I was fortunate enough this past weekend to participate in the Collegiate Peaks 50 mile trail race in Buena Vista, CO. The 350+ runners in either the 25-mile or 50-mile race options had perfectly clear skies, a ton of warm sun, and near perfect trail conditions. The heat was the one slight negative to the day, as temperatures would end up in the mid-70’s. Many fine performances were turned in and I must first congratulate Ryan Burch on turning heads with his convincing 50-mile victory and course record time of 6:37. 6:37! Burch took 15 minutes out of the old course-record which was set last year by Andy Henshaw. Way to go man. Shaping up to be an awesome year for you. Nice work.
|Burch and I at the finish of the Moab Red Hot 55km 2011.|
The day before the race, I was in Vail, CO at a division-wide ski coaching meeting. These are always productive and entertaining sessions, and this spring’s meeting was no different. The other representatives from Crested Butte who I had driven over to Vail with, Rich and Hannah, dropped me off in Buena Vista on their way home. I went straight to the packet pickup and pre-race meeting, as I had already eaten a good meal on the drive from Vail to Buena Vista. After the short and highly informative pre-race meeting I headed to my car (which I had parked there in the morning) and set up camp for the night. Recently I was given the gift of a Paco Pad. Words cannot express how excited I was to be able to officially ‘field-test’ my Paco Pad. If you have not had the pleasure of sleeping on one of these pads, I suggest you do so. I slept so well under a perfectly star-lit sky and woke up feeling pretty good as I made coffee and ate a little bit of food at 5:00am. I headed over the start, pinned on my number, and was ready to go.
I suppose the pace from the start was normal, but I felt like I was working way too hard. My breathing was ragged and my lungs burned. My stride was clunky and my stomach felt ‘off’ and not normal. In short, I felt like I had already run 50 miles and was heading out for the second half of a 100-miler. Later, I would make the comment to Annie that I felt like an out-of-shape tree-sloth with a stomach virus. You get the picture. Burch and Bowman took off and I was in 3rd place, running right around a couple of 25-mile competitors and Corey Hanson who was running the 50-mile. After a pit-stop about 2 hours in I began to feel a bit better, but still weak and tired. Corey went by me and I just kept plugging along until the turn-around which I reached in 3 hours 22 minutes. (3:22). Burch had gone through in the lead in 3:08. Staggering. I made a concerted effort over the first half of the second lap (this time in the opposite direction) to make a move and see if I could really shake my body awake. I caught up to Corey and chatted briefly with him as we made our way out on the last lap. On the large climb heading up to the top of the course, I squeezed the trigger a bit and opened up a gap on Corey, but here especially it was hot and I could feel I was not dealing with it all that well. I thought I would feel better on the long downhill section coming into the mile 35 aid station, but it was not to be. Instead I felt weaker, my legs felt heavier, and my stomach began to turn.
I fought it off for another hour or so, but, the ‘stressed-out-body’ syndrome took hold of me around mile 40. Trying to hold on over the last 10 miles, I kept my head down, talked myself in, and tried to cope with the discomfort and weakness. As I came to the dirt road section marking 3-miles to go, I puked a couple of times and my pace slowed drastically. I just kept trying to plug along and make it to the finish in 3rd place. Corey Hanson had other plans and with about 1.5 miles to go, he came by me, encouraged me and blew me out of the water! Funny thing is, I tried to hold on to his pace as best as I could, but Corey held me off for 3rd place and beat me by about 2 minutes, running a 7:34 race to my 7:35 for 4th. Nice work Corey.
Ah, the drama. I crossed the line feeling overheated and weak and headed straight for the shade under a tree where I laid down and tried to re-group as best I could. After washing off in the community center I began to feel cooler and better. I popped a ginger-chew to help ease the stomach, and immediately I was able to down a bottle of First Endurance Ultragen. Once that was in the stomach, I rebounded very quickly. Not sure what to say about this day. I thought I was ready for a 7:00 – 7:10 race, but it was not to be. I am chalking it up to experience and a good ‘time-on-feet’ day of training in preparation for the rest of summer. In some respects, the training effect from suffering the bit that I did could help in the 100 milers to come this summer. Onward! One highly positive note? I was moving so slowly over the last 10-15 miles of the race that my legs are not beat up at all. The legs feel great and mostly recovered as I type this. Next up is the Sun Mountain 50 mile in Winthrop, WA in conjunction with my buddy Brian Gregg’s wedding. I can’t wait. Here’s to effective rebounding… rebounding wins championships. Live well. Train well. Think well. DC