Sunday, August 21, 2011

Transcendence 12-Hour 2011 Race Report

Last year, you may recall, this race occurred on the hottest day of the year. Temps reached the high nineties. But the awesome folks at Guerilla Running were prepared, everyone took it down a notch and it seems like we all had a blast. I had so much fun that I registered for 2011 that next week during the early registration window.

Last year, I had completed a marathon each of the two preceding weekends.  This year I had Mt Hood 50M two weeks prior.  I took it easy during those two intervening weeks and didn't think it would be much of an issue.  I wanted to get at least 50 miles and was hoping for 55.  Marc and the LG were in Florida visiting family so I drove up by myself the day before to stay with my long time friend and former trail-running, ultra-running buddy Sharon and her husband, Boone. 

Thankfully the high this year was supposed to be only in the high 60's with clouds all day.  I won't say it felt cool, but there was no comparison with 2010 and the conditions felt comfortable most of the day.  I started out slow and added in walk breaks from the beginning.  I either knew or recognized most of the participants and really enjoyed being on the course with the Transcendence "family."  Like 2010, I found some landmarks to walk, mainly concrete and curves, instead of doing a timed run/walk.  I probably walked about a third of the 1.5 mile loop.  Around 9 or 10 am Sharon and Boone arrived with their dog, Bella.  Sharon and Bella ran with me for about 5 or 6 laps and that was a fun diversion.  It felt like old times again.  Eventually Sharon had to leave but would be back near the end.

Once Sharon left I put on my tunes and seemed to be feeling fine.  But as I approached the 50k mark I started to feel spent.  Every joint from the hips down started to ache and my feet were really sore and tired.  The thoughts started to whirl through my head.  Maybe I should stop at 50k?  I wanted 50 miles, but if I didn't think I could do it, I saw no point in continuing on to get 38 or 43 or even 49.  Getting a 50k would allow me to count the race in my maniac stats (and this would be my 40th marathon or ultra!), but after that I saw no appeal in continuing unless I could get 50 miles.

photo courtesy of Guerilla Running - around 30 miles?

I forget all the details now, but I got my 50k somewhere between 6 and 6-1/2 hours.  I decided to keep going and take it lap by lap, but still thinking I was being stupid to continue on.  I admire those who will cut a race short to save themselves from injury and for future races.  But I can't do it.  Eventually I came upon my friend Marilou who was two laps ahead of me and was doing a timed run/walk.  I stuck with her and we kept each other going through those tough middle miles.  Once I got to 40 miles I knew I'd keep going.  At mile 45 I finally had to switch to all walking due to my right knee stiffening up terribly from the continual right turns.  I remember similar happening last year.   That's the one and only thing I don't like about this race.  (Maybe the dusty gravel is another small dislike.) Switching directions would help prevent this overuse issue, but I realize it's difficult to do without chip timing.  Marilou continued on and I walked on my own, looking forward to when Sharon would arrive.

As promised Sharon, Boone and Bella were back with an hour and a half to go.  By that point I had calculated that I would make my 50 miles, plus an extra lap for good measure.  I kept up a 16ish minute pace those last two laps to 50, but then slowed considerably the final lap.  When I finished that last lap there was only 20 minutes left  on the clock and I was so glad there wasn't enough time for me to do another one!

An impromptu ice bath

My final mileage was 51.8, although my Garmin calculated a mile more at 52.82.  I attribute this to my running wide to stay in the gravel.  It's a wheeled, certified course so I trust it's correct.  I changed and hung around with my friends for awhile but didn't want to delay too long since I had to drive myself the two+ hours home.  Thanks to Sharon and Boone who took down my canopy and helped me get my stuff together.

I'm really happy about getting my 50 miles.  But I still wonder if need to be smarter and not always continue on at any cost.  I guess I'm stubborn.  Or maybe greedy.  My knee was really stiff, but felt a lot better within a day or two.  Wednesday I already had an appointment with my chiroprator and she noted that my right ITB by the knee was still really tight so she Grastoned the heck out of it.  I've been taking it easy this week and have a backpacking trip next weekend, so really won't put in any more training for the Bunker to Bonneville 50k on Sept 3rd.  I'm still feeling a little wiped and not 100% sure I should do the 50k.  But I really would like to give it a go. We'll see!  My mileage has really jumped up and down the past few months and I know I need to get back to some sensible training and work on slowly building my base.

Oh, by the way, I'm registered again for the 48 hour starting December 30th at Across the Years.  I'm very excited.  And starting in September I'm looking forward to devoting my training toward this race with no other goal races in between.  On the registration form I randomly answered 135 miles to the what is your mileage goal question.  Not sure if that's possible, but I would like to better my mileage from last year.  I'm already thinking of my strategy.


Rose said...

Nice report Sarah. You did great out there, two 50-milers in 3 weeks, who does that? You rock!

Olga said...

Sarah, you know well that ultrarunning is all mental, and you just proved to be a tough chica! Congrats! I agree they should have switched the direction. 60's is an awesome weather, a dream right now! We are about to break a record amount of days of above 100F by a long shot, and far above too. Also, thank you for the comment, and this is why I keep putting my pictures up - I want everybody to believe nothing is impossible:)

Joe said...

Sarah, you capture well the mental games ultras bring to the surface. Great transparency and analysis. Hope you are bouncing back well and the rest is renewing you!

iJuls said...

YOU, my friend, are truly earning the title Marathon Maniac. YOU ROCK!