Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Deep Thoughts by GSisler

One down, three to go. Man, that's scary. I never thought that after finishing a 100 mile run that I'd only be 25% of the way done? That's even weird to type! I now am resting and recovering as fast as I can in the hopes that by July 17th, the legs have recovered enough for me to run another 100. OK, on to the race-recap:

So, race starts. Running at a HR of 150 was a pain, but I knew if I wanted to finish this race and have any chance of doing three more, I had to be smart. When we were walking up the mountain, Charlie (a buddy of mine) turned around about 3/4 of the way up Squaw and counted 26 people behind us. We were literally in the bottom 30 people of the entire race. I kept remembering what Charlie had told me about how fun it will be to pass them all later, and I knew I had different goals than them, but at the same time, what the hell were they doing going out that fast?!? The race starts at 6,229 ft. and climbs straight up to 8,713 ft. It's a 3.5 mile climb and at the top of it, there were a LOT more people ahead of me than behind me.

Then, once you hit the top there, it's a lot of single track and rolling hills. People are just retarded going downhill in the snow. It's SNOW, it's not going to hurt you. If you fall, you fall in the snow!!! My Inov8 shoes were AWESOME. I bought the X-Talon 212 exactly for this reason and they performed awesome. I know it's dumb and I probably got lucky, but I hadn't run more than 15 miles in these shoes at any one time, but I didn't fall at all, the traction was great and I would just scamper by, people were falling right/left. As a matter of fact, the only person who passed me in the snow, was also wearing Inov8 shoes, which I thought was very funny. I was in 292nd place at Duncan Canyon (23.8 miles) so I was doing a good job of the slow/steady game-plan that I had.

I passed Charlie at Poppy Trailhead (19.6), and then saw him at the next one Duncan (23.8) and then opened up a 14 minute gap in the next 6 miles, which is a lot in that short time. I was doing a really, really good job of keeping the HR below 150. I just kept reminding myself of that. I didn't think I was doing anything too fast, or crazy, but now that I have the numbers in front of me, I was moving. I left Millers defeat (34.4) at 1:08pm and I got to last Chance (43.8) at 2:36pm so I ran those 10 miles in 1:30, or just about a 9:15 pace. Looking at the splits, that really stands out b/c those are the only sub 10min/mile splits that I did the entire race, and that was 34-44.

The next real "test" was the canyons and man... we got lucky. It was warm, but I can't imagine what people went through out there in the hot years. I LOVED all the water and took advantage of doing everything that I could to stay cool. I forget who Charlie had talked to about it, but had told him to take the time to cool off and I did. Right before Devil's thumb after you cross the river there's a creek that runs down to the river. I literally took a bath in it. I lay completely down, to the point that the cold water took my breath away, but it was worth it. I knew things were going well for me in the canyons b/c I didn't get passed by that many people while keeping my HR below 150. That never happens, most of the time it looks like I've pulled into the slow lane and people just go cruising by me, but I held my own going through the canyons. I hit Last Chance in 210th place and Devils Thumb in 215th. It's only 4 miles, but you start at 4,500 ft. drop down to 2,700 ft. and the climb BACK UP again to just over 4,000 ft. in only 4 miles. If you told me I'd go through Devils thumb and only lose 5 places, I'd have been ecstatic. Then from Devils Thumb to Michigan (the last big canyon) I actually moved UP 23 spots, the web-site is so awesome for looking at this stuff post race.


I knew I was going strong in this section, but to be able to check it out and see all the splits after is fun. Ted deserves a gold star for putting the site together!!! It’s not like I'm racing against people, but I do use getting passed/not passed as a way to gauge how I'm going against other people. I have my goal and my HR, but it's helps mentally when I'm not getting passed by too many people (even though I don't care if I come in 85th, or 220th).

Once you hit Michigan Bluff, it's all downhill from there (I hate it when people say that) and as is the case most of the time, my quads were fine. I don't know why/how I got so lucky, but when things give up on me, it's not my quads, which is why I think I do well in "downhill" courses. This was also a time where I had to be careful on the HR. Several times I was cruising along, feeling good only to have my HR monitor beep at me and I had to slow down. I wasn't happy about it, but I wasn't thinking sub 24, I was thinking VT at this point. Which was good b/c without knowing it, just by keeping my 150 pace, I was starting to cut into the 24 hour time. At Michigan Bluff I was 45 minutes off the 23 hour time, but when I hit Foresthill and picked up Tony, I left the aid station at 7:33 and the 24 hour cut-off time was 7pm. So I was basically a half an hour off. Of course, while I'm looking at these cut off times I kept thinking how dumb they were b/c all I was thinking about was 4mph. The 24 hour cut-offs were amazingly accurate as I ran along, I just didn't know it at the time.

