I was itching to get out for a good long run while the weather was still nice. The cold and rain are moving in, but the weekend still looked great! I had originally wanted to run one of the races taking place in the mountains near my home, but ruled that out earlier in the week due to time constraints and feeling not quite ready to bite off another ultra after a dismal finish at the Bear Chase 50 miler 3 weeks ago.
I decided to head up on towards the race course and see some friends and cheer on the runners. Making up my route as I went, I figured I would be out for at least 20 miles.
I ended up feeling great and put in a nice 32 mile run and had a fantastic day on the trails.
And a nice 4,200′ of climbing.
I linked up with the race course at their 8 mile mark just as some of the last runners in the 50 mile race went through.
I got to say hi to a few friends and started up the big climb with a long gap before the 50k runners would come along (they started two hours after the 50 milers).
James W. was leading the way and would go on to win the 50k by running wire to wire in the front.
I hung out a an aid station for a bit and enjoyed the fact that I didn’t have to grab something and rush off like usual. It was nice to just enjoy the vibe.
The fall colors were a little past their peak, but still awesome. I love the scenery at this time of year, and the weather was incredibly nice!
I ran with my new birthday present (Nathan Vapor Air pack), and it worked great. I was totally self-supported for the full 32 miles and very comfortable.
It was great to finish early enough to enjoy lunch out with the family, as well as a little Halloween costume shopping…
This run was much needed confidence booster, and I was so grateful for the chance to spend some time in such a beautiful place.
A strong spring rainstorm rolled through before the race started and I was scrambling for plastic bags to cover my camera gear. Thankfully, the storm cleared shortly after the race started and I was able to ditch the bags. That made me happy, they were tough to shoot with! The mirror inside one of my DSLR camera bodies actually fogged up. Good thing I always have two with me.
It was a challenging, but fun day!
The Strava Race Analysis chart says it all:
My goal was to run a sub-8 hour 50 miler, and through mile 19 I was right on that goal. Then things went to crap and I suffered badly through the rest of the race. Bringing it home with a two and a half hour positive split. Ouch!!!
Obviously, I started too fast. Not in a general sense, but for what I had to work with on that particular day. I missed running this race last year due to it being rained out and rescheduled. I replaced the race with my own solo 50 mile time trial and clocked 8:34 on a course with around 5,000′ of climbing.
I figured I had a shot at slipping under 8 hours on this easier course, all else being equal.
It turned out that attempting to run a 50 mile PR after completing the Leadville 100 and also another marathon in the previous few weeks was not a great idea. I have done similar things in the past and thrived, today I wilted.
I think the difference was in my training base over the year up until now. Even though I had done some big runs, my legs were still too green to pull something like this off. They needed to be toughened up a lot more.
Ultimately, I didn’t even come close to breaking 10 hours. I suffered in the heat, and found that my legs could do less and less running as the day wore on. I tried to move as well as I could, but there just wasn’t anything there.
I enjoyed myself despite the suffering, and would definitely run the Bear Chase again. David and Ben do a fantastic job of directing the race, and the volunteers are top notch! Thanks to the Running Guru photographers, I did get a great pic to salvage the day: