Monday, March 22, 2010

Pacific Rim One Day 2010 race report

I'm not sure which is more difficult, recovering from completing 35 miles or recovering from staying awake for 28 hours. No, it didn't take me that long to finish. I "ran" the 50k distance in 6:55 and then I walked another 4 laps to finish with 35 miles (overall time of 8:04). Then after an hour or two to regroup and socialize, I worked the graveyard shift counting laps until the wee hours of the morning. Marc completed his fastest 50 miles in about 9:30. (When I pointed out that he had beaten my 50 mile pr, he answered, "I know." So I think there was a little family competition going on that I wasn't aware of.) Then he continued on for another 10 hours or so to finish up with 75 miles.

Finishing the 50k

We woke up at 5 am, left Portland at about 6 am and arrived at beautiful Lake Sacajawea about 2 hours before the 9 am start. I wanted to be sure to get a good parking spot near the start/finish and we did. There were only a few people there, but soon others arrived and starting setting up their gear in what I like to call the 'aid station gauntlet". It was fun to chit chat with the usual gang and meet new people, but before long it was 9 am and we were on our way. I hung out with Gail, Bret and Rick for a few slow laps. Eventually we split up and I settled into a rhythm of running the straights and walking the curves of the somewhat oval shaped course. This worked out well, since the straights were mostly gravel and most of the concrete was on each end. Marc took off at the front per his usual and I saw him briefly when he lapped me. But our walks rarely coincided so we really didn't hang together at all.

Not a morning person, but the little guy was in his element all day long

I didn't run with a watch. This is a first for me in a race. Marc wanted to time his run/walk, so I loaned him my watch. It seemed pointless to wear my bulky GPS watch, so I decided to go au naturalle. I loved it and wish I had been ignorant of time or laps for the whole run. Overall I felt great with a lot of energy. Around mile 21 I started to notice some tightness in my right quad. Eventually, my right ITB started to feel painful near the connection by my knee. This didn't come as a surprise since I've been experiencing this near the end of my last 2 or 3 long runs. It has always gone away in the normal course of recovering. So I figured it was just a result of building my mileage and would get better as my training progressed. In order to make it to 50k intact, I decided to lengthen my walk time and slow down my running as much as I could without changing my stride. I also put on my tunes at this point. I had been running by myself for awhile and it had been hours since I'd seen Gail or Bret. I figured the music would give me something else to focus on. After a few more laps I tried on putting various straps I had brought along and rolling out my quad with The Stick. Nothing made that much difference but it didn't matter too much. I was doing okay and while my knee was somewhat painful, it was totally manageable and I didn't feel like I was doing any major damage. However, at mile 30, I asked my time and found out I was at 6:44. Ego took over and I ran most of the last lap, wanting to make sure I finished under 7 hours. It's too early to tell if that was a big, big mistake, but it did insure that I wasn't going to do any more running that day. I wanted to pad my results so I decided to walk a few more laps and finally decided that 35 miles sounded like a good place to stop.

Our fearless leader

If it weren't for the knee, I'm pretty sure I could have gone on to run/walk 40 miles. My fueling was perfect. This is the first race I can remember where I had zero stomach issues. Not a hint of nausea. It was a sunny, warm day and I made sure to down a bottle every 4-6 laps. I've decided not to drink my calories, and used nuun in my bottle plus a few cups of water here and there. I ate 2 gels, about 6 caramels and various items from the aid station such as orange slices, saltines, a handful of jelly beans and few bites of turkey sandwich. Overall I probably under-fueled, but it didn't seem to hurt my energy level at all.

Lots of smiles and laughs with Bret and Gail - 63 miles and Rick - 40 miles

After finishing I changed, drank a protein drink, ate a bagel with cream cheese and socialized for about an hour. I don't remember the exact time, but probably around 7pm I headed over to the start/finish and took my place with the lap counters. Fred had recruited some teens from the cross country team and they had formed an impromptu Ben Blessing fan club. What a hoot! They left at around 10 pm and I spent most of the night with Amy Lynes and Joe Lee. The past few years, I've felt like I've missed out by just lap counting and not participating in the race. But now I'm not sure who has more fun or gets more out of this event. Lap counting, especially during the graveyard shift, is indescribable. In the wee hours of the night I can imagine the runners were happy to see our little light oasis, especially after it started raining and the wind started blowing. But we were just as happy to see them! And so inspiring! I learned a lot and hope to put it to use when I try for 24 hours next year.

Marc (looking studly for an old guy, huh?) - 75 miles, his longest run to date

Marc had a great 50 miles, but he made some mistakes with his fueling so had a lot of stomach problems from then on out. After midnight, he switched to walking and took a few breaks to rest in the van. At 6:30am I realized he'd been gone for about 90 minutes so I went to check on him and he was done. So we threw everything into the van and headed home. My fellow lap counters had joked that I should make him drive home since he had actually gotten some sleep. But there was no way he could drive so I had to wait a bit longer for my rest. He held it together pretty well during the drive, but as soon as we arrived home he collapsed on the couch and started shivering uncontrollably. Darn it, there went my plans to get the first shower. : ) He managed to get into the warm shower and revived enough that I felt comfortable leaving him alone so I could clean up too. That was a little scary but he was totally fine after the shower and some rest. I finally hit the sack at 9 am.

Jess Mullen - 1st woman, 2nd overall (I think) and new course record with 116 miles

Today, my muscle soreness is minimal, but the knee is still sketchy. It feels mostly okay, but I can sense I need to give it some time before I run on it. I'm sure not getting to do my normal post-run routine and then sitting on a metal chair all night probably didn't help. I'm taking the week off from running and will test it out this weekend. Despite this minor setback it feels great to be back. Michelle commented that she seemed happier to see me out there then I did myself. I think that might be true and I've wondered why. The only way I can explain it is I've put the past 2 years behind me and feel like I'm just carrying on where I left off.

Tim Englund, 1st with 121 miles

Of course, the little guy was there again, running around like the crazy, fun boy he is and finally getting to sleep overnight in the van. He took all the pictures....the full set can be viewed here.


Gretchen said...

Wow, awesome job, Sarah! Sounds like it was a totally fun day. It's so nice to share things like this with the whole family. I think you probably got the best of both worlds with both competing and lap-counting.

It sounds like you are really back. That is so awesome! Keep enjoying it and taking care of yourself.

(BTW, I am officially entered in Where's Waldo. I'm stoked! Hope to see you guys there!)

Joe said...

Such good news, Sarah, congrats on the fine 50K!!

you knew in ramping up you'd see what held together and what got stressed. So, watch carefully this week and next and note accordingly.

You'll be fine.

Congrats to Marc on an awesome run...hope he is recovering well.

Backofpack said...

Oh, you have no idea how good it was to see the three of you at the table each lap. It was so great to see awake,smiling, cheerful people! You looked cold though, and I felt bad for you when the wind whipped the tarp around. Thanks for doing it Sarah!

olga said...

Loved the "my ego took over" and "there is a family competition". Congratulations to all of you, studly family you are! Gail looks like she grew hair. The Little Guy took fantastic photos too!