Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yankee Springs Winter Challenge 50K and a time to recover and revamp

Yesterday, I finished my second 50K and also my second in just 3 weeks.  I'll have to admit, the body is starting to feel a little worn right now.  I've pushed myself to the limit pretty hardcore since probably the end of 2010, when I started training for Boston.  It's now time to let the body recover and get stronger because of it.  That is a very important part of recovery.  However, I did want to recap my 50K from yesterday and I plan on trying to stay up to date on all of my races throughout the year.  This race was different from the Huff I ran 3 weeks ago, in that it was a much hillier course, however it lacked the mud and waist deep water.  So, it is pretty difficult to compare the two and deem which was harder.  Personally, I guess I'd have to say this one was a bit more difficult, just due to some of the hills. 

Race Summary-Myself and Geers started the race and ran pretty conservatively throughout the first 5 mile loop, which I was concerned about going into the race.  I always like to run races at a reasonable pace, that I am going to maintain and in this case maintain for 31 miles.  With that being said, I didn't try and stick with the leaders as I have known from past experiences that I will often catch them later in the race, due to them going out too fast.  We finished the first 13.1 mile loop and were at 18.1 miles total and my body was feeling pretty good. I was pleased with the fact that we maintained a reasonable effort and I felt that I had a good amount of energy left for the last loop.  I really concentrated on eating a lot more than I have in the past, particularly "real food", as opposed to just gels.  I think this may have been helpful in retrospect.  My philosophy on that is to eat and drink early and often, but sometimes eating and drinking too much can be a problem too.  Actually, my stomach was hurting for a mile or so in there, but it ended up going away.  After around mile 22, I really started to feel good.  I knew I had 9 miles left, which is and isn't a lot.  I knew I'd only run this far once before and was a bit nervous about testing myself.  However, I felt good so I went with the pace that felt comfortable at that time, which was low 8 min miles.  At that point, they felt like 7 minute miles.  I was feeling really strong and didn't hold back.  I was running with a guy for the last 4 miles and we were kind of pushing each other as we took turns exchanging the lead.  That helped keep up the pace as well.  He did take off on me for the last 3/4 of a mile or so, but unfortunately went down the wrong way by the finish.  My calves started cramping a little bit in the last few miles, but I am trying to figure out how to deal with that problem.  I have to know when and how hard to push the body in these instances.  As I neared the finished the calves were completely locking up and my form was pretty hilarious.  However, I booked it in at 4:08:03 and took 2nd overall. 

I have really taken a liking to these trail and ultra races.  There seems to be a larger sense of accomplishment, due to the difficulty of the terrain and the distance, but strangely enough not as much pressure as road races.  In a 50K trail race for instance, they are all so different, so comparing times is pretty much impossible.  You really don't know how fast you are going to be going on race day until you get out there and start running.  I just like to throw on the country music and hop on for the ride.  It's also great to have some good friends to run with on the trails as well.  I had a blast running with Ryan Geers and Brandon Wise during the race.  It makes the experience that much more fulfilling. 

As I alluded to earlier, it's now break time for me.  Since April of 2011 I have run 8 marathons and 2 50Ks and countless other races.  For the next few months I have a few things I want to focus on which I think will ultimately lead to me getting stronger and more successful in races down the road.  First of all, I am going to take the rest of January "easy".  Easy differs depending upon the person, but coming from myself that has consistently been running 80+ miles a week since June of last year and including racing and speed work in most weeks, 50-60 miles with mostly easy runs will be me giving my body a rest.  I have for the most part had a structured plan, which I have for the most part stuck to on weekly basis.  Not for January.  I am just going to run whatever feels right for that day.  I think this will allow my body to recover physically, my mind to revamp mentally, and will allow me to get through a good portion of this nasty winter as we head towards Spring. 

Since I have some big goals ahead in 2012, I am going to really start kicking it into gear come February.  I will at that point start to up the mileage.  With the Kal-Haven Trail Ultra just around the corner in March, I would like to get some good long runs in to prepare for that and start building some foundation base mileage to prepare for the 50 miler in August.  I want to be as ready as possible for that.  The plan for the 50 for me is HIGH mileage.  With that comes responsbility in listening to my body and knowing when to back off.  However, I think it will be best to get a lot of long runs in and a lot of back to back long runs in.  I'm looking forward to the year and getting ready to have some fun on the trails in 2012.  Until next time......

Here is a photo from the Yankee Springs 50K:


  1. Great job yesterday, you guys all killed it! I was beat after the 19 miles we put in, I don't know how you guys hung on for 31!

  2. Thanks man, it was a blast out there!