Sunday, April 21, 2013

Missing the Races

Well, it missed the North Coast Endurance Run in Cleveland this weekend due to injury, and it looks like I'm missing next week's Leona Divide 50.

Yesterday, I ran my 15-mile ascent of Newhall's Beast, a descent of Los Pinetos Trail into Walker Ranch, and a further descent into the Placerita Nature Center, with an ascent up to the Viper trail and a run down Viper to the Park-N-Ride where my car was waiting.

As I hit the top of the Beast and started my way down, I realized I was suffering from tendinitis in my right knee, which I would feel only on the downhills.  I slowed to a walk in several places.  Imagine that; full-burst runs up the hills and walks down the hills.

Looks like brother Dave came in 4th place in the North Coast race in what looks like snowy weather.   Photos from the start looked like things were below freezing.  (Yesterday's run for me was in the 80s and I didn't have enough water.)   He complains about wind burn in the eyes.  I would have found that annoying, but I'm glad I didn't go as the tendinitis would have stopped me cold.   Still waiting to recover from my last 50.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

American River 50 Mile Run: 9:31

I completed the American River 50 mile run on April 4, 2013, placing 223 out of about 1100, 27/191 in the 50-59 age group (both genders).   This was a phenomenally large field; most 50s are 200 or less.  I got in through the waiting list.

My elapsed time was 9:31, I think.  I'm not sure about that; it took several minutes to get to the starting gate.  I think my chip time is under 9:30.  The screen was at 9:31 when I finished, so I'm not sure how or if they computed chip time.  A lot dropped out.   After I finished, there were still about 500 on the course, according to the announcer about 45 minutes later after I had finished my hamburger.

The weather was cool in the morning, to the point that I was too cold in my sweaty shirt, and warmer in the early afternoon.  It was cloudy most of the day.

The 9:31 time makes my 2007 9:38 time in the Antelope Island 50 all the more impressive as that was a more difficult race, climbing a mountain pass twice and having lots of difficult technical trails.  That was my first 50, and I weighed ten pounds more then.   Go figure.  Well, it isn't too hard to figure.  Father Time.

This race is quite a bit different than the 50s I've done in the past.  The first 22 miles or so are, mostly, on pavement, the river trail.   We started in Sacramento on the American River.  The first couple of miles or so is an out-and-back.  We started in the dark and ran downstream and then back upstream, past the start line.  Then it was upstream all the way.  Just like a large marathon, there's a lot of jockeying for position for the first two or three miles or so.

Thereafter, there's some running on fire roads, but in the last 20 miles or so the race is on some fairly narrow single tracks along the riverbank.  The upper river single tracks are so narrow that there's some difficulty in passing other runners.  The vegetation was thick and there was lots of dodging the poison oak overhangs.

I had to apologize to one fellow at mile 45 for not hearing him with my music on.  I had to turn off the music in some of these narrower paths.  The upper trail is in the foothills of the Sierras, so its like a rain forest at times in the upper river gorge.  The race finishes on top of a dam in Auburn.

So, the entire course is uphill but it is only about a 2000 foot aggregate gain.

As usual in these races, I do well in the first 25 miles or so and then age catches up to me and I start getting passed.  At mile 30, I thought I had pulled a hamstring and my running came to a slow walk.  But, hoping it was just a bad cramp, I loaded up on salt sticks (Succeed caps), and after a couple of miles or so the pain became manageable.   I wasn't quite up to my pre-30 pace, but I was happy that I wasn't walking for the last 20 miles.

After the race, I looked down at my feet and realized I had run the entire thing in my cast-off Nike Airs, which I had replaced with new Nike Airs, sitting at home.   The Nike Air is a very lightweight street shoe.  I thought I had been running in my Brooks Beasts, which I had brought along with me.  Because I have been wearing the cast-offs now as street shoes, I had removed the ortho inserts.   I was amazed I did as well as I did with these shoes, whose cushioning had been beaten down and which I though were goners.  I had no foot soreness and very few blisters.  This is boring stuff to non-runners, I admit, but shoe selection makes a huge difference in races.

The large race is lots of fun, because a runner is rarely out of contact with other runners.   I had pleasant conversations with some of the runners, asking where they were from and about their running experience.

The run was quite picturesque.   The American River is quite a pretty sight once you get out of Sacramento.

When I got back to the hotel, I discovered I had shin splints in my right leg.  I hadn't noticed that on the run, and the next day I limped around with ice.  I guess I attribute that to running on my Nike Airs without the orthotic inserts.

Another run in the books.  I am contemplating the much more difficult Leona Divide 50 in three weeks.  The last time I did that I had a post-12 hour time, but it was hot and I had to fight stomach distress.  That one has a 7000 foot elevation gain.  Or, I'm looking at the North Coast 24 hour run in Cleveland in two weeks.

Update, several days later:  Wow -- the right leg shin splits are outta this world!   I hate injuries; I rarely get them.   A week before I ran St. George in 2008, with a Boston qualifying time, I developed shin splits on a 40 mile pacing run with brother Dave in Wyoming on a 100.   Hopefully these today will go away soon.