Race Strategy: Strategy was to run conservatively on the first climb up to Skyline and stay smooth and relaxed to the base of the climb out of Wunderlich. After that I planned to open up on the Skyline trail and accelerate through the downhill in Huddart to the finish. My A-Goal was 4:16/8:20 pace, B-Goal was 4:37/9:00 pace, C-Goal was 4:52/10:00 pace.
Race Day Events: Weather was perfect ~40 degrees at the start. 5 guys bolted at the gun to make the gate and I decided to try to stay with the leaders. Running down the first trail to Richards road we were at 6:00 pace and my heart rate was up at 170 when it should have been 150-155. I felt good and chalked this up to too much caffeine (drank a Monster energy drink 50 min before the start). I passed two guys on Richards road and then Todd Flavahan caught me on the climb up the Crystal Springs trail. He looked to be running relaxed and was chatting up a storm. It was clear he could take off if he wanted to but we ran together all the way to the bottom of Wunderlich park. The miles just ticked by running with him. I was pounding ultima sports drink from the nathan two bottle carrier and eating strawberry Cliff shot blocks every 20 minutes. Despite good fuelling I couldn't hang with Tom F. when he made his move climbing out of Wunderlich. I struggled a bit on this climb but pulled it together for the traverse on Skyline trail. The Chinquapin section through to the finish was a continuous acceleration and the last 1.7 miles on the Fire Road was a sprint. Last 40 yd was a full sprint. Dad was at the finish which was great.
Race Performance: I ran a lot faster than I thought I could. I'm really proud of 8:08 pace and happy to have broken the course record by 10 min. The new course record is 3:57 which is lot more appropriate for this fast and gorgeous race. I owe Tom F. a lot for his encouragement and the great pace he set through the middle of the race. My decision to go out with the race leaders payed off. Lesson is to run smart & aggressive. Fuelling was great at every 20 min drinking and eating. Water pack needs improvement as it was sometimes too tight and too lose. I also had to switch bottles around which was a hassle. Refills were pretty easy however. Food could have been more conveniently placed on the nathan pack. Race kit was great. No chaffing due to the seamless underwear (Target), running shorts, shirt. HRM didn't bother me much. Taper was good and hot bath with stretching helped the night before.
Training: Based on my performance my endurance is pretty solid but my calves and hamstrings are pretty sore which makes sense because I didn't do any speedwork, just tempo prior to the race. The long runs over 23 helped a lot and running most of the course plus a few miles to make a 33 mile run was great. Running long runs with some tempo thrown in was a big factor as well. Lifting weights and Bikram Yoga all contributed as well.
I believe I would benefit from greater variety in my running. I focussed only on mileage which is important for me but not at the exclusion of everything else. I plan to follow the recommendations laid out in the Run Like the Kenyans blog I copied. This will mean focusing on form, drills, speedwork, hills. I would like to be able to run 80 miles consistently and do some quality workouts.
- Plan next race
- Create training plan for next race
- Develop workout kit with examples/options
- Plan races for the year
- Plan next three years with contingency plans
- Set A, B, C goals for next three years.