So I left Foresthill and was still feeling good and I knew this section from the training run and this is where I was going to take off. I had on a new pair of Inov8 shoes (went with the Rocklite 285's), dry socks and was ready to go. I still had the HR monitor on, and I was going to keep it below 150, but as I soon realized, it didn't matter. My HR was not going to go above 150 no matter what. So the mind was there, I thought the legs were there, but according to my HR monitor, I was no longer going to be moving fast enough for the HR to crack 150 anymore. Which was good, I could stop looking at my watch.

Running w/ Tony was really fun. It's always fun to run w/ someone, but it was all so new to Tony that it was great to share it with him. He kept commenting how cool it was and that was really refreshing. To be out there w/ someone who was doing his first night run ever, and was running the longest he had ever run reminded me why I run, so that was great to be able to share. Not a whole lot happens in that 18 mile section. I know that people say that the race is in the canyons, but if you're thinking about sub 24, or your times, I think that it happens here. You have 16 miles of cruising and then the 2 miles climb to Green Gate, which seems flat/gradual after the canyons. When I hit Green Gate, all the sudden, 24 hour was right there. The 24 hour pace is 11:40 and I was there at 11:42. Right then I decided to screw the HR (well, assuming my legs could move fast enough). I was going to try and go sub 24.

I had never run these last 20 miles before but they seemed a lot harder then I would have guessed. Of course, a lot of that is because I had just run 80 miles, but when I had looked at the race profile and the map, it seemed rolling, but nothing too brutal. It's partly why I thought I had the sub 24 in the bag at this point. In my mind, I had always thought if I leave Green Gate before midnight, then all I have to do it go 20.4 miles in 5 hours, or just over 4mph. How hard can that be?

The legs felt good (well as good as they can) and nothing really major was going on with the rest of me. The weight had been good the entire race (within 2 lbs of pre-race) and I was doing pretty well w/ the food. The only issue was that I couldn't drink any more GuBrew. Each time I took a sip, I felt like I was going to puke. I kept taking it down for as long as I could, but I gave up and decided instead to just stick with water and my salt tabs. If I started to gain any weight, then I was going to go back to the GuBrew, but not until I put on weight.

So I left Green Gate with Shawna and headed out. The next 10 miles were good, but I just couldn't move that fast. In my mind, I felt like I was going 10:00 mile pace, but every time I looked at my watch it was slower. It was definitely a case of my mind thinking one thing and my body saying screw you, but I hit Brown Bar at 2:12am and had an 8 minute gap on the 24 hour pace. Plus, I still thought the 24 hour pace was WAY off, because how the hell could it take me 2:48 to go only 10 miles.

Holy crap. The wheels didn't completely fall off, but there is NO WAY IN HELL, I finish that in sub 24 without Shawna. Who puts all those climbs in the last 10 miles of a race??? There's no need for that, there has to be a better/easier way to get to the finish line then what they make you go through. Shawna's strength is climbing. I think she might walk uphill faster then she runs flats. I told her to go ahead of me, set a pace and we just marched. She was great, and I have no doubt that if she ever wants to, she'll be able to do a 100 miler because of her walking/climbing speed. She "dropped" me a couple of times as I couldn't even walk that fast, and even when I was "running" she was walking. I remember running along, thinking I'm doing OK, and hearing Shawna behind me walking, I thought. So I asked "are you walking???" "No...." was sheepishly replied and the sound immediately changed from a walk to a run :-)

So, the last 10 miles were a battle. My IT band suddenly was giving me a lot of pain to the point that I had to stop and stretch it out and I took my first Advil of the race, hoping that could get me through. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the leg and I just couldn't move at times. The Advil didn't even help, which bummed me out because I wanted to do the full race without any Advil, but still 90 miles in is late enough that I don't think I did any damage!

I hit Highway 49 (93.5) at 3:12am, left at 3:15am and suddenly my 8 minute cushion for the 24 hour pace was gone and replaced by a 5 minute deficit, which had me motivated and confused at the same time. 6.5 miles in 1:45, piece of cake. The only problem now was that I couldn't really run downhill, or uphill so that meant no matter what, I was going slow. Then, you toss in the 2.1 mile climb from No Hands Bridge up to Robbie Point and I knew why they had the 24 hour pace set the way that they did. Again, I just sent Shawna in front, had a great view and we just climbed as fast as I could. I kept telling myself as long as I hit Robbie Point with 20 minutes or less to go that I could do it. Luckily, while the climb was slow, we hit Robbie Point at 4:34 so I had 26 minutes for the last 1.3 miles.

Thankfully, it didn't take that long and I finished it up with a ton of time to spare, a full 7 minutes. I don't like that at the finish they make the pacers run around and not finish with you. I would not have made sub 24 without Tony/Shawna, so I was kind of bummed that she couldn't run across with me. The last mile isn't even all downhill on the road like they promise you, but I managed to go just fast enough to get it all in. Now... 3 weeks of rest/recovery to get ready for VT. I have no idea how I'm going to pull that off, but we'll find out soon enough!