Monday, May 28, 2012

Regis 50K, 2012

Regis 50K - Jan 15, 2012

 I looked at my previous times for the Regis 50K and my best time was last year, 6:23. So my goal for today was to beat 6:23. And guess what? I beat it by one hour and 4 minutes!!!

The problem with this race is that the weather is unpredictable and you cannot really train for it. If the race was last week, we'd be looking at 40s and lots of mud. But, starting 2 days ago, it got cold and it snowed. People who marked the course yesterday reported that despite the snow and cold (20s), the ground, retaining some heat, was very muddy.

I got up this morning and saw that the temperature was 10F! With 10F I knew that everything (including the mud) will be frozen. I got dressed as if it was 30s, thinking that the race effort will keep me warm, and I was right. I was perfectly dressed, not too cold, not too warm.

About the shoes... After hearing Andy (in joy of running) say how much he liked his Inov shoes, I decided to buy a pair. I ended up buying the Inov X-Talon 190. Take a look at the pictures here and you will know why I bought these shoes:

They are mimimalist shoes with no heel lift and no cushioning, but underneath they have these large "spikes", I thought they would be perfect for a snowy/icy or even muddy trail course. I bought the shoes a couple of weeks ago but never had a chance to try them. I did not want to run in roads and wear out the "spikes" and we had no snow. So I did something, considered a terrible rookie mistake: I took this brand new pair of shoes (never taken out of the box), which is a new brand for me, and ran a 50K with them! I took another pair of shoes in case I had problems, but everything worked out well. These shoes have great traction so I will keep them for ice, snow and mud.

About the race, it consists of two loops, a shorter one 5.1 miles, and a longer one 8 miles. To complete the 50K I ran 3x short loop + 2x long loop. Other runners did less and completed all kinds of distances including the popular half marathon and marathon. The ground was mostly frozen, not too slippery because of the snow cover. So, overall, the surface was good for running.

All I can say is that I ran strong from the beginning to the end. In previous years I had stretches where I struggled and walked quite a bit, but this did not happen this year. I even ran most of the uphills. There were two guys and two girls running at about the same pace, and I was trying to keep up with them. Just before completing the 5.1 loop at about mile 18, I was ahead of all 4. At this point I missed a turn and kept going straight. After a while I noticed that there were no flags and turned around. This mistake cost me several minutes and now the guys were well-ahead and the girls too. Eventually, I managed to catch up and pass the girls, but never saw the guys again. My competitive spirit refused to be beaten by the girls so I pushed myself a bit. The girls were the leading female runners.

The end result: I finished 7th overall with time of 5:19. This is a respectable 50K time,  especially for a winter trail race.  Not my best, but better than any winter 50K I've done.

One peculiar fact: During the entire race I did not have any solid food, just a few sips of Mountain Dew and Coke. I had my usual breakfast (1000 calories, consisting of eggs, salad, cheese, nuts – very low carbs) and that was enough to hold me for the entire race. I was not even hungry when I was done (but still ate the traditional chili soup).  There is something (good) to be said about low-carb nutrition and ultra-running.

As I write this, I feel fine. I did not get blisters (I attribute this to the quality of the shoes). Overall, it was a good experience. I felt I had strength left to kept going for a few more loops :)

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