Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Holiday Lake 50K++

Good day!

So I've had this achilles problem off & on (mostly on) since early November. It's been at its worst since Salem Lake 50K in early January. I've gone to the chiropractor several times and done ultrasound on it almost everyday for the past couple of weeks (We have the machine at school.) It's felt fine when I run lately & just hurts a little when I'm not running. I've been able to run runs of 1.5 hours, 2.5 hours & 3 hours in the past 3 weeks without any pain, so I thought I'd give the Holiday Lake 50K++ a shot since I'd already registered.

Holiday Lake is north of Appomattox, VA & I keep hearing it's the easiest race David Horton puts on. I took that to mean "easy," but considering he also puts on Mountain Masochist 50+ miler & Hellgate 100K, I should've known better. It was not easy, but it wasn't incredibly hard either- 34 miles, over 2,200 feet of elevation gain, 6 creek crossings, 1/3 singletrack, 2/3 muddy jeep roads. Of course the jeep roads bored me.

I got lost getting there following someone out of the hotel & got to the race 10 minutes before the start. Locked my keys in my car. I can't explain it- I just wasn't "feelin' in," early in the race. Literally, at mile 3, I thought about turning around. Didn't get much better for the first 2 hours. I was convinced I'd stop at the end of the first 17 mile loop. I think a lot of this had to do with being a little out of shape from resting my achilles. I've only run 3 days/week, being sure to get in a long run each week. Those have been more tiring than they should be. I was also worried about my achilles. It didn't hurt, I just thought it would. Because I'm scared of messing it up, I've started running more in the middle of my foot instead of my normal tiptoe running. I feel like the new way doesn't give me much power.

After 2 hours, things started clicking though. I am VERY glad I kept going because the second half was much better. With 9 miles to go I kind of giggled to myself, "Ah, you can finish now!" Part of that was the aid station worker saying, "OK, you've got 9 miles & 3 hours before the cutoff." I responded, "I must look worse than I thought if you think I might not make it!" I picked it up with about 7-8 miles to go. With 5 miles to go- I can't tell you how hard I was pushing it. I really don't think I could've run faster if it had been a stand-alone 5 mile race. I was flying- taking risks on the singletrack, and really going for it. I was hoping to break 6 hours. For kids I coach or others who don't run trails, don't get the calculators out. Yes, that's 10:30 miles, but it's nothing like a flat road race.

No one passed me in the last half of the race & I caught about 20 people. I'm often on the other side of that, getting passed at the end. Both feelings feed into themselves. If you're getting passed, you imagine problems and it gets worse & worse. If you pass people, you look for just one more person ahead of you to pick off. Such a good feeling- not because I'm all that competitive, but just knowing you're giving it everything you have. I felt kind of white-knuckle-ish. I never got any sort of runner's high until my second Ironman in 2002 & then not again until this past year of running longer distances. I didn't have my heartrate monitor, but I had to be at 182 or so the last few miles. I started feeling sick and got that feeling like in a 10K, "Oh no, I'm flying. What if I can't hold this? What if I puke?" I was able to maintain & finished 5:54. I'm pleased. I didn't have a great race, but the end made it pretty darn good. I may have sandbagged it a little early on, but maybe that's why I had a good second half. It feels SO much better to run the way I did than go out hard and fade late. Best of all, no achilles problems!

Had a pretty good time too & talked to more people than usual. Ran with a SIXTEEN year old for a few minutes. He finished a minute behind me, so he must've been bookin' it too. This was the first time I've worn my Nathan HPL #020 hydration pack. It just came in this week. I liked it a lot & especially the pockets up front. Since I'm not used to a hydration pack, I didn't drink enough though. I took a sip every 5-10 minutes, but it wasn't enough. I got lucky I didn't have problems with dehydration or bonking. I barely ate anything- just the HEED in my pack, a few pretzels, half a Mojo bar & a few Sharkies.

I need to sit down & rework my race schedule. 3 of my races for the year are out now. I wanted to find a 24 hour race to go for 100 miles in. Looks like I may just go with Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler in Feb. 2009. Who knows? Anyone want to go to Texas with me??

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

ASC Greenway Trail Marathon

So, I've decided to direct a trail marathon. After talking with the Greenway for the past couple of weeks, we've nailed down a date & name. It will be called the ASC Greenway Trail Marathon, Relay & 5 Miler and will be run Saturday, September 27, 2008. 7:00 AM start time to keep the temperatures down a little. The course will be 100% on unpaved surfaces- a good mix of singletrack, horse trails & some dirt roads.

I run there most weekends & I think people will like the course. Incidentally, ASC Trails are 34 miles long & they will eventually link to the 30 miles of Nation Ford Greenway trails (just 2 miles opened now) for a total of 64 miles in Fort Mill, SC. Amazing!

Online Registration & Info: