Mar 11

Not So Red Hot

Rise and shine

It’s coming up on one month ago that I ran my first race of the year, Moab’s Red Hot 55K. It didn’t go well and that was a bitter pill to swallow. I was well prepared. During my last long run, two weeks before the race, I noticed some minor knee pain. This is not unusual. By that evening I couldn’t walk downstairs. This is unusual. Then two days later I caught the flu and that lasted for two weeks, right through the race.

Moab Red Hot start

Moab Red Hot first climb

Moab Red Hot early miles

Moab Red Hot first slickrock

Despite the constant knee pain and the illness I decided to run anyway, even though I was pretty sure it would be a disaster. Within the first two miles, my suspicions were confirmed when I noticed my heart rate was through the roof for the pace I was running. The best decision I could have made at that point would be to slow down and jog the next 32 miles (or until my knee pain became too unbearable and drop out). I, of course, did not make that decision. I continued on at the same pace, with the same higher-than-normal heart rate until I crashed and burned around mile 20.

Moab Red Hot slickrock

Terry

Moab Red Hot sand

Moab Red Hot

Moab Red Hot finish

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Beaten

The last 14 miles were a complete sufferfest. Dehydration, fatigue, sunburn (even in February a desert is still a desert) all conspired against me. I really took a beating out there. At this point nothing will change my rotten performance. All I can really do is try to learn from my mistakes and do better next time.

Whenever that might be.

In the four weeks since the race I’ve run a total of 12 miles because my knee pain is so intense. I haven’t had to deal with pain like this in a decade. My running plans for the year are no longer a matter of how well I can run at my big races, but if I can even run them at all.

Colorado River canyon sunset

On a more positive note, this was my first trip to Utah. While many miles of the course were flat sandy and rocky desert with not much to look at, much more of the course was incredibly beautiful terrain (still sandy and rocky) with views of two national parks and a high mountain range. I was blown away by some of the views. During the race I met in person a friend from Fort Collins who I’d only previously known online. And after the race I ran into Cousin Don, an old friend from Illinois. On the whole, the weekend was great. It was really only about four hours of it that completely sucked.

Feb 22

Arches

I was out in Moab, Utah last weekend for the Red Hot 55K. I’d never been to Utah before (well, at least not outside the Salt Lake City airport). On Friday afternoon I took a whirlwind tour of Arches National Park. While it wasn’t the most impressive national park I’ve experienced, it was worth the visit. There’s plenty to see. It probably would have been more impressive if I wasn’t there the day before the race and I had time to do some actual hiking rather than short walks from my car.

Arches NP

Arches NP

Arches NP

Arches NP

Arches NP

Arches NP

Feb 12

January 2015

Running

Epic ice beard

FCTR kids trail run

Remember to live.

Rise and shine

Foothills sunrise

Dam

Deer

Rock Trail

Rock

January was quite a month, running-wise. Despite actually taking several days off to deal with a strained quadricep, I still ended the month with my highest total running mileage ever (and I’m pretty sure that includes when I was running competitively in college, though I don’t have the records to back that up). Furthermore, the last seven days in January I ran 96 miles, which is by far the most I’ve ever run in a week.

Heading into my first race of the year (Moab Red Hot 55K) on Valentine’s Day, things seemed to be going well. Of course, I was running on borrowed time. The entire month of February I’ve had severe knee pain and I’ve hardly run at all. I’m going to run the race and then I’ll probably have to take some serious time to recover.

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 27 274.15 miles 10.15 miles 34486.2 feet 1277.27 feet
Total 27 274.15 miles 10.15 miles 34486.2 feet 1277.27 feet

Running 2015 1


Skiing

Slope

Skate ski

Eldora

Twin Twisted Tree Trail

I went downhill skiing for the first time in 20 years. Additionally I had a few good cross country ski outings while the snow was here. I bought a pair of skate skis at a used sporting goods store and taught myself how to skate ski (I’ve only ever done classic style previously). I also took a trip to the nordic center at Eldora Ski Area for my first time on groomed trails (including some serious climbing). Good times.

Jan 28

2014 Racing Recap

My race performances have been on a steady upward trajectory since I returned to running in 2007 after a years-long break while dealing with torn cartilage in my left knee. 2012 was a breakthrough year. 2013 was even better. 2014, despite a small hiccup, may have been even better still.

The hiccup of which I speak was the fact that we moved across the country from (effectively) sea-level to one mile above. From one of the least fit states in the country to the most fit state in the country. From an area with less competition to an area with more competition. From an area with relatively easy terrain to an area with quite difficult terrain. You get the idea. I may have been a moderately sized fish in a small pond before, but that’s no longer the case.

The year started well, with a 1st place in a 10 mile trail race (ShITR). Next came a 2nd place in a 9 mile trail race (Nippy Niner). Then came a pretty remarkable span of 43 days where I set personal best times for 50 miles (Land Between the Lakes), 5K (Take Steps for Kids), marathon (Go! Saint Louis), 50K (Double Chubb). I ran two of those PRs in a superhero costume.

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

River's Edge Trail

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Photo courtesy of Shannon Drohan

We made the move to Colorado in May. My first 4 races here (Pilot Hill 25K, Leadville Trail Marathon, Mount Werner 50K, Peach Festival 5K) were pretty rough. After spending the summer acclimating to the altitude I feel like I finally nailed it by finishing 3rd at the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon. Then came another dip, with a mediocre cyclocross race and a somewhat disappointing finish at the Blue Sky Trail Marathon. I bounced back with a very close 2nd place in a cyclocross race, then a 1st at the Forest Glen 50K in Illinois, then a speedy finish at the Allerton Trail Run in Illinois.

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Tree line

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Photo by Ski Town Photography

1.5 miles

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Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography

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Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography

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Forest Glen 50K
Photo courtesy of Cousin Don

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Photo courtesy of Allerton Park Trail Run

I put in some big climbing (over 21,000 feet) the week of Thanksgiving, then I was the 1st (only?) finisher of the Chubby Cheeks 50K in December.

Comparing results from recent years, things look good.

  • 2012: 26 races, 18 top tens, 9 podiums, 3 wins, 4 PRs
  • 2013: 23 races, 21 top tens, 13 podiums, 5 wins, 4 PRs
  • 2014: 18 races, 11 top tens, 8 podiums, 4 wins, 6 PRs

Looking ahead to 2015 I’m planning to do fewer races, but the races I will run are going to be doozies. So far on my plate are Moab Red Hot 55K, Quad Rock 50 mile, and Neversummer 100K. Realistically, I’m not expecting to win many more races. But I am looking forward to running well in some really hard races against some great competition at some pretty incredible locations.

Jan 28

December 2014

Running

Horsetooth Rock Trail

Horsetooth summit

State line

Trailhead

Dusk

Home among these mountaintops

December was a very easy month. Aside from the fat-ass 50K I didn’t run a whole lot (relatively speaking). The runs were short(ish) and easy. There were several days off for travel and a few for being sick. By the end of the month I felt recharged and ready to get after my training in January.

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 19 192.03 miles 10.11 miles 9620. feet 506.32 feet
February 19 227.4 miles 11.97 miles 12301. feet 647.42 feet
March 17 192.96 miles 11.35 miles 10819. feet 636.41 feet
April 15 155.13 miles 10.34 miles 10947. feet 729.8 feet
May 24 252.5 miles 10.52 miles 20364. feet 848.5 feet
June 21 224.48 miles 10.69 miles 33782. feet 1608.67 feet
July 18 201.09 miles 11.17 miles 33696. feet 1872. feet
August 19 212.37 miles 11.18 miles 28465. feet 1498.16 feet
September 17 180.49 miles 10.62 miles 23117. feet 1359.82 feet
October 15 147.11 miles 9.81 miles 13376. feet 891.73 feet
November 23 206.79 miles 8.99 miles 46985. feet 2042.83 feet
December 19 171.59 miles 9.03 miles 23836. feet 1254.53 feet
Total 226 2363.94 miles 10.46 miles 267308. feet 1182.78 feet

Running 2014 12

Jan 15

Chubby Cheeks 50K

Chubby Cheeks start

In mid-December I ran the Chubby Cheeks 50K. This is a fat-ass event (no entry fee, no bib number, pseudo-race, organized group run) that takes place on the trails of Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Lory State Park. I hadn’t run long in two months, so I was eager to complete the full 50K rather than one of the shorter options (22 & 26 miles). At the starting line I overheard one of the other runners apologize to his acquaintance that he was only going to run the marathon distance that day.

I love Colorado.

Sunrise

Horsetooth Rock Trail

South Ridge Trail

Audra Culver Trail

I started off with a group of three guys I knew and one guy I just met. We ran together up the mountain at a leisurely pace and stopped at the top for a while to soak in the view.

RMNP

Horsetooth summit

Horsetooth summit

We picked up the pace a bit on the way down before hitting bottom and starting the second ascent. The second descent was again fast. At the bottom the other 4 guys split off for the 22 mile turnaround while I soldiered on alone, now blasting music on my iPod.

Spring Creek Trail

Howard Trail

Arthurs Rock

I stopped for a bit at the top of Arthurs Rock before somewhat uncharacteristically bombing the next descent as well. Another trip halfway up the mountain and back down left me at the marathon turnaround point. I arrived there at the same time as a guy I knew (who started later) so we ran together for a few miles. He said he felt bad as we started the last trip up the mountain so I was on my own again.

Timber Trail

West Ridge Trail

I was moving pretty slow by this point. I’ve climbed the mountain twice in one run before, but not more than that. This event included 4½ ascents of the mountain and by the last climb I was pretty tired, though still in good spirits. I descended one final time and began the half mile journey back to the starting line, which was at the nearby home of the organizer (Nick).

Melissa and Will were headed to the after-event party and they passed me right at the end. Will got out and ran with me to the finish line. At 6h35m I definitely didn’t set the course ablaze, but I wasn’t really trying to run fast. This was a nice comfortable (at times) training run. With 7,500 ft of climbing it turned out to be the most I’ve ever climbed in a single day.

Screen Shot 2014 12 13 at 6 29 01 PM

Despite the nice weather, apparently nobody else was stupid enough to run the full 50K that day. So I “won” by default. After a couple hours at the party two other runners finished the 50K, though I think they added a few miles by getting lost at one point.

It was a good way to end a good year: running with friends, running alone, climbing the mountain over and over again, running fast, running slow, walking, completing a nice long run just because I can, yet not killing myself in the process. It was only after the run that I realized that this was mostly the same course as the Quad Rock 50 mile race I’m running next May, which makes me even more glad I was able to do this run.

Dec 12

November 2014

Running

Rob

After a month of racing in October, I took the first week of November pretty easy. I intended to take the second week of November pretty easy too, but I ended up running 50 miles with 9,000 feet of climbing. I suck at the offseason.

I took the week of Thanksgiving off work, but our internet connection was out the entire week, so I spent some time running in the mountains. Most weeks I do about 7,000-8,000 feet of climbing. There was a week in June when I did 9,900 feet of climbing, and two weeks in July where I had 9,500 feet of climbing. The week in November I took off work and had no internet service I ran 21,000 feet of climbing over 68 miles (with a rest day that comes out to 3,500 feet per day). Each day I kept expecting to feel dead tired and not be able to move, but I actually felt stronger each day and the running got easier as the week progressed.

Monday: Grayrock Mountain.

Grayrock

Tuesday: Green Mountain and Bear Mountain.

Green Mountain and Boulder

Wednesday: Horsetooth Mountain x 2.

Sunset over the Rockies

Thursday: Off.

Thanksgiving dinner

Friday: Horsetooth Mountain x 2.

Horsetooth early

Saturday: Horsetooth Mountain x 2.

Sunset over RMNP

Sunday: Arthur’s Rock

Cloudy Arthurs Rock Trail

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 19 192.03 miles 10.11 miles 9620. feet 506.32 feet
February 19 227.4 miles 11.97 miles 12301. feet 647.42 feet
March 17 192.96 miles 11.35 miles 10819. feet 636.41 feet
April 15 155.2 miles 10.35 miles 10947. feet 729.8 feet
May 24 252.5 miles 10.52 miles 20364. feet 848.5 feet
June 21 224.51 miles 10.69 miles 33782. feet 1608.67 feet
July 18 201.09 miles 11.17 miles 33696. feet 1872. feet
August 19 212.37 miles 11.18 miles 28465. feet 1498.16 feet
September 17 180.49 miles 10.62 miles 23117. feet 1359.82 feet
October 15 147.11 miles 9.81 miles 13376. feet 891.73 feet
November 23 206.79 miles 8.99 miles 46985. feet 2042.83 feet
Total 207 2192.45 miles 10.59 miles 243472. feet 1176.19 feet

Running 2014 11


Cycling

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 4 64.74 miles 16.19 miles 1114. feet 278.5 feet
February 1 15.9 miles 15.9 miles 0. feet 0. feet
March 2 51.18 miles 25.59 miles 2115. feet 1057.5 feet
April 6 148.91 miles 24.82 miles 6250. feet 1041.67 feet
May 4 73.05 miles 18.26 miles 2810. feet 702.5 feet
June 4 70.06 miles 17.52 miles 4901. feet 1225.25 feet
July 4 62.47 miles 15.62 miles 2986. feet 746.5 feet
August 9 151.9 miles 16.88 miles 6942. feet 771.33 feet
September 12 168.17 miles 14.01 miles 8381. feet 698.42 feet
October 2 19.09 miles 9.54 miles 784. feet 392. feet
November 1 11.66 miles 11.66 miles 827. feet 827. feet
Total 49 837.13 miles 17.08 miles 37110. feet 757.35 feet

Cycling 2014 11


Walking & Hiking

Arthurs Rock

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist
January 11 27.72 miles 2.52 miles
February 11 26.8 miles 2.44 miles
March 11 32.72 miles 2.97 miles
April 23 64.33 miles 2.8 miles
May 20 57.9 miles 2.9 miles
June 12 32.55 miles 2.71 miles
July 12 39.98 miles 3.33 miles
August 0 0 0
September 0 0 0
October 8 26.61 miles 3.33 miles
November 3 9.19 miles 3.06 miles
Total 111 317.8 miles 2.86 miles

Cross Country Skiing

Old man winter

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 2 6.85 miles 3.42 miles 352. feet 176. feet
February 1 4.24 miles 4.24 miles 294. feet 294. feet
March 0 0 0 0 0
April 0 0 0 0 0
May 0 0 0 0 0
June 0 0 0 0 0
July 0 0 0 0 0
August 0 0 0 0 0
September 0 0 0 0 0
October 0 0 0 0 0
November 1 5.63 miles 5.63 miles 351. feet 351. feet
Total 4 16.72 miles 4.18 miles 997. feet 249.25 feet
Nov 11

October 2014

Running

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Photo by Erin Bibeau Photography

Lots of racing, with lots of great racing weather. Melissa won a 50K, then the next weekend I won a 50K. I raced every weekend in October, and with the tapering, recovering, and traveling this ended up being my lightest training month of the year. I ended October tired of racing. I essentially took a week off, then I was ready to start training again.

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 19 192.03 miles 10.11 miles 9620. feet 506.32 feet
February 19 227.4 miles 11.97 miles 12301. feet 647.42 feet
March 17 192.96 miles 11.35 miles 10819. feet 636.41 feet
April 15 155.2 miles 10.35 miles 10947. feet 729.8 feet
May 24 252.5 miles 10.52 miles 20364. feet 848.5 feet
June 21 224.51 miles 10.69 miles 33782. feet 1608.67 feet
July 18 201.09 miles 11.17 miles 33696. feet 1872. feet
August 19 212.37 miles 11.18 miles 28465. feet 1498.16 feet
September 17 180.49 miles 10.62 miles 23117. feet 1359.82 feet
October 15 147.11 miles 9.81 miles 13376. feet 891.73 feet
Total 184 1985.66 miles 10.79 miles 196487. feet 1067.86 feet

Running 2014 10


Cycling

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Only two bike rides (not counting all the days I ride Will to school) and one of them was a race that went pretty well for me.

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist Total Ascent Avg Ascent
January 4 64.74 miles 16.19 miles 1114. feet 278.5 feet
February 1 15.9 miles 15.9 miles 0. feet 0. feet
March 2 51.18 miles 25.59 miles 2115. feet 1057.5 feet
April 6 148.91 miles 24.82 miles 6250. feet 1041.67 feet
May 4 73.05 miles 18.26 miles 2810. feet 702.5 feet
June 4 70.06 miles 17.52 miles 4901. feet 1225.25 feet
July 4 62.47 miles 15.62 miles 2986. feet 746.5 feet
August 9 151.9 miles 16.88 miles 6942. feet 771.33 feet
September 12 168.17 miles 14.01 miles 8381. feet 698.42 feet
October 2 19.09 miles 9.54 miles 784. feet 392. feet
Total 48 825.47 miles 17.2 miles 36283. feet 755.9 feet

Cycling 2014 10


Walking & Hiking

Horsetooth

Month Workouts Total Dist Avg Dist
January 11 27.72 miles 2.52 miles
February 11 26.8 miles 2.44 miles
March 11 32.72 miles 2.97 miles
April 23 64.33 miles 2.8 miles
May 20 57.9 miles 2.9 miles
June 12 32.55 miles 2.71 miles
July 12 39.98 miles 3.33 miles
August 0 0 0
September 0 0 0
October 8 26.61 miles 3.33 miles
Total 108 308.61 miles 2.86 miles
Oct 30

Sun Singer

Allerton Park Trail Run

Fu Dog
Fu Dog statue at Allerton Park

I’ve loved Allerton Park ever since I went hiking there as a boy with my aunt, brother, and possibly my grandparents as well (I’m old and my memory isn’t what it used to be). The Mansion, the gardens, the statues, the trails, the random weird things to see in rural central Illinois…

I was still in Illinois last weekend while the Allerton Trail Run was going to take place. I already raced the first three weekends in October, so I might as well make it an even four. I didn’t have any lingering soreness from the previous weekend’s Forest Glen 50K, though I was still a bit fatigued.

I first ran this race in 2003 where I maintained 8th place for the first 5 miles before being passed by 10 people in the last half mile of the race. For the next few years I photographed the race while I was sidelined with torn cartilage in my left knee. In 2008 I ran again, taking 6th place in the race before continuing to run most of the rest of the day in order to complete 30 miles on my 30th birthday. In 2009 I finished 5th on a highly modified course due to massive flooding.

This year the race would be held on my 36th birthday. Also, being so close to Halloween they’ve started having a costume contest. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to dress up.

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Photo courtesy of Allerton Park Trail Run

The race starts in a grass field before passing through some vine rows.

Vines

Then comes a sharp right turn through the Fu Dog Garden.

Fu Dogs

And into the woods.

Fu Dog Garden

From then on the trail is double track, almost entirely in the forest. There’s a bit of mud, some tree roots, a few rocks, and some walnuts to look out for, but for the most part it’s flat and fast. In previous races I’ve always run too fast the first mile before slowing way down. Not so this year. Of course, I didn’t look at my time the entire race (not even my heart rate), instead I just focused on running as steady as I possibly could for the entire 5.7 mile course. And my splits were pretty even.

Three guys were off the front from the very beginning. I settled into a chase pack with two others. After the mile mark our group was down to two. I set the pace and the other guy stayed on my shoulder. I had run the trail the previous two days (and I helped mark the course the day prior), so I was pretty familiar with it. I knew where the muddy sections were, and the rocky sections, and the rooty sections. Unfortunately, by following me, so did the other guy. I opened up some space between us whenever there was a hill (there were some hills by Illinois standards, but it was pancake flat by Colorado standards), but he typically closed the gap on the corresponding downhill.

Sun Singer
The Sun Singer, a very large, very nude statue

With a quarter mile to go I had a gap and there was a chance I might keep it to the finish line. Then, not thinking clearly, I got confused by the course markings (the course markings I myself helped put up the previous day) and I went slightly off course before correcting. I didn’t loose much time, but those precious couple seconds would come back to haunt me. My head now out of the race, I didn’t put up much of a fight when my follower caught up and overtook me on the finishing straightaway.

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Photo courtesy of Allerton Park Trail Run

I finished 5th place, equalling my previous highest placing, though I ran significantly (minutes) faster than ever before. And the course was farther this year. I averaged 5:58 pace for 5.7 miles on a trail, in a costume. It’s hard not to be satisfied with that performance, regardless of how many people finished ahead of me. I don’t often run races this short, and man, does it hurt. That’s not to say longer races don’t hurt, they just hurt in a much different way.

I did not win the costume contest, and sadly, neither did my favorite: blue man Tobias.

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Photo courtesy of Allerton Park Trail Run

After racing all four weekends in October (the best month of the year) it’s time for a break. And adios to Illinois. It’s a lovely place, but I wouldn’t want to live there :-p

Tree row

Oct 21

I’d rather waltz than just walk through the forest

Forest Glen 50K

Forest Glen

In a stroke of good luck, the Forest Glen 50K fell on the weekend before the Wolfram Technology Conference once again this year. Since I was going to make the trip to Illinois anyway, why not run a long race on one of my favorite trails? I am the defending champion, so I should probably play defense.

Number 1

Forest Glen

Race day had peak foliage. The trail was absolutely beautiful, perhaps the most spectacular I’ve ever seen it (the blurry race photos below don’t do it justice). The weather cooperated as well. Despite the long duration of the race, the temperature stayed a constant 50˚F the entire time, which (for me) is perfect running weather. It was overcast all day, and it started raining lightly toward the end.

While the weather was perfect, the trail itself has seen better days. A couple months ago there was massive flooding that damaged many parts of the trail, with several bridges being partially or completely destroyed. So there were some reroutes, some improvised bridges, a few extra stream crossings, and one super wonky bridge. The consensus seemed to be the course was running 5-10 minutes slower per loop (15-30 minutes slower for 50K). I could have my work cut out for me.

Forest Glen 50K
This bridge used to be straight and flat

Forest Glen 50K
There were a few places where steep ravines had stairs cut into them

This is not a mountainous course with huge elevation gain, but it is deceptively difficult. With all the flat land in central Illinois, one could easily wonder how you could get 4000+ ft of elevation gain in 50 km around here. While no single hill on the course gains more than 100 ft, there are a lot of them. And since this trail goes up and down the ravines leading into the Vermillion River, most of the hills are rather steep.

I felt recovered from the Blue Sky Marathon two weeks prior. The big question mark on this race was what kind of difference (if any) would it make to race at (effectively) sea level after training the past five months in the thin air a mile above. Conventional wisdom says the difference should be noticeable. I was going to find out.

