Thursday, March 28, 2013

no disappointment

Last Saturday, I finished my 5th Clinton Lake 30m race.  I came in with no expectations so that I wouldn't be disappointed.  I was prepared to enjoy myself regardless and would be happy with anything.  Well, it worked.  Guess that's how I need to prepare myself from now on . . . . . 
Clinton Lake power plant:
After the 800+ runners at LBL, it seemed like only a handful of runners showed up this race -- the smallest field that I can remember for this venue.  The RD had us park door to door so that everyone could fit into the parking lot, but only half or so of the lot ever filled up. 

The RD had another new idea:  have your race number imprinted on the white singlet that you were given at packet pick-up.  I wasn't planning on wearing a shirt.  I usually don't wear shirts that have advertisement plastered on them or if they're white either (because of deer hunters).  Most other runners were wearing them, so I wore it at the start.

Speaking of deer, this brute was just outside my bedroom window about a month ago:

It seems my abdominal pain is morphing once again:  some added pain along & under the entire ribcage w/occasional cramps.  It has been tolerable (so far).  It had no effect on me race day.

Race day temps were 33 to 50.  It was warmer than predicted, but still a great running temp range.  The only drawback to the warmer temps was the course thawed out quickly when the sun came out.  What was just wet on the 2nd half of the 1st loop, turned into a mudfest by the 3rd loop.  I couldn't believe that this trail would ever have me bringing out comparisons to McNaughton Park (not good).  The super sloppy sections were much shorter here, but beared the same ressemblance.  There were records broken this day (I was lapped by 2 runners for the 1st time here), but the faster runners missed out on this mud fun.

Even with a faster early pace, I never felt any of that fatigue feeling like at LBL -- just a steady loss of leg lift as the race progressed.

next up:

I've always used Clinton Lake 30m as practice for the longer race at McNaughton Park (now Potawatomi Trail Runs) that follows 2 weeks later.  The short up & down hills with soft dirt trails are somewhat similar, although Potawatomi has a few larger hills.  I hope I won't have to make use of the bonus practice I earned on last Saturday's soupy trails, although I suspect it's about time for another rainy day at muddy McNutty.  If it's anything like at Clinton Lake, I will likely have a very short time to have fun.  I'm signed up for 150 miles, but I have no expectations.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

a new norm

The abdominal pain I have is not consistently the same, whether it be when, where in the abdomen or its intensity.  If it was the same all the time, I think the Drs. or I could pinpoint it & figure it out.  I'm afraid my running performance has taken on the same resemblance -- unpredictable (& not pleasant) more times than not.  After my run at Land Between the Lakes (LBL) this past weekend, I believe I need to accept the new norm for my performances, which is inconsistent/unpredictable.  The "good" run I had at Mountain Mist last January seems to have been just an aberration.  My list of things that can go wrong just seems to grow.

At LBL, I had a very unexpected collapse at mile 11 of the 50 mile race.  The boring details:

I cannot blame the pace this time as I forced myself to run at about 12 minutes/mile for the 1st 2 miles -- this was mostly so that I would be placed with others near that same pace when the course entered the single track off the road.  As every year, where you were placed would largely determine your pace for the 1st loop, unless you did something drastic -- like pull off & wait or constantly pass a continuous line of runners.  I felt I did that better than any other of my 7 previous starts in this race.  It was also the slowest I've ever started.  The plan worked perfect & I was patting myself on the back as I felt the 12 minute/mile pace I found myself running on the single track trail was restrained, not pushed like in previous years.  I had run the 1st 18 miles of Mountain Mist 50k comfortably earlier this year at just less than a 12 minute/mile average & finished well so I was feeling pretty confident.

At mile 11 though, I suddenly became very fatigued!  I had just been thinking . . . in a couple more miles I can be free to run my style when most of the runners peel off after the 1st lap.  Really puzzled by this abrupt "collapse", I immediately had to go into my "survival" pace -- a pace that I would be able to finish the 60k race with & not have to walk.  The 50 mile cutoff was now impossible & in no way could I make 50 miles anyway the way I felt.  I had slogged 26 miles at Pinhoti at my survival pace when I was shutdown by the heat at 25 miles, so I thought it wouldn't be a problem -- I was wrong.  With 9 miles left to finish the 3 laps (60k), I just didn't have any more energy.  I should have dropped at mid-lap, but was just too stubborn & didn't want to bother anyone either.  What didn't help was I also lost motivation -- I walked everything, including every downhill.  It took over 3 hours to walk those 9 uninspired miles.  I tried hard to enjoy the beautiful day -- that's the only thing that kept me going.  Still, I was dejected & out of it as I slowly walked down the hill to the finish -- all in sight of the spectators who were cheering? at the finish line.  That was a first for me as I've always at least trotted across a finish line -- pretty sad.

Other notes:

This race always has the most runners that I know and can recognize & I always enjoy being able say a few words with many of them -- whether it be at packet pickup or sometime during race day.  In fact, the highlight of the race was being able to run with Chris & Jeff, at least for a mile or two! 

Scott Breeden, who won LLTH 50k in an INCREDIBLE 4:07, repeated with another super performance with 4:07 in the 60k - WOW!   He lapped me near mile 15 (he was on mile 26).  He was running a sub 3 hour marathon & I know I couldn't keep up with him even if I was sprinting a 50 yard dash.

With global warming, the new norm for late Spring & early Fall (when heat matters the most to me) is that temps will be above average -- I realize that (but still haven't accepted it yet).  This year it started early with the 10 deg above average temps at LBL, but it was certainly not a factor for me this race day.  Had it reached the mid 70's (it didn't) and I was running (I wasn't), it might have been a factor.

My belly hurt a little during the race, but nothing unusual & not a factor.  I've found that my new posture at night & that the liquid diet pre-race (& only gels during the race) has helped (so far).  Based on training runs around home though, I've found that even this can be inconsistent.

Having gone on a diet after seeing my belly hang out at LLTH, I lost 5 pounds in less than 4 weeks and edged below the so-called "obese" weight for my height (I'm still very much overweight though).  At first I thought this diet could have had some effect on my race performance at LBL, but really, I don't think it would have been that drastic.  However, I have decided to suspend serious dieting till the summer off season & to load up with more carbs during taper week.

I came down with some kind of "bug" Monday night after LBL.  Other than a little nagging cough now & then, it appears I'm finally over it.  I'm planning on getting in a good run (in the rain) tomorrow morning.

Next up:

With my new norm, I have dropped all expectations for my 5th Clinton Lake 30m next Saturday.  I had felt I could run better than 6:30 and was hoping to break 6 hours, but that was before LBL.  Weather is expected to be cool (& windy) as it's always been there -- which will be nice.

LBL threw a wrench into my plans, however,  I'm still signed up for 3 long ultra races this Spring:  Potawatomi, Indiana Trail & Massanutten.  Potawatomi had a half price early bird special ($75) last April & I couldn't resist.  I signed up for Indiana Trail as a backup/alternate to Potawatomi (they're only 2 weeks apart).  Also, I'm on the waiting list (#22 currently) for Massanutten in May so I can't count on getting in.