Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pigtails and Yours Truly 50k

This weekend was a lot of fun. To me what is fun is not fun to most. I ran 62 miles in two days. A month or two ago I was planning on running the Capitol Peak Fat Ass (Jan 19). But in hearing about how hard it is, I decided to do the Pigtails 50k this last weekend. This also allowed me to do my 12 hour training run. So how did I get two races? Well I was looking at the Maniacs Calendar, and saw that a bunch of Maniacs were running on Sunday, January 27, as a part of the international Yours Truly 50k race.

So I was planning this to be a solo trip. I booked two nights at the hostel at Pike's Place in Seattle. I planned to drive to Renton on Saturday from the hostel, then to Cedar River from the hostel on Sunday morning. MY friend Tim Lawson (Maniac #409), was planning to doing MadAss in Madras with his cousin. But on Friday, Tim called me and told me that his cousin was sick and he could not goto Madras. He decided to join me. I was happy to have someone to join me. Tim and I have know each other for many years, I enjoy talking running with him.

We left at 4pm on Friday, after getting so snacks at the Dollar Tree, and filling up the gas tank. We ran into HEAVY traffic in getting out of Portland. It took us 1:15 to get cross the bridge and into Washington. Then the traffic was much better. We made good time and arrived in Seattle by about 8pm. We had a hard time finding a parking spot in downtown Seattle on a Friday night, but we finally found one, and checking in at the hostel.

We had a little dinner, and looked on a book about extreme ultra marathons. While I look at some of the races as just amazing, Tim looks at the races and says, "I want to do it!" We then headed to bed, because Renton is a 30-40 minute drive. And that meant we would have to leave at 6:15am.

I got up at 5:30am, and had my devotions. I always start my day in God's Word, even on a race morning. After that Tim and I had a little breakfast on the go and left at about 6:15. We drove to Renton, it took us at about 30-40 minutes. When we arrived it was COLD! My car was saying that it was 26°, which it sure felt like it. It was overcast. We were there at 7:00am, we waited for about 30 minutes before we started out on the course.

We started off and were running good. The race is three loops and then a little out-and-back. It was cold and the ground was frozen solid. It was an untechnical trail, but the frozen ground made it a trick to run on. Tim and I ran a good pace, we averaged a 9:19 mile in the first loop.

In the second loop we kept pushing along. It remained dry and felt great. We did slow down, but managed to run a 10:06 mile. This loop was completed in 1:38:27. As we got to the start area, it was starting to rain. I didn't think much about it, but boy did we get hit by it.

As we started out on the third loop, I knew it would be tough. We saw Eric Barnes and starting running with him. I know so many Maniacs by name, but it's nice to get a chance to talk with him. We were walking up the hills and running the rest. It was good. But the rain fell on the frozen ground, this caused for some very slick conditions. At one point I did slip on the frozen ground and got a bit scratched. We slowed own with a pace of 10:15 miles.

We finished the run off with a challenging out-and-back. At the end we had run a time of 5:08:01 (9:55 pace). This ranks as my third fastest. It was a lot of fun. But I was so tired. Tim had a huge PR and I was so happy for him. We drove back to Seattle, and once we found a parking spot we went to the hostel and relaxed. The first thing we did was to take a shower, and eat some dinner. After that we sept some time on the internet. But at about 7:30 were were starting to get tired. We went to our room, and relaxed, but fell asleep about 8:00 or 8:30.

We had to get up real early on Sunday. Yours Truly 50k is near Maple Valley and is about a 45-60 minute drive. We left at 6:00am, and had no trouble until we got out there. It became snowy and slick. We missed the parking lot at first, but later found it. We got there at about 7:15, and got started on the run at 7:45.

The course is a basic out-and-back, but you have to run it twice. I was feeling a bit stiff, but like all doubles it's about getting out there. Our goal was to have fun. I brought my new digital camera and so did Tim, so we wanted to take a lot of pictures, and just enjoy ourselves. Each stretch of the out-and-back is 7.78 miles. It was cold about 32° at the start, the course was a compact gravel, and was frozen. But the clouds were thin.

As we started out, we had a lot of fun taking pictures and enjoying ourselves. Tim made it a habit of taking pictures of the others runners and we crossed them. It was fun to see the other Maniacs and non-Maniacs. We arrived at the turnaround within 1:27:37, giving us a pace of 11:15.

