Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pedernales Falls 60k: A Plan That Didn't Go As Planned

Dang, that's a long time.
The weeks prior to the Pedernales Falls 60k, I began doing the unthinkable: I started stretching prior to my runs, so it makes sense that I started stretching about 20 minutes before the start of the race last Saturday night. It turns out this was not such a great idea. As my awesome girlfriend, Sami, was helping me stretch, I felt a "twinge" on my upper butt cheek. It wasn't painful, but I felt it enough to immediately stop stretching.

My plan was to run at a steady 10 -12 minute pace. My main problem at each (yes, 100% of the time) race/run has been that I start too fast. Way too fast - at the expense of the latter part of the race. I'd also decided to make a better effort to drink fluids more than I usually do.

The final piece of my plan was to run the 1st loop under 4 hours, and the next one in about 4.5 hours.

The run of two 18.something mile loops began at 7pm. I had my handheld, my s caps, some stinger waffles/GUs and off I went.

The first couple miles were pretty runnable. The first "difficult" part came after running about 1/2 mile on a riverbed. I really enjoyed slab hopping. Immediately after this was a pretty gnarly incline that I decided on the spot to walk.

Pretty much the entire course was runnable. The most memorable points to me were:

1. the awesome dry riverbed.
2. that little tough incline immediately after the riverbed.
3. that dang fence line. It seemed to go on forever.
4. the steep incline (that seemed to never arrive) leading to the 3rd (and only manned aid station).

I managed to finish the 1st loop at around 3:40 which was a little faster than I'd wanted. I was a little concerned at this point because my lower back/upper butt cheek area was really bothering me. This caused me to modify my so called plan of mine.

Feeling pretty crappy at the end of the 1st loop, I made the decision right then/there that I wasn't going to reach my finishing goal. I think I probably didn't eat and drink as much as I should've.

At my buddy, David's, urging (and it didn't take much to convince me), I decided to take a little while before starting the 2nd and final loop. I took about 15 minutes. During this time, there were quite a few runners coming/going onto their 2nd loop.

Dang, all the runners leaving looked (and I'm sure felt) the opposite of how I felt. I figured I'd try to "latch" on to 1 of them and try to keep up.

I ended up running with Gumaro Rodriguez. We began chatting almost immediately and didn't stop until about mile 36.

I had a terrible 2nd loop. Nausea settled in quickly. Gumaro ran with me the entire loop. I kept telling him to take off and not wait for me, but he refused. He said he was good. I owe him a big thank you, because if I had to run that loop by my lonesome, I probably would've DNF'd. No doubt about it. I considered stopping at several points, since I felt so crappy. I almost turned back at the dreaded incline after the riverbed, but Nancy Marks, convinced me otherwise (without even telling me not to do it).

All this time, I continued telling Gumaro to take off, but he just wouldn't. That guy is 1 tough runner. I'm envious.

Finally, he took me up on my offer, and took off around mile 36. At around that time, I could hear noise and see some lighting coming from the start/finish area. This encouraged me to run a little faster to get there quicker.

As soon as I got to the finish line, Gumaro, my awesome girlfriend, Sami (who had a really nice run in the 30k herself) and a couple other runners who had finished anywhere from 5 minutes ago to a couple hours ago were there to greet me. I thought that finish line would never get there.

My 1 & only.
I finished in 9 hours and 57 minutes - quite a bit slower than I planned...who am I kidding??? Quite a lot slower than I planned.

Sami asked me if I was hungry or I told her I was hungry - I forget. Anyway, 1 of the disadvantages of being a slow runner is that all the faster runners have eaten all the food. She handed me a plate of pickles, onions and tomatos - they looked delicious, but I could only eat a bit.

My plan didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to, but you know what??? It's ok. I made friends with new runners, met some old running friends I had not seen in a while, and had a great time.

All in all, it was a great time, and I can't wait for the next 60k in 3 weeks...well, maybe the 30k this time.

SLUG  LIFE: gangstas - that's how we roll.

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