Bad Day at Black Rock: 2015 Zane Grey 50

Stomach was bad all day. I puked 7 times and had 2 “accidents.” I puked twice by the first aid station and wanted to quit, but didn’t. At the 33 mile aid station they were pretty close to dragging me off the course, but they let me continue. After that I just went into “let’s get this shit over with” mode and finished in 12:35, which was only 35 minutes slower than my goal time. 54th out of 150 starters. That represents my poorest finish in an ultra ever, but effort-wise it was probably my best race. As usual, I watched Touching the Void the night before the race. During the race, I kept thinking about Joe Simpson talking about being “reduced to nothing” during his ordeal. While my experience can’t even begin to touch what he went through, I did spend much of the race covered in my own poop and vomit. Luckily, it started to rain fairly hard at the end of the race, so I was presentable at the finish line. Unfortunately, I immediately puked my guts out as soon as I got there.

Don’t exactly know what happened to my stomach. I did eat a bit more for breakfast than I normally do before a race, but I certainly didn’t pig out. Some dude looked at me at the finish and said I may have had altitude sickness.

This was my hardest race. The plain truth is, I’m not a mountain runner. I do well in flat races where I can run fast for long stretches of time, not races with 10,000 feet in elevation gain, fallen trees everywhere and river crossings. If that makes me less than hardcore, then I’m totally fine with that.

All that being said, I’m looking forward to hitting the Grand Canyon in June and trying to break 4:30 for rim to rim.

Extended race report to come later.

It’s getting close

Training has been going well. Despite my declaration that I was gonna slow down and put in some decent miles, I have done no such thing. I’ve been running fast and only putting in 60 to 70 MPW. I don’t know, as I have said before, this kind of training has always worked for me.

I hit Payson and did the first 10 to 11 miles and back (~21 miles) of the course in just under 4 hours (I ran for two hours, then turned back). I had planned on going up again the following week, but sick kids and freeway work convinced me not to. I did the Towers run that Saturday and followed it up with 20 miles on Sunday. I have dropped to about 165 lbs. as of Monday this week.

I’m feeling good, but will stick with my 12-hour finish goal for the race. I’ve read too many race reports where this course just ate people up. We’re talking 2:30 marathoners that finished in over 14 hours. 50 miles at altitude with 10,000 feet in elevation gain is just too much to recover from if I go balls out and bonk. I’ll be doing 5 run/5 walk on the ups and then cruising on the downs. And I’ll be trying like hell to eat a gel every 30 minutes.

Update

So much for keeping this blog updated. The past couple of weeks have been really good training-wise. I dropped about 18 pounds in 3 weeks and my 10 milers have consistently been under 70 minutes. I had a 35-mile weekend 2 weekends ago and 30-mile weekend this past weekend. The bump in speed is probably all mental, but it did coincide with switching to an old pair of NB 101s and ditching the tunes while I run. I like being able to hear my breathing pattern. I’m gonna have to start putting in some 20-milers soon AND start hitting the hills.

Dead legs

10 miles in 80 minutes on the treadmill

Legs feel shitty and my achilles is a mess. Kinda surprised that yesterday’s (Saturday) run beat me up so badly. Supposed to run the toughest 50 miler in the country in 6 weeks and I can’t do a 15-15 weekend. LOL.

Towers run

14 miles in 1:56

Run up to the TV Towers at South Mountain. Left achilles is tender, so I took it easy. Up in 65 minutes. Down in 51.

Road was packed with cyclists as usual. Actually saw probably 10 other runners. There was a group of 4 people doing hill repeats on the last nasty climb. They looked miserable as it was almost 80 degrees at 10:30. The down went better than expected. Kinda fell into a nice groove where I lengthened my stride a little and didn’t fight the downward momentum. I expected this to turn into a disaster, but it didn’t. Turned out to be a solid run.

Blah run and my shitty training style

10 miles in 74 minutes

An “I don’t want to!” run with my oldest daughter in the running stroller. Cool and blustery, but I felt good. Certainly not the best effort I’ve ever put forth. Run up to the TV Towers on South Mountain on Saturday. Should be fun.

I realize this training probably seems like a joke. I mean, I have 7 weeks until running one of the toughest ultras in the world and I think I’ve done one 20-miler in the past 6 months and haven’t put in more than 60 miles a week so far. I don’t know, even when I was healthy I trained like this. I can’t really do a long, drawn-out training cycle. Anything more than a couple of months and I burn out. I don’t really do “junk” miles either. Most runs are run at 80 to 90 percent effort. This has always run counter to what all my ultra brethren have ever said to me.

But it’s always worked for me. I’m certainly nowhere near elite, I’d probably be lucky to come in the top half of a races like Western States or Leadville. But I’m generally at the front of the pack and have had several top 5 finishes in the local PHX races.

I don’t really know what I’m trying to say, other than don’t ever taking training advice from me and you should probably stop following this blog because you might pick up some bad habits.

Good week so far

Solid week so far. 10 in 73 on Tuesday and 10 in 72 yesterday. Another 10 tonight. Achilles (which had been tender) is better and my legs feel strong. Another 15/15 weekend, then I’ll bump it up to 20/15 the following weekend.

My beloved Sansa Clip+ finally died (it was more than 10 years old) and I just ordered a new one. Anyone in need of an MP3 player (cell phones are just too big nowadays) should really check it out. My old one got over 15 hours of battery life when it was new. About $50 on Amazon for the 8GB version with miniSD card slot.