Saturday, February 26, 2011

Looking back at Red Hot Moab and on to the Future

The trip to Moab was fantastic for a million reasons. My whole family came along including my mom all the way from Southern California. My amazing wife ran the 33k, her first long trail race, and she did amazing and had a great time. There were so many of my friends from the Fort Collins Trail Runners and the Boulder Special Idiots that we occupied 40 of the 58 rooms at the Big Horn Lodge and they recognized us on the marquee.
There were so many of us at the start and finish and along th course that it felt like big trail runner social event.
Post race we filled the whole back room of the Mexican restaurant in Moab and we must have fully depleted Moab's supply of fresh limes and tequila. It was a great weekend of fun, friends, beautiful rocks, trails and mountains and great margaritas.

The only thing about the weekend that was less than fabulous was my race time. I went in to the race feeling pretty confident. I had run training miles like never before in December and January and then I tapered for the three weeks leading up to the race. I felt good on race morning and I didn't worry too much about the windy, rainy weather as we started up the trail. I started conservatively up the hill in the first mile, talking to some friends and being careful of the icy patches on the dirt incline. I hit mile 1 in just over 10 minutes feeling great. I ran along with Brian S. who was running his longest race ever, previous longest race being a 10K. We cruised down the hill after the first mile and hit miles 2 and 3 in 7:50. I knew this was probably a bit fast, but it felt easy so didn't worry about it too much. Mile 4 started up the hill towards the first aid station and the 9 mile loop that goes to the high point of the course and the rim above highway 191. Miles 4 -20 all felt good and averaged close to 9 minutes each. I was running well and was on pace to run 5:30 or better. I stayed fueled eating gels and a Tiger's Milk Bar. I stopped briefly at my drop bag at the mile 17 aid station to drop my wool hat and sun glasses and grab some more food. I was still feeling good and running pretty strong on the long slick rock climb up to the aid station at mile 23. From that point to the finish, was 10 miles of mostly downhill over rock, rough trail and sand and this is where my race started to fall apart. I didn't feel terrible and I never totally bonked, I just kept on at PR ruining 11-14 minute per mile pace. I felt okay, I just didn't feel like I could go any faster over the rough rocky path.

I have had this problem before on technical trails and I'm not really sure why. Maybe I lack the leg strength necessary to bounce down the steep off camber descents or muscle my way up the rock steps. Maybe I am just too afraid to fall and scrape my knees or crack my skull. Maybe it's a combination of these and other factors. Anyway, it is something I am determined to work on before the summer season of technical trail races.
First however, I need to focus on some fast road miles to prepare for the Colorado Marathon on May 1. I took this last week very easy running only 37 miles all week mostly slow and flat. I did have a wild run up Towers on Thursday night with the group. The sky was partly clear and the temperatures were in the 40s when I left the house but by the time I started up the hill the snow was coming down so hard I couldn't see more than a few feet ahead of me. As we came down the hill 45 minutes later there were 2 inches of fresh snow on the trail and the temperature had dropped to 20. It was our most epic Towers ascent of the season.
On Saturday, I ran a decent fast finish 10 miler on the Spring Creek trail with miles 5-9 going 7:43, 7:27, 7:13, 6:58, and 6:45 miles, but that 6:45 was hard.

The weather looks good next week and I feel fully recovered physically if not mentally from Moab, so I am going to work to put in a solid week of running with some longer runs, some speed work and the Tortoise and Hare 12K next Sunday.

Next time you are in Moab, make sure to stop at the Love Muffin Cafe for the locals breakfast burrito and a bacon and blueberry muffin

1 comment:

  1. Other than faster paces that describes my race to a "T", Alex. I was on pace to run about a 6:45 race through mile 23, then ran 8 miles of 14-18 min miles before getting back on track for the last two. The not quite a full on bonk but not really able to move very fast describes exactly how I felt.

    In the end I've decided to view it as good mental training for the Bighorn 50 and beyond. That's gone better than beating myself up over it which I did the first 5 days (Towers broke me out of the funk).