Took part in a little group training run/race type thing this past saturday called the "Windburn 6" put on by Brian & Kelly Gaines aka New Leaf Ultra Runs. And let me tell you, the conditions lived up to their billing in terms of weather. According to weather.com on my mobile device the weather in Bartlett, IL as of 7:30am was 23 deg with 25-35mph gusts. Brian & Kelly hold many runs in this location; being the James "Pate" Philip State Park in Bartlett & let me tell you it is not a wind protected area. It is flat prairie grass land, where we ran multiple loops on what is normally crushed limestone; on this day it was snow-covered.
Aside from the weather, I was struck by how hearty the people were. There were approximately 47 starters, with an excellent male/female ratio & people didn't seem to be that taken back by the conditions & everyone seemed to run very well the entire day, I was more than impressed.
On the race - we were running 2.28 mile loops, we had 6 hours to get in as many miles as we could. I started out quite conservatively given the wind, cold temps, etc. Had not tapered at all for this training run either; was coming off about 40-45 miles on Tues-Friday during the week & a work trip to the Dominican the previously weekend. But I found that I warmed up extremely well, literally after the 1st lap, shed the top layer & was feeling great with the conditions & the snow cover actually provided great cushioning on the trail. There was ice in some spots for sure, but it was pretty easily avoided & all in & all the footing was quite comfortable.
My main issue was changing out gear & a couple rest stops; this cost me approximately 7 minutes in the first 2 hours of the race. So I was a bit behind the pace that I had initially hoped to carry prior to the weather. At approximately the 2:30 mark into the run I was on pace for roughly a little more than 16 laps. Luckily for me the was 3:20 of the race went extremely well. Had 0 stops from that point forward & was able to really push the pace. Ran most of the 2.28 mile loops in the 19-20 min range from that point forward & it felt very comfortable. I was also fortunate to have my very own crew member (dad) out there supporting me for this training run which was huge; so i got my own water, amino energy drink, s! caps, gels & ibu brought to me on trail.
As it was wrapping up I figured out that I was surely going to be able to get in my 17th lap (putting me at 38.75 miles at a minimum) which was great considering the delays in the morning & severe wind. But what I did wrong was not listening at the beginning. There is a little .5 mile circle at the very beginning which you can run as many times as you'd like when it comes down to the end of the 6 hour window to try & maximize your miles. Well, I like an idiot come in at the end of my 17th lap at 5:50 & some change & think "well there's no way i can get another lap in", so I hit the pavillion, people giving me quisical looks & I think someone even said, "you're not going to get any more in". But I hadn't known & by the time I realized it was 5 till, so I said screw it. Ended with 38.76 miles in 5:50, which breaks out to 9.02 per mile & given the 7 minutes squandered & the wind was a very positive outcome for sure.
Couple key things that have been working well. Religiously taking my S!Caps has been making me feel sensational, mixing the water & the Amino Energy drink has been huge (makes me want to try Vespa, there's got to be something to this amino acid's & fat optimizing thing!) & rotating lighter amounts of gels. Really was able to push the last 3 hours & felt strong most of the way.
Here's a link to the fun run page with results:
Many thanks as well to the people of 2XU who have announced that Team Viper will be joining them as a brand ambassador in 2012! Very exciting, I was rocking my 2XU calf sleeves the entire run. Attached are a few photos from the even from the New Leaf facebook page & my bberry: