Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Great Cranberry Island 50k - Round 2

When I started entering races in 2007 I made a promise to myself - I would never shun a race off after just one time. To get the full experience, you have to at least try something twice (still need to keep this promise to myself with Mt. Washington...).

So, on Saturday, I once again found myself at the start line of the GCI 50k. Last year, I was vastly underprepared. I had gotten married 2 weeks before (no long run that weekend) and leading up to the race I had done back to back marathons in May to qualify for Marathon Maniacs and the Mt. Washington Road Race. Between tapering and recovering for those, it didn't leave much time for quality training. Bob wanted me to run/walk the race, which I did, but without practicing that I was left cramped up very early in the race. Let's not forget to mention that I was also fat at the time (an extra 15 lbs last year! and had the worst diet on earth).

This year, I felt very well trained. I am coming off of an awesome marathon cycle for Providence (even the outcome of that sucked since I got the flu 4 days before the race) and the since Providence I have been feeling stronger than ever. My main focus right now is the ING Hartford Marathon in October, so I had to consider that when making my game plan for GCI. In the end I decided to see what I could do at goal marathon heart rate. I figured at best - I could qualify at GCI or get a PR (current PR 3:42) and at worst, I wouldn't qualify, but I would come out with a learning experience that may help me in Hartford.

The race started at 11:30 - a time I had not practiced for, and before hand I took in 1000 food calories plus Gatorade thinking it would be enough (it was not...I was starving at mile 16). So long story short - I held marathon HR (5 below lactate - 162ish) at the goal pace (YAY!) for 16 miles. Looked down at mile 16...162...looked down a tenth of a mile later...191. BOO! So, needless to say, I was not about to keep running pace at that heartrate. I trudged through the last 10 to get to the marathon split in 3:56. After that, Alice and I walked back to camp and she amazingly went to the tent to get my wallet while I laid on the cold grass. We then walked to the store at one end of the course and I bought myself a GIANT sized ice cream sandwich, and we continued on our way. I walked the last 5 miles of the 50k, finishing in 5:37.

I promised myself that whatever happened at this race, I was coming away with only positives, so that I could continue to stay focused on Hartford. With that being said...there were a lot of positives.

1. I had a BLAST and made lots of neat friends on the island. I love runners...we are such a unique and awesome breed!
2. A 3:56 marathon is not what I am training for right's a lot slower...BUT, it is only my 2nd fastest marathon so far...
3. I had an AWESOME debrief session with Coach Bob after the race. He said my HR spiked due to dehydration, which after analyzing some runs, seems to hit me at the 2hr 10 minute mark. This explains why I can run a half marathon at a 7:26 pace at HR, but only 16 miles on HR at an 8:05 in a the half, I'm done long before the dehydration hits. In a typical 16-18 mile run, taking in 48 oz. plus of liquid, I am usually down 3-4lbs. I am also an extremely salty sweater. This is going to be looked into, and a plan will be made BEFORE Hartford. ;-)
4. It was a 45 minute 50k PR, even with walking all of the last 5 miles.
5. When will I ever in my life again be able to say, "I stopped for ice cream in the middle of a race."
6. I am now an ultra marathoner....times 2!
7. Alice and I set up a tent BY OURSELVES! boom!
8. I got to encourage others, and be encouraged, for 31.25 miles. It amazes me that there is so much companionship in a sport that seems so solitary on the surface.

And one last note...a huge thank you to Alice who was the most awesome Sherpa/"Maid of Honor" ever on this adventure! I owe you one big time lady!

Alice and I catching the ferry to GCI

Our digs for the night...we set it up ourselves! 

Post race

Best find in the store!

"I'm not posting how many miles I run to brag, I just don't want you to judge me when I down this bag of chips
...and ice cream...." 

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