Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cheyenne Mountain 50K - 2015

This was going to be the first real test race that I could compare to the previous year in a while, though I went into it without serious expectations, other than to improve.

The forecast was pretty darn good, 60’s and partly cloudy.

I purposely taped over the average pace reading on my Garmin so that I wouldn’t worry about my pace too early on.  I didn’t even look down at the time until close to the halfway point.  The plan was to run strictly by feel.  I could have gone even a bit slower early on, but just went with the flow of the surrounding runners.  By the time we dropped off the highpoint of the first north loop, I was settled in to my spot, yet slowly caught other runners on the fun downhill.  From here on, I wasn’t passed by a single person for the whole mid-half of the race.

The first south loop went reasonably well, still running by feel.  I was a bit worried though when we passed the site of usual aid station location.  It had been in this spot each of the years I ran the race, from its inception and this time, there was nothing.  I knew I could stretch the contents of my bottle for the full loop, but it would be that much harder on the second time around as the temperature and the sun rose.  Luckily, the aid station had just been moved to the split into the lollypop portion.  This made more sense, but everyone seemed to be surprised.

As I finally finished off the first 25K, I came through the start/finish area and checked my time.  Expecting something in the 2:15 to 2:30 range, I was a bit disappointed to look down and see 2:38.  My chances of beating last year’s time were slipping away, but I still felt pretty decent.  Had I just gone out too conservatively?  Could I still make up that much time in the remaining mileage?

As the climb from the start area started, things changed rapidly.  I was noticeably slower than I had been the first time around.  I was also breathing much harder than I should have been.  Things didn’t improve as I crested the loop, even though I did manage to pass a few runners.  The downhill that I had enjoyed so much a couple of hours earlier was now killing me.  My sides were on the verge of cramping and I had to slow down to a jog instead of flying down like I usually can.  The one last positive note was passing a Runners Roost team member on the way down (am I a lousy sport, or just overly competitive?).

As I headed out on the final loop I got passed.  As the loop wore on, I wore down even more and got passed by more runners.  I was really feeling off now.  My neck and shoulders were tight and aching.  I haven’t had issues with a handheld on 100 milers, and here I was only 20+ miles in and feeling it.  Additionally, my head was feeling all clogged up, like I was under water.  And to add to my misery, I was now experiencing some serious diaper rash, having gone with my lighter shorts.  You would have thought I would have learned my lesson at Zion, but I thought a short 50K wouldn’t present any problems.

I struggled through the downhill to the finish and was quite pleased to see Brenda and the girls there.  My time was almost 50 minutes slower than 2014, but I rarely get to run across the line with my daughters, so that part was fun.

I have no idea what went wrong (other than the stupid shorts).  I wasn’t sick before the race, and I didn’t develop any symptoms afterwards.  My fueling and hydration were good enough and I felt like I had recovered reasonably well from the Zion 100 2 weeks earlier.  I just had a really, really off day.  This makes 2 disappointing races in a row.  WIth only a week till the Collegiate Peaks 50 miler, all I can do is hope that things go differently.

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