It’s been a pretty good year of training so far; I’ve done more runs over 15 miles this year than I ever did while younger and training for the marathon and have done several 20 mile training runs. That, coupled with the easy course in Weston, Ma. seemed to spell 50k PR.
To get to the point- I finished in 6:30, about a 12 minute PR for 50k. Should be happy- I guess- but really I am just more pissed off than usual. A longer race report follows.
The Trail Animals Running Club puts on this race annually; in the inaugural last year I dropped at 19.65 miles in the cold rain. This year- beautiful weather with forecasts in the mid 50’s with sun and breeze. The course was changed to a 5 loop course (5 10k loops if you need the math done). There are a few inclines but no real hills, there are sections of roots and rocks and mud but overall it’s a fast course, as fast as you will see on trails.
Loop1- I settled back in a 10:40 per mile pace and tried to go easy and hold on and avoid burning out on the fast course. No issues and ahead of my 6:15 goal pace.
Loop 2- Running alone I dialed it back a drop to 10:45 pace and stayed right on that for the whole 10k loop. Again, no issues and ahead of schedule
Loop 3- Dead on 10:45 pace to approximately mile 16, over half way to 50k. I took some fluid and a gel and felt a cramp rip through my gut that stopped me in my tracks. For the last couple of miles on the loop I walked and jogged in trying to figure out what was going on.
Loop 4- At the end of Loop 3 I met Dean who had finished the ½ marathon earlier (nice job btw!) and I swapped bottles out and headed back out mumbling about stomach issues. I immediately felt cramping in my gut when trying to run and thought about walking back out a mile into the loop. I kept moving; each time I drank or ate more cramps ripped through my stomach. I stopped trying to eat/drink about 2 miles into the loop. Of course, dehydration was setting in and I started to cramp in the legs pretty badly. Bottom line- no fun, stumbling and miserable. I dropped average pace down to about 12:20 but was moving way slower than that.
Loop 5- final loop. Met Dean again and stood there wondering whether to bother going out. He reminded me I was still moving at a better average pace than my PR and to go out for it- made sense. I took off my waist bottle pack- it felt great to get it off my stomach. Dean also gave me a full bottle to drink and I was able to down it and start to rehydrate and felt none of the cramps I had before. I left the pack, grabbed a bottle in hand, ate a few chips and headed out. Oddly, I started running and ran through the majority of the loop- slowly, but way faster than on loop 4 where I walked and jogged brutally slowly. Although I bonked a bit around mile 29-30 since I had no more drink (and also left all my food in the pack back at the start) I finished in 6:30, passing a few people along the last loop and feeling a little better about the day.
So a PR- should I feel good about that? Eh, no. This was a simple course and I was trained. The fact is that since having Gall Bladder removal surgery last year there are times in these races and long training runs when my stomach heads south (reminder to self, the Oil Creek disaster of ’11) and it trashes my runs. Still working through it but I’d like to put one of those “it all went well” days together. I don’t have doubts I would have been 10-15 minutes faster without the issues (still slow by most standards but decent for me) but hey it was what it was. Back to the trails. This was an easy race and there is much tougher work ahead. On the up side- I finished April running 170 miles, my best since I started running again in 2010 and hopefully the start of some higher consistent miles.
Great race put on by Trail Animals.
Congrats to all who ran and finished well, especially Dean and Mike who finished his first 50k and ran very well.
Next race up- Finger Lakes 50 Miler June 30, with a little something extra planned early in June as training…..