Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Conquer The Cove trail 25k and Marathon

Yet another fine event from Mountain Junkies LLC. This race took place on 6/5/2011 from Lock Haven lake in Roanoke, then into the Carvins Cove trail system. I ran the 25k and was successful on many accounts.

a 6:30 AM start, which seemed daunting at first, ensured better temperatures. The day was hot, but trails were very well covered from the elements and race headquarters had a nice pavilion providing shade, and even access to dip in the lake, which many runners did.

Please see the news paper's write up about the event HERE.
While I'm promoting other info about the event, be sure and visit Philip's blog "Cardioholics Anonymous"... you know you are one.
and Jimbo at So Far From Normal wrote a report as well.
Hopefully more to come. If I've missed one, let me know in comments below.

I was truly looking forward to this event, and I knew it was years in the making. Gaining access for a marathon on the precious property and natural reserve at Carvins Cove wasnt an easy task. The property encompasses a primary water source for the Roanoke Valley.
...and if you allow me to share some history here... It was in the 1940's that the town of Carvin's Cove, VA was intentionally buried in water due to the construction of a dam and the reservoir was created. (Yes, I like Wikipedia).

Josh and Gina worked for years to get permission to use this property for an event, and they also desired to top the Roanoke Non-Ultra Trail Series (RNUTS) with a marathon.

The venue Lock Haven Lake is very accessible and less than 10 minutes off I-81.  Parking was expected to be crowded. I was thankful that my sister-in-law was volunteering at the event, and could drop me off on her way in. Runners were requested to check-in and confirm that they have a source of water to carry with them. It was mandatory that each runner, regardless of event was carrying water.

I wish I could put my finger on what I did right for this event, but I know it wasnt just one thing. I think my taper had something to do with it. 2 weeks ago, I ran a peak distance of 14 or 14.5 on the AT from 220 heading north through Fulhardt Knob and to mile post 97, where my wonderful wife arrived to pick me up. It went as planned, and I ran leisurely, chatting with the AT hikers along the way. It included a good climb as well (estimated to be about 1200 Vertical ft.) and I took about 3.5 hours to do the entire run. The next Thursday I did a double loop at the Chestnut Ridge Loop Trail, close to 11 miles. I diddnt run again until Ruth (that sister-in-law, I mentioned) and I ran about 4 miles in the neighborhood the Thursday before the race.

2 days before the race, I got super focused on eating, sleeping and hydrating. Until this, I had not been sleeping but 6 hrs or less a night. so, I had to improve that. Things went well. Saturday, the day before the race I was sure to drink the extra 2 liters (Gatorade) I had been drinking the past day or so, and I also drank 2 16oz glasses of NUUN electrolyte drink that evening. I've been really enjoying NUUN, I buy it from Fleet Feet.

In the morning before the race I woke at 4:45. I knew that I diddnt sleep at all.  I awoke to a cup of coffee and about a half cup of oatmeal. I was fearful about the heat of the day, and so I shook about a teaspoon of salt out into my hand and tossed it into my mouth. I had done this once, back in 2004 at my second half-marathon but never since. I diddnt think about it much before doing it, I just did it. Had I thought about it, I would have planned to consume some salt in a different manner... and so my stomach diddnt like it. I felt the cramps, my breathing rate increased and I began to salivate. I thought I would vomit. I was quickly regretting this. Thankfully it subsided, and I convinced myself that it would pay off later in the day.

After Ruth dropped me off and checking-in, I looked for a place to drop my bag and get my items together. It was important to identify the row of porta-johns and take advantage of them at this time.

I arrived in my shorts and running shirt, but soon switched to a different shirt. I had pre-filled my hydration pack at home and "burped" the air out of it was well, so I hadnt worry about that. I was focused to continue hydrating and nourishing, as I had in training runs. I also ate 1/3 of a Cliff bar about 15 mins before the race start.
I'm somewhere in that mess of almost 250 runners. (pic stolen from Mountain Junkies Facebook page)

Overall in the race, I consumed 2 GU gels (just before the aid stations), almost a liter of Gatorade from my hydration back pack, and at the aid stations I drank water, ate some pretzels,  a piece of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and some Salazon salted chocolate. The aid stations were well stocked and staffed! Very encouraging volunteers. I recall at the 3rd aid station being adamant about getting my GU wrapper in the trash bag, and the group of them insisting that I should toss it on the ground. See, the top of the GU pack had torn off, and I feared it would get missed and remain on the ground, but with great humor they insisted and pushed me back on the trail, I was laughing.

I believe my taper in the 2 weeks before the race was important. Yet I feel that I should have run more short runs in those 2 weeks. Whereas I just played it lazy and found excuses not to run because "hey I'm tapering down my mileage". I think that eating well the previous days and sleeping better helped as well. I think that eating and drinking along the run was vital as well and I am constantly learning more about how to properly do this.

Lately I had been running out of energy at somewhere as early as mile 10 (like at the Trail nut 13.1) or soon after. Today I felt fairly strong until the last half mile. Which by the way, a 25k measures out to 15.5 miles and this was 15.8. So many things played into why I felt so good. I wanted to be sure and feel that I gave my all and that I did. In that last half mile, despite "contracting" with Scott Meyers (whom I had just met on those last few miles) to keep up with him,  I said "you go ahead and I'll do what you do" HA! famous last word. He pressed on - I did not. I just couldnt, but I wish I had that opportunity again. I'll have to run another 15 miles to get to that point. Until then Scott and I really seemed to appreciate one anothers company for the last few miles.

I should say something about the 2 big hill climbs in the 25k.
I recall Brent Williams referring to the 800ft climb as "runnable" and I believed that to be true. I was pleased to say that I ran about half of it, in a slow run / fast hike stride... but eventually my heart could no longer fuel my muscles and I dropped to a full on hike. It felt good to be passing others and I felt that I was tackling the climb fairly hard. It was when I had almost caught up with Mark Anderson that I ran out of gas and started hiking. This was the second climb. I dont recall much to say about the first one, but that I'm sure everyone walked it and that was about how it needed to be done.
Elevation profile for the 25k. Stolen from Mountain Junkies website.

Again, I wish I knew what I did right.
I've never felt so good after a 10+ mile run or race. I felt fresh soon after the race was over. I wish all runs felt that way. I had 2 minor sore spots on my feet, and now over 36 hours later, I still feel good. I need to duplicate this somehow. Bottle up that success and sell it!

I feel that this report is kind of scattered, and I wish to do better than that. I dont have any pics at the moment and I'll have to steal them all from the Mountain Junkies FB page when I can.

Please share your own race reports, I enjoy reading them too.

I know you have heard the advice to not do anything different on race day... well, I'm always doing something different.
Finishers medal

Drank more NUUN in the 12 hours before the race and immediately after.
Moments before the race I used Body Glide for the first time, thanks to Andrew from Fleet Feet's time answering my questions about it.
I also sprayed OFF on my legs to avoid ticks.
Tapered smart.
Took a shot of salt in the AM.

My next event, and yes I am signed up and so excited that it will be the Hinson Lake 24 Hour ultra Classic!
I am looking for others to join me, so please consider it, and sign up ASAP! The event is in September, but registration is filling up and it is 57% full at the moment. I hope some fellow Mountain Junkies like, Graham Zollman and Anita Finkle will join me. Doug? Phillip? Samantha and Matt? Mark?  I've been trying to recruit.