On the return we caught up with Monte Pascual. He is a much slower runner, and was also working on his second 50k of the weekend. We decided to stick with him for a while. I think we felt like it would be nice to chat a little. As I said earlier it's nice to have a chance to get to know other Maniacs a little better. We stuck with him until the halfway point. In the return leg we ran a 12:26 pace for a time of 1:36:44.

When we got to the start area, we met up with Fred Johnson. We first met him at the start. He is a new runner to the area, and also ran Pigtails. He is a much faster runner with a time on Saturday of 4:12. He was considering on going home. But when we told him that we were going out, he decided to join us. We had a little more serious run at that point. We ran a nice pace of 12:01 for a time of 1:33:29. When we got to the turnaround, we waited up Jess Mullen. That would add a little extra time to our time.

On the final return, we pushed much harder. I was not ready for a hard return. But we were going strong. We ran a very nice pace, once again we got to know Fred better. The weather which was very nice, was getting even better. The temperature was in the upper 30's and the sun had come out. Only a few times in the entire run did we have a little snow. We finished very strong and ended up running a sub-6 hour race. Our final return was 1:17:39 a pace of 9:59, which gave us a negative split. First half of 3:04:21 a second half of 2:51:08, that means we ran a total of 5:55:29 a pace of 11:25.

We stuck around a little longer. We saw mostly everybody back in. It was a fun day. We took off about 3pm. It took us 4 hours to drive home, but this included a stop for gas and a stop at Burger King for dinner.

I had
a blast of a weekend. It's very fun to see so many neat runners and get to know some of them better. Thanks for reading.

Here is a link to my breakdown of the weekend.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Metric Century (then a little more)

Over and over again, people call me "insane" when they hear about my goals and achievements in running. Am I insane? American Heritage dictionary defines "insane" as "exhibiting, or afflicted with mental disorder; very foolish, absurd." I wouldn't say I have a mental disorder, and I wouldn't say I'm foolish, I just love to run.

In my goal to run a 24 hour race in March, I've been doing training the last couple of months. On November 17, I ran four overnight hours and put in 25.62 miles. On December 22, to celebrate the winter solstice, I ran from sunrise to sunset, over nine hours I ran 50.65 miles. Both of those runs were done around a one mile loop at Summerlake Park in Tigard, Oregon. It's a wonderful park, just a tenth of a mile from my house. It's a nice loop around a beautiful lake. So yesterday I decided to do a January training run. In doing so I planned a 12 hour run. The goal was to run 7am to 7pm with a mileage goal of 62 miles or 100k.

I know that running around a one mile loop for 12 hours (or even just one or two hours) can seem very boring. That is why I did a few things to make it better. One, I listen to music. It keeps me going, and takes my mind off the task at hand. Second, tried to get some people to run with me. My sister, Amy, joined me for four loops, and my friend Tim (Maniac#409) joined me for about 13 laps. Finally and most important, I broke the run down. Instead of looking at running 12 hours straight, I decided to run two hours, then take a 15 minute break, then repeat. This way I'm not worrying about the whole 12 hours, but only two hours.

I loaded up my car with lots of aid (water, sports drink, chips, fruit snacks, pretzels, m&ms, energy gel, peanuts, and much more). I drove to the parking lot at set that as my aid station and start/ending point. At the start it was cold and overcast. The temperature was 34°, and the sun had not yet risen so it was dark. I took off, and started with a very comfortable pace, of about 9 minute miles.

Each loop is .9557 miles. This means I lose .045 miles per loop, so in order to get to 100k (62 miles), I must run 65 loops. So that was my goal, I planned four 15 minute breaks, which meant I had 5 segments of about 2 hours to 2:15. In the first segment I was running from 7am to 9:15am. In this stretch I planned to run 14 laps (13.38 miles). Instead of doing the math for mile pacing I focused on my lap pace. As I started off I was running fast and smooth. I felt great, and even though it was cold and overcast, my body warmed up as I was running. I quickly realized that I could push the envelope and run 15 laps in that first 2:15. So that is what I did, and even finished with one minute to spare. So I ran a total of 14.336 miles and had a lap pace of 8:57, and a mile pace of 9:21.

I took a 16 minute break. But in getting some aid from my trunk, I locked my key in my trunk. So I had to call my sister and had her use the spare key to open my trunk. It cut my break a bit short. So at 9:30 I went back out, it was still overcast, and dry, but cold with a temperature of 36°. I was cold, but once I started moving I warmed up.

