Sunday, March 24, 2013

Hat Run Race Report 2013

"I'm really not sure how in shape I am so I'll probably just take this race slow and easy"

I swear that as I repeated some version of that phrase to everyone who asked me about my race this weekend I meant it. I really did. I was nervous about my fitness and lack of hill work over the last 2 months so I wanted to take this race easy. I haven't raced since March 2012 and haven't run a race hard since September 2011. So why would would I push myself and go out too fast? Right? Why during the initial sprint across the field would I put myself in the top 10? But let's just say I accidentally did that. I should totally just decided to back off and run the slow and easy race I had planned. Right? No, I'm an idiot. I got caught up in the excitement of racing and after all was said and done I finished the first 17 Miles of the race a full 30 minutes faster than planned.....And I would pay for that mistake.

But let's back things up a bit first. On Friday afternoon my brother showed up at my house. He had driven down from the Poconos to crew for me. For this I was very grateful. He's never been to one of my races and just knowing that I wouldn't have to drive myself home was a huge relief. So not only was I going to have my brother at my race, but I also had a ride home. Double win for me from the start. We spent Friday night discussing the course and where he would need to drive. Hatrun is very easy to crew. There are really only 2 place you need to get to. The start/finish pavilion and a parking lot close by that serves as an aide station 4 times during the race. We made a quick run to sports authority to grab a few cliff shots and we went to sleep.

One of the nice things about Hatrun is the 9am start. This meant we could sleep til 6 and drive down at a relaxed pace. The drive was fine except for the traffic. That soon passed and I began to get dressed. For those who have run ultras before the pre-race Vaseline application process is nothing special. It was gross the first time but after a few applications you get over it. Well this was new for my brother and he was particularly grossed out. One day maybe he'll understand the how avoiding hours of running with chaffed thighs is worth the Vaseline effort, but I digress.

Beautiful weather and dry trails. What more could you ask for. We walked to the start line and I headed off. At this point I was actually really calm. Having been away from racing this whole year there was something about getting back on a start line that just felt good. I had no nervous energy that I could speak of and I honestly just felt grateful to be able to race again. The horn sounded and we were off.

Yea this was my first mistake. I went out faster than I wanted and continued to run faster than I wanted for over 2 hours. The first 3.6 miles were easy. You loop back into the start/finish area and then you go and start the first of 2 13.7 mile loops. Bryan had my water bottle ready at the 3.6 mark and the exchange went well. Next stop mile 7.6. Here Bryan was going to have a cliff shot ready for me because this aide station usually just has water and Gatorade.

The next 4 miles were pretty easy. Had some fun conversation with a few guys. Was told I look like Tony Kurpika, which is always a compliment and a reminder that 1) I should cut my hair at some point and 2) maybe I need to eat more food and put on a few lbs (that dude is skinny). Anyway, cruised into the aide station to see Bryan with his phone out smiling and taking pictures.... No Clif Shot in sight.   At this point I had 2 options. Ask for my Clif shot, or point out that he forgot to have it ready. In my pride I chose the latter. All I said was "dude, we talked about this."And Bryan smiled and took another picture (shown below). By then my water bottle was full and I was out.

After you leave this AS you run another 4 miles, which I covered in 42 minutes, and you end up at basically the same place you were 4 miles ago. Here Bryan had a big smile on his face and a Clif shot in hand. We had a good laugh about it and I was in and out quickly.

The next 5.3 miles are full of big climbs and technical terrain. I started to feel a bit fatigued but this could have been because I either had really needed that Clif Shot earlier or I was running to fast. I'm gonna go with a bit of both. Either way these miles went by slowly but surely I teamed up with 2 other guys and we ran most of the section together.

So let's take stock of where we are at this point. I come into the start/finish pavilion at 2hrs and 30 minutes. I'm 30 minutes ahead of schedule and my left knee has been bugging me since mile 7ish. Not bad. But I haven't run more than 15miles in a day in over a year, the hills seem much bigger this year, and, for some reason I still haven't slowed my pace. This left me with 2 options. I could slow down my pace and chill for the next few hours and finish easily, or I could continue my pace, risk cramps and pain to maybe finish 20 minutes or so faster.... I went with the latter.

