Sunday, October 2, 2011

Youngstown 25K – Sept 17, 2011

Youngstown 25K – Sept 17, 2011

I just came back from running the 7th Annual Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K & 25K. This is a new race for me (first time) and decided to run the 25K since I am only one week away from the Akron Marathon. I heard good things about the course and wanted to see it.

I might have upped my carbs a bit last week, with a few more fruits and some bites of chocolate! :) The scale showed up 2 lbs the morning of the race (could be the salty nuts too). The morning of the race I ate a 2 egg omelet with some cheese and nuts and vegetables, plus half an orange. No bread. This is the first race I did not have any carbs for breakfast!

Temperature this morning was 51F, predicted sunny. I asked a guy if I should wear a short or long-sleeve T-shirt and he said "short, of course!" which is what I did. I was a bit cold at first but OK later.

I was planning to wear sturdy shoes but last week I injured my little toe and all shoes hurt, except for the New Balance Minimus. This was not a good choice because the course was full of rocks and roots. But, I had no choice...

The race started at 8 am. Everyone was running fast, but I decided to start slow. Very quickly we hit a narrow long staircase. I was stuck walking it, behind everyone else. Then we entered a single lane trail. NOW I know why everyone was running fast! They were trying to position themselves ahead of the slower runners!

So, I passed quite a few runners in the first miles. Between mile 3 and 3.5 I passed several runners in tricky one lane paths, and I am sure I irritated them, trying to pass at downhills (I like to run fast at downhills). I could not pass the last guy until we hit an open area. Then he moved to the side and said "You can pass me now... Thank you for being patient." I am sure he was thinking "Get lost you jerk!"

I reached the first aid station (4 miles) and grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I then started running in a scenic path around a lake (4 miles long). At around 1/2 mile in this trail, I saw little pink flags leading out of the trail.

Now, the trail was marked both with pink ribbons hanging from trees and pink flags in the ground, plus white arrows. I turned out of the trail, following the pink flags. I crossed a road, then entered a strange area without any trail marked. I was jumping trees and going through wild vegetation. I thought "Hmmm, they decided to make this challenging". But I was following pink flags. I went through people's properties, very close to their houses. I started thinking "How do they let runners run so close to people houses? These people must be annoyed". After a while, I said to myself "This cannot be right". I bent and inspected the pink flags I was following. They were markings for gas lines!!! I had taken a wrong turn, following flags marking gas lines!!! Duhhh!! I turned around, and back into the trail.

I started running fast trying to cover the lost ground and out of frustration... I passed people who I had passed before mile 1 and now I was in mile 5. How much time did I lose? Around 8 minutes I estimated. (Unfortunately, I accidentally stopped my watch so I cannot be sure).

I completed the loop and reached the aid station, now mile 8. We had to repeat this 4 mile loop. I made sure I stayed at the course this time! I passed two more guys, while completing the loop. Now I am at mile 12 and have 4 more miles to go. In these 4 miles I passed 2-3 people that I remember passing at mile 3.5. Then I saw the guy who said "Thank you for being patient" ahead of me. I tried to catch him but he finished 20 yards ahead of me. I zeroed my watch and I know I did the 2nd half of the course in 1:06.

The results are out. I am in 6th place and my official time is 2:26. This means that my time for each half is:
  • 1st half: 1:20
  • 2nd half: 1:06
 Quite a difference. Either the detour lasted more than 8 minutes, or I ran an impressive negative split (probably both). I felt very strong towards the end. This would have been the trail race to break 5 hours in a 50K. At the finish, I was not tired at all. I felt I could have gone the entire 50K without a problem. My feet were not hurting from all the rocks and roots, but I was very careful where I was stepping, which slowed me down. On another day, with better shoes and without getting lost, I think I can do a lot better!

 So, it is clear that my running has improved and I am getting stronger and stronger. Running a faster 2nd half in a long race is something that not many people can do. The low carb nutrition is working for me!

 Overall, I am very pleased and have good memories of the race. Next year I will either do the 25K going for a better time, or I will do the 50K.

No comments: