Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Potato Creek Trail Run - Race Review

Distance: 60k Ultramarathon (37.5m)
Location: North Liberty, IN
Finish Time: 6:53:04
Date: April 28th, 2012

The Potato Creek Trail Run's second running was on April 28th, 2012.  I participated in the inaugural running last year, but only ran the 1/2 marathon.  This year, do to my increased mileage and stupidity, I decided to run the 60k (37.2 miles for the metrically impaired).  This would be my second ultra to date and my longest run ever.  This course is significantly flatter than the 50k (Stumpjump) I ran last October, but the additional 6 miles wouldn't be a cake walk.  My training leading up to this run wasn't what I had hoped, but I still got in quite a few long runs with my friends.  Either way, only Friday April 27th, the adventure began.

From at about noon on Friday until about noon Sunday, this run (and surrounding events) were a fantastic and eye opening experience.  I picked up Josh  a little past noon and then we hit the road towards South Bend, Indiana.  It was a roughly 2.5 hours drive normally, but when you add in the extra breaks due to the copious amount of Nuun we had been drinking.  Hydration is good!  We arrived at the park in the mid afternoon and reserved a campsite.  After setting up the tents and unpacking a bit, we met with Race Director Brett and helped set up a few of the signs at the race start.  Brett's friend Scott showed up (CEO of the first aid station) met up with us for dinner as well.  I'd see Scott 3 times the next day during the run.  We came back from dinner, made a fire and hungout for an hour or so before heading to bed.

We both woke up about 5:15 am in order to drink coffee and get the body moving.  The race start was at 8:00 am and we made it over to the shelter by about 7:20.  We chatted with Brett's family, other runners and some of the volunteers prior to the start.  As we all lined up for the race (along a sidewalk), I went right up to the front.  Obviously it wasn't because I was going to be leading the race, but because I wanted to be in the lead (even if for only a moment).  I'll break the rest of this report in to 3 parts, one for each loop of 13 miles.
Prerace Briefing

Loop 1: The Easy One (0-13)
As the race started, so did the hail.  We had about 10 minutes of it before it all just turned to a steady rain.  That lasted for pretty much the entire lap, but stopped by the time I was 15 miles in.  From the start, I slowly ran away from the line and tried to maintain a 10:00 mpm pace.  This wasn't terribly hard but many people passed me since I started up front. There is something about being passed by people that makes you want to run fast.  Josh and I started out together for the first half of this loop.  It was actually good because we regulated each other.  I'm told that 'seconds early are minutes late'. The first half of each loop is wider nature trail.  They are the more traditional state park type trails that are wide and crushed gravel. I would wish to be on these trails later.  They are easy and fast.  After 6 miles on these trails (red), we come back by the nature center and head to the mountain bike trails (blue). The mountain bike trails are nice single track, except for that it winds around almost on top of itself over and over again.  Overall the first loop was nice, I averaged a 10:15 mpm pace.  Pretty good!  However, before I started my next loop, I had to make a quick pitstop in order to evacuate my bowels.  I saw the RD at the exit of the loop and just said "too much pizza!!".  He laughed...

Loop 2: The Tough One (13-25)
This loop made me hurt.  The first half of the loop was great.  I said hi to Scott, who recognized me the second time around.  I said "see you in 2.5 hours" as I left.  I'm not sure if he thought I was joking or not.  I stared slowing down in pace quite a bit, especially for the mountain bike loop.  The small ups and downs were getting to my head. I kept looking down at my watch, waiting for the distance to roll by.  Miles 17-26 were awful for me really.  At 17, I kept thinking about how I wasn't even half way done. Despite that, I managed to pass 2 people in the MTB trails that were running the ultra.  I got a compliment (I think) from the woman I passed.  She said "you have a good turn over with your feet".  That actually did make me feel good for a few minutes, until I realized I was only at mile 22.  At 26, my body was tired and I came out of the woods to the aid station. I swapped out my empty bottle of Spiz for a new one and passed a 3 ultramarathoner. He and I would swap positions again a few times.

Loop 3: Revival (25 - 37)
By the first aid station on this loop, I said thanks to Scott and finally pulled ahead of that guy I'd been swapping places with.  I don't remember much of the nature trails, but once I came out for the final aid station, I saw Josh and he told me good luck (or something like that, I don't remember the details!).  The final 7 miles were my proudest moments.  I knew I was going to finish and I ran the final loop a lot faster than I thought I would be able.  I drank some Mt. Dew at the final aid station and finished hard.
It's kind of a crappy photo, but I made it!
The finish: Coming out the MTB trails I knew I had it.  There were no other runners in sight so I just kept my legs moving.  I came across the finish line just under 7 hours for a new PR (since I've never run that distance before :-D).

Overview: My cadence was really consistent (see chart below - 1 RPM = 2 steps), my pace wasn't, but that's ok.  I finished 3rd.  I'm very energized from the run and can't wait for the next one.  In addition, this is a good course for exploring new distances.  The trail isn't easy, but there aren't any heart shattering climbs and descents.  My quads and hamstrings felt pretty good all day and I just tried to make sure my HR was in check. 

For those that are going to ask - what I consumed:
- 1500 calories of Spiz (48 oz)
- 1/2 banana
- 2 Gu's
- 4 Oreos
- 1 Peter Rabbit Organics Fruit Snack
- 80 oz of water
- 8 oz of Mt. Dew
- some trail mix (nuts etc)

Here is a little pace chart to show that I kicked ass the final 4 miles. In addition, my middle few laps were pretty rough. The vertical bars are 4 mile segments.

In parting, Brett and his family put on a fantastic race.  I got a pretty sweet compass and medal that is personalized (I'll add a photo later) and the aid stations and volunteers fantastic.  Thanks for helping me with my gloves!

1 comment:

  1. That was a great posts, thanks for sharing this to us. Looking forward always for more updates. Great job well done, Congratulations !