Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Buckeye 50K – Under 5 Hours?

They are predicting a nice cool weather for the Buckeye 50K Trail Run this Saturday so fast times are possible.

This year I have trained very well and I have a goal: Under 5 hours.

Is this goal possible? At first I did not think so, but my training runs went so well, that now I think it is possible.

A bit of history: I have run this race for two years now. The first year (2007) on a cool dry course, my time was 5:14. This was a big surprise since it was my 1st Ultra and I had just started running trails. A friend of mine (we bonded during the training runs) who always finished ahead and less tired, finished the race in 6:30, so my 5:14 (without even carrying water!) was a great achievement. Last year (2008) I did not train well, but put a lot of miles in our vacation in California. The weather on race day was hot and I finished at 5:21. My time was slower, but my placement was better than last year. Plus, I passed 7 runners in the 2nd half.

This year I have trained well and I have also timed my splits, so I know what to expect. My time during the run of the half (Oak Grove to Pine Lane) was 2:26. It felt that the pace was too fast at the time, but I have improved a bit since then. So now my goal is to run the first half in 2:26 and the second half in 3:34. That's only 8 minute difference between the two halves. If you look at last year's results (first time the half times are recorded) very few runners had such a small difference. Actually, from those who run the race under 6 hours, only two have a better difference: Kam Lee (8 minutes) and Matt Pazderak (4 minutes). My difference was 15 minutes and it was the 6th best.

Here are the times I aim to run each section (first half, second half, difference in parenthesis)

Oak Grove - Snowville Rd (6 miles): 55, 60 (5)
Snowville Rd - Boston (5.3 miles): 49, 51 (2)
Boston - Pine Lane (4.2 miles): 42, 42 (0)
Total: 2:26 + 2:34 = 5:00 (8)

My specialty is the last leg (Snowville to Oak Grove) which I have now run many times (easy for me, since I live in Brecksville, 1 mile from the entrance to the BT on Snowville Rd and I run through it to go to our fitness class, twice a week). Most runners are too tired by then, and run this leg very slowly. If I arrive at Snowville by 4 hours, I think I can finish under 5 hours.

Last night I happened to read E-Speed's (Elizabeth H.) blog where she recorded her split times from last year's 50K. This is very informative (the only published split times I have seen). Here they are (rounded to the next minute):

Oak Grove - Snowville Rd (6 miles): 53, 65 (12)
Snowville Rd - Boston (5.3 miles): 49, 53 (4)
Boston - Pine Lane (4.2 miles): 41, 41 (0)
Total: 2:22 + 2:39 = 5:02 (17)

Looks like she slowed down quite a bit after Boston in the way back. As a friend said, the race really starts after Boston.... Bodies of exhausted runners are scattered all over the place from Boston to Oak Grove :) Hopefully this will not happen to me. The trick is to try and preserve strength during the first half. I always walk the uphills. Whatever time I lose walking, I make up running them down fast in the return.

1 comment:

Brett S. said...

Good luck with your 5 hour finish.. I hope you took into account a little mud based on the rain we just got in Brecksville and what is expected tonight. If you wait around for a couple hours you may see me finish... See you in the morning