Forest Glen 50K

I planned to follow the next fastest person for a while, but as we started running nobody seemed to want to go around me. Fine, I’ll set the pace. The first mile barely felt like I was running. I didn’t look at my pace or time the entire race, but I was paying close attention to my heart rate early on. About a half mile in my heart rate was 111 (my max is around 190). I was in no danger of blowing up at that point, so I sped up. Soon I was all alone. I started the music on my waterproof iPod Shuffle. As I floated over the trail I drifted off into the zone as I heard the words I’ve so often heard at the beginning of a long race.

I’m alone above the atmosphere
and no one looking up can find me here
cause I can close my eyes and disappear.

On the easier parts of the trail I kept my heart rate around 144. On the steep uphill sections I let it spike up to 160 before holding that effort to the top, at which point it would drop again. This is easy, but then again it’s supposed to be easy at this point. The first lap was fairly uneventful. Once I reached the start/finish area after 10.3-ish miles I first saw my time, 1:32:XX. This was pretty close to what I ran last year, perhaps a minute faster. Perfect, let’s do that again.

Forest Glen 50K

Forest Glen 50K

Due to cumulative fatigue, I knew I would have to raise my heart rate on the second lap to keep moving at the same speed. I ran closer to 150 beats/minute on the easy parts and I let it creep up to 165 on the frequent steep hills. I was definitely working harder, I just hoped I wasn’t also slowing down.

While the first lap was nearly perfect in every way, I was beginning to notice some issues on the second lap. My left hamstring/calf/knee was a bit tight (residual from yard work the previous weekend). My left ankle was a bit sore (I’ve been dealing with that one on and off for a few months). The pounding of the steep downhills left me with a sharp pain in my right knee. I’m a bit of wreck, actually. At least my right ankle is still… Shit, I just stepped in a hole and rolled my right ankle. That took a mile or so to work itself out. None of these issues were going to prevent me from finishing, but I was growing more and more concerned my performance might be headed for a cliff.

Forest Glen 50K

Forest Glen 50K

I was surprised and relieved to see the time clock read 3:04:XX when I finished my second lap. It was effectively the same time as the first (actually, 12 seconds faster). Any lingering doubt I had at that point went away. I knew I was going to be able to run a strong-ish third lap. Last year, after running two laps at roughly this pace I slowed down 2 minutes per mile on the third lap. I remember how I felt last year and I definitely felt better this time around. Sure, I was going to slow, but I wasn’t going to blow up.

Forest Glen 50K
Photo courtesy of Cousin Don

On the third lap I continued to run reasonably fast on the flats. Whenever I hit a steep uphill I slowed a bit more than previous laps, and it took me a bit longer to get back up to speed once I reached the top. I was no longer paying attention to my heart rate. It didn’t matter by that point, I wasn’t going to change anything I was doing based on what it said anyway. It was too late for that. I knew exactly how far I had left to run, how many hills were between me and the finish line, and how much I had left in the tank.

Forest Glen 50K

Forest Glen 50K

Forest Glen 50K

Forest Glen 50K

I finished in 4:47:35, a few minutes slower than I hoped. This meant I slowed down about 1 minute per mile on the last lap. I was working so much harder I kind of hoped I hadn’t slowed down that much, but I’ll take it. It was way better than last year. Since I had set the course record last year, this faster time became the new course record. So that’s something.

One notable thing about this race was I had absolutely no problems with my stomach (which is pretty rare for me lately). I drank ~60 ounces of water, ate 6 Hammer Gels, and took maybe 8 S!CAPS. My stomach never felt queasy, full, or sloshy. I was definitely hungry by the end, but I successfully held off the oncoming bonk.

Once I stopped running I had to deal with being cold and hungry. I ate a bunch of food, then I went inside and took a hot shower and changed into dry clothes. As the other finishers poured in we all sat around eating, drinking, and talking about running for several hours until all the finishers were done and we had the awards ceremony. Like last year, fine hand crafted pottery was awarded to everyone. It was an awesome way to finish out an awesome day on an awesome trail.

Forest Glen 50K award

I can’t say enough good things about this race.