I've been overdue for a race report that was worth mentioning, and last weekend was finally that race:
May 1, 2010: Collegiate Peaks Trail Run (50 Miles)
7 hours 46 minutes... 8th overall!
Maybe having no expectations (or at least extremely low ones) is the key going into a touch ultra. It was supposed to be rainy/snowy and was only going to be 2 weeks after the Desert R.A.T.S. 50 miler, so I just assumed that my time wouldn't be too stellar.
Well, it WAS cold but with clear skies, the threat of precipitation seemed low and I knew the cold (highs around 40) was closer to ideal than the extreme heat I'd dealt with recently. Some of the highlights:
Last year, due to knee pain on the long 7 mile descent into the finish of the first lap (25 miles), I was forced to drop out and get an official 25 mile time. My final time in 2009 was 3:55.xx, so imagine my surprise when my first lap was 3:39.xx this year AND I was still feeling half way decent!
25 mile Turnaround: 3:39.xx... 10th place.
The interesting thing about this was that I actually ran at an exhertion level that I considered much lower than normal so as to conserve energy, and yet I was faster by about 16 minutes! Because of this smart pacing, I was able to run all but 10 minutes of the 7 mile climb up to the mile 32 aid station. At this point, I knew even if I was to completely bonk a finish would be inevitable since the worst was behind me, but that didn't mean it was time to let up. From mile 28 on I had another runner about 2-4 minutes behind me and everytime we reached an open clearing I could see him on my heels. I was absolutely determined to fend him off as long as possible but felt that fatigue would set in and I'd have to let him go.
Surprisingly, I was able to hang on to about a 1 minute lead until the last aid station with 6 miles remaining. At this point I realized that it was almost entirely downhill to the finish and my legs still had a little gas left. Deciding to leave it all on the course I now had a new goal of not only opening up a lead on this guy, but also of breaking my 50 mile PR which was set last September at the North Face Endurance Challenge in Washington, DC on a far easier course, AND at sea level.
In the end I succeeded in opening up a 5 minute lead on my nearest competitor, BUT missed my PR by barely 1 minute!!!! Regardless, I have to consider this my strongest 50 mile performance to date. Even being close to my best time despite not being fresh and having 8,000+ ft of vertical gain on the course makes me supremely confident going into the summer.
I'll post my summer race/training plan in the coming weeks, but for the remainder of May the plan is to run the Colfax Marathon (and go for a sub-3 hour marathon PR), followed by the Jemez Mountain 50 Miler in Los Alamos, NM. The Jemez race is widely considered one of the 3 hardest 50 milers in the U.S. so it will be a great training run leading up to Hardrock in July!