Saturday, February 01, 2014

2014 ICY-8 Race Report

Let's start this race report with a bit of a backstory. The flu sucks and totally took me out of my normal training schedule. I missed a planned long run of 5 or 6 hours and missed pretty much all of my training for a good week or more. So I'm not too surprised that I didn't meet my primary goal today of 32 hours. Despite missing my goal, I'm still okay with that. Mostly.

I got up this morning at 0500, showered, dressed, and went on my merry way. I had done some prep work last night so I had pretty much everything ready to go. Just grabbed a few bags and I was out the door. I was surprised how easy it was and I'm glad I did it that way. I'll have to remember that for the future.

I made a pit stop at a local store for the bathroom which is pretty normal. However I bought a large bottle of water so I could have something warm to drink as I started and ended up wasting too much time in line checking out. Added to this, I managed to get behind a car going to the race that decided to drive slow. Dangerously slow. I'm talking 35 in a 55 and 25 in a 40. I mean, seriously? The roads were not icy and were completely clear and dry. There was no reason to go that slow and if you wanted to go that slow, you could have at least pulled over to let the ten cars behind you go by at a normal speed.

All of this added up to me getting to the race later than planned. I had enough time to get out of my car, drop my bags, check in, go to the bathroom, pin my bib on, fill up my water bottles, and start the race. I knew I was pressed for time when I had to finish getting dressed during the race brief. That was not my style and I was not happy but I dealt with it and carried on. I had everything I needed for my first loop so I wasn't too worried. Oh, side note, I saw Andy Jones Wilkins (aka AJW) at the check in table. I was going to tell him I knew a famous runner, Biddz , but I don't think he would have gotten the joke.

On my first loop, I went out too fast. My heart rate was too high and the incline right at the start wasn't helping. I did my best to slow down and keep things in the right zone but it was a lost cause. So I did my best and went with the flow. I made it to my halfway point right on time and came back. I finished my first long loop and felt good about things. I was still cold but not as freezing as I was at the start. My heart rate was still too high but the excitement of the start of the race had gone so I was feeling more in the groove.

I cruised into the aid station, dropped some stuff, grabbed some stuff, and was back out running in 20 seconds. I was so happy to make it in and out that fast that it took me a mile to realize I forgot my electrolytes. And thus I doomed myself to missing my goal. I had no backup plan in place for missing this essential item so I did what I could. I again made it to my halfway point on time and made my way back.

After my second long loop I again hit the aid station and I was again still on track with my time. But I was behind on my electrolytes for the last 8 miles so I knew I needed to get some before I left. And I did. But instead of going with my normal go-to Hammer Fizz, I went with Hammer Endurolytes. They worked fine but I don't know how much to take so I winged it based on what Coach said. I took 2 pills at the aid station and another two halfway through my third long loop. It helped but it wasn't enough. By the time I was halfway through my third loop, I was still within my time goal but I had to start walking because the cramps were fierce. Like bad enough to make me stop and stretch. During this third long loop I eventually had to do the math to determine if I had enough time to do a fourth long loop to meet my goal. It quickly became apparent I wouldn't have enough time so I did the math to see if I could do a short loop instead. As I figured it then, I had enough time to do a short loop and have 20 to 30 minutes to spare. I'd later find out my math was wrong.

I came back into the aid station a final time after my third long loop and quickly grabbed my Hammer Fizz. I had to ditch my fuel source and rinse the bottle but it was worth it. The Fizz helped and so did the iced tea I grabbed. I survived the final, short loop and my cramping lessened, though it didn't go away. My last two times in the aid station I spent maybe 2 minutes each time, maybe 3 minutes the last time. So all together, maybe 5 minutes in the aid station for three trips. Pretty good and I'm happy that I was able to save so much time there. Even though I'm not happy about forgetting my electrolytes the first time through.

Anyway, the last half of the third loop and all of the fourth loop were walking. And hobbling. The cramps sucked but I somehow found a way to mentally push through the pain and force myself to continue moving the last 8 or so miles. I think this was a success considering I wanted to quit a few times on that third loop, especially when I knew I wouldn't meet my goal. But I made myself start the fourth loop.

