Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Moab 100: a bit of an odd report.

As was clear from my last post, I went down to Moab with the sole intention of running a big PR for 100 miles. Having seen only this picture of the course: http://geminiadventures.com/24U.gif on the official website and not having found an official description, I was expecting a fast and easy desert loop where I could run somewhere around18 to 19 hours. I was quite shocked when I showed up, found out that picture was only relevant for the first and last quarter mile of each 5.37 mile loop, and that the rest of the course mostly looked like: http://twitpic.com/1bdoma , though it was typically much more uneven than this picture. The majority of the course consisted of slickrock or loose sand. Thinking about it, I very quickly realized I would not be able to run much faster than 21 hours on a course like this, so I immediately started debating whether or not to switch down to the 12 hour category and just run 50 miles or so (especially because the footing was awful for nearly the entire loop and I didn't want to risk injury at night). After a loop or 2, I comfortably settled into running with or around 3 guys from the Naval Academy (some of which I've had the pleasure of running or racing with before). 2 other 100 guys were way out front, and it stuck that way the entire time. Had I thought I could win, I'd have allowed myself to run a mediocre time and stayed in, but when the top 2 guys were still way out after 43 miles, I sat down for about 35 minutes to go to the bathroom again and make a few phone calls to get input on whether I should just switch and run 50 miles instead, and realized I was gaining nothing by running the whole 100. Sure, I'd get mental confidence from it, but running 100 miles for no particular purpose is quite detrimental on the body and could have potentially slowed down my progress in Badwater training an unacceptable amount, so I just switched categories, zipped off one more lap (once I actually started the lap, it was one of my fastest of the 9 I did) and then later just ran an extra 1.67 miles on my own to make it a total of 50 miles. My pacing for the 50 miles would've given me a 19:30 100 mile (low 18s had I not sat down and debated what do, which I wouldn't have needed to do), but despite the fact that my legs felt literally totally fresh even after 50 miles, I would've slowed down a lot at night due to the horrendous footing. In hindsight, I feel like I should be a little mad at myself now. It turns out the 2 front runners were both running out of their means and dropped out shortly after I left, so 2 of the 3 guys I was running with finished 1st and 2nd, while the 3rd had knee problems and called it a day after 54 miles. Hindsight is 20/20, but despite the fact that I feel like I could've hung with the top couple guys that finished, I still made the right decision based on the course. I didn't have to take any time off of training and was literally back at it the next day, not to mention that I got one heck of a Saturday long run in. I initially felt somewhat weak for dropping without any sort of injury or problem, but it stems from the fact that Badwater is simply so much more important to me than anything else on my schedule that I wasn't willing to risk the consistency of my training to run the same kind of time that I've previously run for 100 miles. That's about it. Kind of weird, but I'll take it long before I'll take a 22 hour 100 mile that puts me out of commission for weeks.

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