Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Race Report: New Year's One Day 6-Hour

I ran my last race of 2012 on New Year's Eve, starting at 6pm and ending at midnight. It was the perfect way to bid adieu to 2012 and welcome 2013. This was my first timed event, and I really liked it. It's really weird not having a finish line in sight and knowing that no matter how fast you run it will still take the same amount of time to finish (unless you stop earlier). I really liked the challenge and it's a great way to train yourself to dig deep. Even though I didn't quite run a marathon, I felt just as beat up. I think I'm starting to understand how running a slower marathon is harder than running it hard because at least when you run fast it's over with quicker and the pain usually stops when you cross that finish line. When you run it slower you are on your feet a lot longer and that hurts just as much.

Stats:
  • 23 laps 
  • 24.4 miles
  • 2/7 in 30-39 age group
  • 30/62 overall place
  • Garmin Total Time: 25 miles in 5:51 @ 14:01 pace
  • Garmin Moving Time: 5:28:51 @ 13:09 pace
  • Full Garmin data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/256704299)
Swag: Below is a picture of all my race swag. The green hat was an optional purchase, but I got mine for volunteering at the aid station prior to the race. The medal is my 2nd place age group award. We'll also receive a custom coaster with our name and distance completed.

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Support: There was a huge aid station near the start/finish of each loop filled to the brim with everything you could possibly want, including water, soda, cookies, candy, pretzels, shot blocks, salt tablets, energy bars and after sunset pizza and hot soup. There was a timing mat we passed each loop with a big screen tv showing your progress and splits. Runner progress was posted to the race site every hour, and the site had a link to allow friends and family to email messages to the runners. I got a few and it was such a treat! My favorite was from George, and I read it at the perfect time when I needed to dig deep and ignore the pain:
"Scott stumbled upon the most advanced weapon in the ultrarunner's arsenal: instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well you're not afraid of it anymore." Run without fear!

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Course: Each lap was 1.061 miles around the lagoon at Crissy Field with spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, Alcatraz and the San Francisco Bay. The start/finish was about half a mile from my apartment, wich was great for a quick walk home after we finished. The loop is 60% dirt and 40% asphalt. The 6-hour race started at 6 pm and finished at midnight. The sunset was at 5pm, so my entire run was in the dark and it was cold in the low 40s, but that wasn't much of an issue once I was running. As we looped round and round, I took in all the sights and was grateful for a clear night. The Golden Gate Bridge is gorgeous when lit up at night. We could see all the lights from the city and cruise ships in the bay. At one point somewhere in the Marina someone released light lanters. The moon was huge above us lighting the way.

IMG_1512Race: Since Goofy is less than two weeks away, I wanted to take it easy and avoid injury. I could not decide what I wanted my distance goal to be, but I knew I wanted to run at least 20 miles and really wanted to get in a marathon if I felt good. However, my main goal was to practice running at night on tired legs for my upcoming ultra in March. I volunteered at the aid station for 5 hours prior to the race and was on my feet most of that time, so I certainly accomplished that goal.

I started slow with :30/:30 intervals for the first 3-4 miles, then switched to :60/:30 intervals for most of the rest of the race. I felt a twinge in my IT band early on; somewhere around mile 7 I think, but thankfully that settled down quickly. My biggest problem was that I kept having to pee, so that ate up a lot of my time. Having an aid station available every mile is both a blessing and a curse. It's too easy to dilly dally and waste a lot of time, so I tried to only stop once an hour to eat some shot blocks with some water and stretch. The other laps I would stop for a quick sip of water as needed. 

I was feeling really good most of the race, the cool temps certainly helped, and was surprised at how quickly the time flew. That is the beauty of the loops; they let your brain breakdown the race into manageable chunks and you just focus on the next milestone: the next loop or the next hour. I felt like I was flying when I was running, but I know I really wasn't moving as fast as I thought.  Eventually my legs, specially my calves, started to tighten and hurt, but since I knew I wasn't injured I pressed on. I switched to :90/:30 intervals after mile 17, but shortly after gave up on the intervals altogether when I couldn't run any faster and just ran the longer stretches of the rectangular loop at a steady pace and power walked the shorter side where the one tiny hill was, which became a small mountain after so many laps.

I walked one whole lap with Jason and considered walking the rest of the race when I realized there was no way I'd make it to the marathon mark, but I knew that would just drag on so I dug deep and pushed as hard as I safely could for some mental training of running on sore and tight legs. I ran the last lap with Jason and finished strong with less than 10 minutes until midnight. We turned in our timing chip, got our glass of champagne, quickly gathered our gear and bundled up and waited for the countdown to the new year and watched the fireworks over the city. It was the perfect way to end 2012 and I'm so glad that Jason was there to share it with me. 

Post-Race: I wasn't that sleepy when we got home at 1 am, but I was sore all over. After a quick shower and some refueling, it didn't take long to fall asleep. I woke up this morning earlier than I hoped, so went for a walk to shake out the legs and see if anyone was still left at the race site. There were only 2 people there, so I helped them break down the aid station. Talk about active recovery! But I really think it helped. Turns out that I placed 2nd in my age group, so I was able to get my medal before I headed back home. We then walked to lunch for my celebratory milkshake, then got some chores done. I'm still a bit sore, mostly the muscles on the outside of my right leg by my calf, but overall I feel great. I can't wait to try the 24-Hour option next year :)

1 comment:

Lauren Hadley said...

Definitely know what you're talking about with the timed race! I did one on new year's eve too and it's amazing how much time the aid station eats up when it's every mile. Even though I tried to just grab a sip of water I ended up chatting with people lol! Great job, can't wait to read about goofy!

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