Sunday, April 27, 2008

Capitol Peak , two lessons learned

I made 2 big mistakes on Saturday. Hopefully I can learn from them and not make them again.

The First big mistake came at mile 15. Some how, due to a combination of errors, I ended up with a bladder full of super concentrated drink that I was only able to consume 5-6 sips of over the distance of 6 miles at which time I was able to dilute it. First off, I think I had more "strong" drink left in the bladder when I pulled into the 15 mile A/S than I thought. I always start off with a strong mix and then add water at the A/S. I didn't stop at any of the previous A/S, oops. Second, I think the bladder didn't get completely filled (I should have checked it). Thirdly, I think I may have made a math or counting error when I was preparing the baggie of drink powder. Any one or even two of these would have been OK and I still would have been able to get an adequate amount of fluids. Luckily there was snow on the ground that I used to cool off a little during the long climb up to the 21 mile A/S. I downed an extra 2 cups of water and a mocha at the next A/S but I knew I wouldn't be able to catch up on my hydration.
Lesson: Don't do that!

The Second big mistake came at mile ~39. I was at the top of some big switchbacks, half-way through a gel and I started to feel nauseous. As I came out of the woods onto a fire road it felt as if the gel was going to come back up. I started walking slower than a toddler with my head down staring at my feet and I went right past a course marker not more than 10 feet from me, in the middle of the day, in full sunlight. What an IDIOT! About a 1/4 mile and 10 minutes later I started to feel better. I started running again but soon came to a dead end. I looked and looked for any sign of a trail. Then turned around and headed back slowly not wanting to miss the marker again. I yelled out HELLO a few times and "Trail" but there was no answer. Finally I came to the markers and couldn't believe that I'd missed them. I think I called myself a few names worse than idiot. I estimate I lost about 22 minutes from that mistake (from my Suunto watch I was able to figure out that it was more like 15 or 16 minutes). I'm just lucky there was a dead end or I may have just kept going forever.
Lesson: No matter how slow you're going you still have to watch for trail markers.

I've been off course twice before:
Last year at CCC 100, in the dark, I and many others followed 4 huge 15 foot long parallel arrows pointing the wrong way. Cost me about 10 minutes. In my mind ... not my fault.
Also last year, two weeks later, at Plain 100 (which has no course markings or aid) I got off the trail and onto the fire road at the wrong crossing, 1 1/2 miles early. To me after 27 hours they pretty much looked the same. Cost me 3 extra miles and about 45 minutes. In my mind ... not a mistake, that's just part of what this race is all about.

I finished my Capitol Peak "51.2 miler" in 10:14, hopefully a little smarter and a little better trained for the next adventure. I guess that still counts as a PR. Last year I ran the 55k in 7:14 and my split at 50k this year was 6:05. I made it to the 55k/50m turn off in 5:09 and then 4 hours of running later, I ran the last section in 1:01 for a comparative time of 6:10
In 2006 as my first 50 miler I finished in 12:37.

Picture copyright Glenn Tachiyama 2008


SherpaHerb said...

Great lessons learned, next time I mark the course I'll make sure to put some markers in the dirt for you!

Backofpack said...

I really appreciate you writing about your mistakes. It reminds me that if an expert like you can mess up, then I really need to be on my toes.

Yes, definitely add Big Sur to your when-the-kids-are-grown-up list. It's worth it.

Jon said...

I didn't know you got off course at Cascade Crest? I remember you mentioning Plain and getting off-course there (but to be fair, everything looks the same out there.)

Anonymous said...

Next time you want to hurl - just get it over with, much nicer then. I do it all the time!!!

Nice to hear you learning - I did my first long run, including dark, on Sat. Trails were easier and harder than I expected in the dark. I didn't finish (got pulled because of time) - but I had a blast and learned a lot! I'm ready to go out again.


GotLegs! said...

What an idiot! (but you were ahead of me) ... jk, jk. It was great weather wasn't it! If I'd have known we were going to stay so long afterwards, I would have turned around when Jess went by and gotten some extra credit. I didn't want to finish.

Journey to a Centum said...

I just saw this quote from a Yogi Berra site and I had to share it with you....

"Yeah, but we're making great time!" -- In reply to "Hey Yogi, I think we're lost."

Trail Scat

Steve S said...

Great improvement from last year. You looked strong when I saw you. I was tight and fading after the climb to the peak and took it very slow on the section to Wedekind. I recovered by then and ran steady for the last 6 downhill. Sorry I missed you at the end, I had to leave at 3.

shawn said...

#3 - don't start racing at mile 2! :)

I was thinking about what you said about me starting to race too early on at the out-and-back and that I would have finished faster if I'd gone slower longer. But...I don't have that full-on sprint that you have, so I think I did what was right for me...sure felt good! (Except the guilt of not waiting.)

Sorry again that you got lost...but you "deserve" a good chicking every once in awhile!