Friday, February 19, 2016

Nothing Quite Like a Personal Worst


I ran the Moab Red Hot 55K last Saturday.  This was the 3rd time I've run it over the years and the other two times I managed times down close to six hours.  Yep, not this year.  So what went wrong?  Did anything go wrong?
My training so far for the year hasn't been what it was last year, but not my worst start to the year.  I'm healthy, solid in the gym, solid on the trail, solid with my speedwork.  In other words I should have been fine.  And I was fine during the race.
It was indeed a beautiful day for running in Moab.  Clear sunny skies, patchy snow on the red rocks, solid snow in the La Salle's.  Very pretty.

Race Time

When the race started, I felt great.  I took it easy up the initial hill.  I wasn't out to break ay speed records, just have a solid day.
Amie pulling away
I spent a few miles chatting with Amie Blackham, she's always fun to run with, but she's also faster than me and after a couple of miles, she pulled away.  I got to the first aid station and grabbed some coke and took off.  I felt really good.  My uphill running was actually running, I was catching people.  Lots of fun.  We climbed up to the overlook and headed to the next aid station.  Here I grabbed some coke again, nothing solid though.  I didn't feel like I needed it yet, I'd get food later.  Got back to the first aid station and once again, just grabbed some liquid.  This was at about mile 16.  See a pattern starting to develop here?  Yeah, no calories.  I was drinking fine, but not fueling properly.
Anyway, I made the climb up to the aid station at 22 miles still feeling pretty good.  Here I grabbed 1/4 of a PBJ sandwich, filled my bottles, and took off.  Here is where the wheels came off as well.  as in no lug nuts were holding anything on.  I was reduced to a walk.  I could barely run downhill let alone flats or uphill.  I could walk just fine though.  Now everyone that I had passed earlier was starting to pass me.  It kind of sucked, but my general attitude was, hey it's a great day, I feel fine other than I can't run, so enjoy it, and I did.  Eventually I crossed the finish line.  There was barely anyone left there.  At least my lovely wife and sister-in-law were,  Karl Meltzer was waiting for me there as well, although I think he was just drinking  beer.  So, my final time was 7:57.  Yeah, a full hour and a half slower than ever before at this race.  Still, I had a good time, it was a beautiful day for a run.
This gave new meaning to the term "slickrock"


So what went wrong?  Well, I think there are several factors at play here.  So here's the list.
1. I'm 57, maybe I should be slowing down......Nah!
2. I did two very heavy leg workouts at the gym the week prior.  The legs were a bit dead.  That could have something to do with it.
3. I did a climb up Malan's that week at a solid pace.  That will wear you out too.
4. I didn't fuel early and fuel continuously.  I think this is probably the biggest factor.  I basically hit the wall just like you would in a marathon.
So all you young kids out there, let this be a lesson to you, don't get old, keep going to the gym, hit the hills hard, and make sure you fuel properly and adequately.  Oh, and have fun.

La Salle mountains