Another failure, beside the flu, the missed training, and the forgotten electrolytes, I also did some bad math. As I mentioned before, my math was good enough to determine a fourth long loop was out. But when I did the math for a short loop, I somehow did something wrong. So when I started my final, short loop, I got to a spot where I knew the mileage and I was suddenly moved from 30 minutes of wiggle room to 10 minutes short. I knew I was averaging 20 minute miles and I knew I had just shy of 5 miles to go. That's 100 minutes (or an hour and 40 minutes). But I only had 90 minutes left to do it in before time ran out. My maths be not so good.

The positive that came out of this was that somehow I found the mental strength to actually run. Not often and not far but I was moving faster than a walk. I think if I hadn't done this I would have had a minute or two cushion time instead of the 7 minutes I finished with. So I'd push myself about 20 paces or so then walk another 20 then run 20, etc. I could only manage it over a mile or two but it helped enough to increase my cushion and reduce my deficit. That was a win for me.

Another win was the complete lack of chafing. I lubed up after my shower and have no blisters or hot spots. Sure, I hurt, but nothing I didn't expect. I'd like to thank BodyGlide for making this possible. And I'd like to thank Smartwool socks, Altra Zero Drop shoes, and TStar by Biddz for making great products that reduced or eliminated any chafing. My toes and taint appreciate it.

My shoes after 28+ miles of frozen then thawed mud and horse shit.

The look on my face after said 28+ miles. I'm pooped.

Temps were 25F at the start and 50F at the finish. Winds were light. The sun was out. The trail was frozen solid the first two loops and then got muddy when it thawed. This meant the horse tracks and horse shit was frozen the first 4 hours. If you've never run on frozen horse tracks, I don't recommend it. It hurts.

Fluids and Fuel:
Took one serving of GenUCan half an hour before the race. Drank 2 liters of plain water for the first three loops. This is below normal and part of my electrolyte problem. Drank another serving of GenUCan on my second loop. Drank a mouthful of GenUCan on the third loop and ended up dumping the rest. I felt very full and heavy and didn't want anymore. I had one applesauce pouch at the end of the first loop, another at the end of the second loop, two more during the third loop, and one more during the fourth loop. I had two perogies after my second loop and two more after my third loop. On my fourth loop I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz and a bottle of iced tea. I took two Hammer Endurolytes at the end of my second loop and two more halfway through my third loop. Recovery was Hammer Recoverite mixed with water and coffee followed by two more perogies and an iced latte on the way home. Dinner was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and broccoli.

Aches and Pains:
This is where the fun begins. The bottom of my feet hurt, mostly because of the frozen terrain the first four hours and my shoes didn't have a rock plate in them. I expected this. During my third loop I slipped, caught myself on a tree with my right arm but somehow pulled something in my left arm. It feels okay but not quite normal. My back hurt from wearing the hydration pack but I expected that. My calves, quads, hamstrings, and knees are stiff and sore. Mostly my right side. And my right hip hurts and is weak. I can lift my right leg but not very far.

I wore shorts, pants, shorts, thermal shirt, short sleeve shirt, and Buff. I had two Buffs with me the whole time and used them together or one at a time as needed. I wore a vest for the first loop and the last loop. I wore a winter hat for the first two loops then switched to my Buff. I wore two pairs of gloves for the first loop, ditched one pair after my second loop, and grabbed a pair for my fourth loop. I wore my Nathan pack for the first three loops and carried my Amphipod handheld for my last three loops. I also carried my knife the entire race as well as my quaterback arm band.

Heart Rate:
From the start I knew I was way over my planned heart rate zones. The hill at the start didn't help and the excitement of the race got to me for the first loop. By the second loop I had calmed down some but then I began to tank in my third loop and by the fourth loop I was in the right zone but only when walking. I would repeatedly catch myself in the 170s.

Loop 1 (8 miles) - 1:47:30 (AVG HR 159)
Loop 2 (8 miles) - 1:57:30 (AVG HR 167)
Loop 3 (8 miles) - 2:28:07 (AVG HR 158)
Loop 4 (4.7 miles) - 1:39:49 (AVG HR 149)
Finish (28.7 miles) - 7:53:17
MIN HR - 74
AVG HR - 158
MAX HR - 181
RHR - unknown

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