Wednesday, March 17, 2010

2010 Land Between the Lakes

Land Between the Lakes (LBL) & Louisville's Lovin' the Hills (LLTH) are the only trail ultras left in KY since Herb dropped his Natural Bridge & KUTS races several years ago. LBL has survived all these years & has thrived -- quadrupling in size since I first ran on this course in 2005. So with this year's race being my 6th straight running, it would seem logical I would have learned how to run this race most efficiently & stuck to it . . . Nope. I thought I had it down pat last year as I finally had a good run, but I went out & totally ignored that strategy that worked so well. "Stupid is as stupid does."

This is the bad habit that I've reverted to 5 of the last 6 years: The first 1.7 miles of the course is a paved roadway before entering an 11.3 mile single track loop that's repeated several times. Most (more than 80% of the 300+ runners this year) I line up with each year are running a shorter distance. It's only natural their pace (as a whole) would be faster, so it follows that I would be at a slower pace, right? It's not that I get burned out running a fast pace in those 1.7 miles. It's that once we reach the trail, we're funneled down into single track & into long lines of runners and I try to keep with the flow -- so I stay on pace with everyone (I'm too pigheaded to pull off the course for a few minutes). The pace is actually easy, but of course it's only the 1st lap of 4. I usually don't get into my own pace until the one lap runners drop off the course at 13 miles -- by then it's too late, the damage has been done. This course causes me more problems on starting pace than any other I run. I've already set my goal for next year (& it only involves 1.7 miles).

the race:

The course was in pretty good condition & the temps were cool -- many records were broke this day. There were a few muddy spots, but not bad, although these spots would become wallowed out a little more by the 4th lap & we had some rain then too.

I felt good the 1st lap, but also felt a little spent near the end at 13 miles (this was not a good sign). By the end of the 2nd lap at about 24 miles, my legs were gone. I began thinking about dropping down to 60k (3 laps) like a dozen other 50 milers eventually did. Instead of quitting, I decided to go into my very slow, but steady pace mode -- a pace that would let me finish without walking the flats. The only problem with that was that I still had a cutoff to make if I wanted to continue on to 50 miles. If I didn't finish the 3rd lap in 7 hours 45 minutes (13 minute pace), I would be forced to head to a 60k finish. Somehow making it under the cutoff, I continued with my "survival" pace -- it suited me & I actually felt pretty good the last lap. Not good enough to get into the "running" mode again, but enough that I enjoyed myself the entire lap & that's what it's about! Official time: 11:05:16, about half an hour slower than last year.

Looking back, I did have fun & as usual, ran into many familiar faces & was introduced to a few new ones! Ones I can remember and was able to get in a word or two: Steve & John D., Mike H., Jeff R., Cynthia H., Kim R., Troy & Kara S., Josh A., Brian Y., Bob E., Logan S., Jennifer B., Chris M. & David G. I heard my name shouted out by at least 4 runners who I didn't know. Two of them took the time to introduce themselves & I'm happy that they did: Mike Matteson -- I had seen at several other races, but we had never met. I'll see Mike again at my next 2 events: Clinton Lake 30M & McNaughton Park 100M. Congrats on a nice run Mike! Henry Cubero -- I had seen his name on the LLTH entry list, but that was about it. We kind of leap frogged thru the race, but Henry became hobbled as he felt like he had a stress fracture in one foot. After starting the 4th lap he had to drop at the next aid station -- that was pretty gutsy to start on that last lap Henry!

extra notes:

Thanks to Steve Durbin, RD and all the dedicated volunteers who make this one of the most organized & enjoyable events that I attend each year!

Congrats to Cynthia Heady, RD of LLTH, who captured her 2nd win in the 50 miler!

Hats off to the runner (Naresh?) who finished the 50 miler wearing Vibrams Five Fingers!


Next up is Clinton Lake 30M. This has proved to be good preparation for McNaughton, so looking forward to the event.

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