Last Saturday was a fun day of racing and hanging out after the race. For the most part the race was a success for me and gives me confidence that my plan of lower running mileage, higher riding mileage, and hitting it hard in the gym is working well for me. I did have some rough patches in the race but that was due to an uncooperative gut. My legs were strong and my endurance wasn’t lacking.
Since early June when I started back running I haven’t run a single step in anything other than Hokas. That’s another thing that’s working that I don’t plan on changing.
I dialed back my training last week leading up to the race but kept the structure the same. I’m a firm believer in keeping the body moving the week of the race and giving it what it’s used to. Race week looked like this:
- Monday: Off
- Tuesday: AM Easy 60 min jog around the hood with Maggie, PM Yoga
- Wednesday: AM 1:25 road ride, Lunch mellow, light strength session. basically stretching/ROM stuff
- Thursday: AM 50 min hilly run with some pick ups, PM Massage
- Friday: AM 1:00 easy road ride
- Saturday: Noble Canyon 50k
I definitely felt rested and ready to rip on the starting line saturday morning. I could already kind of tell my gut was off a bit before the race but didn’t give it too much thought. Nothing I could have done about it.
The race started and my plan was to go out hard all the way up the climb to Penny Pines (~12 miles). I took the lead right off the line and only Neil really came with me. Not really what I expected. I thought I would have had a few other guys with me. I don’t know if it’s from bike racing or what but I love the one on one and group dynamics of racing. Feeling each other out, listening to your competitors breathing, and deciding when to make a move. On Saturday I decided since nobody really wanted to come with me to make a move early. About a half mile in on the road Neil was running on my shoulder and we were running mid to low 6 minute pace. It felt really comfortable to me and I could hear Neil breathing a bit harder than I was so I revved it up a bit hoping he would give up trying to stay with me and that’s just what he did.
I was already all alone when I hit the Noble Canyon trail head. I kept the pace steady and was having fun. I took the first sip from my EFS liquid shot flask at 30 minutes as planned and it seemed to just sit in my gut. Soon enough my gut was rumbling and I knew a pit stop was in my future. I decided to try hold off until I got done with the climb and through the penny pines aid station. I kept sipping on my flask every 30 minutes even though I wasn’t sure any of it was getting absorbed.
on the indian creek trail climbing back to Noble Canyon. Thanks for the photo, cheers, and splits robert.
I saw Maggie at Penny Pines and got a bottle… and a kiss.. and was on my way. About half mile later it was finally time for my pit stop. A minute later I was on my way feeling lighter and much better. I kept rolling, drinking, and sipping on my flask. After the out and back at Pioneer mail (mile ~17) I saw Maggie again. She told me that I had an 8 minute lead at 12 miles. I picked up another bottle of Skratch and another flask of EFS. Up until that point I hadn’t take anything from an aid stations.
The next section from Pioneer Mail on the Indian Creek trail was fun but my gut continued to not be happy and the sweetness of the EFS liquid shot was getting to me. My gut was in knots again. Around mile 21 I saw Robert who told me I had a lead of at least 14 minutes. The news that I was that far in the lead and my gut being jacked kinda crushed my will to keep hammering as hard as I was.
At mile ~22 I hit the Big Tree Aid station where Angela Shartel and Scott Mills were working. It’s always awesome to see them out on course. I filled my bottle, got some high fives, and took down a big cup of coke. I bolted out of the aid station and tried to run fast on the descent. At that point my stomach felt worse than it had all day. Typically when my stomach is off, or late in any race, coke is my go to and up until Saturday has always done the trick. About a mile after I left that aid station, in mid stride, I threw up everything that was in my gut… and then again about a mile later. It was awesome… kind of. My gut immediately felt better but I had a good idea of what was bound to happen.
I decided to not try to take any more EFS and at mile 25 took my “emergency” gel. I forced a double latte powergel down and luckily it stayed down. It wasn’t enough. By the time I saw Steve at the mile 28 aid station I was feeling pretty bonky. I stopped for minute and tried to drink some coke and and water but neither were going down very easily. In retrospect I should have stayed there another minute and tried to slam a couple more cups of coke.
From the aid station to the finished it was a sufferfest… the most I’ve suffered in quite some time…. and not the fun, running as hard as I can, kind of suffering. It was the “when the hell is this climb going to be over with”, “shit… I just want to walk” kind of suffering. I felt like i was crawling the last few miles and was stoked to reach the finish line in 4:03 and get the win.
After I crossed the line I was in a bad way. Every muscle in both my legs felt like they were going to cramp… and I NEVER cramp. Luckily Maggie was right there to walk me to a chair in the shade. All I wanted was a coke and they didn’t have any. Steve saved me. He made a quick run to the store and brought back a bunch of cokes. 40oz of water with NUUN, a can of coke, some time laying in the grass, and I was starting to come around.
It was fun to hang out for a bit, watch a bunch of people finish, and talk with everybody. I still wasn’t feeling awesome so we hit the road but made sure to stop at Alpine on the way home. No matter how bad I felt I wasn’t going all the way out to east county and not getting some of the best beer on the planet. I picked up a growler of Hoppy Birthday and my two (pre-ordered) bottles of Exponential Hoppiness.
So overall it was an awesome day and it was rad to have maggie out there crewing for me. I believe the gut issues were a one off. I use the same stuff for nutrition all the time. EFS liquid shot flasks and skartch labs in 2 of my 4 bottles. It’s always worked in the past so I am not putting too much thought into changing anything up in that regard.
It’s now tuesday and all the soreness is pretty much gone but I’m still pretty tired. we’re heading for flagstaff tomorrow evening and Maggie is racing the Stagecoach 100 on Saturday. I can’t wait to get out there, check out the mountains of flagstaff, and pace her Saturday night.
Hoppy Birthday. Even better while watching the bolts dominate the bills.