Monday, September 21, 2009

2009 Gunpowder Keg 50K

The power is out at work, so I thought I'd make a short blog post from my iPhone to kill some time. I tried to take a nap, but that wasn't working for me...

On Saturday, I ran the Gunpowder Keg 50K. It is a roughly 10 mile loop, and there are 2 aid stations. One is at the start/finish, and another is maybe at 3-4 miles into the loop. You pass this one twice, so you are never more than 3-4 miles from an aid station.

The terrain is not too technical, with an elevation gain/loss of 1000 feet per loop, 3000ft total, and about 100ft per mile. This is not bad, I've done a 16 mile run with 6000ft of vertical in another section of the same park. There are very few rocks or roots to trip on or worry about. There are a couple wooden mini-bridges that can get quite slippery. My hip and ribs had a very intimate encounter with one of them. Nice bruises!

There was only one water crossing. Supposedly, you could avoid this if you skipped across some wet mossy rocks, but it looked too dangerous to me. I just plowed through the water.

This was a "Fat Ass" event. Before anyone starts complaining, Fat Ass is a term that has been used for years to describe a low-cost or free, no-frills, largely self-supported run.

This run fits that description perfectly. There is a $5 suggested donation, and you are supposed to bring 1 gallon of water for the aid stations.

I only have one complaint about this race. Some douche(or perhaps douches) filled his (their) water jug(s) with the nastiest water imaginable. It tasted like pool water siphoned through a decrepit garden hose. When I topped off my water and Gatorade at 20 miles, I didn't try them right away. One mile down trail, I took a sip, and nearly barfed. I tried both, and they were undrinkable. Maybe I am just a sissy, used to drinking some of the best quality tap water in the nation, but this was disgusting. So for the next 4ish miles, I didn't drink anything. I started to get dehydrated and delerius.

The water at the next aid station was much better. After that, I learned to sample the water before filling up my bottles.

Personally, I didn't have the best run ever, but it wasn't that bad, either. I finished in 5:52. I met my "easy" goal of breaking 6 hours. But was far from my tough goal of going under 5 hours. 5:52 was the second fastest I've ever run a 50K, the best in 3 years. I have no idea what place I was. It will probably be a good while before the results are up, but thats ok with me. Before the water mishap, I was running even with 2 very fit competitive ladies, so place-wise, I was probably where I normally am.

Ah, the power is back on, so I need to wrap this up. I have some more thoughts about training I want to write about, so I'll have to get to that later.

Also, if you are going to a race where they ask you to bring a gallon of water, avoid douchebaggery and just buy a jug at the store. If you can't, at least fill up the jug the night before, and LEAVE THE CAP OFF. This lets the chlorine "outgas", removing the funky taste.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More bad food choices

At 6:35pm, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot at Gilman, wondering if I REALLY wanted to do TNT. I have been sampling the menu of the brand new, glorious Wawa for my lunches at work, and today I had the Chicken Parm Hoagie. Ugh. I like most of the stuff at Wawa, but this was absolutely horrible, soggy, messy, tasteless, and the marinara sauce was very acidic. My stomach was rolling all afternoon. But I remembered that I had felt bad before other track sessions, and I ran anyway, and ended up with a great workout.

This was the case today, as well. There was a bit of confusion. No one 1 wanted to do Ryan's workout; it seemed like the consensus was to do 5x1600m.

On the first one, I fell in behind Dr. J, and she set a pretty good pace, around 6:08. That's pretty good for me, if I had been running by myself, I probably would have done a 6:30. (which is what I was doing a few weeks ago when we did 1600's. On the second 1600, I think she was setting a bit faster pace, and I ended up with a 6:01. This is the fastest I've ran a mile in a long long time. If I had known how close I was, I would have pushed it a little more, and gone under 6. But I should really have stayed in the 6:08 range, because I was not fully recovered in mile number 3, and I struggled to end with a 6:20 with Dr. J quite a few yards in front of me. For number four, I had no energy, and on the backside of the track at 600m I was having difficulty breathing, just couldn't get enough air in. Not sure what that was about. I think my body is just not used to being pushed like that. Rather than keep pushing into the danger zone, I coasted in and stopped at 800. I recovered, and I think I did either 2 more 800s or an 800 and a 400.

The “warmdown” (ha) was an out and back that I was a bit unfamiliar with, and the guys were running way faster than I should have been. So basically, instead of a warmdown, I got in 2 or 3 miles of fast tempo running to finish off the night.

I don't know why I go into details like this on my workouts, I guess just to remember key times where I did something good or bad.

In other news, my long runs have been doing pretty well, progressing up to 21 miles at 8:30ish pace. This weekend, I'm doing the Gunpowder Keg Ultra 50K. It's up at the Bunker Hill section of Gunpowder State Park. I haven't run the exact course, but I scouted the area last year. It is not too technical, but it certainly isn't NCR-flat, either. So I think my goal will be to run a 9 min mile, and see how long I can keep it up. If I end up averaging 9:30ish mile that would about break 5 hours, and I would be really happy if I break 5. I think I'm in as good shape or better than 3 years ago when I did a 4:56 at HAT Run 50K at Susquehanna State Park.

We will see. This is not a goal run, I'm actually using it as a training run for a 50 miler in November.

1 well, I would much rather have done shorter intervals like Ryan's workout, but I am an agreeable chap, so I just did what everyone else was doing.