Monday, November 28, 2005

100 Miles in 23:42

I did it, just barely. After hitting 100 I did another lap just to add a cushion in case the lap counters made a mistake, so altogether my mileage was probably 100.4.

I hit 50 miles in 11:21 (a PR for me), so it took 12:21 for the second fifty.

I am now US Centurion 61. I'll post more later. It's hard to walk and I've got many blisters. My body hates me!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday Morning Coach

Here's my analysis of what went wrong yesterday. I had a LOT of time to think about it and I'm pretty sure I know what happened. I made some classic beginner's mistakes, and I'm not a beginner, so that was frustrating. But at least I finished, and that's important to me.

Here are the mistakes I made:

1. Unrealistic expectations: although I told people I wasn't going to try to PR, I still had that thought in the back of my head. The problem is that my PR was set back in April on a cool day on a much easier course that I always suspected was short. I should have known that setting a PR on this much tougher course was not realistic. I also should have realized that the higher temperatures (starting in the 60s, reaching the 80s) would also affect my goals. I've always believed in having three goals for every race:
A-Ideal time given good conditions, good training and smart racing
B-Fall back goal in the event that goal A is unrealistic
C-Just finish the damn thing

I should have dropped from A to B before the race even started. I might not have been much faster, but I could have finished strong and felt much better if I had.

2. Going Out Too Fast: I can't tell you how many times we warn our Team in Training group about maintaining pace in the beginning and not going out too fast. Unfortunately I failed to heed my own advice. My 50k PR pace is 12:25. Here were my splits for the first 6 miles: 11:45, 11:56, 11:25, 12:21, 11:50, 12:11. This was way toooooooooo fast, given the difficulty of the trail, the weather, etc. I charged the uphills instead of taking them slowly and I pushed hard. If this had been a 10k I would have been thrilled. But this was a 50k; basically, I burned up my energy in the first 6 miles and still had 25 to go!

3. Trying Something New on Race Day: Again, this is something we always warn against in Team in Training. You don't know how it will affect you, so don't try it! Here's what happened to me: I've been using a new energy gel, Honey Stinger. I really like it--it's sweet but doesn't taste bad like other gels. Well recently I've been trying to eat more naturally and trying to save money, so I decided instead of buying a bunch of Honey Stinger gel I would just go buy some honey. I filled two gel flasks with honey and hit the trails. The first time I ate some honey I started to feel queasy, and the feeling never went away. I was nauseous for about 5 1/2 hours. Normally during ultras I eat a lot, and I need that energy to keep up my pace and finish the race. Yesterday I hardly ate anything--1/4 PB&J, a few handfuls of chips, some coke, some water. I tried to throw up several times but never could. So not only did I use up a lot of energy in the early miles, but I couldn't replace it as the race went on. For the last ten miles my paces were between 13:00 and 18:00(!!!) minutes per mile.

So, I relearned some hard lessons yesterday. It's no fun making mistakes like this and having to pay the price, but I will definitely remember them in my upcoming races. It was definitely a tough day: there were 86 people registered for the 50k, only 70 finished. Unofficially I was 58th.

An interesting fact: Of the top ten 50k finishers, one was in her 20s, one was in his 30s, the rest were in their 40s and 50s (the winner was a 45 year old male). There were only 4 racers in their 20s. The oldest finishers were 67 and 68 (and they finished ahead of me!). Ultramarathons seem to be a sport for the mature and the patient.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ugh. Worst 50k Ever

My slowest time ever: 7:24:10. It was not a good day for a 50k. Warm (it got over 80), windy, sunny. I'll post more later. The good thing is I learned a lot today. The bad thing is that I had already learned this stuff, but forgot it today and paid the price (Death March).

The two really good things are:

1. I finished. No DNF. "Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever."--Lance Armstrong.
2. I feel really good, all things considered. I'm super tired but have no aches or pains and am walking well. Two weeks until Ultracentric.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I don't believe in fate, but...

For the last year I've been interested in thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. I love the idea of being away from civilization for months (with occasional breaks to refuel), and I love the idea of pushing myself to do something I never, ever, ever, ever would have thought was possible for me. For the last couple of weeks I've been so seriously considering it that I've started downloading maps, reading guides and personal accounts, rereading a book about the trail and buying another one. I've started trying to figure out a budget. The hardest thing will not be the hike, but being away from my family for three to four months and figuring out how they will be able to make it without my income while I'm gone (save, save, save). My goal is April 2008 or 2009.

Then today I came home and found the latest issue of Ultrarunning in my mailbox. The cover story? A thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Strange, no?

In other news, I'm about to have either a very exciting or very foolish month. I'm going to complete four races in four weeks, three of them ultras. This Saturday I'll be racing in the Rockledge Rumble 50k. Two weeks later I will race in the Ultracentric 24 hour track race (with a goal of 100 miles so I can be officially recognized as a "Centurion" racewalker). Two weeks later I will race in the Sunmart 50 miler. And then the next day I will join my Team in Training mentor group for the White Rock Half Marathon. I've registered for all races except White Rock. My plan is to take it easy and enjoy Rockledge, then push hard for 100 miles at Ultracentric, then stay under the cutoffs at Sunmart and just cruise slowly with the Team at White Rock. If I'm having any weird aches or pains, I'll skip a race; I don't want to get an injury.

After that it will be Bandera 100k in January, then Rocky Raccoon 100 miler in February. Assuming all goes well......gulp......