Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Saturday, March 29, 2008

OK, Yeah, I Choked

Gator Trail 50K today. Lake Waccamaw, NC- near Wilmington. Just decided to run a week ago. Not expecting anything. Three 2-3 hour runs in the week leading up to the race.

Race starts & I look around & wonder why I'm in FIRST place! I didn't want to be in first place. admittedly, there were only 28 people running. I was in the lead for the first 18 miles before the wheels fell off. Let me make this clear- I was leading the race! I still don't understand how that's possible. As a wise coach once said, "They don't give awards for winning the first half of a race." :) I do NOT think I went out too fast. I held back the first lap & ran comfortably the 2nd.

2nd place was 40 meters behind me at the 2 mile mark & I felt a lot of pressure, so I decided to surge a tiny bit for the next 800m. That gave me a more cushion so I could relax. At the end of each of six 5+ mile loops, you have a 4:00 section of out & back where you can see where people are. At the end of the first loop, he was about 2:00 back. I went to the outhouse (yes, outhouse) in the 2nd loop, but he was still 2:00 back, which means without the stop, I was still gaining ground. I decided, "If I'm going to win this thing, I need to get some separation and by the next loop, I don't want to be able to see him." My thought was "Out of sight, out of mind." If he knew I was making up ground, he'd forget about me. At least that's what I thought. ...I mean, I'm never close to this situation, so... So I picked it up from miles 10-13. My already queasy stomach had enough & at 14 miles, I puked. At the end of the 3rd loop, I was still 2:30 or so ahead. I took a little long between laps to get more drink & special needs stuff. Puked twice on the 4th loop and he caught me at 18. Another guy caught me at 19. Two others caught me at 19.5. Two others caught me in the 5th loop. I was forced to walk a few times the 4th & 5th loops, but ran the whole 6th loop- just slowly. I passed one of the guys less than a mile from the end, so I ended up in 6th. 4:49:40.

Laps 2-6 included about 2:00 at my car/aid station, but I was going pretty well until the 4th loop.
Lap 1- 42:11, Lap 2- 42:40, Lap 3- 41:59, Lap 4- 49:41, Lap 5 - 57:16, Lap 6- 55:45

I decided a while back my puking trouble has always been about nerves. I used to have stomach problems in every road marathon I ran b/c I put so much pressure on myself to PR. With trail running, I relax more & enjoy it, so no stomach problems. I think because I felt the pressure of not getting passed, I had the stomach problems. Dumb, I know. I've never led a race since 10th grade! Uncharted territory. I freaked out a little, I guess. Some of the problem, I'm sure was picking up the pace, but I wasn't exactly flying- 7:30 pace for those 3 miles maybe.

The course was OK. Very flat, longleaf pine forest, sand. The sand was loose & soft. Not ideal, but it was good enough. Not very technical, but there were sections with roots & little stumps. The sand made it tougher than it should've been though. Weather was perfect! 60, no sun & breezy. Course well marked & race director & volunteers nice & helpful. Sweatshirt. Finisher's award is a framed picture of you, which I like better than a medal. Something different. Saw no gators, but there was a baby alligator skeleton on the course. A 12 foot gator recently died there.

Eating didn't happen. With that & the pukes, I'm surprised there was no bonking, but I was OK. Got very hungry the 5th lap and ate some trail mix, which hit the spot. I also remembered why I don't like Perpeteum. My sciatic nerve problem was pretty bad. I'm sure I would've slowed due to it in the last 2 laps. My toe problem is getting worse & worse. Since I was little, one of them has curled under, but it's getting worse. When I run, the end of the toenail faces all the way down- perpendicular to the ground, causing some nasty problems. I'm thankful when it falls off 1-2 times a year, because it's so mangled you can't really cut it well. I think I need to have something done to it. Surgery to straighten it has always been in the back of my mind & I always say, "After the next race." I'm thinking it may be better to just get the nail permanently removed. I dunno. Yeah, it's gross.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break '08

I've enjoyed the time off. Went to the mountains with the family. Everyone had fun. It snowed an inch and the high was 28 one day. Got in some very difficult runs. Saw a couple of bear tracks yesterday during a 2 hour run far from people. Made me think I should be more prepared for encounters like that. I'm running the Gator Trail 50K Saturday at Lake Waccamaw, near Wilmington, NC. Very flat, but sandy & possibly muddy. Should be fairly fast, but I'm not feeling that fast lately. Only 17 people ran last year. I just decided to run this race at the last minute because a track meet fell through.

Ian & I are officially a 2 person team for what was the 24 hour Relay For Africa, but is now called the Blue Planet Run 24- Black Mountain. It still benefits clean drinking water in developing countries. I'd wanted to run the whole 24 hours, but they changed the date and now it's on the day of our regional track meet. Instead, Ian will run from 10 AM-10 PM and I'll come after the meet & run 10 PM-10 AM. Hoping to get in 65 miles. The 5 mile loop has one incredibly hard mile and a few other decent hills, but also has some nice downhills & flats. We haven't come up with a team name yet, but there's talk of costumes! We'll see.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Crowder's Mountain

I'd planned to do a 4-5 hour run tomorrow, but wanted to get in an hour today. Decided to get the family in on it and suggested we go to Crowder's Mountain. It's about 35-40 minutes from our house, but I've never run there before. Pretty tough! 900 ft. of elevation gain in the first 30 minutes, along with crawling on my behind over rocks & lots of unrunnable rocky patches. Total elevation gain of 1140' in the 1:03 trip. I went from the Visitor's Center, up along the ridge, down what must've been 200 stairs(!), and back on the nice rolling main trail. Nice clear day & good views, but I didn't stop to take them in. Jennifer & Wren walked around the lake and we ate a picnic lunch. Fun little outing, but it ranks up there for the most difficult hour long run I've ever done. Now on to the ASC Greenway trails for my long run tomorrow.

3/2/08 Update- Ran the whole marathon course I came up with for the ASC Greenway Trail Marathon (Sept. 27) today. Pulled a muscle in my back earlier in the day. Sore from the Crowder's Mt. run. Maybe I'm not that smart. Felt decent though. 4:35.