Broken Track 12h training race - 1st overall
It is so strange how this race went so much better than the one last week, yet it made me freak out about a whole lot of different things regarding my upcoming 6-day.
I needed a few days to start pulling myself together mentally and to believe it will be a different story come race day.
The whole point of running the Broken Track again was to try new asthma medications since they didn't really work that well at the last race, Alexander County 24h. I was fine during the race, but I couldn't breathe for two days after. So that's the main reason I was trying to push things and still at least jog when I could have walked the overall win in. We need to see how my lungs react to running. It was also meant to be a "training run" and not a "training walk" after all.
When things still felt easy...
It was a super hot day. The previous two days were cloudy and rainy but sure enough, for race day it was scorching hot with the sun relentlessly cooking us all. (The following day was cloudy again!)
This took a big toll on all of us and I'm just starting to come to terms with how hard it all felt as opposed to how it should have felt. I don't have a cooler here so we didn't bring ice, but the amazing organizers brought some and the race kit included an ice bandana. This was the first time ever I had to use ice because my usual cooling gear was not enough. I didn't need ice in 97F / 37C last year at the Triathlon Nationals! Although I only spent 3h 37 mins running the marathon part there I guess, not 12 hours.
It was good to experience all this though because Spartathlon and Badwater are both on my bucket list!
Ice bandana around my neck
I also think that the whole story of this race slamming me in the face is a good thing, a wake-up call as I was starting to get maybe too confident about the upcoming 6-day. This brought me back to earth and made me realize just how hard it will be and how much I absolutely have to be on top of my game mentally and physically for the whole time if I want to achieve my goals.
Another goal at this race was to start out no faster than at 9 min/mi (5:35 min/km) pace and just try to hold that for as long as I can. Well, I couldn't, ops... The not starting out faster part was close enough, I think with a little more discipline at the Dome I will be ok and can do it. I know how important it will be to not go out any faster than that. So although I didn't fully nail this one, it was close enough for me to be happy.
Joey Lichter, who will also be at the Dome doing the 6-day was at this race too, so I wasn't the only one thinking this would be fun for a last long run. He was ahead of me for the first little bit, I think 2 laps ahead at the most, but I was determined to just run my own race and not get carried away, put my ego aside and just stick to that pace. I need to learn this, so important.
Joey didn't end up having a good day, I think he had GI issues and maybe it was the heat as well, but he was out very early.
Then there was Tyler. He was only 2 laps behind me for a while and looked solid. He was running just a tiny bit slower than me but very consistently and seemed really strong. I actually enjoyed that I had someone right on my heels so I just had to keep going.
Tyler literally on my heels
At this point I was still feeling good, we were only a few hours in. Once it started getting really hot and it was clear that I'm moving the fastest on the track, I decided to afford myself what I called microbreaks. These were 30-60 second breaks that I used either to pour cold water on myself or to check standings. They made it much easier to keep going. In a competitive race you can't do this because these microbreaks do add up. But this time the name of the game was to just keep it as comfortable as possible. I spent a total of an hour on these mini-breaks - crazy how they add up!
I went though the marathon mark just over 4 hours, something around 4:04 or so. That's right around that 9 min/mi (5:35 min/km) pace, so I was actually quite happy with that. Then the rest of it was more of a jog than a run but I figured as long as I'm not walking I'm working towards seeing how the meds are working, and as long as I'm still moving faster than anyone else on the track I'm also winning.
Tyler stopped for a longer break and I was left without anyone really chasing me. Joel was moving best in 2nd place but he was significantly behind. He is an Ironman triathlete too (there were a lot of triathletes in this race!) and he has already done the World Championships in Kona which is also on my bucket list and most likely the main goal for next year. So I was a bit jealous anytime I looped him and saw his Kona tattoo on his calf. It is good motivation to see my future goals in front of me.
Joel Royston, M62
By about 8.5 hours in everyone was walking. Every now and then someone picked it up to a half lap jog, but that was it. It was really tempting to just walk it in but I wasn't sure how much is enough to see the effect of the meds and that's why I came. So I decided to at least jog to 10 hours which I did. At that point I could have stopped and still won, but I thought I might as well keep moving.
I found another goal for the next hour, which was to walk at the planned goal pace of days 3-6 of my 6-day. I was very happy to see that with a power walk, this was very much achievable. I walked at 9:30-10 min/km pace (15-16 min/mi) for the second last hour.
Then around 11h one of my blisters started to hurt and I started to change my stride because of it which is a sure way to injury. At this point I had the win in the bank and I just wanted to be as comfortable for the last hour as possible so I decided to treat my blisters instead of just pushing through the last hour.
It was a very rookie mistake I made with the socks. I kept pouring water all over myself all day, soaking my socks. I did the same thing last weekend at the trail race and even noted that I will have to do better this weekend because my feet didn't like it for 50km either. So at minimum I should have brought a bunch of dry socks and changed them often which I didn't. I had one pair of extra socks which I brought for after the race and they weren't running socks. I still put them on after about 4 hours so then I was left with no more dry socks. I should have put my waterproof socks on which I had with me, but I guess this is again one of the examples of your brain just not working as it should in a race situation.
I took 20 mins to treat all the blisters but the one that I stopped for was still painful. I put the waterproof socks on and a size bigger shoes, but it was not enough. I didn't bring my running sandals and I was really jealous of Becca for the last two hours because she was smart enough to have sandals with her! I probably could have continued in sandals.
I decided there was no point in suffering through the last hour especially if my stride is altered from the pain so I stopped and just started packing up our stuff and hanging out with people. It was disappointing to only do less than 60 miles (59.5), and to see 98km on my watch and not be able to at least walk to 100, but there was really no point.
I did enough to trigger the asthma responses and the meds did better than a month ago. I feel like this will be good enough to get me through the 6-day even if I still have issues and it is not perfect, plus there is nothing else we can do at this point anyway. It was painful to breathe for the next two days and still is on day 3, but with the rescue inhaler I was able to inhale my medications. I could breathe better than after Alexander County.
And now taper time! Nothing else to do but trust the process and enjoy some relaxation before the big one. I'm getting really excited!