Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 35 - Sequoia 50k Recap

3rd overall, 5:03:17, pace 9:47/mile, youngest runner.


Course Conditions: Perfect, 55-75 degrees through most of the day, plenty of shade in forest, aid stations no further apart than 6.5 miles, about 80% single track trail, clearly marked course

First 16k
30k race and 50k started off at the same time. Settled into 7th place in two races and began leading a pack of 5-7 30k runners behind me (didn't realize they were 30k runners at the time). Arrive at Canyon Meadow aid station 1:26 into race, and realized I needed to pace myself better to finish. Found out 50k leader Graham Cooper was WS100 winner, decided not to worry about catching him.

Next 11k
Out and Back spur on a single track=pretty hard to not run into people, but encouraging to see who you're beating. Came back onto main loop, and began passing 20k runners. Much more sunny part of course, slightly less hilly after coming out of spur. Put music on to relax and get locked into a more conservative pace.. matt costa and trail running=euphoria. Forced myself to eat two granola bars eventhough I wasn't hungry. Met up with parents at Moon Gate aid station, took salt tablet and loaded up on Accelerade (electrolyte, carbohydrate, light protein drink powder=perfect). Legs in relatively good shape, little or no walking on uphills. Parents claimed I was in 4th or 5th but wasn't sure if they were counting right with runners from different races (20, 30, 50k) all coming through.

Next 7k
Large downhill section heading into basecamp, which a rocky slow downhill mountainbike section.. took a large amount out of knees and quads to stay in control and descent; various reports from other runners of falling on that section of course. Climbing back out of base camp for 2nd loop pretty much alone and worn out. Much more uphill walking, worried about finishing 2nd lap with state of quads. Eventually made it back to Moon Gate aid station and loaded up on more accelerade. Parents were certain I was in 4th place, and was about 4 minutes behind 3rd place. Also found out Graham Cooper had asked how "that aggresive young guy a few places back" was running.

Next 13k
Defintely hardest part of race thus far. Mainly all alone until 5th place running started launching attacks about 3k into loop. Fended him off as he got as close as 50 yards and as far back as 500 yards. On second half of loop in the sun, finally got caught and walked with him for a bit, talking about the race while taking on food and accelerade/gatorade. Began leading him again and caught 3rd place who was bonking badly. Began pushing pace more and more coming back into Moon Gate. Drank some coke, took a small amount more of water, and took off as 4th place came within 100 yards of Aid Station.

Last 3k
Back on steap rocky portion, knew that I had to push pace all the way in while staying in control and not falling to keep 4th place at bay. Came through downhill alright and sprinted as best as I could over last 60 yards to finish 2:17 ahead of 4th, 15 minutes behind 2nd, and 33:44 behind Graham Cooper who set course record.

-Ultramarathons aren't really about natural talent. Some runners are more lean and others are more muscular, but there isn't a particular trend amount finishing times and body types.
-The strength of inidividuals determination (as well as tactical racing/nutrition decisions) is a noteworthy trend noticed.
-Having faith in one's self is the key to finishing and believing that you still can muster the strength to run after hitting the wall time after time.
-Protein is especially important to take on during race to help muscles repair themselves on the run.
-Salt is very important to fend off dehydration and keep blood pressure high enough to keep nutrients pumping into muscles.
-Ultramarathoners are some of the nicest people in the world. Most are very encouraging and supportive of their fellow runners and acknowledge the efforts of all that come out and attempt such harsh runs.
-I like the sport a lot.

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