Most of you know that I ran an icy/snowy Crusty 50K last weekend with a finishing time of (5:07).Week in Between
The day after Crusty, I decided to go out and test my legs for an hour on the trail. The first 15 minutes or so were a bit stressful. My legs were scorched and my hips could really feel it from trudging through the snow at Crusty. Then I took 2 rest days. Well, I did ride the recumbant bike 5 miles the day after the hour run. Then on Wednesday, I went out and really tested myself by running trail tempo for over 54 minutes. The next day at work, as I sat in my chair, I feared the worse. I thought I had aggravated an earlier(2005) sacral fracture. I was hobbling a bit. So, that night I met fellow KR Senator Brett
and ran a fairly easy 51 minutes on the trail with him. Friday, I made the 4hr+ trip to Louisville for my next race.02/14 - Louisville's Lovin the Hills 50K (RR)
I ran this event in 2008 with my buddy Tom Thornton. He kept telling me for 2-3 years that I have to come down and run this race. It will be unlike any 50K you'll ever run. That turned out to be quite true. I did alot of crosstraining with a long run of 8 miles and we both finished in a respectable 6:43. My take on the course after running: has to be one of the toughest, if not hilliest 50K's in the midwest. I'm not talking switchback type of hills, but hills that go straight up and just keep coming at you.The Outcome
I suppose I can chalk this race up to a really good training run. I knew going in this wasn't going to be easy and was having a right hammy problem the few days after Crusty 50K last weekend. However, thinking I could shake that off during LLTH was wishful thinking. From the onset of the race my legs felt really heavy.
Prerace, I had met up with Dave Peterman from Ohio. He had previously helped crew me and fellow KR rootsrunner
at the 2006 Laurel Highlands Trail 70.5 Mile race. One thing I know about Dave is that he is an exceptional trail runner. We chatted a bit and he said he was glad to have someone familiar at the race. I said the same and said that I would start out running with him if he didn't mind. Although my next statement was that I would back off shortly after we started.
During the first loop, roughly 5.6M, my heartrate was really high and I wasn't even pushing it. Remarkably, the trail was in great condition and dry all morning. The hills on this section are tough as well. Not your average rollers anywhere. What goes down as they say must go back up. So true. This loop consisted of fire service roads and trail that was well marked. And you finished this loop back where you started near the cars if you needed anything and a fill up at the aid station.
The 2nd loop, roughly 7.6M, left the park on a paved road that you came in on prerace. I remember it from last year and didn't really like it so much. Nothing changed my mind this year about it either. And the fact that it was real windy on this section heading back into the trail. I remember the guy saying to three of us 50K runners that "hey guys, there are three ladies in front of you, you better get going." Then I reminded him that all three were 15M race runners and they should be in front of us. And the fact that there are some really fast ladies out there. Granted, I did run with a few of them early on. This section was super steap hilly. The exact type of area where you'd expect switchbacks. Nope! Straight up. One leg in front of the other trudging forward. I did see myself running more on this section. So, after roughly 7M in the woods you exited where you started and headed back onto that road section back to the start and another pitstop.
I thought geesh, I haven't even gone 15M yet and I'm really starting to feel this. Not so much nutrition wise, as I had been hydrating well, taking gels/fruit snacks/peanut butter gels I like to call them and enduralytes. My legs were increasingly feeling the soft trail more and more. My right leg where the hammy problem was earlier in the week was creeping back. I mean I wasn't injured by any means and didn't intend to become a casualty of this race.
So, I headed back out onto the trail thinking I could shake off my problems. I was still having fun for the most part and felt mentally good. Every now and then I'd pass a runner or get passed. This next small section takes the 50K runners through the woods along a small lake and onto a gravel road toward another small patch of road as you head back into the woods toward the next aidstation.
After leaving this aidstation, the climbing continues on through the woods to the roughly 18M mark, at least the guy taking numbers told me and another runner. After a quick fill up at the aidstation, I was off for more climbing. Even the rolling, less steap sections were becoming difficult. I pushed on, climbing ridge after ridge after ridge. How they got this section of trail cleared (ice/wind storm 3 weeks prior) is beyond me. It looked like it was a mess and could have been a nightmare trying to find the trail while running.
Somewhere along this section of trail, I found myself walking more then I was running or able to run. And the lead runners were beginning to make their way back to the finish. I encouraged them on. I knew the guy in 2nd place(Russ Goodman) and told him that he was probably only 1,000yds behind the leader. Russ would go on to win the race. The 3rd place guy(Tim?) at the time, I knew from last year's race and he would go on to take 2nd overall. So, I made my way through the forest. I consider myself a decent downhill runner and was finding it ever so difficult to do so. Not only were my quads feeling the brunt, but my hamstrings were as well. I knew in my mind that I would call it a day at the Scott's Gap aidstation. The mental games were getting after me. I tried fighting it off. I didn't want to quit, but knew that walking nearly 10 miles back to the finish wasn't something I was going to bring myself to do. So, I sat for a moment in one of the chairs, ate a few pringles and drank some fluids. I kept asking myself in my mind, am I really tough enough for this? Am I, or is it just this day that got me. About that time after talking with a couple of volunteers, I called it a day and my race was over: 22M in roughly 4:36.
I consider this a great learning experience. Running back-to-back weekend 50K's is something I hadn't attempted previously. Sure, I had run marathons on consecutive weekends many times. Never easy, but marathons are not trail races, when anything can be thrown at you along the way. I'll bounce back. The tender hammy will heal up and I'll march on toward my next race in March.