Sunday, March 18, 2012

Add Ultramarathoner to the resume!


My training for Leadville has picked up over the past couple of weeks, but there were a couple of things that that were eating away at me and making me still really uneasy about this whole Leadville 100 race. I hadn't completed any runs recent runs over 20 miles and I hadn't done a ultramarathon. I have been consistent in completing the miles suggested on the training plan, but I keep wondering if its enough.

Yesterday, I accomplished a big hurdle by completing my first ultramarathon and a run longer than 30 miles. Although a few ultramarathoners have poo-poo'd my 50k as not being a significant race in training for a 100 miler, but I disagree! This race gave me the confidence to know that I can accomplish my next ultra-distance race (Zumbro 50 miler).

The Hawkeye 50K course was a mix of single track, crushed rock, and roads. At the time I signed up for the race I was just looking for a 50k sort of close to home but my options were pretty limited. I also was looking for a ultra that located in a little further south than the Twin Cities with hopes that the temps would be a bit warmer and less snow would be on the ground. With the warm, dry winter that we had these factors were definitely not a problem with the weather forecasted to be 80 and sunny.

The race started running through a small portion of single lasting a couple of miles before shooting you out onto a fairly busy road. Already at 8:30 the road was hot in the direct sun. I felt great! I love the heat and at one point I peeked down at my garmin and noticed that I was running 8 minute miles. Knowing that I probably couldn't keep up that pace and I didn't want to burn up so I made myself slow down. We then ducked into another trail system that was pretty lengthy in distance that was crushed rocks. This trail would be a nice trail to run if the ground was slightly moist, but with the heat and the direct sunlight the ground was hard and uneven with the baked in ruts from bicycle tires. The path led us through a house-lined grassy area along a lake to a peninsula that was covered with rocks which brought us to the water crossing. The water was about mid calve deep and felt so good (I even had the thought at one point that on the second loop I was going to lay down in the river). After water crossing and a little climbing (boulders-thigh high) we hiked up the single track trails. This part of the course was extremely hilly with some really good sized and steep ascents and descents.

The course consisted of two loops equalling a little over 15 miles each. For me I like the two loop courses as I find them easy to break up mentally. I did hit a couple spots of lows but overall felt great the entire race and easily could have gone out and did a 3rd loop.

My time was unofficially (officially) 6:04.32 but couldn't be recorded on the website because the DNR shut the course down due to the heat with me having 3 miles left. I ended up running the last 3 miles of the course at my own risk and my time cannot be posted on the website since the DNR will be checking the results. I couldn't stomach the fact that I drove 6 hours to a race and made it that far within out finishing the race. I was feeling awesome, so I finished the last 3 miles. After crossing the finish the race director apologized for not being able to post my time but was going to record it as an official time. I ended up 5th in AG. There were a ton of DNF's and many more that switched to the 25K.