This past Saturday I ran the Buffalo Run 50 mile race on Antelope Island in Utah, in the Salt Lake City area. Overall, it was a very enjoyable weekend; I learned a ton about racing, met some great folks & enjoyed an excellent course in a beautiful area.
I came in 9th overall in the 50 mile with a time of 7:54 & some change. So I missed both my A & B time goals, but hit my C goal of a top 10 overall finish. Was glad to get the top 10 as my consolation prize, but was definitely disappointed with my finishing time as I certainly left a lot of time out there on the course. But at the end of the day, it was a very good learning experience & again, course was pretty sweet, saw some Buffalo up close & personal & there were great people throughout from spectators to volunteers to fellow racers.
On the race: the key error I made which caused me to "leave a lot of time out on the course" was the good old fashion starting out to hard. It felt pretty simply that from the start the elevation differential from Chicago/Utah & then later the heat caused me issues in normally regulating & controlling the heart rate. So basically, I taxed myself too hard early on, so when the temps warmed up & I should have been cruising on the easier sections I was instead hurting & struggling to keep the heart rate down; lesson learned. Do it again, I might run the first 13.5 miles 5 minutes slower & pick up 10-20 minutes on miles 33-47 & I come in at 7:40 & I'm much happier, even on a warm day.
As you can see by the elevation profile, the climbing in this race was all in the beginning. I almost hate to share my Garmin data, cause upon review it's clear that I should not have been operating at such a high percentage so early on in the race. But as stated before, just too much taxing early on combined with high temps & miles 33-45 were pretty awful splits. Had to take some additional time at aid stations, walk some gentle inclines which normally I would have been cruising through; quite simply it was definitely a battle. I will touch on some of the things I did well; because given my Garmin data, I did do a pretty great job salvaging the time I achieved given the level of exertion in the beginning of the race.
What went well: I saw some giant buffalo up close & personal & I did NOT shit my pants, big plus! But seriously; there were some things I did great that I learned from. #1 I consumed calories extremely well; I was watching my heart rate the entire time & knew how hard I was working. I knew the only way I could survive was to crush calories, so I ate tons of Thin Mints & consumed a bunch of EFS Liquid Shot (loved this product). There was only one section that was really exposed & hence very warm around 5+ hours in where I was short on water due to not getting a topped off water bottle, other than that I drank well. A steady diet of water & Amino Energy kept me jamming.
#2 did a great job of fighting, my last couple miles were ran at a pretty solid pace. My Garmin data was slightly off due to GPS starting incorrectly; mile 49 registered a 9:01 split, the last .5 mile a 8:09 split, but essentially the last 4-5 miles I ran pretty hard; through a tough rocky section & a good burst to the finish.
I passed 2 male racers in the last 2 miles of the race; which did end up helping me get in the top 10 overall (though at the time I thought I was probably finishing 11th). There was a gentleman (Brian Kamm, can't say enough about this guy, he is a x4 Wasatch vet & x7 100 miler) of Utah who I ran back & forth with for the majority of the race. At one point around mile 43 I had quite a low point & he ended up dropping me prior to a short steep incline prior to the final section of the course. Brian reported going into 43 aid that he was "feeling much better & was going to give it a push"; which while I was happy for him, was quite deflated because I had conversely began sinking to a low. The aid station crew had also then told me I was in 13th place as well; so this, as you can imagine, was just dreadful to hear (at the turn around by mile 33 I had counted 9 runners before Brian & I who were running together at that point). So I was thinking that not only was my top 10 out of the picture (& I could do the math that a PR was gonezo), but the older dude I had been battling just tossed me to the ditch. However, the aid station people ended up being incorrect & somehow I just got a groove back once I hit the top & got moving pretty well; I dodged a very rocky section out around the point of the island on miles 45-47~ ish & then really started moving quickly the last 2 miles. During the rocky section I passed 1 fellow & then caught Brian as soon as I got out of the rocks; which unknowingly put me into 9th. Once Brian had passed me going into the 43 aid station I really thought I would not see him again & the guy I had been running back & forth with since mile 13 had smoked me. So when I was able to battle thru that rocky portion, catch one guy there & then come out of that to see Brian slowed before the last remaining slight hill, it was a major high.
So this was some good experience about salvaging a race, dealing with low lows & just continuing to fight; I'm sure as I do longer races in the future this principle will be put to use for longer periods of time.
Since the race, I've been having some difficulty with my right knee (see VipersKnee on Twitter for the latest thoughts from my knee). I experienced no physical discomfort from a pain/injury level during the race, not even after the race. But about 3-4 hours after, while back at the hotel I began having some external right knee pain which definitely felt as though it was miniscus related pain (I'm a x2 time left knee scope & x1 time left knee ACL vet). So it's been concerning, Sunday I had some pretty positive progression in terms of lack of pain, but I have had some continued swelling & a bit of discomfort last evening. So I'm working on heading down to a Doc in the city somewhat soon **Viper's knee is a parody account, I am not responsible for the content of this twitter account.
Many thanks to Drymax Socks, my feet felt absolutely sensational the entire way. Not a single blister, not a single hot-spot or any discomfort & I don't even train on trail/rocky terrain much! Just simply don't have to worry about my feet. Was also highly pleased with the Sugoi Men's Jack short during the run; killer for both warm & cool temps, great pockets & most of all, just never any chaffage with these. Sugoi is a killer brand for me for shorts, tights, 3/4er's for sure. Thanks you guys.
Here are some pics from the weekend from the trusty ole blackberry: