Thursday, November 17, 2011

Training by Racing

Back in September I decided to run three races over five weeks.  They were two 50K runs on week one and week three and a 50 mile run on the fifth week.  I thought this would be a great way to train and it was. (Of course, I didn't finish the 50 miler, but that had nothing to do with back to back to back races.)  I have decided to continue racing as often as possible.

Last weekend I ran two races.  Neither was as ultra, but together they were a marathon although I made a modification to the second race to make the combined total an ultra.  More on that later.

Last weekend there were two 21K races here in Birmingham.  The first, the Ruffner Mountain 21K was Saturday and the second was the Xterra 21K at Oak Mountain State Park on Sunday.  I entered both.  The Ruffner race had a lot of tough climbs with about 1,400 feet of elevation gain and some really rugged trails.  I ran 2:10:13 and came in 16 out of 115 starters.  I was happy with that.

The Xterra race was not quite as hard with a fairly flat first 4 miles but the 21K runners were running with 10K runners and we all got caught in the middle of the Duathlon runners that started 30 minutes after the 21 and 10K.  They were really slow and obviously not trail runners so I had to spend a lot of time jumping off the single track trail, dodging trees and sprinting around very slow runners.  Somehow in the middle of all that madness I missed the place the 10K and 21K split and I ran the final two miles of the 10K course plus an out-back section of the finish of the 21K before realizing I was not on the 21K course.

When a corner worker tried to direct me to the finish, I told her I had not run any thing close to 21 K and started back up the trail to find out where I went  wrong.  I started climbing back up the "yellow" trail and within 100 yards came to a "blue plate" with an arrow pointing back down where I just came from.  (The 21K was to follow blue plates and I had been following blue plates.)  Obviously, I got off course somewhere way back.  Then I ran over to the finish area and found the "main guy" from Dirty Spoke Productions and asked where I missed the turn.  He told me and I headed back up the Peavine Falls Road about half a mile to where I missed the split.  I hopped back on the trail after loosing about 30 minutes and running at least an extra three miles.  I was now dead last.  I ran as fast as I could and made up a lot of ground and actually ended up missing 3rd in my age group by 3 minutes.  My time of 2:38:53 and I missed an age group win by 17 minutes.  But I got in a good workout.

After failing to finish the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in Pine Mountain, Georgia, I came home and immediately entered the Lookout Mountain 50 Mile Race in Chattanooga on December 17th.  This weekend I will have my only hard run since the 50 miles on October 15.  I plan to run 6 hours with, I hope, 5 hours of hill repeats.  It is time to start getting ready for Hardrock.  The drawing is December 1st!!!

Then I will recover by running two hours Christmas weekend and 4 hours New Years weekend the jumping up to 8 hours on January 7.  On the 14th I will run 6 hours and two hours the following weekend.  If it looks like I am tapering again that is because I am.  On February 4th I am entered in the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race in Huntsville, Texas.  This is one of the flattest 100s around and I am curious to see how I do.  Flat hundreds are supposed to be incredibly hard because you have to run so much of the time.

Here are a couple of pictures I borrowed of the RR course from Wayne Nelson's Blog.
 A picture of Anton Kurpicka at Rocky Raccoon.  Run #1  I have never seen a picture of him wearing a shit.  Must me a sponsor's shirt.

I think this is the Start/Finish area.  This is a five loop course.

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