Monday, July 30, 2012

Silver Rush 50M

Both the 50M run and the 50M MTB were held this last weekend. The bike on Sat. and the run on Sun. We had big Oregon crew participating. Micheal and Drake did the Silver King which is a distinction given to those who do both the MTB and the Run. Bill did the MTB, Darin and I did the run. Todd chose the MTB as his second Leadman event. It was an action packed weekend and so much fun. The gruelling course does not dissappoint. 7,500 feet of ascent. All above 10,000 feet and we reach 12,000 three times. The footing for the most part was pretty good. Some rocky sections but I would say overall not a super technical course. That didn't prevent me from slamming my foot into a rock and stubbing my big toe so hard the nail lifted. That hurt!

Darin, Alex and I crewed the MTB ride. That was so fun to watch! Todd was so speedy I only got one picture of him and we never saw him again. The whole scene was really eye opening and inspiring. Action packed! They had 750 riders and of those just a handful of woman. The final female count was less than 30! Come on ladies we need to get in the game. This is very tough MTB course and anyone who lines up has my admiration. All our guys did amazing finishing well under the cutoff and not an open wound in sight or a bandaid needed! Bill had so much fun out there and once again he amazes me. I think this might be the 3rd time he has rode his bike and not only did he finish with lots of time to spare he had a total blast. He can't stop talking about it. Even more impressive is Drake and Micheal's Silver King accomplishment. 2 full days on that course and they posted impressive times.

As for my run, well, I am thrilled. I finished 14th out of 74 woman and 4th masters. Best of all first Leadwoman. I had 2 goals for this race. First, get my quads worked and second go for negative splits. I got a lot of strange looks because I chose the run instead of the MTB for my Leadwoman event. You get a choice with of which Silver Rush event. My strategy has been to train hard on the bike and use this 50M run as a another training race for my legs. Though I am not worried about Leadville 100M run I will never ever take a 100M run for granted. Plus, I have never run a 100M race 6 days after a 100M MTB race. I suspect I will not get the big buckle on the run this time. My legs were darn tired going in to this race. The fatigue I feel from hard long rides is much different from running. I have a strong sense of my well being with regards to ultra training. The sore muscles, tight quads, some swelling from muscle damage and overall fatigue are all too familiar. The bike skips many of these. I get tight but in different spots. I am not sore and generally not too fatigued. But, what I am learning is there is a deeper fatigue that is a hidden and unfamilar. When I put my body to the test it becomes forefront and cumbersome. After finishing the LMTB training camp where I rode 125 miles I felt remarkably fine. I ran the two days then Todd and I did a 40 mile ride on Wednesday. I was completely beat on that ride. The hidden fatigue was no longer in the shadows! I rested as much as I could before Sunday. Trying to get as much repair as possible before Silver Rush 50M.

After the action packed day crewing I was ready to get out there. Almost craving the crazy ultra vide I knew would be present in this kind of tough course. I was ready to see what this body could do. With my all too conservative start filled with lots of good conversation at mile 8 I decided it was time to focus. Give this race some effort and make my body respond. Immediately I was bummed at how much the altitude seem to bother me. It was frustrating to have so much trouble breathing. I had to let it go because I was starting to get pissed. That certainly does not help the respiration! I can't tell if I was breathing so hard because I working hard or if it was the altitude. It really doesn't matter because I had to work with what I had. For the first 25 miles Micheal, Drake, Darin and I were all leap frogging and running fairly close together. That was fun. The views on the back side of Bald Mountain are incredible and pictures will not do it justice. At the turn I tried to kick it up a notch. Trying to reach goal number 2, negative splits. Goal number 1 was well in the bank. My quads were already thrashed. Honestly I can't remember them hurting this bad this early in an event. It's been a long time. I welcomed it. This is money. I will reap the benefits of this in the 100M run. I am certain of it! It gave me opportunity to deal with pain. To understand it and deal with it for a good long time. I knew on the way home I had about 9 miles of down hill. Not all of it but most the final 9 are down. With my quads already quivering I was curious to see how I could hold onto this run.

Coming into the final aid station I actually felt pretty good but was riding a fine line. A line where my body and mind walked the tight rope. My brain would process the terrain but my body was just one synapse behind. My legs were absolutely fried. They even looked the part, mushy and flat. The muscle damage had already set in and water was filling the gaps. With about 5 miles to go I stumble and my left leg just popped out of my hip socket. I walked and shook it hoping it would go back in the right spot. I got some mild relief but this certainly didn't feel good. Oh well, just another day in an ultra....right. The remainder of the run seemed to go on forever. The heat seemed over the top too. I gimped in under 10 hours. Overall thrilled but this might be some of the worst final 5 miles I have run in a very long time. Another good experience and reminder. This stuff is not easy but I guess that's why I keep coming back.

The biggest lesson I got this weekend was how much recovery I need between the 100M MTB ride and the 100M run. I have 6 days between those events. 6 days to repair my body for what I know will not be a walk in the park :)

This way or that?

