Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New lengths

This weekend's Buffalo Run 50K was my first baby step into the world of ultra running, and as such it was a bit of a learning experience. But it was a most positive experience, and I'm already looking forward to more. I've already written a race report on my other blog, so I'll just record a few more observations here.

The initial results showed me in eighth place overall and first in my age group. By the time the results were posted online the next day, I'd moved into seventh overall, and by the time the official results were posted I was in sixth (at this rate, I may win the race by the end of the month). I'd say I did okay, considering that I've only been running for two months, and earlier this week I was questioning whether I should have even signed up for the 50K instead of the 25K.

Of course, it's not like I'm completely new to this. Fitness is transferable, and all my time on a bike over the last few years certainly counts for something. And I finished 40 minutes behind the overall winner. But he seems like a legitimate (and much more experienced) trail racer, So I'm still pleased with my results this weekend.

Although I'm happy with the results, the race was far from perfect. For one thing, I somehow managed to get lost in Bountiful on the way to Antelope Island. As a result, we didn't even make it to the race until 10 minutes before the start, which left me rushing for a bathroom and barely making it to the start on time. In my hurry, I also failed to tie my shoes properly, which would cause blistering later. And of course, I didn't eat as much as I should have. Surprise.

Anyways, I felt pretty good when the race started, and as I approached the end of the first lap I found myself comfortably in fourth place and feeling good. Unfortunately, I was a little confused about the course, and I didn't realize I was supposed to return to the start before beginning my second lap. (I later found out I wasn't the only confused runner on the course.)

Even more unfortunately, I didn't realize my mistake until six or seven miles into my second lap. Obviously, by then it was too late to backtrack. At first I was crushed. I figured my race was over, so I decided to walk and wait for Catherine, who was running the 25K, and finish with her. But then I thought that maybe if I finished the lap and then ran the missing section of course before crossing the finish line, my time would still count (it did).

So I started running again. But by then the damage had been done, and I was no longer in the game mentally. Which was too bad, because by then I was starting to feel the effects of running farther, longer and faster than I ever had before. Without my focus, I had a hard time pushing through the pain, and the last ten miles were a mix of shuffling and walking, with some real running thrown in sporadically. In fact, as I approached the finish I thought I'd rather just cross the line and take a DNF rather than run back up the hill I had skipped earlier in the lap. But Josh, who was waiting at the finish, offered to run back up with me, and that provided enough of a distraction for me to finish the race in 4:32:37.

Catherine crossed the line about 30 minutes after I did, and she did it with a more spring in her step than I did. Her race was the farthest she had ever run, too, and we both agreed it was more pain than pleasure. But still worth the effort

After, the race, we spent a little time hanging out with Molly, Marcus and Josh, who had come out to watch us finish. It's amazing how much it means to have a little support at the race, and Catherine and I are glad they could make it.

After a long day on the trails, neither of us had any appetite for the buffalo stew waiting at the finish. Fortunately, Tigger was more than happy to eat our share.

With my first 50K in the books, I'm already looking forward to my second. Catherine and I are heading down to St. George in a month for the Red Rock 50K. I'll run the 50K, and she'll run the 30K. I predict faster times for both of us, thanks to a course profile that looks like this:

instead of this:

GPS Report - March 27, 2010 (Buffalo Run 50K)


Jared said...

First in age, sixth overall? Seriously? That's pretty cool. I'm going to start running.

me said...

Aww...I like your blog. :)

Abominable's Main Squeeze said...

Congratulations to both of you!