Two Times the Suffering

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I have raced a lot of over the years… a lot of different racing too.  From running races (10k-50 miles), to triathlons (sprint, xterra, 70.3′s, ironmans), to bike racing (road, mtb, cx) I have suffered a lot on the race course and in the training leading up to it.  I have even backed up big days on the bike with running races the following day, raced cycling stage races, back to back cx races, but until this weekend I had never done back to back running races.  I am definitely pushing the personal limits when it comes to running compared to what I have ever done in the past… and as result my have had one of the hardest days of racing I ever have on Sunday.

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I’ll back it up a bit.

I posted last week about knocking out my first 100 mile week and then I kept it rolling into last week.  I took a full day off on Monday and then got back it Tuesday.  It was another solid week (recap below) and I headed into the weekend with tired legs but looking forward to pushing through the two races.  I got an awesome email from Tim Long on Friday in regards to training for 100 milers and that it was key to embrace some miserable runs/workouts in order to train the mind and body for the unavoidable suffering utlra running with serve you.

view before wednesday nights run

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So Saturday Maggie and I headed up to the infamous Blue Jay campground to race the 21k of the Big Baz Winter Trail Run Series.  This was the first time I have ever done one of Baz’s races and it for sure won’t be the last.  It was killer day, I got to run against some of socal’s fastest dudes (Jon Clark, Dominic Grossman, Nickademus Hollon, Jace Hinsley, and others), and got to run some of the course for the Old Goats 50 miler next month.  My plan was to save some for sunday, race comfortably hard, run the climbs at 50k/50 mile effort, actually try to run the Trabuco descent faster (it’s technical and I was horribly slow running it a couple of months ago), and of course just have fun running the epic trails.

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I accomplished all those goals on Saturday and was actually able to pull of a 5th overall.  I resisted the urge to chase down Jon, Nickademus, Jace, and Dominic in the opening miles which is huge for me.  I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to try and run with them but I knew Sunday would be tough and just getting through the weekend was the ultimate goal.

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It was straight to my sister’s place in LA after the race and right into recovery mode.  Pro Compression socks, Compex, Nuun, good IPA, french fries… and pizza.  Covering all my bases.

step 1: rehydrate with Nuun

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Step 2: stuff your face with fries and wash down with Ballast Point Sculpin IPA (world class!)

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Step 3: relax on the couch (prefereably watching Swamp People) with Pro Crompression socks and strapped to the Compex

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I woke up Sunday morning a bit smashed.  I was tired and even though I held back a bit on Saturday I was feeling the 3000 ft. of descending in my quads. We showed up to race and everything went very smooth.  The folks that put on the Bandit races have it dialed in.    After a quick warm up which confirmed I felt like crap I got on the line next to Chris Price and the rest of the the guys.

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From the first mile I knew it was going to be a long, rough day… and then we started climbing.  My plan was to just sit behind Chris for as long as I could.  We traded the lead back and forth over the initial 5+ miles which included some steep ass climbs.  I was suffering for sure but my plan was working for now.  I knew straight away that I probably didn’t have the legs to challenge Chris for the win but wanted to work with him and get a gap on the rest of the field.  It worked and by 5 miles in I couldn’t see anybody behind us…. but shortly there after on a descent Chris let it rip and I tried to follow.  My quads protested and realized quickly that there was not way in hell I was going to be able to stay with him going down.  From there on out I just ran my own race and hoped to hold on to second place even though we still had about 25 miles to go.

already suffering!

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Looking down at your watch, feeling like death, and knowing you still have 25 miles to go is hard to wrap you head around.  That’s a long way.  I just kept thinking back to the email that Tim sent me and did my best to embrace the suffering in hopes that it would pay off later this year.  I finally reached the turn around 15 miles in and saw that Chris already had a couple of minutes on me but also that 3-4-5 were also only a couple minuted behind me.  At that point they all looked strong and I thought my chances for holding on to 2nd were slim.  I just kept running my pace… the only pace I had on the day.  The second half of the race seemed like it was all up.  I was actually moving pretty well and trying not to look back but I was just waiting for the pass.

just about mile 20.  I think I just finished having a good cry.

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I hit the 20 mile aid station, grabbed a coke and a cookie and started the longest climb of the day.  We basically climbed from just after mile 20 to  mile 28 with just a couple short descents to recover on.  It was getting hot and climbing harder.  I just kept my head down and ran the whole thing.  Chris was long gone by this point but around mile 26 I looked back down the climb and couldn’t see any of my chasers any where.  At that point I knew that if I didn’t totally shit the bed I could hold to second.

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So I kept my head down, kept running (more of a jog at that point) and crossed the line in 4:18 for second place (~8min behind Chris).  I was definitely handed a beat down but I’ll take it. I basically suffered for 31 miles and it was was different than blowing up at North Face.  At North Face I felt fresh and just exploded at the 50k mark, laughed, and got through the day.  On Sunday I was sore, tired, and holding onto some deep fatigue from some big weeks of running.  I’m stoked I got through it and I know it will benefit me from a physical standpoint but I also gained way more mentally.

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It was a rad weekend of racing.  Of course Maggie won both days and set a course recored on sunday… all in a weekend’s work.  After a couple of hard weeks I am dialing it WAY back this week and will be rolling by the weekend.  Then it’s time for a couple more solid weeks before Old Goats.

week of 2/11-17:

Monday: Rest Day.

Tuesday: AM 1:06, 8.9 miles, 827 ft. mellow on the hood trails.  PM: 1:10, 10 miles, 250 ft, fun track workout with Maggie & Brad.

Wednesday: AM :35, 4.75 miles, 247 ft shakeout on cardiff trail. felt like shit. PM: 1:21, 9.9 miles, 1135 ft, TP night run with maggie. felt much better than AM.

Thursday: AM 1:31, 24.5 miles, 1306 ft ez spin before work.  down to TP and back

Friday: AM 1:02, 8.25 miles, 372 ft SE Lagoon run with Mario.  Felt good, mellow pace.  lots of talking. PM: 1:10, 19.5 miles, 692 ft. Soaking up the sun.  Ez spin with Brad

Saturday: AM :16, 2 miles, 108 ft. warm up, Big Baz 21k 1:42, 12.85 miles, 3,007 ft fun race. held back a bit. 5th overall,  :17, 2 miles, 187ft. cool down

Sunday: :08, 1 mile warm up – felt like death, 4:18, 31.1 miles, 6,193 ft.  Bandit 50k. sufferfest.  2nd place

11:55, 91 miles, 12,226 ft running

2:41, 44 miles, 1,998 ft cycling

Another good week and now time to rest.  Super mellow week this week and doing all the little things to have me ready to rip by the weekend.

Pizza Port Solana Beach’s Kook DIPA. Easing the pain.

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I can’t wait for friday night… going to see Go Radio with Maggie at the Roxy in LA! I having been waiting l LONG time to see them live.

2 thoughts on “Two Times the Suffering

  1. Had fun running with you James. Thanks for racing the day before to give me a chance! I’m sure you would have won if you were fresh.

    Looking forward to running with ya again at Old Goats, gonna be a fun day… the beer is going to flow like wine at the finish.

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