Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Buffalo Run 50K

With 4,000 feet of elevation gain and 32 miles this is a very tough race, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. This would be the first of my longer training runs in preparation for the Wasatch 100. I will be doing at least one long tough training run each month until September. Full race report: I had heard a lot of good things from friends about the Buffalo run, so I wanted to do it this year. I was trying to decide between the 50k and the 50m, and I knew that I could grind out the 50m, but I hadn't run anything long since October and I wanted to gradually build up my miles for later in the year, so I decided on the 50k. I had several friends doing the race, but I was late getting to the start and by time I got to the line we were within a minute of starting. Seth Wold saw me and said hi and we chatted for a bit and I told him to go get it and Jim started the countdown. I started out in the front of the pack and within a minute I found my good friend Mat Williams, so the two of us talked during the first mile while we went up the long hill. Eventually he dropped me, but I wasn't far behind. So far I was feeling good, but didn't want to push too hard because I knew it would be a long course. After we crested the first big hill I could still see Matt, and I wanted to catch up to him so we could chat, but he was moving pretty fast, so I picked up my pace to a 7:00 and finally caught him around mile 4. We chatted some, but he dropped me again before the Lone Tree hill, where I decided to power hike. At the first aid station I just stopped long enough to fill my bottle and then I took off. The run down into the valley was fun and I resisted the temptation to push it hard, although I did pick up my pace and it felt good. There was a group of about 15 of us that headed up the switchbacks together. Everyone was pushing pretty good and it seemed to help me push not wanting to get passed. I ran most of the time, but on the steepest section I power hiked while taking a gel and an S-cap. The run back to Elephant Head aid station was a bit muddy, so it was a little tricky staying out of it, but overall the course was in excellent shape. I was still feeling really strong, so I didn't even stop at the aid station. Just before the drop to Lone Tree I passed my friend Dustin Erickson, who placed 6th in the 25K. We missed our high five attempt and then I saw my friend Nick at the bottom of the hill and I made sure I didn't miss this time and gave him a good smack on the shoulder. I wish I could have stopped to say hi, but I didn't want to stop my momentum. Just before climbing the hill back up to the flats I saw my longtime friend Allison from high school and we exchanged "Hi's". On the hill I took another gel and an S-cap and once on top I tried to get into a nice steady pace without pushing too hard. I wanted to save my energy for the second lap. Once I came around the bend I could see the aid station and the wind picked up quite a bit. I tried to pick up my pace on the downhill and I was still feeling really good. I passed Matt just before the aid station and he was looking good. At the aid station I looked for my drop bag where I had some Cytomax and I had a good drink of that and downed a gel. I was thinking about dropping my long sleeve shirt, but it was so windy that I thought I might need it again. I said hi to Lily and she helped me with a few things and I was off. That was my longest stop of the race. The first hill on the second loop was an absolute killer. I thought I was feeling pretty good until I started the climb and all of the sudden my energy was gone. I felt wasted. I was thinking I must not be very tough if I am feeling like this at this point. I just tried to power hike and hoped my energy would come back. What made it worse was the strong headwind pounding us relentlessly. I was kind of in a funk from about mile 17-20 and it was very tough to climb back out. The hill took a lot out of me and once I reached the top it was hard to get going again. I was running a 9:30 pace and tried to speed up, but my legs just wouldn't go. Finally when I reached the Lone Tree hill I started power hiking again, took another gel and an S-cap and hoped I would be feeling good at the top. I filled my water at the aid station and then thankfully on the descent back into the valley I found my groove again. My legs started to feel better and I picked up the pace a lot. I passed 4-5 people that had passed me while I was in my funk and by time I reached the switchbacks to climb back up I was feeling strong and energized. The climb up the switchbacks was so fun. I felt just as good as I had on lap number one and I passed a few more people on my way to the top. I passed the marathon distance around 4:30, which isn't fast unless you consider the elevation gain over over 3K that I had already put in. Just before the top I had another gel and S-cap on the steepest section as I hiked and when I reached the top I had two runners in my sights. I was feeling good and eventually passed a guy that was trying to hold me off and then I tried to catch a girl that was moving great. I followed her all the way to the aid station where I finally passed her because my stop was less than 20 seconds to get water. On the downhill I pushed the pace and felt great, but noticed that my second toe on my right foot was hurting a lot. I had put some mole-skin on the toe to prevent a blister and I remember there was a crease at the bottom and I knew that was causing it. It really started to hurt, so at the bottom on the hill I stopped and took off my shoe, gaiter and sock and removed it. I hated stopping, especially since I was feeling so good, but it helped a lot and I felt better. The girl I had passed at the aid station passed me again and I would follow her into the finish. The last 4 miles were fun. I was feeling as good as I had felt all day and nothing hurt, except my toe a little where I had the mole-skin. I actually ran a lot of the last 4 in the 8's and felt so good and strong. Except for the girl nobody had passed me in at least 12 miles and I reeled in 4-5 runners that last 4 miles. I wanted to pass the girl, but she as strong and kept pushing hard. Once we came around the bend and could see the finish we both picked it up and there was another runner in our sights. She passed him with about a quarter of a mile left, but he picked up his pace a lot at the end and I couldn't make up the distance. I was still feeling really strong at the end and felt like I had a lot left in the tank, which makes me feel really good about my training so far this year. It was good to see Matt at the finish. I was really happy for him. He ran a great race and had made incredible strides this year. It was also fun to see Craig and Kelli come in on the 50 mile race. They were awesome. I also got to say hi to Crockett, Bryce and hang out with Seth and the guys for a while and eat some buffalo stew. This was a really fun event and was very well organized and I had a great time. Congrats to everyone that ran and to those that reached their goals. Also, props to Bryce for going 30+ miles while fighting a nasty cold. It is very inspiring to watch everyone out there and makes me want to get better. I finished in 5:37 and I was very happy with that. My goal had been 5:30 and I felt like I would have to run a perfect race to hit it.

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