Labor of Love 50Mile (Or maybe Marathon) Race Report
Just before LOL 2015 Race Start
Saturday was my second attempt at 50 Miles. I had my strategy down, had my training down…
Joyce with Calico Racing always puts on well organized events. She knows many of her runners by name. Aid stations were every 2 miles or so and nicely stocked for a road race (though maybe a bit sparse if you are used to ultra aid stations).
The course is a road course about an hour from home. The starting line is around 4,500 feet, about 2,000 feet higher than Vegas. Not that much elevation but I need to set up my excuses for race performance :-).
Starting temp around 60-70 with a high in the low 80s. Not particularly hot for me but hotter than it has been (More set up for excuses).
The course is an 11 mile out and back with some repeat sections to get to the magic 26.2, 50k, or 50 Mile depending on the race. Its about a 5-6 mile rise, then a steap descent (for a road race) for 3 miles and then more climbing. The marathon has about 2,000 feet of climbing (4,000 overall for the 50 mile course).
Asthetically the course is nice, scrubby desert ‘forest’. The landscape doesn’t change much but the road has enough bends in it that the terrain doesn’t get monotonous.
Ok, back to the race. The race had about 250+ runners. 80 toed the start line for the Marathon and beyond distance (13 of those were 50 milers).
I set a very slow 14 minute/mile goal pace, which would give me plenty of lee way for the 15 minute/mile cut off. Did a decent job of keeping my pace down, I was running 12-13 minute pace and on the uphill section to boot but I kept my pace down. Yay!
The 5-6 mile climb was ok, it wasn’t that steep but it was never ending. My legs didn’t feel as fresh as they should have been. The climb was slowly doing its thing to me and then the Sun started to do its thing to me as well. Not much mind you, just slowly and relentlessly trying to stop my forward motion.
Did the extra lap at the top of the course and was able to figure out that there were 2 50 milers behind me at the 13 mile mark. I was a little more tired than I wanted to be, but this was the start of the downhill section and I had time in the bank so I should be able to recover.
But around mile 18 was the big climb (the descent on the way up the canyon). I mostly walked up the climb, but even that was too intense for what was going on in my stomach. By the time I crested the hill my ‘health’ was fading.
This is a picture of the descent. You can see the road off to the left.
I made it to the mile 23 aid station and was able to sit down for a bit. Despite nausea, I knew I could complete at least marathon distance and so trudged on. That was not a fun 3.2 miles but I did it. I crossed the mat and downgraded to a marathon.
I then went over to the ultra aid station to get a soda and was told that they were trying to save the soda for the ultra runners. Ouch. I knew I should have gone to the aid station before downgrading. 🙂
So What went wrong?
I expected problems going into the race. About a month before the race I did a 50k training run with no problems. But a little more than a week before the race I ran into nausea problems doing a 20 mile run. The difference is tempature.
During the winter I can run 10+ miles without water but during the summer it takes me 60-80 ounces of water to cover the same distance. Over the past 2 weeks tempatures have climbed but I’m not acclimated to it yet.
My theory is I was taking in more liquids than my body could handle. When I added the last climb to the heat, higher elevation, and the miles my stomach finally rebelled.
Oh, and of the 13 or so starters, there were only 7 50 mile finishers so I wasn’t the only one who downwgraded to a shorter distance.