Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Overlook Endurance Runs 50k

Aka Ann Trason’s race.  This one was fun.  Point-to-point, an area I’ve never run, and on iconic trails. It wasn’t an A race, but it was on my list to run for over a year.  Foresthill to Auburn, on a fair amount of the Western States course, and with great weather.  The two long downhills in the first section were a lot of fun, and a great place to test running improvements, since I haven’t run a strong ultra since March, nor have I run that long of a downhill stretch before.  And it was a new California landscape to explore, one I’m sure I’ll go back to.  The river crossing, near mile 19, was a comforting break from a harder effort race, with a well known volunteer seeing people off on their crossing.  Legs were tired and near done on the last long climb, a mix of running and fast walking.  Along the way, it was interesting seeing places I've heard about too many times.

6:15:06 finish, a 50k PR by 11 minutes, on a course with comparable elevation gain, but this time with almost no flat pavement to open up on (Chabot, with some paved trails, was the prior PR).  But other than getting physically tired at the end, it feels like 50k’s have really come together this year, and it’s now a matter of improving in them with more endurance strength on hills.  68/149 overall, and an hour under ultrasignup's predictive models.

First sun after a foggy start.

Foresthill Bridge

Things that went well:
* All the hard running/hiking in the Sierras in late summer/early fall is paying off well in terms of uphill running strength and uphill walking speed (faster than some people who were running).  Heart rate was rather low too, likely helped a lot by runs at altitude. 
* I consciously drank a lot more than I thought/felt I needed after the first couple hours, which was probably the right amount in the end.  Switching electrolyte drinks and mixing in water also worked really well.
* Mixing running/walking uphill based on terrain and heart rate mostly kept pace/effort in check, especially when people around me kept running uphill, many of whom I would see slow down later in the day.

Things that didn’t:
* Muscle fatigue in the last couple miles, all uphill.  A pacing side effect, but also something I opted to take the risk on, since it was the end of the course.  I’m considering focusing on hill endurance for the next while, given an upcoming 50 miler and a consideration to increase distance next year.   
* There’s something tight in my left quad and outer hamstring that I wasn’t aware of, which became a limiter in the last five miles.  I’ve been focusing mobility/massage work on the right side for the last few months, since that hip is tighter.
* Mildly tight soleus muscles.  Ok, that's an ongoing thing, so there's not much to complain about, but I can't think of anything else. 

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