13.7 miles to go, 2 aide stations, lots of hills, and the unknown hardships were the only things between me and my finishers award. The first 4 miles went OK. Nothing major to speak of. Bryan was doing a great job cheering me on at the aide stations and I was in good spirits. The second 4 miles of the final loop gave me my first real scare.

On the 2 mileish road section I had caught back up with a guy I had run with earlier and we started chatting. Chatting is not a great way to remind you to keep drinking water. So.... yea I went like 20 minutes without drinking. When you do that late in a race you cramp. I started cramping. First the right hammy then then left. Luckily James (we had exchanged names at that point) had a few cola chews that  really hit the spot. I drank almost my whole water bottle at the point and over the next few hundred yards the cramping stopped. We ran into the aide station together. James and I both told the other that we weren't feeling well and that if the other wanted to go on ahead they could. We both said we wouldn't and that we were going to take it easy.... Yea I think we were both just lying to ourselves. 5.3 miles to go.

During the first loop I had hiked a lot of this section telling myself "if you hike it now you can run it the second lap." That's what I told myself and that what I tried to remind myself of every time I had to start hiking up a hill. For a few moments I had illusions of breaking 4:50 but slowly realized that I didn't have it in me. I got to the final downhill road section and my knees were screaming for a break. 15 more minutes to go. Coming up the final hill I felt a real sense of satisfaction and was nearing one of those reflective moments I have while running. Then I saw a girl coming up behind me and I didn't want to get passed in the last mile. So I had to put my time for reflection and self-satisfaction aside so that I could make sure I didn't get passed. :-) Ok cross the line, get my hat, and the awesome under armor hoodie (great swag btw!) and now I can contemplate the deeper stuff.

I love running. I love running with people who love running. There's just something about it that gives me a sense of peace. I thank God for running daily and the ability to enjoy it. I don't feel that way everyday but today was one of those days. One of those days where running was hard, easy, fun, and so much more than just running. It was about sharing a great passion of mine with my brother for the first time. It was about pushing myself when I could have taken it easy. It was about experiencing the beauty of God's creation by exploring it under the power provided by my human body. What a gift! Our bodies are amazing. We can do so much with them. Experience so much joy, triumph, and satisfaction, if we only apply ourselves to the perfection of a craft. For me that craft is trail running. Something about it brings me closer to God, closer to my wife, my family, my friends, and closer to the kind of man I want to be. Today was a good day and I believe there are many more like it to come.

Finally Racing Again, Kinda

So this week I'll be running Hatrun. First race since Hatrun last year. I have not intention of trying to post a good time. I just want to run my race and finish unharmed so I can keep training for Hellgate.

Monday- 2 miles Road morning, 4.5 treadmill in evening
Tuesday- 5.2 Core Creek with Fgoz
Wednesday- 1 mile morning 5.2 Core Creek with Justin
Thurs- Rest
Fri- Rest
Sat- 31 miles Hatrun, cramps and pain but ran a 4:53. Happy with that.
Sun- 15 minutes biking and some core work. Very sore today, outside of the knees especially...arch feels ok....

Week- 49 Miles
March- 144 Miles
Year- 512 Miles

Monday, March 18, 2013

Final Prep for Hatrun!

Mon-  15 miles at Neshaminy 1:19:14 for the first 10. My watch died and I ran the last 5 with Justin. He's training for his leg of the Laurel Highland Ultra relay we're running. So tired today.
Tues- rest
Wed- 8 core creek. Very sore Achilles. Slightly worried about that.
Thurs- Off
Fri- 10 neshaminy, nice and slow.
Sat- 5 At Core Creek with Bryan- 50:00 which is a new record for him.
Sun- 3 at Neshaminy with Bryan again, his first experience of an actualt "hill"

Week- 41
March- 95
Year- 463

Monday, March 11, 2013

Need This Rest Week, But didn't get it.