In the second stretch of 2:15, I planned to run 14 laps again, but I was still feeling strong I decided to keep it up. In the first stretch I was running 8:30-9:15 laps. In the second stretch I was running even faster with times of 8:30-8:50 laps. Also my average heart rate rose from 127 to 138. it felt so good, I was enjoying myself, but I knew I could keep it going. I ran another 15 laps and it only took me 2:10:27. I finished that stretch at 11:41, four minutes ahead of schedule. I ran another 14.336 miles giving me 28.671 total miles. My lap pace was 8:42, and a mile pace of 9:22 in that stretch.

I took a 15 minute break. I got some food and liquids, and rested a little bit. I decided to take only a 15 minute break, even though I finished four minutes early. This way I could get a little extra time in the next segment. So at 11:56 I went back out, again it was still overcast, dry and cold. The temperature was 39°, so it was getting a little warmer.

Going into the third stretch I had 2:19, I had planned to run 13 laps in this stretch. In the next couple laps I was running 9:30-10:00 laps. At lap 37, my sister Amy, joined me for four laps. She is not a runner, but wants to get into shape, so I encouraged her to join me for a few laps. We ran between 11 and 12 minute laps. It was nice to slow down a bit. But because of this the idea of getting another 15 laps was out, but I didn't really try for that. Instead I ran the projected 13 laps. I got done by 2:09, with six minutes to spare, and two laps ahead of schedule. I ended up running 12.424 miles and had a total of 41.095 miles. My lap pace was 10:16, and a mile pace of 10:44 in that stretch.

I once again took a 15 minute break. I drank so liquids and had some carbs. looking at my heart rate monitor I had burned a total of 5,219 calories, and had an average heart rate of 132 overall. It had warmed just one degree, but the conditions remained the same.

My fourth stretch was much of the same. I started back at 2:24, I planned another 13 laps, and knew that would be the goal, and all I could handle. Just two laps in I got a call from my friend Tim. He had planned to run with me, but had to work, so was going to join me later in the day. I figured he would join me for an hour or so. He joined me in lap 47 and told me that he could run with me until 6pm. I was surprised and happy to have someone to run with. He brought his camera and was taking pictures of me. He had much more energy then me, and had fun taking pictures. He took a total of 105 pictures! I enjoyed running with him. He kept me going and was willing to walk when I needed to walk. I pulled off the 13 laps in that stretch in 2:16 minutes. I added another 12.424 miles, giving me a total of 53.519 miles (a new personal record). My lap pace was 10:28, and a mile pace of 10:57 in that stretch.

In my final break the sun was setting and the sky was starting to clear. The sun peaked out and made the park just beautiful. I had some food an liquids, and had a chance to relax a little. My break was once again limited to just 15 minutes, this would give me a little more time in the last stretch. With the sun setting the temperature dropped to 38°.

The final stretch was difficult, I was for the first time looking forward to finishing. I started out at 4:55, and was running out the last 2:05. I had planned to run 11 laps, and if I could do that then I would run 67 laps, two ahead of schedule. Tim left to burn the pictures to a CD and then brought them back to me by 6pm. It seemed like a lonely stretch. I was not listening to music when I ran with Tim, and just put the music back on in the last couple of loops. It got dark fast and made it harder. I starting to crap up, but tried to run as much as I could. I was running the laps between 10:30-12:00 minutes. As I ran past the 65 lap mark, my goal was to keep going until 7pm. After lap 67, I had just one minute left, so I ran a small stretch to get an extra 0.1229 miles. I ran the 11 laps, which gave to 10.636 miles this gave me 64.115 miles in 12 hours, and 10:57:48 of running time.

When it's all said and done, I ran over 100k. I reached my goal, I felt great, and I'm looking forward to March. Today it rained, I guess I picked a good day, because even though it was cold it was dry. I know that to most people this seems insane. Maybe it is, but I have a love for running. To most people running a marathon is a huge achievement, but for me and many other ultra runners. We look toward the 100 mile races.

My next training run will be February 16, I plan to do another overnight run. But first I will be doing the PigTails 50k on Saturday, and then Yours Truly 50k on Sunday. So until then, thanks for reading.

Checkout the breakdown of this run (lots of fun statistics):