Monday, November 5, 2012

Lake Hodges 50k Race 2012

 What should have been my easiest 50k to date , turned out to cause the most injuries of all of them. I have been waiting to write this blog post until I had visited a doctor. I finally went to one yesterday to get my foot x-rayed...luckily no fractures, but I am now on a pair of crutches and cannot walk on my right foot until whatever is wrong with it heals up.

Based on the bum knees, hips, right foot and left glute you would think that I had a disastrous race day. It was quite the opposite!!
I was feeling pretty good going into it except for my sore left knee from the Mt. Williamson trip and being sleep deprived.

The 50k race kicked off at 7 am with over 160 runners hitting the trails. The overall field was quite quick, not a surprise given the relatively low elevation gains of the trails. I had the fortune of a friend of mine wanting to run at the same pace for as long as possible, so Mark and I headed out on the first leg of the trails towards the first turnaround. It was freezing cold in the morning so we kept a brisk pace of around 8:30 min/mile.
  The picture below is around the 1 mile marker, coming across the bridge

 At the first turnaround and aid station of the day, the currently #1 gal caught up and didn't get anything from the station. She passed me and started doubling back on the trail we just came down.

 The sun came up as we were doubling back towards the bridge which gave me a mental boost as my pace was starting to slip to 9 min/mile. As I reached the bridge Mark caught back up to me and we started to keep the pace between 8:30 and 8:45. We were both being passed by lots and lots of people and felt like we were going to be last place, with everyone getting sub 4 hour times! Once we reached the super flat section of the course by some agricultural farms, a lot of those people began to slow and we were finally able to do some passing. That gave us the boost we needed to bring us to the aid station at mile 13. I stuck with a very basic nutritional approach to the aid stations and ate only Chia Surge packets and electrolyte drink. This allowed me to maximize my running time since I was able to eat the stuff while running, as opposed to eating regular food items while walking. I believe I ate a total of 12 packets of the stuff during the race. With my fast turnaround at the aid station, I decided to leave my friend there as he figured out what he was refueling with. I began my climb up raptor ridge where I was able to gain a few more spots as some of the runners appeared to be getting a beat down from the short climb. After cresting the top and heading down the backside of the ridge we ran along farmland all the way until the final turnaround and aid station at mile 19. Because of the out and back nature of the trail, I was able to get an idea of how far ahead most of the field was. I spent between 10 and 15 seconds at the turnaround aid station before beginning my mission to catch up to 2 of the gals who were about a mile ahead and another who was about a half mile ahead.  I received another mental boost when I saw my friends Jeremy and Mark running towards the turnaround together. They were about a mile behind me, based on my calculations with the gps watch.

  The building heat from the sun on the backside of raptor ridge took a lot out of me  and I was unsure whether I was going to be able to maintain my average pace of 8:58 for the remainder of the race. I attacked the backside of raptor ridge very conservatively and hiked up it, giving my hips the much needed break they needed. Feeling a bit dehydrated at the top, I decided to make a very quick sprint like decent down the mountain to the mile 24.5 aid station. I passed the #2 gal on the way down and quickly re-hydrated with electrolytes and avoided filling up my camelbak once more. I stuffed 3 Chia surge packets in my pockets and went blazing down the trail after being kicked out of there by my buddy Carlos. I kept a 7:30 pace for about a half mile to narrow the gap of a man and #1 gal that was ahead of me. It took me another mile to catch up to them and pass. I started to build a nice .25 mile lead over them, but lost it leading up to the last aid station at mile 28.9.  I heard the volunteers shout out to her that she was the number one female. I decided to make an attempt at not being chicked in the race, and I passed right through the aid station without refueling. Camelbak was dried out, I had no food, and I had  5k to go. She was right on my tail all the way unto the very end. We had slowed a bit from the last climb in the intense heat of the day but quickly picked up into a very fast pace to finish out the race in a respectable 4:50 time in 18th and 19th place. She was only around 20 seconds behind!

  After crossing the finish line, it was like a switch was flipped and I was unable to walk or move!!!

2nd in my age group, 18th overall, 31.89 miles with a 4:50 time, average pace of around 9:05

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