Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week of 4-7-13: 78 miles / BOSHO Trail Marathon Report (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 2 of 9)

This week revolved around the long run, which was the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon.  I had a terrible race there last year (I had food poisoning), so I wanted to be fresh and ready to pop a good one. Saying I did so would be a gross understatement.

Sunday: 8 miles.  Very easy out and back, to and in city creek with Holly.  Not flat, but still, a hair over 8min pace.  Legs were tired after yesterday (17.5 miles with tons of climb, then two hours of hard effort skiing).  Going to sleep a lot tonight.

Monday: 12 miles, treadmill.   First 9 miles at 6:22 (roughly goal MP, ever so slightly slower), next 2 miles at 5:56, last mile at 5:33.  Last mile was pretty ridiculously hard. :)  Nice to get things going again marathon pace / tempo wise.

Tuesday: 8 miles.  With Holly.  To city creek, up the single track towards the radio towers, but not all the way there, down the front side, through downtown, back home.  Pace was casual (only got down to ~6:50, even on the steep downhills).  Fortunately, yesterday didn't really beat me up and after "only" doing 28 miles in the last 3 days, I'm feeling pretty rested again.

Wednesday: 10 miles.  AM run!  To Kevin's, to Liberty, 3 x mile @ Kevin's sea level MP with .4-ish mile jog rest, back up 7th, back home.  Repeats were 5:40 (faster than it was supposed to be), 5:48, 5:48 for Kevin, but I was apparently saving a non-negligible amount of distance by running on the inside, so mine were about 3 seconds longer as I kept going until my Garmin clicked off a mile.  My legs could still feel the hard effort from Monday and running out the door literally 15 minutes after waking up, without eating, probably wasn't helpful, so this felt a little harder than it normally would.  It wasn't like racing by any means, but I didn't really feel relaxed, especially on the first one.  Oh well, still nice to put some fast miles in the legs.

Thursday: 8 miles.  East up the aves towards the U, got off at S, crossed to 1200E, criss-crossed over to Liberty, ran a lap plus a little extra to go use the bathroom in the middle, then back over to 200E, back up to the Aves, back over to E, and then back home.  6:45 pace with 400+' of climb, which would be low-mid 6:30 on flat (without altitude conversion), so roughly marathon effort.  In all actuality, it felt pretty easy, which was good.  I was sweating a fair amount despite low-mid 50s weather when I finally got out the door at 7:45 PM, but felt really relaxed.

Friday: 5 miles, roads easy.  Day before race!

Saturday: 27 miles Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon, 2nd place, 7th fastest runner in the history of the race (9th fastest performance, as Karl Meltzer has finished faster than my time in 3 of his 8 starts).

I wasn't expecting to run well here.  I haven't done much trail running since last summer, and I haven't run anything over 3 hours in ages.  Only 5 people here had ever broken 4 hours, and of the 3 that did it last year, 1st was the Speedgoat 50k record holder (before Kilian came out here) and a 2:35 marathoner (Kevin Shilling, 3:52).  2nd place was my good friend Adrian Shipley, a sub-32 10k who was in really peak form had been training 110-120 mile weeks for some time (3:59).  3rd I don't know much about, but his name comes up a lot in local trail running (Mick Jurynek, also 3:59).  In any case, I had beaten some of Adrian's trail splits recently, but don't have the huge mileage in my system, so I figured that 4:05 was the absolute best I could possibly run, and that was if everything aligned perfectly.  It never does for me on trails, so I figured anything under 4:15 was a pipedream.

Anyway, I got out to the race with like 1 minute to spare (after having to use the bathroom 4 times this morning, thanks to eating an entire pizza last night), and when the race started, I shot off the front.  Last year, the top guys had crushed the starting bit, so I was a little confused when I had 30 seconds on everyone within a half mile, but decided to just go with it.  I didn't really enjoy the rockiness of the Red Butte loop, but had 60-90 seconds on everyone when I came back by the start at 4.25 miles (1st aid) in 35:xx (lots and lots of techy climb already).  I cruised through and decided I was probably going a little hard, so I backed off slightly, but maintained a solid lead over everyone for a few miles.  I hit Dry Creek Trailhead at about 42 minutes or so, and kept my lead until eventual winner Ben Lewis caught me on "Uncle", an unbelievably steep climb that goes for about a half mile at 40% grade.  Everyone hikes it, as running is slower than walking on something that steep, but he was clearly stronger on the uphills and just hiked away from me.  I could see a couple guys a little bit back down the trail, but nobody else wanted to make a move.

I kept the pace up while running down the ridgeline to the 5-way (opposite of the Steeplechase course) and came out into the meadow still in 2nd, with 3rd place (Drew something) pretty close behind.  I had to refill my water and wash an exploded gel packet off my hands, so he left the station a second before me.  I sat on him for a bit and we ran about 6:20 pace from the meadow down to city creek, which felt extremely comfortable and easy.  When we started going uphill to the towers on the west side of city creek, he gradually started pulling away, but never got more than about a minute or two in front of me.   Cresting the radio towers peak, I could see that I was maintaining my distance from him, after he had somewhat decisively started gapping me, so I figured that he would eventually slow and I would catch him.

