Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009 Germantown

After a 3 hour drive, I arrived in Germantown under cloudy skies and cool temps . . . 62 degrees and low humidity! I figured this would be my only chance to run this race without the normal heat & humidity this time of year. There was a good turnout, about twice as many runners as when I ran this race in the Fall of 2006 & 2007.

At the start, I heard 2 runners say "I'm freezing!" and some people were wearing jackets! Of course, I loved the temps (for August) and did not wear a shirt. Feeling so cool, I did not drink much thru the 1st 15 miles (shouldn't I know better by now?) and I would pay for this oversight later. The light breeze was keeping me mostly dry & I didn't realize I was sweating as much as I was. The sun did come out briefly a few times -- it was intense! I could tell by just those few minutes that I could not have finished this race if it was sunny, even with cool temps. There were many areas on this course that were exposed: paved roads & bike paths and what I call "XC type" trails (mowed paths thru overgrown fields). There were several hills of the 75 to 150 foot variety on this course, but for the most part, this was a flat course in comparison to other trail 50k's. The previous multi-lap course years back was hillier, but this race provided a much wider variety of scenery & trail surfaces which was nice.

I was running at an average of 11 minutes per mile (fast for me) for the 1st half, yet figured I was still in the back third of the pack as that's where I started & I wasn't passing very many runners. If someone wanted to set a PR for a trail 50k, this would be a good race to make that attempt -- as long as the weather cooperated like this day!

At about the 20 mile mark I began to get real thirsty -- this was not a good sign as that usually means I'm running a deficit of at least 60 oz. I also should have known there was a problem as I never really had to pee. Rather than try to quench my thirst all at one time & cause sloshing & side pains, I decided to drink what I normally should take in plus only a little extra amount. Getting very thirsty not long after finishing off my water bottle after each aid station did dampen some of the fun this day, but it did serve as a good kick in the pants (to remember next time)! I did end up drinking a half gallon right after the finish & more on the drive home before my bladder would respond! Which reminds me, Wes Fenton, RD & most of the time a fellow participating ultrarunner, had fresh pizza delivered at staggered times for the finishers -- very nice! However, I was bloated and nothing would have been appetizing to me . . .

Other than the hydration problem, I had one other thing happen that I brought onto myself which very easily could have been prevented: On the day before the race, I read Jeffro's race report of last year and it gave me insight to the event & the course. I read about his missed turn at the dam -- and I went right out & did the same thing on race day!! This turn is at the last aid station at about 26 miles that's located on the left side (inbound) of the spillway near the top of the dam. Leaving the aid station I continued on the wide spillway that banked into a curve off to the left & down to the base of the dam. The actual course dropped off the top RIGHT side of the spillway. Very easy to miss since the aid station was on the far left side in the 1st place & quenching my thirst was foremost on my mind! I immediately realized my mistake when I came to a trail junction & there were no markings. I had a good laugh as I walked back up the dam hill!

I'm beginning to look for another "toy" as my Garmin 405 has some shortfalls & it's not giving me everything I'd like to have during a race -- on non-race days it's been OK. The rechargeable battery life is advertised to be 8 hours. At 6 hours (or less), a low battery message comes up & obliterates most of the screen & on this past race day, it rendered the timer & reset buttons useless. Only after unlocking the bezel could I get the watch to stop. I don't like to unlock the bezel once a race has started as it's very sensitive to the touch (by anything!) and can change the modes to where it's difficult to get back to the timer screen. Since my finger coordination is not very good once I get tired, it's best (for me) not to try to change modes or make any adjustments to the watch using the bezel. Also, one time I did not lock the bezel and my sweaty arm shorted it out and the screens on the watch just went beserk.

Next up is the Iron Mountain Trail Run. This course was initially designed & race directed by Eric Grossman, who moved to VA from KY after he had designed & directed the 1st 2 Louisville's Lovin' the Hills. Although Germantown was not the best hill training course, it did give me a confidence boost in hopes of finishing 50 miles in Damascus, VA, within the 12 hour time limit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

last second change

I can't complain about the hot weather, like I usually do every summer. I'd say it's been the "coolest" (& wetest) summer that I can remember here in Louisville. With global warming upon us, I didn't think it would be possible! However, even with the mild summer, my mid summer plan of "short" races was "short-lived". I did get in a few speed works & a few more early morning trail runs than usual, but there always seemed to be other priorities to pop up when that planned short race came up each week. In fact, I ran only one of those 5k's since the Yost 10k July 11 and the 5k I was going to run in just yesterday evening happened to be the first one too hot to attempt (90 degree heat index). On a positive note, I was able to volunteer 51 hours as a Trail Ranger in July in the Jefferson Memorial Forest.

Looking ahead to the Iron Mountain Trail Run on Labor Day weekend, I get the feeling it's going to be a huge step up from my "summer vacation" --- right into a hilly 50 mile race right off the bat, plus I've never run such a long race in early September because of the lack of summer training. So I'm desperately in need of getting a long, good quality tempo run in this weekend . . . Lo & behold, the forecast for this weekend is for much cooler weather!! AND, just last night I remembered the Germantown 50k was this Saturday -- a race which I completely wrote off when they moved the race date up from October last year. Sooooo ...... why not use the race as a tuneup for IMTR 50M? I've decided to send in my entry today & am hoping the forecast holds true. Not sure what to expect as the course has been completely changed from the multi-lap course I ran 2 and 3 years ago in the Fall.