Saturday, September 15, 2012

time to retire?

It's been a week, but I'm just now getting over my race last weekend.

I attempted the LSD 100k at Woodstock and it was like a mirror image of my DNF last year.  Once again by 25 miles (1.5 laps), the abdominal pain had gotten bad enough to call it a day.  Although I stubbornly continued this time for another lap -- at a reduced pace & with alot less fun (more pain) -- I was still short of the 3.75 laps needed to finish.  It was during this last lap that the thought of retiring from running ultras kept going thru my mind . . .  how can I continue to try to run them when I'm having so much pain day to day when I'm not running?  In fact, why am I running at all?  Well, I had my "race recovery run" yesterday & it reaffirmed my love of trail running & I'm going to continue to do so as long as I am able.  Last winter, during my prime running season, I reluctantly did not run for 6 weeks.  It was very tough mentally & the abdominal pain seemed to increase.  That experiment did not work & I'm not going to try that again unless I have no other choice.  So I'm going to continue running till it is no longer enjoyable, and this will dictate how far I run also . . .

Some notes about the course & weather:

The course description for the 100k on the website was (& is still) not correct.  The course was changed from last year and apparently I (& several other runners) missed any prerace corrections/announcements.  Although I was running on the old course (longer loops), it didn't matter in the outcome of the race for those who didn't finish.

The 1st 13 miles or so of each long loop is fairly flat & I would consider this to be one of the fastest courses I've run on, 2nd only to LBL (Land Between the Lakes).  In the last few miles of each loop, there's a couple hills.  They wouldn't be tough in any other race, but after running for a few hours on flat ground, they become a challenge.  If you're looking to do a PR, this would be a course to consider.

It was incredibly dry at the 4 pm start (where was that 100% chance of rain that was supposed to start 2 hours prior to the race??).  I started at the back of the pack & at the entrance to the trail, there was a cloud of dust billowing into the air like a cattle stampede had passed.  I came to a stop.  I did not want to breathe all that into my lungs.  Once most everyone was out of sight, I noticed there was another major change in the course from last year:  sand bars.  It was like running on a beach in many places.  I avoided them the best I could as it felt like they sapped as much energy as deep mud.

What the course needed was some rain, maybe a half inch or so to let the dust & sand bars get packed down.  Finally, about 9 pm, we got a pretty good shower.  The course became hard & fast.  It also helped cool me down somewhat as I had been sweating quite a bit since the start.  I was really waiting for the sub 60 degree temps (never made it).  Also during this 1st shower, I noticed my headlamp was not its usual brightness.  This was a headlamp that I would have highly recommended to anyone due to the intense output, lightness & the ability to last almost all night.  I also noticed that the battery pack (at the back of my head) was hot (no wonder I kept sweating!).  Had I put the batteries in wrong?  I later discovered that water apparently got into the battery chamber as there was corrosion at 2 of the battery terminals & 2 of the 3 batteries were completely dead.  Of course, I also had my backup hand held that worked all night.

The shower lasted an hour or so & I thought, is that all there is?  I was still sweating & I felt running thru rain was enjoyable & a major reason for continuing the race.  The rain did return -- and returned with force.  It rained for the next 6 hours straight.  A steady light rain with spurts of heavier rain.  A deep, to the bone saturating rain -- one that will do me for a while . . .

2 comments:

Chris said...

Ed,

Sorry it didn't go as planned.

Maybe racing ultras is not in your future, but trail running still might be! Or long distance trail hiking. Movement forward, preferably on trails, is all that matters. Keep your chin up.

ed said...

Thanks Barefoot Chris!

It was more like I did not reach what I was hoping for than what I was planning for.

Chin up? With me, only the bad memories fade as time passes after a race. I'm already "hoping" to do better next week.