After dropping into the North Salt Lake Meadow, we took the obnoxiously difficult trail back up to the ridgline on the east side of the meadow, at which point I realized I was maybe gaining just a slight bit (probably just a couple seconds per mile, but enough that I could probably eventually catch him).  Coming up to the ridgeline, I eased off slightly on the effort and ran pretty smoothly until I got to the super steep plunge back into City Creek (better part of a mile, 40% grade).  I was pretty nervous about this plunge thrashing my quads, but I seemed to hold up OK.

I got down to City Creek, coasted the trail to the bottom, and was still gradually gaining on Drew, hitting the trailhead back to the meadow at 2:58.  I had figured that if I hit here in sub-3, I'd have a slight chance at a sub-4 if everything felt exceptional, but really didn't expect to get here in under 3:10, so I was pleased with my split.  However, I could see Kevin Shilling (last year's winner) getting closer to me.  At this point, knowing that he is an exceptional climber, I figured he would catch me, but I also figured that I could re-pass Drew to at least stay on the podium.  With that in mind, it wasn't a surprise when Kevin caught me on the steep climb back up to the meadow.  However, he never really pulled ahead of me, so after refilling our bottles (gatorade this time, as I had just recently finished my 6th and final gel and figured I'd need the calories), we pushed each other to catch Drew.  We finally got him a minute or two out from the aid station, and Kevin finally started to pull away on the steep climb back up to the main trail.

As soon as we got into some rollers, I immediately came back up on Kevin, where I stayed until we started going up to the 5-way.  At this point, I decided to just push it hard, so I put about 30 seconds on him going up to the 5-way, and then realized that I could probably hold him off on the rolling downhills to the finish, so I just started pushing hard from there.  My legs still felt great, so I figured I'd go for broke and try to catch Ben.  However, I never ended up coming up on him (he apparently pushed even harder and probably put another 2 minutes on me after the aid station) despite hammering sub-6:10 pace for most of mile 24 (still techy, but pretty downhill, with similar effort on the more rolling miles).  I figured that I needed to be off the Dry Creek trail with 6-7 minutes to spare if I was going to hit a sub-4 at this point, so when I got off with just over 6 minutes, I figured that I had a slight chance to make it in at 3:59:xx.  However, the story of the day was that I'm a poor climber right now, so I struggled up the last climb and couldn't quite close fast enough.

I finished in 4:00:26, 6 minutes behind Ben, having put 10 minutes on Kevin, and ~15 on Drew in the last 5-6 miles.
Ben became the 6th guy to enter the exclusive sub-4 hour club (which also includes Karl Meltzer, from a few years back, the first sub-4, Christian Johnson, 2 years ago, and Kevin, Adrian, and Mick from last year) while I became the closest to have missed out.  I was obviously a bit disappointed that I couldn't find another 27 seconds in a 4 hour race, but I ran a really exceptional race with almost no error, given my current fitness, so I'll take it.

I guess trail is easier on the legs than asphalt, as my legs feel really good afterwards, no worse than after a standard several hour long run.

Despite this really strong performance out on the trails, I am certainly still focused on road running.  I'm probably going to get in off the wait list for Speedgoat 50k in July, but I'll treat it similarly to this race - very far from a focus, but I'll still be happy to run well.  Despite the fact that I fully expected a massive blow-up today and I managed to prevent it, I should say that I more-than-fully expect a super massive blow-up at Speedgoat.  Bosho is a really hard course, especially for road guys, but Speedgoat, with its new course, boasting 12k' of gain on extremely technical trails, over 31 miles, is probably the most monstrously difficult trail race, course-wise, aside from the Hardrock 100.  I'm not planning much specificity for it, so it will undoubtedly hurt. :)   

In any case, I'm going to relax with some tasty drinks and a lot of ice cream for the rest of the day, and soak in the feeling of finally having run, essentially, my first perfect performance in a long race on trails, after 6 years of trail racing.

Nutrition during the race:
6 Powerbar Gels, 110 calories a piece, lots of sodium.
40 ounces of water
10 ounces of gatorade (somehow managed to not drink all that much, so I guess the cool weather must have helped).

For distance: GPS put it at 26-mid, but I'm always suspicious that it's slightly short in the more heavily wooded sections with tons of sharp turns between city creek and the U (plus some other people had it slightly longer), so I'm going to call it 27.  It's generally considered to be slightly long, so this is in line with the general consensus.

Totals: 78 miles, with 36 on trail, 12 on treadmill (might as well be road, just more controlled), and 30 on road.  A great week with a solid first workout back and a really stellar long run

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