Ok so this week was supposed to be a rest week. Then the next 2 weeks were going to be hard training followed up by a rest week and the Hatrun. Well I got my schedule mixed up and Hatrun is actually only 2 weeks away. Opps. I figured this out on Friday, thus the 15 on sat and 7 on Sunday. Oh well. Bad planning on my part.

Mon- 2 Miles treadmill, Core work, Calf Work
Tues- 5 Neshaminy, Hip aubductors and such.
Wed- 3 miles
Thurs- 3 Road, 2 treadmill. 15% incline for 1 miles, took 12:15. Not bad. Outside of ankles kills.
Fri- 4 Core Creek with my brother in the snow
Sat- 10 -Am Neshaminy 1:21:15 5- PM Neshaminy Felt very tired
Sun- 7 Neshaminy 53:40 Autopilot for the whole run. Was exhausted.

Week- 41
March- 54
Year- 422

Monday, March 4, 2013

2013 Goals

So I basically failed on every running goal that I set for myself in 2012. I think most of that was out of my control given that I came into 2012 injured and almost nothing I did seemed to aide that. I guess I would have gone to a docotor sooner. That may have gotten me back running quicker but who  knows.  The point is that I am for healthier going into this year and than last, therefore I am far more optimistic about my chance of accomplishing my goals than I was last year. I will also be recycling most of those goals since....well I still want to do them.

#1 Goal for 2013- Finish Hellgate- Hellgate was the race that got me into ultrarunning in the first place. One night 4 years ago Chris Palladino talked of a race that started at midnight, then he corrected himself 12:01AM. He spoke of a small group of people that set out in the middle of the night to cover multiple mountains on snow covered trails all with the hope of being called a Hellgate Finisher. It was his description of this race that peaked my interest in the sport and I thought maybe one day I can run that race. Well that race is about 10 months from now. I have just completed 2 solid months of training and I'm optimistic about getting into the race. Finishing it is #1 on my list for the year.  

#2 Run 2,000 miles for the year- In a perfect world this won't be difficult. Then again I haven't seemed to be able to go more than 3 months without injury so putting together a solid year is still a stretch in my mind. So 2,000 miles seems like a good bet. That's about 166 a month.....shouldn't be super difficult.

#3 Run the PA section of the AT- It's over 200miles of trail. I think that would be cool to run my state's section of it over multiple days.

#4 Complete the Laurel Highland Ultra 70.5 Miles relay with my friends- I have been looking forward to the day when my close friends would join me in my passion for running. That's hasn't happened yet but they do seem to be interested in running this relay in June. Looks like they will have to run 10+ miles each so they're gonna have to put in some training between now and then.

#5 Another top 10 Finish in a 50K- Most likely the race that I will have a chance to accomplish this is BluesCruise in October. I like this race. It's close to home, it's mostly single track, and I finished top 10 there before. I would love to get a fast, 4:15ish 50k pr in this year. Maybe it'll happen, maybe not.

So yea there's my top 5. Finishing my Masters Degree this summer will also be a priority....not sure where it would fall on the list but it's on there somewhere.

Coulda Been 200

Started the weak strong but then my arch just began to feel really really tired. Sore and achy are maybe better words to describe how it was feeling but tired seems to be the general mood. Still very happy with this month given that it was almost 200 miles. March probably won't get to 200 either because of Hatrun but that's ok. I'm just happy to be running consistently again. Feels great.

Mon- 7 NHS 51:15 Muddy and wet so this was actually pretty fast. 2 miles Treadmill. Put the incline at 15% and was able to keep a 13:30ish pace for over a mile. Very happy with that.
Tues- 5.2 Core creek.40:05 achilles hurting again.
Wed- 8 core creek Sluggish, PF not great
Thurs- 10 NHS 1:15:25 Thought I was moving slow....finished the 7 mile in like 52 which is ok. Happy with this run
Fri- 8 core creek. 59:30 sluggish whole time. Need rest week.
Sat- 5 NHS. Pf felt weak. Needs rest.
Sun rest

Week- 45
Feb- 188
March- 13
Year- 381