3/20/12 pre race thoughts...
Training the past couple months hasn't been ideal to say the least. I missed Nueces due to three reasons. I was sick, my knee wasn't 100%, and i would have to drive alone ($160 gas). between those three i decided to sit it out and focus on grasslands or hells hills instead. Since then I've been focused. I've dropped some lbs and somewhat got in some good training runs. well i guess just one good training run. i hit sansom park pretty hard this weekend, and it was enough to assure me that i was in shape to go race.
I've never been to grasslands, and honestly the course sounds like everything i hate. So why am I doing it? because over the past year i've learned that the course is only half the reason for doing a race. i've learned that hanging out and being in the atmosphere is far more important. since this one is local, i'll know some people and should be a fun weekend.
I'll have all my bottles/pack pre-filled prior to the race so a quick exchange is all thats needed. i don't plan on stopping at a single aid station except if i need to refill with water during a loop. for the out-n-back and the blue loop (0-18.3) im carrying just my one ultimate direction handheld with two gus in the pocket and two in the other hand. for the white loop (18-31) i've got my salomon pack with water and 4 gus in the pockets. im pretty pumped to test it out. i just got it a couple days ago and have only done two short runs with it to get adjusted. so far its pretty badass and as form fitting as it gets. loops 3 & 4 i've got my usual two amphipod handhelds with one gu brew one water with 2 gus in each pouch.
goals? not knowing the course im kind of throwing some hopeful numbers out there. idealy, i would like a sub 7:30 or to average under a 9 min pace. we just got a ton of rain so not sure what the course will be like. if its muddy/nasty i still hope to be under 8:20 / 10 min pace. my hope is that it dries out enough but keeps the sand at bay. since this course is 100% runable (from what i hear) im just going to run until i can't run anymore or until i cross the finish line. hopefully the finish line comes first. probably not the smartest game plan, but being conservative isn't fun. we'll see how it goes...
well it was one of the least pleasurable races i've ever done. not sure how i won it because things got ugly...real ugly. but heres a bit of a breakdown on how things went down on that first hot summer like day of the year.
out-n-back & blue loop (0-18.3)
I started out up front with Ryan Loehding and glenn mackey. we ran the out n back all in about 38-39 minutes. it was a cool morning and things were felling good. on the blue loop i never saw glenn, but ryan and i ran pretty much the whole thing neck and neck. i let him lead most of the way until about mile 14 when i pulled away by just a hair. i knew the pace was a little fast starting out, but i wasn't really in the mood to be conservative plus i was still looking at that 7:30 finish. i came through at 2:29 and grabbed my new salomon pack to test that thing out.
(18.3 - 31.1) the yellow loop..oops i mean white loop
before i started i wrote the order of the loops on my arm. i guess it helps to write them down in the right order so you don't have to argue with the aid station people about which loop you're on and have them walkie talkie in to make sure. i started this loop by myself just a minute or two ahead of ryan. everything was going good until about mile 20 when i blew through a turn and followed the wrong trail for probably about 5-6 minutes before realizing it. in that time ryan passed me without knowing and took the lead. frustrated and not happpy about it, i came into the first aid station not feeling too well for the first time. little did i know that it would only get worse and worse. i left the aid trying to push the pace to catch him. about 4 miles up i blew through another turn but at this time ryan was coming back at me. apparently he did the same thing and we found the correct trail together and were neck and neck once again. we ran the next 4 miles or so together and it was nice to chat / run with somebody cause i was getting pretty bored by myself. i slowly pulled away again and was still able to run the remainder of the loop but it didn't feel good at all. by this time the heat was cranking and my pack was dry as a bone. the course had some pretty nasty spots. spots that the mud easily swollowed your whole shoe and you sunk up to your calf.
(31.1 - 41.5) now for the yellow loop
i left for the yellow loop about 5-6 minutes ahead and feeling pretty bad. just to staying running was a real struggle for the first time. i switched to handhelds and grabbed my ipod hoping the music would help. i ran pretty solid to the first aid station, but when i left thats when things got ugly. i guess i wasn't ready for the heat and/or not drinking enough, but i felt pretty bad. my pace slowed enough to where i was looking over my shoulder expecting ryan to come flying by. i feed off music big time and during this loop some really good stuff was coming on my ipod. i've always said in every race no matter the distance you're always faced with a decision when things get tough. its the decision to give up and just finish it or search deep within and gut it out til the end cause thats what you came here to do. at about that time the eminem song til i collapse came on. there's a speech at the beginning of the song that really put me in the right mind frame.
'Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse
-eminem - til i collapse
also my favorite running song came on which is five finger death punch's back for more. its got perfect lyrics to get you going.
Let's get it on!
It's time to get in the game,
You gotta fight 'til it hurts and then you do it again
Let's tear it up!
I'm staying straight to the core, ain't no room for second place, go big or go home!
It's dog eat dog
Man versus beast
The strong will survive
I've got no time for the weak
It's time to rise up, man up, get back up, never been and won't be broken
Dust off and then come back for more
You've gotta reach down, dig deep, and break ground,
Show them all you won't be beaten
Brush it off and then come back for more!
Come back for more
It's do or die!
Time to settle the score, gotta give it all you got and then you give it some more
There will be blood
You've gotta fight 'til you break, talk a lot of trash and step up to the plate
Refuse to give in
Ashes to dust
Make 'em remember your name
'cause in yourself you can trust
Five Finger Death Punch - Back for More
the other song that you can really feed off the lyrics is disturbed - warrior
Broken down till your hope has died
Beat down 'til victory's mine
Stand up and show me some pride
And now are you ready?
I'm one with the warrior inside
My dominance can't be denied
Your entire world will turn
Into a battlefield tonight
As I look upon you
Through the warrior's eyes
Now I can see the fear
That will ensure my victory this time
(41.5 - 50) the final loop - red
i was pretty freakin ready to be done. i've never felt so bad so early in a fifty and never been able to snap out of it. not having a clue how big my lead was, i set out looking over my shoulder constantly. i would run when i could, walk when i had to, and trudge the giant mud pits. i set out knowing the 7:30 obviously wasn't going to happen so i was focussed on a sub 8. i looked at my watch and knew it was possible but i just didn't have much fighting spirit left or the abitlity to really push. so i just did what i could and counted down the miles probably more then i ever have during a race. during this race i stuck to straight gu's and my powerbites between loops. what sucked is that i was running low on gu's at home so i had all the shitty flavors left over for this race. i've never dreaded a gu but at this race, being hot and dehydrated, they didn't go down as smooth. everytime i would pull out a blackberry or chocolate rasberry roctane i would look at it for a couple minutes and prepare myself for it. i made damn sure no turns were missed because i didn't feel like spending any more time out there then i had to. basically to wrap things up, i just shuffled it in which im betting looked pretty pathetic. i bet the look on my face was pretty pathetic too. it was similar to the fat kid in gym class during that dreaded mile run. i was on the lookout for ryan, but little did i know that fransesca was now in second. she's now 4 for 4 in her short ultra career and put out a solid race out there. she came in just 13 minutes behind me but i promise her splits were a hell of a lot more solid then mine.
coming into the finish i couldn't of been happier to be done. i was hungry/thirsty and just beat to crap. i sat down and chatted with some fellow runner that i knew. as i get to know more people at these races it has really gotten fun. i really look forward to the post race hangout. plus any excuse to have a cold negra modelo is nice! i stayed for about two hours talking with fransesca, ryan, dave and some other people. i decided to hit the road because i was supposed to go out with some friends and figured i better suck it up because after that long day i had a long night ahead of me. i was up til 4 in the morning and it was funny to hear my alarm go off again from the time that i had woken up 24 hours ago.
post race thoughts...
don't think i'll run this one again. two reasons. one, its not my type of course. i like a lot more technical / and lots more climbing. two, if im doing a flat race i want it to be fast so i can put out a fast time. this course is so sandy or in this years case, muddy, that it is pretty slow. it was a fun race and a fun day and the race was well put on. so anybody looking to do it i don't discourage them, its just not my style. also i would like say how badass of a job matt crownover did at the marathon distance. he smoked it out there. if he would have been in the 50 also, it would have been a very different day. he's really been running good these past couple years.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dxe1bvjqFo - back for more
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ZMmEFA4Q0 - warrior
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3oBZ4_TNys - til i collapse