Thursday, November 10, 2011

What a month!

The last month of running has been interesting, fun, exciting and in the end perhaps a little too exhausting. About a week after my effort at Oil Creek, I felt for the most part recovered. So, I decided to head up to run the USATF 50 Mile Championships at Tussey Mountainback. There was some really good competition and I like to support USATF races. Anne, Logan and I went up on Saturday and camped with our friends Rebecca and Evan (who was also running). Sunday morning was cold and we shivered at the start line. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but figured I’d give it my best shot. The race started and I ran with the lead pack that included Wardian, Dave James, Todd Braje and Michael Arnstein. After about 15 miles we hit the first major climb of the day and the pack broke up. Wardian made his move and the others followed. Knowing I did not have quite the road speed as these guys I was content on falling back a bit. Around mile 20 I started feeling a bit bad and did slow down a little. Sometime between miles 25 and 30 Mark Godale and Joshua Fingers passed me. I kept Joshua within my site, hoping to catch him and Mark when we hit some of the later hills. Around mile 40 I started feeling pretty good again and I nearly caught Joshua on a major climb around mile 41. After the aid station at mile 42 there is another climb on an out and back section, I passed Joshua here and saw Mark was probably about 10 minutes up on me. Feeling pretty good I started chasing Mark, while trying to hold off Joshua. I hit the last aid station with 4.2 miles to go at around the 6 hour mark. A sub-6:30 was within reach, so I pushed about as much out of my legs as they would give me and finished in 6:28:42.

It was a fun day, the weather was perfect and Anne, Logan, Rebecca and Evan (who had to drop due to injury) ended up cheering me on at various points along the course. I ran a pretty good race, with near even splits. It was fun running with some of the fast boys and I am still amazed at Wardian’s time and splits (3:00 for the first 25 miles, 2:33 for the second!). 

I now had 12 days to prepare for my next race at the Pinhoti 100…

Recovery went OK during this short time, running fast (sub 6 min./miles) was pretty uncomfortable, but other than that I thought I felt pretty good. We drove to Alabama with both boys, stopping in Knoxville on the way out. The boys were fighting off colds and did not sleep well, so neither did Anne or I. When we arrived in Sylacauga, AL the hotel had lost our reservation, so we had to head across the street to the Holiday Inn Express (a nicer hotel, but a little more $$). At packet pickup I learned I was not listed to ride on the bus to the start in the morning. Luckily, Troy Shellhamer had a crew and was able to give me a ride and some early morning amusement with banter about the Louisville tri-athlete community and several references and quotes from Talladega Nights (the race was run in Talladega National Forest). 

I got up at 3 AM, got dressed and headed off for the hour and a half drive to the start. After milling around a bit in the cold, the race started. Karl took off and a few others followed. I was content falling back a bit, at least until the sun came up. Things were going fine for about 10 miles. After that I just felt completely spent; not good when you still have 80+ miles and 16+ hours to go. I kept trudging along hoping to bounce back, but by mile 20 I was already in my “100 mile shuffle.” There was nothing really physically wrong; I was just completely exhausted and depleted. I trudged along a little further, but finally gave up realizing my body was telling me this was just too much.

Anne and the boys picked me up and we headed to the Mellow Mushroom for lunch - gotta love the Mellow MushroomJ Stopping when I did gave us some extra time to spend in the South and we had a good time. The next morning I talked to Karl for a bit, congratulating him on a great run with a course record 16:42 and win #31. He’s thinking about putting on a “Speadgoat 100” next year. Sounds painful, but I am definitely interested; especially if I am unlucky in the lotteries.

This month has taught me quite a bit about my running and both the mental and physical demands of frequent Ultra racing. Hopefully, I can learn and continue to improve with perhaps a bit more consistency. I’ll probably stay local for the rest of the year, and there is no shortage of races so I should be able to “get my fill.” 

1 comment:

  1. Jeremy- You've had an unbelievably busy year. Everyone gets a little exhausted from time to time, but your racing schedule would have fried me for sure. You're certainly talented and on to something, so keep hitting it hard!

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