Thought for the Day

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Old Pueblo 50

I'm finally posting my account, such as it is, of the Old Pueblo 50.
I got sore, especially in the quads, but I had no injuries and nothing much to complain about. I finished in 13 hours and 23 minutes, so my goal of 10 hours was out of the question.
I didn't have much of a break after the Ragnar Relay. I had one night at home, then was off to Diabetes Training Camp for four and a half full days of workouts and lectures. Seriously, they had us at the first workout at 6:30 AM every day, and then workouts and lectures, consultations, medical testing, fittings for bikes and gear, etc. all day, every day, usually until past 10 at night.
So the day after DTC, all I had to do was sit around at the Triabetes booth at Tri-Fest for half a day, then rest up for the Old Pueblo 50 mile trail run on Saturday.
I knew just driving out to the start that I was too tired to really race it. I didn't have enough time to recover from all of the previous marathons and 50Ks going into the Ragnar relay, and after the relay, I had no real chance to recover from that experience.
So I was walking the uphills from the start, and always trying to conserve energy while maintaining some momentum. Later in the day, it helped to use some of the techniques Carrie Cheadle had taught us at Diabetes Training Camp to keep my shoulders relaxed and not expend any extra energy on useless tension.
The course was a lot tougher than I expected. Even on fresh legs I don't think I would have been ready to do it in 10 hours. But now that I know what it's like, I think I could train for it and make it.
I did best against the competition in a couple of sections that were steep, rocky downhills for miles. Others were walking them, but I let gravity carry me and tried to stay light on my feet. I didn't trip anywhere, but the few places that I came close were where it was mostly level and there were only a few rocks sticking up.
This was 50 miles of mountainous trails and dirt roads. 51 miles by my Garmin. Don't get me started. Well, I am started.
The other place I did well was nearing the finish late in the day. I thought I was going to finish before the sun set if I just kept running, so I was running even uphill, for a while, after the 40 mile aid station. Since I had been taking it easy all day, most of the people around me were really spent, and weren't running at all.
I passed about six people between the 40 mile aid station and where my Garmin said it was 45 miles. Then, when the Garmin said I was 46.75 into the race, I came upon a sign that said I was 1/4 mile from the 46 mile aid station.
That totally knocked the wind out of me. I thought I was a little over 3 miles from the finish, and I suddenly found I was still more than 4 miles out. I'm sure it doesn't sound like much, but for some reason, at the time it mentally crushed me.
But I kept running to the aid station, ate a little more, (I ate like a pig through the whole race.) and ran on.
At this point, I was running with a small group leaving the aid station more or less together. I think we were all looking forward to finishing.
Then with three miles to go we came to the base of a set of wicked steep switchbacks, maybe the steepest hill on the course, rising hundreds of feet in a few hundred yards. I probably wouldn't run this hill if it was in a 10K, let alone at the end of a 50 miler. It was just a sick joke.
I made it to the top, though, and kept on chugging toward the finish.
However, the sun had set, and it was rapidly getting darker and colder. My little headlight that clips onto my cap, which was fine for running on the road in the relay, was totally inadequate on the narrow, twisty, rocky trail of the last mile. My shirt was also inadequate, as the temperature was dropping rapidly.
It took me half an hour to go the last mile, and by the time I crossed the finish line, I think I had borderline hypothermia. It felt good to get some hot coffee, hot chili, and a warm burger.
My blood sugars were manageable. I checked at every aid station, and once between aid stations. The first few miles I was a little high, and bolused conservatively to correct and cover what I was eating. As the day wore on, I didn't need to bolus at all in spite of eating almost everything available, gels, V8, bananas, pretzels, potato chips, salt potatoes, chicken noodle soup, etc.
My basal was at a reduced rate all day until I finished. I stayed up late (with a couple of naps thrown in) and ate heavily, checking my blood sugar frequently, and had no post-race problems.

There's actually a whole other story about post-race activities, but it will have to wait for another day, like if we ever meet and you ask me about it.

1 comment:

Anne said...

I love your posts. You are amazing. Congrat's on making it through an exhausting week. You are going to take Arizona by storm. The best part is, most people dread the marathon but it will be something you can look forward to.