Tuesday, April 1, 2014

BUS 6 Hour, Alley Pond Park, Bayside NY. 3/30/14

photo by Yuri Esperson
Overall I am starting to feel better and working hard to find a way back to better racing fitness.  This weekend I was hoping to build mileage and have a great time simply running, but the weather was against me.

I started my Saturday run at 7 am, planning to get in as many miles of my 14-15 mile run before the rains came.  At 8:30 am, the rain that was predicted to linger through Monday started and this meant that my Sunday 6 hour race was going to be extra challenging.  I was not looking forward to running for 6 hours in the rain.

A few days ago,  I invited John P to come along… well, really I challenged him to another round of Race Chicken. Race Chicken is a ridiculous game where I find races that challenges most peoples' common sense and physical comfort and then "invite" John to join me on little-to-no notice.  Once we both agree to race, if one of us then bails out before the other, the Chicken is then subjected to mockery and name calling forever… or something like that.  We aren't sure. We are still working out the rules, developing some type of a scoring system, and there was also some talk about a chicken suit that the loser needs to wear. John was all for a rewards system, but I was planning to keep Race Chicken a purely punitive game. :)

John was promptly at my house at 6:45 am.  Despite the deluge we experienced all day Saturday and the fact that it was supposed to rain all day Sunday, he did not cancel on me.  I was impressed!

photo by Yuri Esperson
The BUS 6 Hour is a wonderful event. I am particularly fond of 6 hour races, especially the BUS 6 hours.  This one kindly started at "approximately 8:45" as per the instructional email.  (This is the first sign that a race will be awesome, is when the start time is given as an approximation).

A few other reasons to run a Broadway Ultra Society Event are (1) the courses are certified, with aid, and they are generally fast! (2) The RD does a great job organizing the events so they feel like friendly group runs complete with amazing performances. (3) The RD offers to provide rides for those runners taking the train (who does this?!).  (4) While the scores are tallied, the runners were offered a warm dry field house, lots of pizza, pans of warm food like pasta with vegetables, eggplant parmesan, salad, hot chocolate, coffee, etc...  (5) Every runner that ran over a marathon was presented with a very unique award. (6) Tech shirts were included in the packet, at least for those pre-registered in actual men's and women's cuts. (7) Finally, the cost was $37 for BUS members and $45 for non-members.  This just cannot be beat and even when I know I am not in great shape or if I have to leave an event early or if I am certain it will be a tough day, I still try to make it to as many BUS Races as my schedule allows.

Everyone who ran over a marathon got one!
Today was one of those races that I knew was not going to be awesome but I knew I could get a good training day out of it.  Since February, I have been feeling like crap and have been reporting how I cut back training to feel better.  The last few weeks now I have slowly started to feel better.  I was ready to give this a shot and see how long I could hold on if I went out solid.

I ran this course in December 2012, when I won the BUS Fat Ass 50k at just sub- 8:00 pace.  I knew the course and I knew it was hilly. I knew when I ran there before, I was much better trained and a lot leaner and lighter.  So day I went out at 8:15. :)

Did I mention that this course is hilly, mostly at the start with a step uphill for about .4 of a mile.  Once up the steep part, we roll upwards still for a few more tenths.  Once past a gate, we are offered a long middle stretch that is comfortably down. This was the stretch of the course where you can catch your breath and regain some confidence that the entire loop is not going to be complete torture.  After another short uphill just past the half way part of the loop, we get another fast decline and loop around the bottom of the park and head back up the hill, out the end of dead end road, and down a .7 mile decline back to the start/finish for a 5k lap.  There was one aid station at the S/F line. We do this for 6 hours… well in my case just under 5 hours.

I had a great start and was comfortable early on.  I was happy to see the weather was holding off and despite some light misting, we did not get pummeled by bad weather.  In small races, I end up running a lot myself.  I am always surprised, still, by how much faster I can run in a race setting and feel like it is easy, even when running alone, than I can in training.  Lap after lap, I was slowly fading from my original 8:15 pace.  I knew I wasn't going hold an even pace this time and hoped the fade would not be too bad.

By lap 5 I started to walk the uphill at the start because I clearly getting tired.  I was grabbing gatorade and Coca Cola at that start/finish area, but I failed to bring gels with me.  Thinking back now, I know I took gels when I ran my 4:10 (two gels).  I should have brought some but I thought I heard there would be gels at the aid station.  I didn't see any. I don't spend a lot of time at aid stations.  I almost try to not even stop. I also don't ask a lot of questions so I never asked for any.

I was feeling good until about mile 23, when suddenly I realized "Oh man, I am hungry!"  I had grabbed some cantaloupe on the lap before but it was just no as satisfying as cantaloupe has been in the past for me.  I keep running hoping to find a gel the next time I finished a lap.  I thought I had pack some but I thought I left the in the car and I was not going all the way to the parking lot.  As I passed the aid station at the end of lap 8, I didn't see any, grabbed a chunk of chopped up chocolate power bar instead and it was not working out for me at all.  I couldn't chew it well enough to get it down, ended up spitting it out, and on that 9th lap, I hit the wall incredibly hard.  I was walking more and running less.

I managed to catch up to John and realized that, at that time, I done for the day.  My achilles were starting to get tired and it was not worth the risk today.  I was completely and utterly depleted.  I felt that I ran enough for the day and was ok with stopping.  John needed one more lap for his "more than a marathon" finish and I needed one more for a 50k.  We decided to take a leisurely cool down loop and call it a day.

Final lap with John, photo by Donna Sajulga-Tabios  
We ended up finishing just under 5 hours and despite not having a great race, I was so very happy with my performance.  Sure I messed up fueling, but honestly I don't think there was a lot I could do to have a great race, except feel better and train more.  I am working on that.  I wanted to stop running at a point in which I new I could continue to train well this next week and that is exactly what I did.

I also wanted to try out a new pair of racing flats, the ST5 Racer.  I have to say they were awesome.  My achilles were a little achy, but they have been angry with me for some time now.  I think they are begging for more training and for me to lose about 3-5 lbs. Once that happens I know I will feel awesome.  I can tell that I am coming out of my funk and headed in the right direction.

After the race, I was planning to stay for awards ceremony for the NYUR series where I won an award for 1st in my age group.  It was nice to show up for a decent day of training and take home a few awards :)
Age Group Award for New York Ultra Series, photo by Yuri Esperson

50k - 4:56
Place 5th Female

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! I went to run that Sunday on a whim and was pleasantly surprised to see runners there! :)