Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 HAT Run 50k Race Report

I was happy to be able to take part in one of my favorite races, the Hat Run 50k this past weekend at Susquehanna State Park.  Coming into this race I was feeling confident because my races this season have been going well and have already set PRs for my marathon and 50k.  Last year I rolled my ankle and tore some ligaments in my ankle and wasn't able to finish, so want to seek a little revenge on the course that got the best of me last year.  All winter I have been training on this course and knowing the course came in handy because I knew where I could run hard and where I needed to conserve energy.  This course is challenging with 9800 feet of elevation change.
elevation profile
The weather was perfect on race day, it got up to about 55F with a little bit of wind.  It was nice to see some familiar faces before the race and everyone got to swap stories about their past races and also to find out what everyone's race schedule is going to be for the year.  The race started at  9am and I decided to wear my compression shorts with UA HeatGear long sleeve with a a shirt over top, this was perfect because some sections of the course were windy. 
start line
Billy Goat Peake and Mary
The race starts out with a 3.6 mile loop, then 2 identical 13.7 loops after that.  Because there was 420 runners that started the race it took the first loop for everyone to spread out and this is about when I started to settle into a comfortable pace.  I finished the first lap in 41:10, which is right where I wanted to be considering I wanted to run a 6:15:00 race.  I was feeling good at the beginning of the second lap, but I started to feel bad at the 2:45:00 mark.  I was was taking an S!Cap every 30 minutes and I was taking endurance cubes and GUs every 30 minutes too, I was averaging 145 calories per hour (maybe this wasn't enough)  Once reached the pavilion to start my second lap I decided to take my meal replacement shake and restock on GUs and cubes.  It took me a few miles of struggling before I started to feel good again.  I was back to a good pace and was running up most of the climbs.  Then with about 3.5 miles to go I started to cramp up, I just had run out of water and had a 1.5 miles to go before the next water stop.  I could feel my calves tightening up as I was running up the hills, but thankfully I made it to the water stop and filled up.  I would have to run the last few miles well to make my time, but it wasn't to be and I finished in 6:17:47.
I beat my time from 2009 by almost 50 minutes, I am very happy about that.  I am learning that each ultra race brings with it a unique challenge and I learn something about myself that I didn't know before.  Sometimes the races you where you run poorly and is just a struggle to finish end up being the races that you learn the most.  My JFK last November I had my worst race, but that metal I earned that day means more then any other I have earned so far.  My Dad ran his first ultra in 2 years and he recently had hernia surgery and had to spend most of the winter recovering.  His race unfolded a bit differently then mine and he struggled.  I am sure he had quite a conversation with himself at the pavilion before he started his final lap, but he decided to get back out on the course and finish what he started.  At the end of the day I bet he will remember this race for a long time, congrats Dad!
Billy Goat Peake gets it done.
And as always I want to thank the best crew in the world!!!!!
Team Peake

Happy finishers (L TO R) Kevin, Mary, Me, and Ron
Race Splits

This race has a great following and filled up in record time this year and that's because the secret is out on how well organized and how much fun this race is.  The park is big enough to accommodate the runners needs and the course is a amazing with the right amount of elevation change and the footing on the trails is great too.  The volunteers are always helpful and are very gracious in donating their time.  This is the main reason why I will be back next year and I recommend race to everyone as one of the premier 50k races in the Mid-Atlantic region.

See ya on the trails

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Old Rag Mountain Trail Hike 3/12/11

Ranger Station
Because I am laying low until the HAT Run 50k next Saturday, a friend and I completed a cool 9 mile hike at Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah Nation Park.  We parked our vehicle and payed our entrance fee of $8 at the ranger station, then hiked up a mile up SR600 until we reached the trail.
Old Rag Mountain Trail Map
Once we reached the trail we hiked up 2.5 miles to the summit.  We came across some other hikers along the way and a Boy Scout Troop which caused some slow moving due to heavy traffic on the trails.  But once we reached to summit we were treated to some beautiful views.
Taking in the view
Don't look down
We decided to enjoy the fruits of our labor for a while then we descended down the trail and started to make our way back to the car.  The trails were in good shape and had a moderate amount of rocks and roots, nothing I am not used to.  When we were coming down the mountain we could see how much rain the mountain received during the previous week because the water levels looked high and had some mini rapids from all the extra rain. 
Mini rapids
We took our time coming back down the mountain, the hike took us approximately 4.5 hours (probably would have be 30 minutes faster if we weren't slowed down by traffic on the trail).  This was a cool hike and a great way to spend a Saturday in March and I am looking forward to exploring more trails at Shenandoah National Park this upcoming year.
elevation profile

Monday, March 7, 2011

3/6/11 B&A Marathon Race Report

Been a while since my last post, but nothing has been going leading up to the race because I was tapering the previous 10 days which meant lots of stretching and being bored out of my head.

I came into this race feeling very good and this was going to be a long distance speed workout for me.  I am trying to improve my 50k and 50 mile times so I wanted to use this a high tempo workout for my upcoming races.  I wanted to run a steady 10 minute pace until mile 16, then push the pace down to 9:45 for the next five miles, then I wanted to bring the pace down to 9:30 for the final 5 miles.  The major goal was to finish in under 4:20, but more importantly I wanted to finish the last 10 miles strong.  The weather forecast was mid 50's with rain and 10-15 wind.  The weather turned out much better then anticipated, as the rain was light/intermittent and didn't get start coming down hard until my race was done.  I felt really good at the beginning of the race and had to keep slowing myself down to my planned 10 minute pace.  This continued until I met up with dad "Billy Goat Peake" at the halfway point and he was going to run the last half with me.  This was a huge help because the second half of the marathon can be incredibly lonely if you are not running with anyone.  We were moving along as planned and picked up the pace for miles 16-19.  I was starting to feel a bit tired at this point, but I kept going along and tried not to think about my discomfort.  I had been taking in 90 calories an hour (endurance cubes) since the second hour and heat wasn't really an issue so I was properly hydrated, but ultimately the pace proved to be to hard to maintain the last 6 miles.  As the miles started to dwindle, my goal of finishing the marathon in under 4:20 wasn't going to happen so I was in full damage control mode and just wanted to finish.  My dad was trying to keep me distracted with good conversation, but he and I knew that I was struggling as I really was trying to focus and our conversation became one sided.  The last mile I picked up the pace and finished strong with a final time of 4:26:47.  Thanks for the company dad, I probably would have been slower without you there to help me out!!! 

Although I didn't reach my goal of 4:20, I did set a PR by 3 minutes so not all was lost.  I was on pace to reach my goal but miles 20-25 I gave up 5:30 on my goal time and I didn't have enough in the bank to get in under 4:20.  It's difficult to accept running 20 miles well and only have a few bad miles ruin your race, but that is the way it goes sometimes.  This is also helpful in my future training, maybe it would be a better idea to do a high tempo run after running 10 miles first.  These are things I will have to figure out if I want to improve my times.   

The Annapolis Striders always put on top notch events.  I would like to thank them for hosting such a great event and to all the volunteers, without them these top notch events wouldn't be possible.  I can't wait to run the event again next year and I highly recommend this event to anyone  looking for a fast course and a great race environment.

Now onto another short workout week and tapering period as I get ready for the HAT Run 50k on 3/19.

See ya on the trails,