Sunday, March 15, 2009

Land Between the Lakes 60k (Not 50m) Race Report

Chris and I drove to KY on Friday night and got to the hotel around 7:30pm or so (6:30pm their time). We were looking for a place to get dinner since there weren't any fast food places or decent restaurants nearby in that tiny county. There was this nasty little restaurant 2 feet from our hotel that Chris said we could go to. I laughed and said "ya right". We drove to the marina where the race starts and saw only one restaurant there, Patty's. Turns out that the whole town would want to eat at Patty's that night and there would be a one hour wait for Chris and I.

We decided we didn't want to wait forever and so we went back to the hotel and unfortunately decided to go to that nasty restaurant by the hotel that I had just made fun of. I tried to not think of how dirty the place would be or how gross it would smell inside or whether the cooks would wash their hands before cooking our food.

We entered and as expected, the air was thick of funky smoke. It had a nice decor full of Gone With the Wind items and also baptismal/confederate flag pictures. Anyway, although the special was "all you can eat- fried catfish" I ordered some potato skins (which turned out to be 3 huge potatoes cut up) and french fries (very healthy) and Chris ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and mozerella sticks. My whole point of this long story is that we ate gross, greasy food the night before the race and left the place smelling like someone who lives in my ghetto neighborhood.

ANYWAY, the race started the next morning and it was about 30-35 degrees out with rain. The first 1.7 miles consisted of running up this road to get onto the trail. For the 50m race (which was what I was planning on), you were to run 4 loops of the 11.something trail (and just 3 loops for the 60k race) and then everyone runs 1.7 miles back onto this uphill, horrible road with traffic/wind flying at you.

I ran the first loop in 2 hours and felt good. I realized I probably ran the first loop too fast when I started the second loop and quickly started walking up more of the inclines than I previously did. At this point I was still planning on running the 50 miles.

The rain made the trails super muddy and slippery and hard to keep your balance. At the end of the 2nd loop my lower back and shoulders started hurting which made me feel weak and mad that I never do any other exercises besides running. Josh had had warned me about this. After the second loop I was tempted to finish right then and make it just a marathon day.

I forced myself on to the 3rd loop and was already counting down the miles/aid stations. About halfway through the loop, I knew I'd quit at 60k. I was getting super hungry yet not wanting to eat much, and my toe randomly hurt really bad (time for new shoes, perhaps), my feet were wet and my shoes weighed 10 pounds each and it wasn't that much fun. (But speaking of being hungry and eating- I did discover a new, awesome running food: Fruit snacks! They were great. I ate two big bags in a few seconds. Yum.)

I knew that I would be able to complete a 4th loop and still finish within the 11hour time limit if I really wanted to, but was it worth it if I would be walking the majority of the time and not enjoying myself much? I didn't think so.

So I finished at 7:22 hours, 9 minutes slower than last year's time. I didn't place as well either; faster runners this year.

I know that sometimes you have good running days and sometimes you have bad running days. However, I'm still worried about some things:

  • Last year when I ran this race, I had only been running seriously for 3 months and it was only my 3rd ultra. This year I have actually been putting in the training miles and I have run over 15 marathons/ultras. Why did I run so well last year and feel well during the whole thing and this year, with more experience, feel like crap the whole time? Not fair.

  • Am I going to be able to finish a 100 Mile Race if I have trouble with 37 miles?

  • Would I have been able to run better if going into it, I was only planning on running the 60k? I think I had negative energy because in my head, I was quitting and so I told myself I couldn't do it and I had to compromise with the shorter race.

All in all, 37 miles is still good and it helped me accomplish March's goal for the Ten More Miles! challenge. However with Mohican coming up so soon, I'm a little scared. I guess all I can do is continue with more hill/speed/miles training!

Continued report here.


Anonymous said...

I'm still amazed! Maybe the second-hand smoke, grease and germs from the night before played a factor in the race too, haha! Your shoes look like they're covered in cement, no wonder they weighed so much.

Running 2 Mohican said...

I think you answered your own questions in your post. Pre race fuel, (No check), good race conditions (No check), Great mental training (Check) Wait what? Mental training? Use that 60k switch as a good training for Mohican. You will have it. I have before and it beat me a few times and cut my 100 miles short. I would say it was a great race!

As far as your time goes do not worry about it. It should not rent much space in your mind. Just was not your race day.

Nick B said...

I echo Rob's comments, Clara. Great job and knockin' out 37 miles regardless. Disect this event and build on it. It's nothing more than a stepping stone to the ultimate goal. That's how I've approached every RUN this year...a stepping stone to Kettle. Curious: what's your in-race nutrition like? Keeping the energy levels up and electolytes going in? That's been a major hurdle for me that I got over with good 'ol boiled potatoes.

Recover smart and charge on forward!

Clara said...

Heather- Thanks. You're right, that funk did play a role. :)

Rob/Nick- Thanks for the encouragment. I hope you guys are right and that I kick butt for the next race!!!

Nick- During the first half of the race, I took SCaps every 30 minutes and tried to eat every 40 minutes. Even though I was eating, the foods weren't that fulfilling (oranges, crackers, etc). At the end of the race, I wasn't able to eat much even though I was hungry. Nothing tasted good and it made me want to puke. HOPEFULLY that feeling will change. Potatoes sound like the way to go and I hope they're offered at Mohican.

Ragfield said...

Anyone who can run 60km is doing something right. Congrats on a great run. Good luck with your 100.

We ate at that same restaurant, though we didn't have problems with the smoke because we sat in the back all by ourselves. It wasn't very vegetarian friendly, but my baked potato, salad, rice, and rolls made a pretty good pre-race meal. Of course, you ran three times as far as I did...

ed said...

LBL is infamous for luring runners into a fast early pace -- you did very well to hold on -- nice time considering how you felt!

Early finishers get the lasagna too before it runs out -- Rats!

Good Luck at Mohican!! I hope to finish that race this year, weather (temps) & body permitting.