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Friday, December 11, 2015

Hitchcock 50 Mile Race Recap


Hitchcock 50-Mile Race Recap.


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Remove1st time this thing has seen December
The week leading up to the 50 miles of Hitchcock hills was crazy. I came down with a cold early in the week & then spent most of Wednesday night in the ER after coming down with what we think was food poisoning. Because of a surgery I had when I was a kid I am unable to vomit so this type of thing is tough on my body because I cant just get it out. Thursday night I started to feel better and Friday after work I got the camper hooked up & headed to Lincoln. Saturday morning I got the camper out the Hitchcock and set up and was able to enjoy some time cheering on the 100 milers at the Campground Aid Station. That afternoon, I left Hitchcock and headed back to Lincoln for a Christmas Party then returned back to the park around 6:30PM. I had just enough time to change clothes and get my pack ready for 50 miles of night time fun. I always try and set goals before a race. In this case I signed up for this race because it was going to force me to directly face some of my ultra-marathon weaknesses. What I wanted to get out of this race was:
Sleep-deprived running. This is one of my biggest struggles in a 100-miler. Sometime around 2 or 3 am my body almost shuts down. I start to feel so empty and down that it's hard to overcome. More experience with this will help me keep learning what works and what doesn't.
Speed at night. No matter if it's trails or road for some reason when I'm running after the sun goes down I seem to run slower. I think subconsciously I get more cautious with my gate.
Vert! The continuous vertical gain that this course offers was one of it's biggest draws for me. Not that climbing is a big weakness of mine but if I'm going to be competitive at Gorge 100K in April, I need elevation gain training and lots of it! I needed to improve my ability to let gravity push me on the descents and not "apply the breaks" and trash my legs.
Now just 4 - 12.5 mile loops to accomplish all this.
LAP 1 - 2:09'46 - 164 Avg HR - 12.75 mi - 10:07/mi - 2556 ft of gain.
7PM rolled around and 40ish of us started down the road and then back up to gain some separation before hitting the trails. That worked well and a small pack of us began the trails together. I was excited to be running these first few miles with Angie Hodgeas we tried to not fall down. I think I was the first to go down as we hit the muddy descents. I fell 2-3 times in the first half a mile and was immediately thinking about how am I going to do this for 50 miles? The next mile I kept hearing the screams of people as they came to the muddy descents and took their first falls. After those first 2-3 miles the trail seemed to dry up in most spots as I made my way to the first aid station. I rolled through this stop and the next station without needing anything. I got to the Start/Finish to conclude lap 1 feeling great. I was excited to see Carol Johnsonat this aid station with a big smile and my drop bag all ready for me if I needed anything. This was so awesome! I probably wouldn't of grabbed anything had it still been inside but since it was right there I grabbed a smoothie and drank it as I walked though. I finished this lap with my HR way higher than it should of been for a 50 miler. I think the excitement of the race got to me and I had it turned up a little to much on this lap.
LAP 2 - 152 Avg Hr - 2:35.54 - 11.94 mi - 12:32/mi - 2441 ft of gain
I started lap 2 still feeling good. I fell 2-3 more times in the beginning miles of this loop but once I got through the mud I was back to rolling through the trails. I hit the first aid station where I saw Kiera & my mom for the 1st time. I was happy to see that they made it to the park safe and was at smiles at this point. I quickly greeted them; refilled my sports drink gave kiddo a big hug and headed back out. Temps were still pretty decent and my heart rate had settled down from the first lap and i felt like i was in my grove most of this lap. I started to feel the wear of the miles on my legs towards the end of lap 2. I am still learning how to let the downhills take me and not "applying the breaks." I tore up my legs slowing down on the descents; someday i'll learn how the pros do it.


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LAP 3 - 2:42.8 - 143 Avg HR - 11.91 mi - 12:39/mi - 2408 ft of gain
In the first few miles of lap 3 the lead women (turned out to be the overall winner) passed me. I stopped quick to tie my shoe and she came quickly around me and greeted me in great spirits. She went on to have a great race. I got to the first aid station and saw Kiera & my mom again. Kiera let me know she’d be sleeping on my next and final lap through. My legs were feeling tight & hurting some at this point (29ish) miles in the race. I had some potatoe soup and got this quick picture with them and headed back out. The journey to the next aid station was not bad but the last 6 miles of the loup started to really feel the hills trashing my legs. Each decent created pain in my quads and each ascent had sharp pain in my right calve. It was to the point where on the climbs up I was stopping 2 to 3 times on the running my knuckles up and down it trying to get the pain to subside. During the final miles of lap 3 I met the overall winner Linden. We ran together for a few miles and both made it quickly though the Start/Finish aid station & then back on the trails.


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Mile 29


LAP 4 - 3:31.6 - 137 Avg HR - 11.87 mi - 14:32/mi - 2379 ft gain
Lap 4 started out as my only lap without falling in the mud, that was about the only good thing that happened on lap 4. Trying to run through the pain in my legs I got myself really worked up and had a moment of feeling like I was overheating. I poured my water on my head in an attempt to cool me down/shock my system/wake me up out of a funk, I don't know. Anyways that clearly stupid decision led me to need to take the time at the first aid station to completely change my clothes. It was around 3am in December and as the temps were unseasonably warm, still wet clothes and mid 30’s make for a bad combination. I decided a few miles before that aid station that I was going to take the time to change and change my attitude and get back to enjoying the trails. I changed clothes there and it changed my spirits. By stopping I knew I had no chance of catching the lead runners and did not have to stress myself out about that anymore. The pains in my legs stayed for most all of this lap but I was working through it in much better spirits so it quit being a factor, it was back to just being a part of it and not a hindrance. I got to the final aid station with 6 miles left and just had a little chat with them, offered them a York peppermint patty from my bag and then made my way back to the start finish. The last 6 miles I ran all that I could, I hiked all the climbs up and shuffled the downhills. I met a few other runners to chat with on this section which made the miles go by a bit faster.
Finish
I finished this race happy for the most part. It was to me what ultra-running is at it’s core. It was some spectacular trails with challenging variables such as mud, cold & big climbs; all right here in the mid-west. It was a low-key, laid back ultra marathon full of volunteers who really cared. It was a reminder of exactly why I love this sport so much.
I got in the ring with Hitchcock and upon finishing it felt like I got some rounds & Hitchcock got some rounds but in the end we came out about dead even. Which is perfect for me to want to come back with some vengeance and rock these hills again year after year.



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So where did I land on my 3 things I wanted to work on our there.
Sleep deprivation running - it got the best of me again; hard time staying awake late, got in a funk again around 3 am.
Speed at night - learned a bit more on this; gained some more confidence.
Vert! - Only way i'm going to master this is to keep doing races & runs like this and challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone on those hills. I love the challenge.
Of all the ultra’s I've done I have to say this one was one of my favorites. The GOATZ put on a top-notch event with wonderful support. I would highly recommend this race. A big thank you to Scott, Chris & Ron for putting in the hours and hours of work to make this possible.


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serious vert!






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