Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Nueces 50 Mile Trail Run

Nueces is probably 1 of my favorite place to run in. This'll be the 4th year that I think I run it, so I'm pretty pleased that I probably had my most consistent race ever this past weekend there.  

A couple days ago a friend of mine who has been giving me training advice/tips gave me a brutally honest assessment of how I tend to run. He basically told me that I end up starting too fast, dying, trying to recover by taking too long at aid stations and then hanging on for dear life towards the end. It made me chuckle because it’s spot on.  For example, last year I think my splits for the 50 miler were 3 hours, 4 hours & 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours!!! I think I may have taken a long nap during that last loop.
So my goal for this race was to try to be more consistent.
Driving in, the temps were in the 20s and icy, but we managed to, for once, get in at a reasonable hour.
Loop 1:
As soon as I got to the pavilion, the race began, and I quickly joined the tribe of runners. I was determined to pace myself. Truth be told, the icy rocks kinda forced me to go slow, since I was afraid of slipping and falling.
I tend to start races feeling flat, and it usually takes me several miles (sometimes close to 10) to get into a “groove”. This time, I felt pretty good from the get go.
I was eating a frozen kind bar approximately every hour, supplementing it with chips and pretzels at each aid station.

The only area I struggled was the long climb along the fence line about mile 12 or so. I felt like a slug going up. I kept thinking to myself “gotta continue working on my climbing!!!” Plus, seeing John Sharp practically sprinting up that climb left me kinda speechless.
I ran into 1 of my friends, Bobby, around this time and we spoke of many things, but it sounded like we both wanted to run consistently. We finished our 1st loop in 4:02. A little slower than I wanted but probably a good thing.
Loop 2:
I grabbed some quick snacks and drank a boost and was out for loop 2 in about 3 minutes. Another goal was to make it in/out fast out of each aid station. Even taking 3 minutes may’ve been too much because I felt “flat” starting this loop. It took me a couple miles to get into a comfortable zone.
At about mile 7, I got into another little groove and picked up the pace a little.
Again, I felt like a slug going up the only major climb.
I finished this 2nd loop in 4:15…a bit surprised but feeling really well.
Loop 3:
Coming in from loop 2, I saw my good friend, Nancy, heading out. This made me be even quicker at the pavilion. I was hoping to latch on to her pace since she has a steady steady pace. I ended up taking about 3 minutes for a quick snack & refill of my handheld.
I caught up to Nancy at about mile 3 and we ran together for the next 5 or so miles.
I remember looking at my watch and noting that I’d run quite a while and didn’t really feel tired, so I decided to push the pace a bit more. Once I started running a bit harder, I felt really comfortable. I even climbed the 1 tough climb really fast (for me). It was part, “it’s the last loop so I can afford to push” and part “let’s get this s**t over with”. Either way, I finished pretty strong.
My splits for the three 16.7 mile loops were:
4:03, 4:15, 4:09
Overall, it was a good run for me and I had a good time. Eventhough, I still have a ways to go, I feel pretty comfortable where my training is as I continue preparing for my summer goal race, Bryce Canyon 100. 

Congrats to all the finishers and to my fellow RGV flatlanders that went out there (Sami, Cyndi, Beto, Joel, Yano, Crystal, James & Carly).