Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shadow of the Giants 50k (6/2/12)

I know, late again on the race report, and trying to catch up. Last year Shadow of the Giants 50k was my first ultra and this year I was super excited to share it with my dad and convert him to an ultramarathoner.

The race is in Fish Camp, CA which is right outside Yosemite. So not only did we get to do a race together, we got to road trip and explore Yosemite as well.

Dad and I got up to Fish Camp around 5pm, the race headquarters is at an outdoor school, which reminds me of camp when I was little. We picked up our bibs, I went and said “Hi” to Big Baz and introduced him to my dad. Since I wanted my dad to have the “full experience” of the race, we were staying in the bunks at the camp…nothing posh here.  The hosted prerace dinner was lasagna, salad and rolls.
Dad and Race Director "Big Baz"
My favorite part of sleeping at the race start is you are literally 100 yards from the start so you can roll out of bed and stumble to the start, even before you are fully awake. I did give myself time to grab some coffee.
Apparently someone took a picture of me trying
 to go to bed early so I could get some sleep
At the start.
Dad and I gathered outside with all the other runners. My plan was to take it easy and start towards the back of the pack. We started with a 2.5 mile climb. After that there is an out and back, nice downhill on the way out and uphill and the way back. I left my dad at the top of the first climb and let my legs go on the downhill.  After the downhill we started climbing for another 5 miles. I was feeling really good and was right where I wanted to be. I continued to feel strong through mile 14. I was actually ahead of my goal pace and if things continued it looked like I was going to have a fantastic day.
Just before mile 15 was a very steep climb, probably less then a mile long. Not sure what happened but I lost it there, I was panting and couldn't catch my breath. After the climb there was 6 miles of decline and I had lost my running legs, this was an opportunity for me to gain some more time, but my legs just weren't turning over. People started passing me, a couple girls asked me if I was OK. My dad caught up to me right before mile 20. I rolled into the aid station took my pack off and sat down. This was not fun I felt terrible and had about 10 miles left to go.
Having a "moment"

Dad asked if I wanted to run together and I said "no" I was in a not so pretty place and didn't want to run with anyone, let alone run. I rested for 20 minutes or so. Drank a coke and ate an orange. Then grudgingly I got up to finish, what I thought could be a very miserable long 10 miles.

I thought to myself I don't want this to be any longer then it has to be, so I started running and I felt ok, so I kept running and I got my legs back! I was able to pick my pace back up and finish the rest of the actually running.

 I crossed the finish line, 10 minutes behind my Dad, who was surprised to see me already. I explained to him that after I refueled and rested, things came back around for me.

In retrospect I believe this was a great learning lesson for the future. When things go south it doesn't mean it's going to stay that way. I think what happened during this race needed to happen to me to give me prospective on whats going to happen at Leadville 100. Yes, I am going to have some difficult times physically and mentally. But that doesn't mean its going to continue throughout the rest of the race. And its OK to sit down and take some time to regroup and refuel and remotivate. Your day does not end because of one bad moment.

Enjoying the finish.

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