Saturday, February 26, 2011

Redwood 50K 5:14:16

I just ran another 50K: PCTR's Redwood Park race. The course was changed slightly from previous years because of the intense rain the last few days. The 10K loop avoided the awesome singletrack of the French trail and stuck to wider trails and fire roads, also reducing the vertical by about 1000' to 4500', I believe. Anyway, I felt pretty good going into the race. My roommate M ran the 20K, so that helped get me psyched even though we didn't run together at all. I started out fast, running most of the ridiculously steep and muddy climb that is right out of the gate, not wanting to get stuck in a big crowd with everybody walking and/or falling down. I did pretty well, passing the first aid station at 8.5K after 53 minutes. The next 11K back to the start/finish aid station always feels long to me, but I finished the first 20K loop in 1:52:35, exactly what I need to break 5:00.

I did the altered 10K loop in 59 minutes, putting me at 2:51, and things were still looking good. About halfway through the 10K loop I got into a group of four other runners I'd been going back and forth with, and got pretty stoked that I might have somebody going exactly my pace to work with. Unfortunately, three of them were only doing the 30K, so it was just me and one other person heading back out for another 20K.

She was a little behind me, but caught up quickly, and I thought I was doing OK. I looked at my splits at Skyline Gate and saw another 50 minutes had passed. For a minute I was stoked, since I confused Redwood Gate with the first aid station, but realized that was still another mile and a half away, at which point I promptly bonked, got dropped like a rock by the woman I'd been going back and forth with, and didn't make it out of the aid station until 1:09 had elapsed, or 4:00:51 total. I felt really cold and realized I hadn't been eating enough; maybe the aid stations only being every 10K is slightly further apart than on other races, or maybe I'd just been killing it early and blowing through them too fast, and I didn't see any Gu to take and carry with me. So I stopped longer than previously to try to get some calories in. I struggled out of the aid station for a bit, but then DF and another runner, two guys I've seen at a bunch of other PCTR events caught up to me while I was walking. They had some encouraging words, and though I couldn't hang at first, I caught up to them and blew by them on the final downhill. I finished in 5:14:16, a couple minutes slower than last week.

I had no knee problems, my hammys and calves were just tired, and it was pretty cold, probably 45 to 50, and I was just in a t-shirt and shorts for most of the races; it helped going back to long sleeves after the aid station on the last 20K. So I'm disappointed I didn't break 5 or set another PR, but I've got a month before Pirates Cove, so hopefully if I train well I can pull it off there.

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