Well most of you out there have already seen the results from this weekends race at Sunmart. Once again I managed to turn in another dismal performance. The only explanation I can offer for my results is too much sand and sun. Or I should say heat since there was not really much sun to speak of.
Race morning came and when we arrived at the start/finish it was already 77 degrees outside at six in the morning. Not a great way to start the day. The expected forecast was to be partly cloudy and 82 degrees with about 80% humidity.
At the starting line I got to meet Montrail team members Larry Hall and Ryne Melcher. We made some small talk and discussed what a horrible day it was going to be for a race. Not that the weather was bad but for three guys from places where the temperature was less than 30 degrees when they left home. No amount of training inside on the treadmill could prepare us for the sauna we were about to begin running in.
As Roger Soler gave us the final countdown we were off a little after 7:30 AM. Running down the road everybody decided to take it slow from the start. With the exception of Jim Harrington. Last years winner. He jumped out to a 200 yard or so lead from the start and was moving along pretty good. About 50 yards ahead of me was Ryne Melcher and some other guy. Then it was myself, Larry Hall, Tania Pacev who dropped down to the 50 km fearing the heat the 50 milers would have to run through late in the day. Then it was Wendy Terris last years woman's champ and the rest of the chase pack. At about a mile in I decided to bridge the gap between Ryne and myself just before hitting the trail head to the out and back 10km section of the course. By this time Jim Harrington was still in sight but only barely. Ryne and I ran together forging a moderate pace. Coming back from the first turn around you could see the damage that the heat was already doing to the 700 plus field of competitors. As they were already strung out pretty good over a three mile distance. Man that was crazy. I'd never been in a race that there were that many people crammed into one short section of trail. Everyone of them coming dangerously close to knocking us over as we were trying to fight for every inch of trail there was to be had. Finishing up the first out and back was a big relief and Ryne and I hit the turn around to start our first loop in like 42 minutes just a couple behind Jim Harrington.
Starting the first 12.5 mile loop was a challenge as the course directed us back through the field of runners for a mile or so before crossing over a road and onto more single track trail. Everything seemed to be going fine and I felt pretty good. Except today I was wearing a heart rate monitor and I glanced at it just long enough to see my H.R. was reading in the 170's not good for that early in the run. eight miles into the race I asked Ryne if he was feeling sluggish because I noticed that neither of us really wanted to share any of the work to try and reel Jim in. Like it could be done in the first place. He said yeah that he was feeling sluggish and that his legs had no zip to them. I told him that was a relief I thought it was just me feeling that way. He said the Texans were playing a cruel joke and that they could turn the A.C. back on at anytime. This was where we agreed that it was going to be a day for survival. I figured that my heart rate was high due to the temperature outside. I couldn't get my core temp cold enough to run fast even though my legs felt fine. It was like I had the engine tuned up right but the transmission was shit. The only gear I was left with was about a 9 to 9:30 pace for the rest of the afternoon. Lucky for me misery loves company. Rynes tranny was pretty much crap at that point too so we spent most of the afternoon joking around and having a somewhat of a good time considering the circumstances.
At around 20 miles into the race and on the last loop I let Ryne go. We were swapping position back and forth the whole morning and at the same time losing overall placement in the field mostly to all the Texans who were better prepared for this weather. I was tired of fighting my heart rate. Which had never dropped below 170 except for when we slowed down at the aide stations. So I just quit racing. I really wanted to enjoy a little bit of the weekend and I wanted to take in some of the trails beauty so I shut it down.
Coming into my last aide station with just under three miles to go I ran into Paul who looked like he was managing to salvage a good race and was on pace for a 7:30 run. Kindly he didn't say much about running into me. I think it was understood that everyone was having a bad day. Nobody not even the elite runners came within 30 minutes to an hour of there goals for the day. I talked with Mark Godale after the race and he said he absolutely hates the heat. He ended up finishing as first American in 8TH place overall I think in a time of 7:15 or 16. Eric Binder was Right behind him in like 7:18. Paul ended up finishing as 7TH American with a time of 7:43 for the run. Clearly not what these guys are capable of. Paul said it was his second slowest time ever on this course.
The funniest thing about the whole weekend was that the heat decimated the field of entrants so badly that in spite of Paul running his second slowest 50 mile time at Sunmart. He still managed to finish first in his age group. Whats even more funny than that was that my embarrassing time of 5:00:56 was still good enough for second in my age group. Pretty disgusting if you ask me. If it had only been 50 degrees out I might have been happier with my performance. But it wasn't and that's the nature of the game I guess. You have to take the good with the bad. though through some miracle of God Paul and I were able to accomplish at least one of our goals for the weekend. Which was to take home a horse.
Still this was a great race and I definitely plan to be here again next year. I had a great time talking to all the big timers. Getting the opportunity to get into their heads a bit. I really had a good time talking to and running with Ryne Melcher a.k.a the clown who had me in stitches for 20 miles. Larry Hall, Tania Pacev, Mark Godale, Eric Binder and Wendy Terris who informed me to the reason why my hips hurt so damn bad after the race. Because of all the damn sand they dumped onto the course to keep it from being so muddy. Next year I'll try and remember to get in some beach training before coming down.
Now that this season is over its time for me to get in some good down time. I'm going to take a month off to rest and recover from this year. I owe myself that much. After that I'll start training for 3 Days. I'd been giving an ultimatum by my good friend Bob Martson that I need to come into 3 Days at Spider Weight and ready to roll. I'm guessing that means 160 and 3% body fat. If that's going to happen then I need to get all the sleep I can before I start that kind of training. So to not further hesitate. Its time for me to hibernate. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and I'll see you in the Spring.
Oh I also have a few pictures from the weekend but I haven't got them in the computer yet. I'll try to get them on there soon. Later.