Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ENDURrun Stage 3: 30K XC/Trail

Yesterday morning, after a night of much rain, the first big stage of the ENDURrun happened. It was stage 3, the 30K cross-country stage.

The course is a 5K loop. The first half is a bit of road then grass sections including some grassy hills and valleys, while the second half of the loop is on trails through a small forest. This 5K loop is run 6 times.
I went into Stage 3 hoping to run between 27:00 and 27:30 per lap, which would give me a finish time between 2:42 and 2:45.

I started out at a comfortable pace, making sure not to go out too fast. By the time we got to the first grassy section, I had settled in behind Catherine and decided to see if I could stick there, keeping her in sight for the remainder of the race.

At the end of the first lap, I looked at the clock and saw that it was a little under 27 minutes. I was glad that it wasn't too far below because I wanted to be sure I was running a pace that I could maintain for 5 more laps.

Photo by Natascha Kleinke
I don't remember the time on the clock after lap 2, but I'm guessing it was 53 or 54 minutes. I do know that when I crossed at the half way point, it said 1:20:xx and finishing around 2:40 was a definite thought in my mind. 

Continuing on, I still had Catherine just ahead of me with her bright shorts acting as a beacon to guide the way. It remained that way until about half way through lap 5.

Shortly after entering the trail section on the fifth lap, my vision started going wonky. I had some spots that I couldn't see. This has happened to me a few times before, so I knew it wasn't anything serious, but I also knew that it was a sign that my blood sugar was too low and when that happens, I need to take in some fuel. Although my body felt great and I felt like I could continue at the pace i was running, I made the decision to back off a bit, take a couple shot blocks (I carried some on me just in case... and I'm glad I did), and take some Gatorade and water when I went by the aid station which was coming up in 1.5 km. After I crossed the start/finish to start my bell lap, I walked through the aid station to drink a cup of Gatorade before continuing on. It felt silly to do that with only one lap to go, but I wanted to resolve the issue to be sure it didn't get worse. I had decided that I would rather have a slow bit of the race and finish strong than suffer (and barely see) for the final 7.5 km of the stage.

The vision was starting to return to normal by the time I entered the grass downhill on my final lap (just past the 1K mark) and by the time entered the trails for the final time, it was almost normal. I finished up the final 3.5 km and crossed the finish line in 2:44:31.

Although I did slow down (and my lap times definitely show it), I didn't lose my position in the race and I was still the next person to cross the finish line after Catherine... I just couldn't see her ahead of me during the final lap and a half.

I finished 4th female today (Stage 3 Results), but maintain my 5th position overall female in the cumulative results.

The lap times haven't been posted in the results yet, but according to my Garmin data, my lap times were as follows:

Lap 1: 26:48
Lap 2: 26:45
Lap 3: 26:52
Lap 4: 27:03
Lap 5: 28:46
Lap 6: 28:16

Post race, I had another large platter of food (actually, it was the smaller of the platters, but larger than a plate), which again took a really long time for me to eat. I'm generally not hungry right after I run, but during ENDURrun, I know that I need to start re-fueling to aid in recovery ASAP, so I force it down even if it takes me an hour to do so.

Congratulations to Pat Kelly and Angela Batsford on your stage wins! Although Mindy and Matt did not win this stage, they do retain the gold jerseys for stage 4 as they are still in first position for the cumulative results. The first and second male and female positions are only a few minutes apart at this point (3:01 for the men and 3:59 for the women), so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next two hilly stages.

The fun continues this evening with Stage 4, a 10 miler on the hilly Wilmot Line.

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