I ran a race yesterday because... well. I'm an addict. It was not one of the wiser things I've done in my life when I was suppose to be healing the body. All I wanted to do is to test my fitness. There was an option to do a 5, 10, or 20 miler, naturally I did the 20 miler.
I woke up at 4:30 AM to pelting horizontal rain hitting the window and immediately tried to talk myself out of it. I hadn't signed up, but then again, this kind of stuff was right up my alley - the uglier the better. Besides, with all the required gear UTMB required (waterproof everything) I had an excuse to actually put it to the test. By 6 AM it was a full on snow storm, still horizontal. No breakfast this morning just the normal coffee and the not so normal EFS liquid shot. Mmm put it together and it tastes like a vanilla latte, try it.
The race started at Jaxon's school parking lot about a mile away so I was way early. I was surprised there were already quite a few people standing around the start area. Walking to sign up there was about 3 inches of slush all over the parking lot and my feet were immediately wet - this was gonna get ugly. I sat in my car to stay warm and bundled up with all my Pearl Izumi WxB gear. Now I'm not one for pimping product on my blog but I get lots of questions about what works best for particular conditions. So for all those interested in knowing what works best for rain/slush/snow mixture I will tell you that there is no better gear than Pearl Izumi waterproof stuff. They have been keeping cyclists warm for years in the worst conditions and they use that same knowledge and know-how in the run gear. At UTMB we had to have a waterproof jacket with hood along with waterproof gloves, just name a couple of things on a long laundry list.
P.R.O. Barrier WxB Gloves Fly Barrier WxB Jacket
Honestly these two items kept me dry and warm. I ended up shedding the jacket midway because I started to sweat a bit as the snow stopped and the sun got higher. I was also able to move pretty freely with the jacket on. Usually restriction of movement is a deal breaker for me and most always go without.
Anyway on to the race. There were only about 25 of us and immediately a guy sprinted off the start. Yes this was a race but I was prepared to stay within myself and just test my fitness. I started off the line with good friend Roger Stones, who is starting a solid base for his run at the Leadman 2012. We ran together, very comfortable, for about an hour and then slowly drifted apart. There were lots of out and backs which required lots of volunteers so thank you to all those hearty souls just standing there getting cold. Although there was one junction with no signs or volunteers and of course we took the wrong way. It was the start of a loop and I knew we would end up in the same place but problem was that we ended up cutting off about 5 minutes. I don't know what they'll do but it really doesn't matter to me because I got my workout in while spending time with friends. Woody was also out there and he didn't take the wrong turn. The reason I know this is because we were going in the opposite direction around the loop.
Coming back through the start/finish area was messy. The snow was now trampled from the 5 and 10 mile runners so the traction was a little tricky. But what made matters worse was trying to weave through the other runners. Most people moved with an "on yer left" but some had music so there was no moving them. An hour and 1/2 into the run I was actually feeling really good and felt like I was speeding up while charging uphill. But not having done a single run over an hour-twenty since France I knew it wouldn't last. Sure enough about an hour forty-five I felt the slow down hit me.
Honestly, I was shooting for 2.30 which would have been a 7:30 pace with 1500 feet of climbing. Pretty realistic especially with the conditions. At mile 17 the course turns down for the remaining 3 myles (I know every step as this is my daily training ground) so I decide to see if I can get under 2.20, which would be 6:40 pace. I crossed the finish line in 2.19:55 for an overall 6:59 pace. Now I did take an inadvertent shortcut so my pace was probably more like 7:05 or so. But hey I'm pretty happy either way.
So why was I not wise(r) to run this race? Good result but at the cost of still not healed. My feet are still killing me and my lower back was acting up again at the end. I was pretty stiff and walking gingerly all day yesterday. Not a good sign for someone who is supposed to be taking it easy and healing. I guess ultimately I wanted to know if JFK 50 was still in the cards. Probably not. To top things off I just got a new position at my work which is based in Los Angeles. The travel and new responsibilities just won't allow time to train like I need. I will officially hang up the shoes as far as ultras are concerned for 2011.
One quote to leave you with: The magic is in the man not the miles. Bill Bowerman