Monday, May 5, 2008

Collegiate Peaks 50 mile attempt.

Leading up to Race Day:

Since the end of Greenland 50K a few weeks ago I have been thinking and mauling over this race. It will be my first attempt at completing 50 miles in one shot. The most I have ran so far in my short running career of 3-4 years is the 34 mile race in Moab last Feb. So this not only going to be a physical challenge for me but mostly it will be a mental challenge. I have never faced such distances before.

The week leading up to the race I changed my training plan from running pretty much every day to just running 2 times this week at a very slow pace. You can see this in my Log on the last post. My thought process behind this was to try and give myself some sort of taper and go into the race as refreshed as I could. I think this came back to bite me in the butt. Looking back on my log I was reporting feelings of being sluggish and tired all week. I also was not sleeping or eating well due to the lack of running. I seem to control my diet better when I am running regularly. All week long I have been worried about how my belly was going to act during the week and got all kinds of advice, I was throwing up at my last race, and was putting all kinds of stress on myself. With not running in the evenings like I normally do it gave me so much time to sit and think about the upcoming race which in turn created more stress. By Friday everything felt blah and running on Saturday morning did not appeal to me like it normally would. Looking back at it now, it seems that I have sucked all the fun out of the week leading up to the race.

Race Day:

Link to the race site:

As I woke up on Saturday morning at 5:15 am for the 6:30 am start I was thinking how I did not want to get out of bed. I slept fairly well considering the box hotel room bed that Ashley and I were sleeping on. Normally I would be jumping around with excitement on race morning but that was not the case today. After eating 2 pieces of bread with peanut butter and a banana we headed over to the race start a few blocks away. It was about 25 degrees out with clear skies and about a 5-10 mph wind in the open. I was wearing my GoLite running shorts, long sleeve shirt, and my GoLite jacket. Hopefully it will warm up quickly after the start because I was freezing cold.

At 6:30 am as the sun was finally starting to warm the earth up a little a large group of us runners headed out of Buena Vista east into the mountains. The first 3 miles or so was mostly on roads that were rolling mostly in an upwards direction. I started in the back and took my time. It seemed like my legs did not want to run this morning. My plan was just to take my time and get to the 25 mile turn around before the cutoff time of 5 hours, this means averaging 5 mph or quicker.

The first 10 miles is mostly all uphill with a gain of about 1300-1400 feet. These 10 miles were for the most part very uneventful for me as I just jogged along about a 6.5 mph average trying my hardest not to hammer the beginning like I always do. I made sure that I was drinking lots of water and a little bit of HEED along with eating a little something at every aid station. I wanted to make sure that I try and keep my energy levels up since it was going to be a long day out on the trails.

Here is a picture of the elevation profile. The first 25 miles you read it from left to right. The second lap or 25 miles you read it from right to left.

At about mile 10 the course takes a big downward direction with a few short climbs for the next four miles. I decided that on one of these down hills at about mile 12 that I was going to just let gravity take me and build me a little bit of a time buffer for the cutoff. As I was flying down the hill doing 10-12 mph I felt a pop in my right hip that stopped me dead in my tracks. I felt like someone was stabbing me in the hip with a big ass needle. I started walking and within a couple of minutes the pain turned into a pulsing ache that I could handle for now.

Mile 14 to 18 was the next big climb of about 1000-1100 feet. This climb was not too bad, I was able to keep a pretty good jog up the hill except every 15 minutes or so the stabbing pain would return in my hip and force me to walk for about a minute or two. Overall it was not bad, I was dreading the downhill and flats that remained from 18 to 25 the turn around point.

The pain that I had in my hip from mile 21 to 25 which is mostly rolling downhill was BAD. It was causing me to walk a lot more than I am used to. I think I may have pulled or strained something and the pain in my hip was getting worse and worse the closer I got to the finish line. The pain was also causing me to change my stride which was causing cramping in my whole right leg, what the hell?? It took all my will power to jog the final downhill to the turn around to where Ashley was waiting for me.

As I came in I was so upset and pissed off. I told the guy working the race that I was unsure about going on and may switch over to the 25 miler. He told me to let him know because they want to make sure that they account for everyone. Ashley made me lay down on the grass and she tried to stretch out my hip. It hurt so bad that I had tears running down my cheeks as she was stretching me. At that point I threw in the towel per say. It was done, I did not want to cause anymore damage than what I already did. I collected my finishers metal for the 25 miler and was told my time was 4 hours and 10 minutes. Not to bad considering that I was holding back to run another 25 miles. When I dropped from the 50 I was in about 6th or 7th place and was feel good with the exception of my hip. Oh well maybe next time I will get my first 50.

Quick Reflections of the Race:

Looking back now at last week and how I was feeling about everything has prompted some interesting thoughts.

1) I think I cut my running volume way to much for the week. I should have kept some of the volume and just cut out the intensity of the run.

2) Is it possible for my mental outlook to physically affect how a body part is feeling? I think so, I think that I was so worked up about this race all week that when something did not go my way it was magnified by 100 times. As I got closer to the turn around the worse the pain was.

3) I cut my salt intake on this run by over half compared to Greenland 50K. My stomach felt a lot better as compared to before.

4) I think after the soreness goes away in my right leg and I get back to training that the volume of running 60-70 miles a week is about right but I need to increase my total hours spent cross training. Get back to hitting the weight room and pool 2-3 times a week. I may have to start going before work to get this extra time in.

Thank you for reading and have a great week.