2013 H.U.R.T. 100

2013 H.U.R.T. 100

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rough Creek 40m - a race of two extremes

2 weeks ago around mile 4 of the captn karls reveille ranch run, eric gilberton and I were running together and discussing how we were both training for a 100.  i told him he needs to come up for the Rough Creek 40 miler as it would be a great training opportunity.  2 weeks later i couldn't have regretted that invite more.

leading up the race i heard lots of talk about this "rusty crown" section.  apparently out of the 13.5 mile loop, 10 miles were flat and fast and 3.5 miles were just downright nasty.  my curiosity was up and there was no way i was going to miss this. i run some pretty rugged and steep stuff so i thought there is no way its nothing i haven't seen.  i also knew this course was going to be interesting in the way that it was going to require strategy.  would it favor the faster guy with the 10 miles of flats or the mountain goat with the rusty crown?  i final look at the entrant list friday night and i knew i had my work cut out for me. i saw that eric had signed up for it, matt crownover would be doing it in celebration of his 40th birthday, and thomas aten who is a fast dude.  i knew that all three of them were faster runners then me on the flats. so i knew the flats would give me trouble trying to hang with them. i figured if i have any type of advantage its two things. i do tons of hill training and also i've been doing many many runs in the 30-40 mile range lately so i knew i could run the whole thing hard without slowing.

at the pre race brief dave once again reiterated how difficult the rusty crown was. i thought yeah yeah i've seen it all. i also told him i was going to run the whole thing and he laughed. so yeah i did second guess that statement a little. soon enough we were lined up and as i was tieing my last shoe as we were counting down from 10. we were off and we surprisingly started off pretty comfortable. the 4 of us bs'ed the first 3 miles out there. i started a tad in front but i waited a little since i was wanting the company and at that point i was in no hurry.  once we got to the rusty crown a lot of talk stopped. i didn't plan on breaking stride until it broke me.  the hills were tough but nothing i haven't done before. eric stuck next to me stride for stride which scared me. i thought shit this guy is faster then me on the flats and hes hanging with me on the hills? i knew it was going to be an interesting day.  the rusty crown last 3 miles of just straight up and downs. some steeper then others. after successfully running the first half we came to one in particular that was a beast. i swallowed my pride and broke into a power hike. i guess dave won that one.

a view of the rusty crown section. a solid 3 miles of zig zagging up and down this hill.

pictures never do terrain justice. especially not google earth.

this hill could have been accomplished in about half a mile but instead we had to run up and down it for three miles. the down hills were fun for sure.

upon leaving that section eric and i were shoulder to shoulder. on loop one we ran the flats solid but nothing too fast.  we just bs'ed and ran the remainder of loop together until about a mile to go and he took off. my stomach was in pain and i needed one of my pit stops so i had no choice but to let him go.  after making my pit stop and grabbing my food/other handheld, i set off about a minute or so behind eric. i figured it was going to take me a while to catch him (if i did). i pushed the pace leaving for loop two wasn't  hard since i was now two pounds lighter. i was pushing but i noticed he was getting further and further away.  i thought well my only chance is on the rusty crown to make up ground.  that section is a true ass whip but i feel like i recover quick from it and it doesn't effect the rest of my race. i attacked it hard once again. i caught up to him about half way through it and once again we were neck and neck. after that section he was really pushing the flats and separated himself again. i had to get outside my comfort zone and catch him on the gravel road because i didn't want to get left just yet. exact same as loop one, we ran the rest of the loop together and about a mile or two from the turnaround he pulled away. curious, i clicked over to my instant pace on my garmin and it read 7:15 and he was pulling away.

i wasn't sure if we would ever run together again so i decided to grab my ipod which i almost never do. i love music and needed something because i honestly wasn't in the mood to run solo and in silence the final loop. my bottles/food were ready to go pre race so my aid stations was much quicker then his and we actually left for loop 3 neck and neck.  we set out yet taking it up another notch. a couple time out to the rusty crown i felt him make a surge but i stuck with him, and even a couple times i would try and take off but that dude never left my side. remember when i said that inviting him to come race was a huge mistake? haha at that point it was tough but honestly it was the best thing for us both. we pushed each other and i got in a hell of a training race because of it. plus he's pretty damn cool and it was fun to bs the first two loops with him. so obviously i didn't really regret it at all.

