Sunday, December 4, 2011

Run at the Rock 14 mile report

12/3 race 143 mins @ Run at the Rock 14 mile in Altra Lone Peaks (their first race)

temp COLD (40's)
HR avg 161 max 179

Two years ago, before the +1 one strong armed me into doing this running stuff, she had signed up to do R@tR.   I went with her a few days before the race to check out the course.  I remember it was muddy with poor footing.  That's a pretty good description of the course circa 2 years later.  I was surprised at the amount of shoe sucking mud in places.

I really only had one goal for today and that was to run 14 miles.  I've never run more than about 12 miles, as this is what I can cover on a 2 hour long run.  I figured running a 14 mile race would be a good way to increase my long run distance in preparation for Uwharrie and gain some experience on an unfamiliar trail.  I was also jonesing to try out my Altra Lone Peaks in a trail race and this was the perfect opportunity.

He's got L'eggs, let's hope he knows how to use them
 I decided on a very fashion forward combo of running shorts over L'eggs pantyhose, sadly the REI brand doesn't come in the cool plastic egg.  Technically it's not shorts over tights, so it's not a running faux pas...or so I'm told.  My pair was even pre-distressed in the crotch (don't ask).

A few minutes before the 9am start I went to find my rightful place at the back of the pack, only to run into current R@tR race to the race blog champion, Scott.  He was sporting the Altra Instincts and went on to a great finish before making a donation to everyone's favorite handicapped runner charity case

I was surprised at how fast everyone went out, but I soon learned the reason for this when we hit the bottleneck entering onto the single track portion.  On the brightside, these early bottlenecks allowed me pull off some negative splits even though I know I was slower on the second loop.  The first 2 miles were face plant central.  I was just starting to admire the Trail Minimus on the guy in front of me when he did a barrel roll and I had to leap over him.  Soon after I saw a woman perform a similar maneuver, but she popped up so fast it was as if she never broke her stride.  The low sun combined with excellent leaf coverage made the roots a real problem for many.  I managed to roll my ankle pretty good on the 2nd lap.

Since the 7 milers and the 14 milers share the same start, it's as if you are running two different races.  The first lap is hot and heavy, or at least that is how I would describe the breathing I heard from many of the 7 mile participants.  I felt exceptionally bad for one lady who's husband/boyfriend was clearly trying to push her into an early grave.  He would run ahead of her and shout words of encouragement back like, "come on you aren't even doing a 10 minute mile."  From the sounds she was making, I'm pretty sure she was on her way to a pr and possibly a good puke as well.  It didn't really make sense to race too hard in the beginning but I got caught up doing it anyway on a few occasions.  I finally throttled back as we approached the end of the first lap and then the 2nd race began.  Suddenly all the other competitors were gone.  It felt more like the race was over and I was back to doing a solo long run in the woods.  I paced myself pretty well, but the hills were giving me some serious heavy leg syndrome.  The race actually went by pretty quick.  My hip issues showed up after the 7 mile mark and the foot pain kicked in around 9 but nothing bad enough to require an adjustment.  I'm not quite sure what was going on but on the 2nd lap I would go through periods of being really cold and then warm again.  I chomped down 3 clif shot bloks and 1 salt tab during the race along with a few bottles of water.

I was hoping to finish under 2:30, which I managed.  I would have really liked to beat last year's average time of 2:11, but I guess we can't all achieve the pinnacle of an average performance.  Apparently I can't figure out how to put on a shirt either, as I wore my Bull City Running Tank inside out the whole time.  If anyone asks I'll just tell them Kim made me turn it inside out when she saw how slow I was to finish the first loop :-) At least my stupidity was hidden at the start by the shirt I had on over it.  I'd like to thank all the race volunteers and a special thanks to my very own +1 moral support volunteer, who was kind enough hang out the whole time.
My failed attempt to rep Bull City Running

The Altra Lone Peaks performed admirably.  I was able to race downhill with reckless abandon thanks to their great traction and footbed protection.  I'm still getting used to the added weight of such a sturdy shoe and I really started to feel it on the hills toward the end.  I also have to be extra careful about picking my feet up, as I can't maneuver as quickly in a heavier shoe.  I'm still undecided about the trail rudder.  When I would step into shoe engulfing mud, I could feel the rudder helping the mud to suck the shoes off my feet.  I now have a little over 40 miles on them and they have broken in to the point where they fit the same as my Instincts.