Monday, July 30, 2007

White River 50 Mile

It was a brisk cloudless July Morning. The sun had yet to show it's beautiful yellow face above the hilltops. Just kidding!
My time, 10:18 tie for 67th place with Shawn Lawson. A 33 minute PR on the course. I felt that I was under trained for the race but I still had aggressive goals for the day. One of them was to be under 10 hours but it wasn't meant to be on this day. Maybe next year.
My strategy for the race was pretty much the same as last year. To run the 37 miler not 50. Then at Sun Top, mile 37, change shoes and run 2 10k's one down the hill letting gravity do it's work and then one and one in the "flats" giving it all I had left. This works good for me because I can work up to a good speed on the downhill using muscles that are fresh and then empty the tank to the finish. That's all great but I still had to get to mile 37!
The "gun" goes off and everybody starts their watches. I wanted to stay a head of the Congo line that happens during the first 5 miles, so I started out a little fast.
I was through the first A/S in 35 min. Ouch that was a little fast. That's just under a 9 minute mile. But I didn't get suck behind any slow runners. Last year I ran 42 min. in this section. After about a mile more of slightly downhill the climbing starts and continues with a few breaks until the 17 mile mark. I was at the next A/S, Ranger Station in 2:14. Wow! Last year I really didn't take it easy on this first climb but I sure was a lot slower. I guess I'm just a stronger climber now. That or, I'm about to die from going way too fast. I did that 7.8 miles in 99 min. (it was 120 minutes last year). 28 minutes ahead of last year and on a 9 hour pace. I knew I was pushing the pace a bit but I still felt good. More uphill and the first of some technical sections were what this next section was all about. It's also "technical" trying to squeeze past the faster runners coming back the other way on a trail that's just barely wide enough for one runner. Just after getting my picture taken and getting labeled team green which seemed to get pasted on faster than the speed of light I got to the next A/S. Time to Coral Pass was 3:20, 1:06 from the Ranger Station. That's the exact same time that I ran it last year. Oops, this could mean trouble. It's a good thing I didn't know that at the time. Although, last year I took the early start and the leaders caught me about 1/2 before the Ranger station. They helped to pull me along (at a faster pace than normal for me then) to the turn around. At the A/S my premixed bottle was still frozen Solid, so I had to go with the GU2O that was there. That's a lesson for next time.
On the return trip I got to see all the runners that I was in front of, and there were a lot more of them than I expected. The trip back down to the Ranger Station (in 4:22, 2 min. faster than last year) was good I passed a few runners and got passed by 2. So now I'm 30 minutes ahead of last year. That's only about 5 - 10 minutes faster than I wanted to be (or maybe should have been). Now it's all downhill to the next A/S at the S/F line. I pretty much coasted 90% of the way there. This was a nice time to rest and chat a little. I got there in 57 minutes (5:15 total) That's a minute faster than last year. So now I'm 35 minutes ahead of where I was a year ago and right where I wanted to be. So what now? Well they couldn't find my drop bag so after looking for it for a few minutes I gave up and went with the GU2O again. And then had a PB&J sandwich and then they found my bag and I switched back to Perpetuem and Heed. I wasted about 5 minutes there but that gave me a rest.
Finally I'm off headed up to Sun Top but first there's a stop at Fawn Ridge and a pit stop in the woods. I pushed it a little getting there and it felt good. I passed about 5-6 people on the way to Fawn Ridge. I did get passed once but I passed him back. I also passed the one person that passed me on the downhill into Buck Creek.
So I run into the A/S and there's TC! Now I know I didn't run up the hill that fast. His knee was bleeding pretty bad so I guess that slowed him down. I gave him some mocha and he was outta there. I waited for Shawn to catchup from her pit stop and then headed out. I never did catch back up to Tc. Time to Fawn Ridge 6:22 (1:07 from Buck Creek) So even though I waited 5 minutes at Buck Creek I was still 6 minutes faster than last year and now 41 minutes ahead of last year. Shawn and I headed out after she came in and fueled up. Total A/S time 6 minutes.
Next stop Sun Top. I ran downhills and walked most of the uphill. It took 1:28 to get to the top, 3 minutes fast than last year (total 7:50). So now I'm at the top of the race. Two 10k's left to go and I'm 45 minutes ahead of where I was last year.
That sounds like right where I wanted to be. So I changed my shoes and headed down the mountain. It takes a couple minutes to get into a rhythm of running on that dirt road but I found it and was cruising right along. I wasn't as relaxed as I could have been but I didn't want to push it any harder/faster (faster is easier, less braking, less bouncing, more hamstrings). There were a few fast drivers on the road that really ticked me off but we wont have to worry about that next year. I got to the bottom in a mind numbingly slow time of 1:07! Ouch that really sucked. That's 6 minutes slower than last year. A whole mile per hour slower and about 17 minutes slower than I wanted. I guess that fast start caught up to me. ;^) Total time 8:57, still 39 minutes ahead of last year. Now for the last section, Skookum Flats which is actually uphill and not flat. I didn't run this section hard, but I didn't take it easy either. I kept moving at a good pace but not really motivated to push it. It took me 1:21 which was 6 minutes slower than last year. Final time 10:18, a nice PR of 33 minutes.
I didn't Bonk all day. I didn't get any blisters, or chaffing. I didn't fall (other than having to put a hand down once maybe twice). I didn't count the wear falls or root catches (my knees never touched the ground. That was a nice change after 12 summits in the dark!) I did have fun all day. I pushed my muscles to their limit and kept them there for a long time. And Finally thanks to Shawn for keeping me entertained all day.
I did loose motivation to run hard. I didn't do very well in planning my drop bags. I did start to feel sick at about 34 miles (Same as Mt. Si) but didn't get sick. I did have gas left unused in the tank after I finished.
Pictures coming soon. (as soon as Glenn Tachiyama posts them) He may be a great photographer but he can't do miracles.


robtherunner said...

A nice PR, Arthur! Maybe not as good as you hoped, but good nonetheless. I haven't even broke 11 hours there yet.

GotLegs! said...

Arhtur, just a couple of fine tuning items (it's taken me years to get there), and you'll be surprised at how fast you can cover the course.

Recommendations for this race (even if they change the course some)

1) don't do drop bags (or minimize them). Use a crew if you think you need something you can't carry. This takes practice which is why I do 12 summits with a few bottles and the small waist pack. Also, I carry sandwich halves in my pockets.
2) A/S: stop only long enough to get water, small foods, salt tabs at the aid station. Add up all the time you spent at the aid stations, then take them off of your overall time. What did you run?
3) don't change your shoes - it's not necessary!!! This is mental dude, you don't need to do it.
4) Don't wait for anyone if you're racing.
5) Stay focussed - concentrate. This means push forward with purpose on purpose. If you do this on 12 summits climbs (you have, I've seen you), you can do it in the race. I can't remember a time when I pushed too hard "walking" in any race. The only time I can't do it is when I'm already wasted from running too hard on the flats and/or downhill. This is very difficult to do because you have to stay focussed the whole time and you get mentally tired.

Staying focussed is the toughest one for me. I tend to get into a groove, get comfortable, loose focus, and slow down without realizing it. The run is not as enjoyable but you enjoy it more after with the feeling you gave it all you had. This is where the "pain is temporary" comes in.


Steve said...

Excellent PR, you're running really strong this year and looking good for CCC. Dropping 33 minutes is a lot. You can save the sub-10 for next year. Way to go.

King Arthur said...

Thanks for the advice Tony.

shawn said...

I don't think you ran as fast as you could have on the downhills. Maybe you were overheating from the dark colored shirt you were wearing? That said - thanks for a nice PR! You'll get sub-10 easy next time. It was still a good lesson in pushing hard from the get go. I'm taking tc's advice - from now on it's take no prisoners :)

adam said...

Way to go Arthur and team green! All else being equal (aid stops, weather and unforeseen glitches) 33 minutes is a huge PR in my book. Congrats.

shawn said...

One more thing to add to tc's advice re saving time:
6) Don't stop and pose for Best Blood photo shoot at Sun Top

Anonymous said...

Great race report! Congrats on the PR as well.

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