Friday, June 29, 2012

Race Report: Mohican 50 miler

I better get this one down on paper before I begin to remember this race without the details. First of all, I rarely compete in races where I travel overnight; I try to stay local or not race at all so I minimize time from the family.
I had signed up for this race since I needed a 50miler before Leadville and was unable to get the time last year to run it. This was meant to be a training run, no taper, just train straight through…to add to the mix, I have been traveling for work for a few weeks and arrived back in CLE late Thursday night, went to a party, got home by 2am, worked the next day and then drove to Mohican for the night. Dave Wank & I stayed at the extremely posh Mohican River Inn about 5miles from the start. You can sit in the bed and brush your teeth at the same time since the sink is so close. Gotta love it.
So, did breakfast (S-Caps, UCAN, whey protein, chia, coffee, water, & some CLIF mini-mojo bars) then headed over to the race start. I desperately needed the morning bathroom stop which became a theme of the race for half of the race. After a quick photo with Tapatha, Kevin, Gale, Leghorny, & Michael, the race started at 5am and off we went. Dave & I ran together in the dark at what felt like a very easy pace, kicking roots, rocks, and wishing I had brought my headlamp rather than relying on the moonlight and fellow runner’s lights. My goal was simply to run an easy race…..shooting for about 9.5-10hr total time.
The trails at Mohican are gorgeous; there are sections that looked like something you would see in the Pacific Northwest, ferns, moss, & pine needles. We continued to run easy and I found myself directly behind Connie Gardner which for me, was probably a clear sign that I needed to slow down, regardless of how I felt. I thought if I feel this good now and can simply maintain the effort, I would easily make top 10. I ran behind Connie watching her steady pace, conservative, deliberate, & light steps, walking the steeper hills, and slowing just slightly on the lighter hills. I stayed with her through about 13-14miles before I decided that I should slow it down. I had been looking for an opportunity to find a restroom the entire morning and finally about mile 15 I saw a porto, ran in there seeing my friend Keith coming out, ironically. We said a quick hello, and then I tried to shift from running to relieving…something that took a few mins. 

The miles went on, and I plodded along the hills…realizing that these hills were going to put me closer to a 10hr finish time. No worries, it’s just a training run right? By mile 20 I was searching for another trail bathroom, which I eventually found… I hit the end of the first loop (26.2) miles about 4:55 in and had my last bottle of UCAN, changed my shoes/socks and then took off. It was hot, hilly, but I was moving forward and over 50% done. Time to just get it done. The aid stations were awesome and I admit that the buckets of ice water were simply amazing!  I took my time at aid stations, then started to walk after realizing I had been pushing too hard in the heat & hills. About mile 34 I met up with Richard Cook who had a solid pace going….I hopped on the Cook train, chatted, ran, kicked up the pace, and really enjoyed the time spent. At mile 44.2 Richard looked at me and asked if I had a time goal. I told him I had re-evaluated my 9.5 hr goal to be sub 10 hrs, but as I looked at my watch, I was at 9hr 44min with essentially an hour to get in 6mi. Not going to happen…I had lost time going to the bathroom, at aid stations, and walking for way too long during miles 26-34. Lesson learned….I needed to feel more pain and stop relaxing. I looked at Richard & another runner, Kevin who had been with us and said “It’s doable” and after one last bathroom break I decided that I had 60mins to run a 10k. I dug a little bit deeper and dropped the pace. This was my biggest lesson…I had the ability to run 9min miles and didn’t. I kept thinking “it’s just a training run” and with that attitude, I allowed myself to slack. I hit the finish at 10:50, happy to be finished and happy that I wasn’t doing the 100 that day….but realizing that I should have pushed harder. Dave came in about 9:38, which was strong and where I should have been.
Overall, I was happy…happy that I just ran 50 very hard miles without a taper…but still learned that I need to slow the heck down for the first half of the race… Lastly, to take the time to go to the bathroom early and not to let the attitude of a “training” run dictate my effort level.
Recovery was excellent; I left for Texas again very early Monday morning and continued training that evening. I took Sunday off running and got to sleep in for Father’s day. The training in Texas has been brutal with temps well into 110 degrees. I’ll have to write a separate entry on it.