Mt Hood 50M Finish!
Since my San Diego 100M run followed by Test of Endurance50M MTB I've been busy participating.  Instead of racing I'm participating.  I knew stacking my summer with so many events  would not allow me to focus and train with any consistency.  Instead just like the GrandSlam of Ultra Running and Leadwoman the focus would be on recovery.  I am thrilled with how my body and mind are holding up.  I'm having a total blast pushing my limits in both running and MTBing.  Everything seems to be going much better than I could have imagined.  The next big challenge would be the High Cascades 100M MTB race followed by Mt. Hood 50M run.

Picketts Charge
The weekend after TOE 50M I rode Pickett's Charge MTB race. A 25 mile single track event in Central Oregon.  This was my first exposure to some of the trails in High Cascades100M.  I was really beat going into the race.  Since I also signed up for Monday night Short Track Racing and Tuesday night Trail Series runs I was simply spent.  Too much!  However, I rallied and was glad I did.  It was a great event and the trail system was incredible! I was challenged not only physically but mentally too.  The twisty lava filled single track was different and took some focus.  As a novice MTBer I was nervous most of the race.  Although, I got better and better as the day progressed being faster on my second loop! Now I had a minor glimpse of what was coming in 4 very short weeks!
Short Track Racing
I had no training plan but rather a "do what I can in between races" approach.  I didn't rest much after Picketts since Short track was Monday night and the Trail Series Race followed on Tuesday.  Both these venues push my anaerobic threshold to its limit.  I am nearly at max for 30 minutes on both these days.  It's great training for a slugger.  For the MTB I get massive skill building plus it's a serious "race" environment which is good for me.  On Tuesday I get to "race" on the trails for a short, fast and intense 45-60 minutes.  Again, something I never do so the benefits are numerous.  Not to mention both are so much fun I can't stay away!
Just one of the views!

High Cascades 100 start
With High Cascades my focus I tried to ride the course as much as I could.  Bill and I rode parts of the course 2 other times.  All together I got see about 60 miles of the course.  The final route was not posted and was not yet final.  The snow levels around Mt. Bachelor were still in question  almost up to race day.    The 60 miles we did ride was enough for me to wonder how the hell I was going to get this done under the cutoff.  I thought Leadville was challenging but I was in for a new kind of challenge. Leadville has so many riders it makes riding your own race almost impossible unless you're in the front. Oh, and you can't breathe there.  The course is not that challenging.  High Cascades 100M has 12,000 feet of climbing and more than 80 miles of single track.  It's not a straight single track either!  I was looking forward to the experience and the adrenaline filled day.  It felt like the difference between Javelina 100M and Wasatch 100M.  High Cascades is a course of survival which is right up my alley.  Could I make the 14 hour cutoff, emerge with all my body parts and not too much Lava rash? 
I was working hard at mile 80

I finished in 12:42 and had the time of my life! I gained skills and more respect for myself and MTBer.  I am a better rider than I give myself credit for finishing 3rd in my division.  I rode stuff I wouldn't have considered attempting 3 short months ago.  I've gained a tremendous amount of power on the bike.  The raw strength it takes to muscle up and over things.  I have been working on that type of "force" and it has paid.  Unlike Leadville 100 MTB the people were gracious and encouraging.  I didn't feel  that at Leadville until I got past mile 70 and I was with folks more my speed.  High Cascades 100M MTB race is a gem and as soon as riders become aware of this race it will fill fast.  The views and terrain are breathtaking. I need a do again! 

Portland Trail Series Races
I had a great race with no complaints and no mechanicals but my hamstrings were fried.  My goal for the next 5 days was to nurse them back to health so I could run the MT Hood 50M run.  After Monday night short track I rested, went to Bikram and did one small run just to remind myself how to run.  For Mt Hood 50M my expectations were so low. I really wanted it to be a good training run for Waldo.  Since SD100M run I've only done one 24 mile Gorge run which was my highest mile run week at 65.  All the rest were in the 20's or mid 30's.  Not nearly enough.  I was wondering how much character building I would be doing out there? How slow and how much pain I would have to endure.  To my surprise I had a great day.  I was so strong physically. I didn't have much speed and striding out was not easy with no hamstrings.  They were just short and not really part of the action.  They weren't painful though, very curious.  My quads felt great which I still can't believe.  I took it really easy chatting with the Smith's (Pam and Mac) for the first 10 miles. It was great to hear about Pam's WS100M run and how well she recovered.  I got passed and was seriously near the back of the pack for the first 20 miles.  Then I began to catch folks.  I finished in 10:14 which is better than I expected.  The biggest icing on the cake?? I am not too sore! I have some interesting tight spots.  I think it might be confused muscle tissue.  Tissue that's not sure why it's not going in circles and why it's hitting the ground all the time?  Anyway, on to the next adventure Waldo 100K.  This is the final week of Short Track Racing and Portland Trail Series Racing so I guess I will have to do my own speed work.  I also bought a boat!  Yes, I am going to paddle.  I have no idea how to paddle and am not a huge water fan but I like nice shoulders so what the heck?  Plus, Bend has tons of places to paddle.  I can wheel my boat across the street from our house, drop it in and paddle upstream for miles, turn and come back.  It's not deep so I won't drown either.

So far this summer has been incredibly fun and fulfilling! It's not over yet and I can't I still have some new interesting races on the books.