desplinter and I met Luke Nelson before he ran to a speedy 7th place finish in 5:47.  Good company.

Now what?  I'm going to take a couple weeks off then destroy this flimsy speed regulating relationship that is presently existing between my brain and my legs.  I think I'll jump into a fast road marathon, run a PR, then carry this newfound speed into training for the North Face 50M in December.

Hopefully I can arrive at the starting line of North Face better primed and feed off the competition and hype of that event and see if I can't surprise myself with what I'm capable of.  I feel like I have a lot of untapped potential that I'm slowly unraveling.  It is time to turn into a lean, mean running machine and work my way to the runner I want to become, gone are the days of showing up to work and polishing off half a dozen donuts.