Friday, September 30, 2011

Ultra Training Runs in the Summer

Here are the race reports for two ultras that I used as training runs for Oil Creek:

Catoctin 50K, July 30th, 2011
This end of July event has a good following in the ultra community, especially amongst VHTRC folks.  Going in, this would be a training run towards Oil Creek in October.  Several hundred people turned out at Gambrills State Park to participate in or support the race.  The forecast was for temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s!  And given that we had several 100 plus days leading into the event, I knew it would be long and grueling.  Most finishers are in the 7 hour timeframe and after taking two practice runs leading into the event, I would be no different. 
This was an out and back course and the outbound seemed to be much easier than the inbound.  Coming back, the increased heat and added hills really put its toll on the runners.  The first mile or so was downhill and I seemed to be passing several people so I slowed it down some.  Going out was relatively smooth and I made it to the mid way point in 3 ½ hours.  The weather was cooler than expected and I was not pushing the pace – remember training run.
Coming back was a different story, climbing back out of the turnaround spot at Manor place was a bitch.  It was a two mile climb to get to the top of the mountain at which point it leveled out for a bit.  At the next aid station,  I eyed one of the Aid station volunteers with a beer.  He said would you like some and I said sure and then down the whole cup in one gulp.  Boy did that taste good!  In fact, I felt better after the microbrew but I a m sure I sweated it out in the matter of a mile.  It seemed like we would never get back now and it was getting hotter and hotter. 
I didn’t get into too many conversations during the race other than a couple quick one’s here and there but towards the end I was getting really tired so I started complaining to someone about all the rocks and  whataya know, I missed a turnoff and got lost.  After backtracking, got back on course and crossed the finish line at 7 hours and 48 minutes.  I worked for and earned every mile of that course and god willing I’d do it again next year.
Great event, great volunteers, and good running support.  Also enjoyed the orange soda at the end!
  Labor Pains 12 Hour Endurance Event, September 5th, 2011
Let me sum it up by saying a severe lack of sleep for three weeks leading into this event put a crimp in my performance.  I was not feeling on top of my game as in other races.  Felt similar at Bel Monte in March and luckily this course terrain paled in comparison. 
The course consisted of a 5 mile loop on rather easy terrain that was repeated over and over for 12 hours.  I really needed the bathroom at the end of each loop so that was a nice perk.   The course and event overall was mediocre.  The race started a little late after the RD was scrambling around to get people to the start line.  After running ½ of the first loop, I realized it would be a humid day.  My shirt was drenched in sweat and soaking wet after Loop 1.  After Loop 2, I had to do something I never do, I had to go shirtless – it was way too humid.  Luckily, I was not shot at by any hunters and there were no bear sightings reported that I am aware of.  So I continued the loops until the start of Loop 7 in which Allison met me for a pacer lap – this really made the event.  It was fun taking a loop with Allison through the trail.  She did twist her ankle at one point, I was concerned but she fought her way through it.  Loops 8 though 10 were just about getting through it and I struggled through and made it to my goal of 50 miles with a time of 11 hours 48 minutes. 
Happy to report that I am feeling much better!
Next stop Oil Creek!