Friday, May 29, 2015

100.09 and My 10th Ultra Marathon

This past week I crossed into triple digits for miles run in a week for the first time in my life.  This has been one of my goals for a while and the planets finally aligned this time around. I paired this with my 10th ultra marathon / 6th 50k race. While my goal for the week was simply survival, behind the scenes I was pushing for a little bit more.

I am in kind of a strange place in my training at the moment.  My next big race that I really care about is the Mount Washington Road Race.  While this race is only 7.6 miles, it climbs over 4700'. Over the past few years, every time I have increased my volume, I have seen a positive result, so I thought what better time then ever to go for a 100 mile week.

The week
In true ultra fashion, I went into the week a little bit on the fatigued side.  The previous Saturday I knocked out 15 miles (10 on trail) and then on Sunday I ran another 7, including 4 ascents / 1600' of climbing on the Blue Hills Summit Road.

How I broke it down:
Monday: 4 miles at lunch and a 5 mile Fresh Pond Loop in the evening.
Tuesday: 5 mile lunch loop, 3 miles to / from the playground with Neil, and 13.8 to / from + track + cool down loop.
Wednesday: 5 miles on the trails behind McLean hospital and then 2.6 to / from day care to get Neil.
Thursday: 6.1 at lunch and another 6.5 after Neil went to bed.
Friday: 5 at lunch and then 5.2 more around Fresh Pond after work.
Saturday: 7.8 to Lexington Center
Sunday: 31 at Pineland Farms

Neil driving the bus.
Pineland Farms 50K


Location: New Gloucester, ME
Date: 5/24/2015
Distance: 31 miles
Goal: Survival
Actual Time: 4:16:37 (8:15 / mile)
Place: 6 / 218 OA, 1 / 53 AG

This year we headed up to Maine around mid-day on Saturday as none of us were doing the shorter races (Pineland Farms is a trail festival with 5k and 10k's held Saturday morning and the 50 mile, 50k, and 25k held on Sunday).

We were staying at Julie and Dale's for perhaps the last time as they are in the process of down sizing from a house to a motor home.  Julie and Dale were literally picking up the bus the day we arrived. We half joke (but really are serious) that from now on we are going to plan races around wherever they are and just stay with them.  We have stayed with them for 4 of my ultras now.

That evening a bunch of our friends came over and we had a nice dinner of vegetables, Salmon, and Chicken.

Race day started around 6:30am with a breakfast of an english muffin (Keith had taken off earlier to go run the 50 mile).  Around 7:15, Jen and I headed out to the race.

The race started at 8am and I took off with a plan to run 8 minute miles as long as my legs would let me.  The first three miles drop a couple of hundred feet and are not too taxing.  The top 4 people went out pretty quick and I settled in somewhere between 8-10th place.

By mile 10, I was still feeling pretty good and hooked up with two other ultra runners.  Mike from Maryland, who was telling us about the UROC race he did down in Virginia the previous year and Joe from NH who also did a race in Leadville (but the longer version) in 2014 and was training for the VT 100.

The next 5 miles went by pretty quick as we chatted.  We hit the half way mark in just over 2:01.  Unfortunately, the 25K race started right at 10am, so we now had about 400 runners directly in front of us.  I picked the pace up and dropped a couple of 7:30 miles to get around the back of the pack.

Right around mile 18, the rest of the week started to catch up with me.  I have always said, you will get as far as your training.  My previous longest week was 90 miles and I was quickly approaching that.

I was able to push on pretty well until the mile 20 aid station and then took a short walk as I went up a hill.  From here I knew it was going to be a struggle and since this wasn't my big goal race I tried my best to go into damage reduction mode.  Over the next 5-6 miles I ran the flats and the down hills and walked a few more uphills.  Other then being hot and starting to feel dehydrated, I was still doing alright.

As I passed by the finish area and then off for my final 5 miles I got a nice boost from our support squad (Amy, Neil, Erin, Keagen, Joe, Rachel, and Matt) and figured I had somewhere between 45-50 minutes until I would be done.  The next couple of miles were not too bad with a few downhills.  These were then followed with some up hill walks.

Pineland Farms
Awards Ceremony
I had a funny conversation with a guy in a Boston Triathlon singlet at this point.  A woman looking slightly beat was on an adjacent trail and all of a sudden he looked at her, pointed, and said "You! Nice job, keep it up." When I responded saying "Nice to give someone a boost in need", he looked at my bib, noticing I was doing the 50K (he was doing the 25K), and said, "You don't need a boost, you are killing it."

As I approached the last mile and a half, I could feel the pull of the finish line. I picked it back up one last time to make sure I would finish strong (and tried my best, but failed to smile for the camera).

About an hour later I went an looked up my finish time and found out I placed 6th overall and 1st in my age group.  A nice added bonus after completing my longest week ever.

10 Ultra Marathons

After I finished the Mount Mitchell Challenge back in February I went back and counted my ultra distance races.  Soon after that I signed up for Pineland knowing it was going to be the number 10.  Below are a few tid bits of what has happened from my first to my last.

- Logged 1324 separate runs for a total of 8140 miles
- Climbed a total of 376, 577'
- Increased my longest week from 42 miles to 100 miles
- Decreased my 50K time from 4:17:30 to 3:58:23
- Increased my longest run to 50 miles

Next 

I am quickly switching modes at the moment.  In two weeks I have a track 5K at Bentley (ATR Race 4) and then Mount Washington the following week.  I follow that up immediately with a track mile (26 X 1) and then another Mountain Race (Loon).

I told myself that I would be taking a break from running ultras after this one until next summer.  The plan is to run Boston in April and then either a stage race or a 100K next Summer.  But like many times before I find my self looking through races on trailrunnermag.com and ultrasignup.com.

Eight weeks until the baby is due, so no more real race planning until after that.  We will see what life has in store next.

- Scot

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