but time to regroup and get my game plan together. my only strong point was the rusty crown so if there was a spot to make my move that was obviously it.  we hit it for the third and final time shoulder to shoulder. we now had a 50k under our belts for the day but my legs were ready to rock n roll.  i was about to find out how he was truly feeling. that section is a definite make or break. i decided i would attack it harder then ever and see what happened. my ipod was pumping tons of cool shit and i was fired up. we hit the first hill and i didn't break stride nor did i look over my shoulder. i pushed really hard the first half before finally taking a look around. when i did, i didn't see him anywhere in sight. i continued to buckle down and hammer it. my split upon leaving the rusty crown was faster and faster each loop so i was pumped. i knew that the real race had just started. after the rusty crown i knew i couldn't let up because i knew he could easily take the pace up big time so with 7 miles left, the gap cold easily be swallowed. after the final descent on that thing i made the decision to take my pace up on the flats so even if he did too that the gap couldn't be filled. i just stayed focused to the next aid at about mile 36.  at the turn around i saw i had about a 6 minute lead so i just kept hammering knowing if i did that he would have almost no way of catching me. and if he did then he deserved it!  i had a goal of sub 6 in back of my mind and i knew i was close but didn't think it was possible. i knew if i relaxed and missed it by 30 seconds i would be pissed so i told myself i can't have any regrets. i did all i could but saw my watch click past the 6 hour mark with still a little to go. i finished in 6:02 and i wasn't at all disappointed. i felt like i did all i could.

i was outside of my comfort zone on the flats for probably 2/3 of the race. i questioned big time if it was sustainable or not. i feel that in every race you should go at a pace where you question it from time to time. plus i wanted  a good training run so if i wore myself out then i would just have to dig that much deeper.  eric ran a solid race and came in 8 minutes behind me. it was perfect having him there to really push me and it made it an interesting day.  i've never really "raced" somebody so close for so many miles of a race. to stay neck and neck for 31 miles was insane.

my unofficial splits 2:03:30, 2:00:30, 1:58:30 approx. close to even splits was a goal so to run negative splits on all loops was awesome.

also a bit of breakdown of each loop for my personal records (incase i shoot for sub 6 next year)

loop 1 - section 1 (25:45/8:50pace) rusty crown (32:07/10:42pace) section 3 (28:21/8:36pace) section 4 (36:17/8:25pace)

loop 2 - section 1 (24:54/8:36pace) rusty crown (31:42/10:34pace) section 3 (28:34/8:38pace) section 4 (34/7:54pace)

loop 3 - section 1 (22:59/7:55pace) rusty crown (32:52/10:57pace) section 3 (27:37/8:20pace) section 4 (36:30/8:27pace)

section 1 is from the start to the base of the first climb of the rusty crown (not the aid station).  the rusty crown is from the split to the split, again not to and from the aid station. section 3 is from the base of the final descent to the far aid station. section 4 is from that aid station back to the start/finish. times are approx since time spent at aid station is not recorded. pace was a tad faster since some of that time i was refilling/eating. the distances that i got is 2.9 to the base, 3 miles for rusty crown, 3.3 to the far aid station and 4.3 back to the start finish for the 13.5 mile loop.

loved the race and venue. dave does an awesome at these things and the course was marked so well that there was never a doubt in my mind which was nice.  the rusty crown certainly lived up the hype and gave this race its signature. it was great hanging out with everybody and congrats to all the finishers and a huge thank you to all the volunteers!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Capt'n Karls Reveille Ranch 60k

This weekend helped prove a point i've preached for years now.  i've always said a goal is only the standard you set for yourself.  all too often people set pretty weak goals that are easily achieved.  i believe whatever you mentally prepare yourself to do or what you set out to do you will mentally and physically do.  i think a goal should be set just outside of reach to allow yourself to reach your full potential.

not knowing the course i had a soft goal of 5:45 going into the race. and i ran a 5:45. if my goal would have been 5:35, would i have run a 5:35? i'll never know. i wanted to run my first loop in 1:50 and i did on the dot. my next goal was 1:55 for loop to. it turned into a 1:57 so i set out on loop 3 knowing i had to match my loop two time in order to run a 5:45. and i ran exactly another 1:57 loop. i would relax the pace when i was on track and i would push when i needed to but nothing more. to sum things up im saying sometimes we mentally limit ourselves and never allowed to reach our full potential.

now a tad of a race report since i guess thats what this is.  august was probably my highest milage month ever. i had no races in august so i just wanted to get myself into the high milage rhythm and get my endurance back up.  i averaged over 100 miles every week and it felt great.  i had way more confidence going into this 37.2 miler then i ever have running that distance. i did at least 6-7 25 milers and at least 5-6 30+ milers in august so the distance was almost second nature to me and thats what i wanted.  i knew loop one would be faster since it was a daylight loop. so another small goal of mine was to keep loops 2 and 3 pretty close to even splits as possible.

before the race i found myself puting knots in my shoe laces because after about 14 months of abuse my salomons decided both shoe strings would break on the same run. thank god it was a training run and not a race. josh witte (who i rode down with) and i were laughing at the fact how rigged they were and not knowing if they were just going to break as soon as we started.

im pretty competitive with myself but not very competitive with other runners at all.  at the start of the race a group of three of us took the lead. me, eric gilberton, and nicole something. i've heard she was a badass and i knew him from other races and i knew after his even split victory at hells hills this year he was gonna put out a solid race. i made it clear to eric that i wanted to run a 5:45 and that im pacing myself to do it and  i didn't want to slow him down if he was wanting to go faster. he declined my offer for him to go ahead and we ran all of loop one together.  it was nice because i usually find myself solo most races. he's a super nice guy and we chatted about other races and both of our first 100's at the 2010 cactus rose where we finished back to back.  most races there is usually a group of speedsters that love to take the pace out super fast which isn't for me, but this race i started comfortable and it was up front. i was able to run my own race, set the pace for the lead pack, and have good company? what a nice way to start a race!

the course was a little more technical/slower then i had imagined so i was having to work a tad harder to hold the pace then what i wanted.  the dome was tough to run at night mainly because my headlamp sucks and i had trouble seeing all the little ripples and kept stumbling. the rest of the loop was just a lot of tight trail with lots of twist and turns that slow you down. 

eric and i set out on loop two and he made it clear that he was having an off night. we stuck together for the first 4 1/2 miles or so. at that time he slowed to eat a gu and i looked at my watch and realized my pace was slipping. i felt horrible for leaving him and i was bummed because i assumed it was the start of my solo trek in. i took the pace up a notch to get back on track, but didn't want to push too hard just yet since i wasn't half way through the race. the layout of the route has you seeing lots of other runners the whole time. so it was nice to see friend out there and offer encouragement each way. loop 2 was pretty much the same the rest of the way. just holding pace and eating a gu every 2 1/2 miles or so. 

between every loop i had to make a pit stop once again. i eat too much before the night races and start with a belly full of food every time. so after my pit stop i threw my usual packet of gel blast in my mouth, grabbed my final two handhelds and set off to get this thing done.  i did loop 2 about 2 minutes slower then desired so i set out knowing i had to match my split. i figured my legs were a little more fatigued but i knew i would run the last couple miles faster so i figured an even split would be no problem. i had 4 gus on me to take every 2 - 2 1/2 miles and to this point still not a single s cap or electrolyte pill. all summer i haven't been taking any s caps. blows my mind considering how dependant i was on them last year. but thats a whole nother topic or post that i may do a quick write up on later.  i was pumped that my legs were still willing to go the same pace and i really didn't have to push. i was able to just run and soak in the incredible full moon and sky full of stars. this course was something totally different then im used to. lots of granite domes and huge boulders. it was all being lit up in a pretty cool way and i was glad i was able to enjoy and not suffer through anything. i was able to relax, and just think about a lot of things.  the last aid station came into sight and i knew i had to take it up a notch to stay close to my 5:45 goal. coming around that corner and seeing the pavilion all lit up was a glorious sight. i was pumped to just relax, have some beer and chat with my fellow tejas trails people.

in two weeks i've got the glen rose rough creek 40 miler, then two weeks after that my usual cleburne fat ass cactus rose training run. good confidence booster and a fun weekend down there! can't wait to see all the tejas trails family again in less then 8 weeks!