I still haven't decided if I am going to qualify the running portion of my trip to Fruita a success or not. Getting to re-meet my cousin was definitely a win and nothing from the weekend can overshadow that. But... I did not walk away with the sense of confidence that I was hoping to get out of this race. My goal (realistic or not) was to come in under ten hours... my official time however was 10:36 and change. I was hoping this race would give me a good sense of if I can pull off what I want to do in Lake City come June. I am still uncertain.
Many, many things went well... and really not too many things went badly except for the epic slowdown which started at mile 40 and basically cratered me from mile 45 until the finish. The last climb (which I HAD been warned about) and the subsequent steep technical downhill (also warned about), coupled with the afternoon heat just did me in. Analyzing my times, etc, the last 11% of the distance ended up taking approximately 17% of my time on the course. Crazy. I don't do well in heat... that is common knowledge. And when I get tired, I can't run downhill to save my life, especially anything steep or technical, again common knowledge. This past Saturday afternoon I was slapped in the face with both of those at the end and by a big ol' pimp hand to boot.
I also think that I need to fess up and just admit to myself and to the world that I went out way too fast. I ran a great 25 mile race (4:25) but I should have rationed my "effort" through the entire course. But who knows... It is a toss up I think trying to figure out the break even point from where my conserved energy, if I had gone more slowly, would have still been affected by the heat which was sure to cause me to slow down at some point regardless.
Things that went well... there were so many things that worked! 1. Started in the short sleeved t-shirt and was a little "cool" to start but that wasn't a bad thing. 2. Kept lots of ice in the hand held bottles (thanks to Hawaiian Shirt Ray and his sister Laura). 3. Adequate amounts of sunblock so I did not get burned. 4. My shoes and socks rocked! My feet felt tired after the race and a little tender from abrasion on the soles but no blisters or any other foot issues. 4. No injuries. I did roll my ankle once but that was it. I did not go down. 5. Fueling/hydration and electrolyte protocol worked as fine as ever. I did have to drink more than usual but that was easy to do. 6. It is Tuesday after the race and I still feel "tired" but I do not feel physically beat up. I bounced back pretty quickly afterward so that in and of itself I think lends credence to the training and miles that I have put in the past few months. 7. What wind there was on the course was a welcome respite from the heat, not the knock you over gale force winds we have here in COS lately.
So really, except for my time, more things are in the plus column than in the negative. I am forced now to reevaluate my approach to the Jemez 50 Mile Run coming up May 21st in Los Alamos, New Mexico. No backing off on the training for one thing. I'm going to have to make April another 300 mile month for certain. I am going to have to load up the first two weeks of May on my mileage to hopefully taper for Jemez a little bit more than I did for the Desert Rats 50.
That is another thing that I need to take into account... my "taper" before Desert Rats was a 90+ mile week, followed by a 70+ mile week, then 20 miles the days before race... When I do taper for San Juan I intend to taper in the same fashion as I did for Leadville last year and go to the line in Lake City with completely rested and ready legs.
Hell, I PR' d! I should be ecstatic, yet something still just feels off to me.
Jemez is a tough course. I have my work cut out for me. Better get to it! :) 14 miles tonight...