Monday, October 24, 2011

Crane Kicking PR's

Ah October...leaves turning colors, rain falling, and colder weather all mix into a super combination of PR crushing awesomeness. (At least in the Pacific Northwest)  I knew that I would probably be able to put together a good race at the Portland Marathon, likely coming in well under my previous PR of 3:51 but I hadn't really anticipated running quite possibly my best race ever 6 days later at the Defiance 50K. Suffice it to say I avoided the leg sweep and crane kicked both races in the face. Thank you Mr. Miyagi and Joe Esposito for teaching me that I could be the best...AROUND! (My house that running...long distances)

Portland Marathon - October 9th - 3:31:18 PR by 20 minutes
Defiance 50K - October 15th - 5:03:20 PR by 18 minutes

Fear does not exist in my Dojo

I have to admit Portland was actually a bit of a let down for me. I was looking to improve my time by around a minute per mile, with hopes of sneaking in under the 3:25 mark. Problems with pacing and calories however resulted in a dramatic deceleration at around mile 23. I'm willing to bet that part of this was due to the spots drink of choice (ultima) being electrolyte only. I ended up eating a handful of gummy bears during the race so I guess I probably ate 100 calories over the course of 26.2 miles. Not ideal by any means. Pacing is also a big weakness for me. I, like many other runners, tend to get caught up in the atmosphere at the beginning of a race and go out way to fast. I thought I could stave off any serious leg pain and cardiac drift until the last mile but alas, it wasn't meant to be and my hopes at breaking 3:30 were dashed against the cold hard steel of portlands many bridges.

Fast forward 6 days and I was toeing the line at the Defiance 50K, the sophomore season for Tacomas only Ultramarathon. (Not sure if they can claim that anymore) The race directors are a fantastic group of fellow runners that know how to put on a great event. The course is essentially three 10+ mile laps through Point Defiance Park in Tacoma. The remarkable thing about this race is that they were able to come up with a 10 mile lap that doesn't actually intersect itself at any point. Oh and they also managed to squeeze a new hill into it this year, the aptly named "Achilles Hill". This probably added a couple minutes per lap but was a pretty fun little addition.

The two main issues I had at Portland were nowhere to be found during the 50K trail race. In a first, I actually may have managed a negative split. (Or at least a near even split) I ran laps of 1:39:23, 1:43:53, and 1:40:03. Couple that with a welcome absence of leg cramps, a completely solid stomach and a spectacularly even heart rate throughout and I can honestly say that it was the best race I've run. Perhaps not in terms of time improvement but definitely in terms of how it felt. Less than 24 hours later I felt almost fully recovered and even managed a nice 8.5 mile run. That being said...I still felt pretty exhausted throughout the week and as such ended up taking it pretty easy following the race. I'll be kicking it up a notch now though over the next 4 weeks as a prepare for the North Face Endurance Challenge. 50M set to be run in Marin on December 3rd.

So what lessons have I learned over this past week?

1) Apparently I can race marathon+ distance events twice in a week. Who knew?
2) I won't be repeating this too often. Races cost money. Training however is almost free.
3) Even pacing or negative splits are now possible. I just need to be more honest about my fitness.
4) It is possible to avoid cramps in long races! I think I'll do that from now on.
5) My wife is awesome for letting me do this stuff.
6) Even though my dog will never be a runner...she is still rad.
7) Just in case my cats see this too I should give them a shout out. They are still my favorite animals. 

Okay the last two had nothing to do with racing and I already knew my wife was awesome. Actually I already knew 5-7 but decided to put them in here any way as a shout out to the peeps that I essentially share my life with. And my pets are rad. I doubt I will have any pictures from the races to fill out this blog so I will include some of them instead. 

Pippa, the newest addition. Don't let her cuteness fool you, she pees on stuff.

But she likes Gears of War 3...which is pretty cool

A fun picture of teo enjoying the sun..which will remain hidden for the next 6 months
Ash. Named after the Evil Dead Protagonist.
Both are dumb in endearing ways.  

Brandi enjoying the sun...amongst near record setting snow

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