This week was not what I wanted. I decided that I would take an easier than normal Monday-Friday, have a good but non-taxing run at a local unofficial trail marathon on Saturday, crank out a bit more miles to get my daily total above 30 immediately afterwards, and then, do another long run on Sunday. Things didn't quite go so well.
Monday: 8 miles, 2000' gain, JCC to dry creek, up "Unkel F...er", whose name I learned on Saturday, over the high ridgeline, to the 5-way, and back.
Tuesday: Off. I'm making this post later than normal, so I honestly don't remember why I took an off day here. As I recall, I had a super busy day and probably just didn't have time to run.
Wednesday: 13 miles, Jordan River Parkway Trail, no gain, with Adrian, 1:26, with a 3 minute negative split. Felt pretty good, obviously a bit on the fast side compared to what I've done lately, but not too hard.
Thursday: 14 miles, 2500' gain, JCC to Dry Creek, up "Unkel F...er" as I now know it too be called, along the upper ridgeline, down to the 5-way, a long route down to the meadow, a loop around the meadow, and back the usual way. Stomach started to feel off later.
Friday: 9 miles, roads in NSL/Bountiful, no gain, at 6:45 AM to prep my body for running the next morning at 7. Stomach was off all day, but the run was OK. Started easy and picked it up so that the last few miles were pretty fast. Legs got a nice shakeout.
Saturday: 26 miles, 7000' gain. Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon unofficial race. Stomach was super messed up before the race and I was in the bathroom 3 times before a 7 AM start. My general energy felt a little off right from the start and I couldn't get a rhythm going. My stomach was screwed up, so I couldn't eat anything for awhile and only had a few sips of water, which caused stomach pain. I maintained a few minutes off the leaders until getting to City Creek for the first time (mile 10 or so?), but realized that I needed to eat if I wanted to run strongly without bonking.
I took a couple gels and a few salt pills with water at the start of the climb out of city creek and immediately almost threw up. Not good. I felt very nauseated on the climb out of city creek, so I took it slowly. When I got to the top, I started to try to pick it up and threw up in my mouth.
Coming over down to the Bountiful/North Salt Lake side, I felt even more nauseated and couldn't even run the downhills without feeling like I'd throw up more. Finally I got to the steep climb out of the Bountiful meadow which everyone else was walking slowly, so I stopped losing so much time on everyone there. When I got to the top, I was becoming more and more hungry, so I ate another gel, drank some water, and took a few salt pills. Unfortunately, this made me throw up several times and I immediately lost everything in my stomach.
Not sure what to do, I pushed on and started the steep descent back into City Creek. I hadn't stopped at all at this point, but coming down the descent, I tripped off the side of the trail, rolled a few feet, and just lay there for a few minutes, hands literally shaking due to lack of glycogen, now in full on bonk mode due to having thrown up everything in my stomach. At this point, all I had left in my hand-held pouch was some jelly beans since I didn't expect to need more than 3 gels total at mile 20 (and I wouldn't have had I not thrown them up). Fortunately, the immediate sugar boost helped me get back enough energy to make it into the aid station, so I got back, drank a bunch of fluids (gatorade for the calories), immediately started to feel nauseated again, and trucked on out towards the finish 6 miles away with a bottle full of a couple hundred more calories of the stuff.
I felt like crap on this final section, but was able to find an easy run pace that kept me just below the vomiting level of nausea. I made it back to the finish a full hour slower than I figured would be an "OK" run and left pretty quickly, rather embarrassed with what had transpired.
Prior to this year, 2 people had broken 4 hours on this course. I figured that a perfectly executed run on this difficult and very slow course could net my training partner Adrian a 3:45-3:50 (course record is 3:47 by Karl Meltzer) and me a 3:55-4:00. Adrian led for most of the race but had a rough final 10k or so and finished in 2nd in 3:59, pretty close to what I thought he could do. As for me, while I figured that I wanted to save my legs a bit so I wouldn't need any recovery time, I felt that I would try to run a 4:05-4:10 or so and then put in a few more miles afterwards. I felt that a bad showing would be anything over 4:20. I "ran" 5:20 and have no idea what my place was. This course was entirely on trails that I train on all the time with some, like both climbs out of city creek, being uphill trails that I frequently run 4-5 hours into a long run with ease. I never walk any of them. On this day, I had what was, thus far, my worst run of 2012 and I walked every climb after an hour and a half or so.
After the race, I went home, didn't run anymore, had more stomach pain throughout the rest of the day and into the next. I'm still not entirely sure what went wrong, but I suspect something I ate on Thursday later in the day (some Shrimp I ate without removing the head that had been sitting out for awhile... a nice recipe for disaster that I will never again repeat...).
All in all, I'd say this was a learning experience, except that I didn't learn much that I haven't already known: ie, it sucks to have a messed up stomach during a long distance trail run. That said, I was happy to battle through it without wasting any time in aid stations. Also, I made myself stay positive and tried to keep a smile on my face through the finish, so while it was very slow, I was pretty successful at keeping myself from being miserable. The weather was nice, I got in some good practice at forward-motion while feeling like I was in full-on survival mode (ie, not unlike the end of a 100 miler, except without destroyed legs), and I got to hang out with lots of other trail runners from around the area. This day gets a big "meh".
Sunday: Off, needed to recover my energy levels from the previous day's disaster, even if the legs were fine.
Total: 70 miles, 11500' gain. Lowest mileage week in over 2 months other than my recovery week after Moab 12 hour. Normally something like this would bother me and I'd question my training, but I'm confident in my training cycle and in my running to date in 2012, so while I'm not happy about what transpired this week, I'm taking it at face value. I ate something bad, had a few rough days which overlapped with a race that isn't even an official event, and now I've moved on. The next week, which is already almost over, is panning out much better, so I'm not concerned about things.
10 week running total: 870 miles, 141,500' gain.
8 of the last 9 weeks; 763 miles, 118,000' gain.
Music for the week is "Soraya" by Tosin Abasi / Animals as Leaders. This guy is one of the best guitarists out there right now and his lead work in this piece is pretty outrageous.