Sunday, October 13, 2013

2013 New River Trail 50k

2013 New River Trail 50k
Training Weeks 16-18

None. This will be my first year participating in this event. This will also be my first timed 50k race as well as my first ultra marathon of any distance.

I intend to do a 20 mile long run at the end of week 16, then follow that up with 2 weeks of decreasing mileage and holding steady to modest increases with intensity.

Week 16-Mon: Intervals 9 Wed: Recovery 12  Thurs: Tempo 4 Sat: Long 20

Week 17-Mon: Intervals 6 Tue: Recovery 10  Thurs: Long 8 + 8  Sat: Fun Run 5k

Week 18-Mon: Tempo 4 Wed: Recovery 8    Sat: Race

6  8.512
7 5.51+19




The Course

The NRT 50k course consists of fine crushed gravel along a rails-to-trails former railroad bed. Railroads typically choose the flattest paths  when laying out their tracks for fuel efficiency purposes and this course was no exception. Elevation changes were subtle and I only perceived that I was running on a level course.

The Race
Elevation Profile
The 2013 NRT 50k was my introduction to ultra distance events. Throughout training I had been hesitant to establish any goals beyond simply finishing, but in order for the final result to reflect well on the training I did want to have a faster time and pace than the one 30 miler I completed during week 5. I had originally intended to do two or three 30 milers while training for the NRT 50k, but started to feel some burnout during July and August, so I cut my long run mileage way back and started ramping up for the main event with just the one for comparison. 

In my 5 year history with endurance sports I've noticed my motivation seems to wane drastically after about 2 hours or16 miles. I enjoy pushing hard for about 2 hours/16 miles and after that the real workout begins. I have had some success fighting the encroaching fatigue during the 3 marathons I've completed, but I had no intention of fighting it for the NRT 50k, instead I focused my long training runs on staying comfortable, taking it easy, walking at regular intervals, and simply enjoying being outdoors. 

I had entertained some ideas prior to the race about how I was going to run it, but as usually happens my training determined what I was going to do more than any last minute enthusiasm. From race start all the way through mile 27 all I thought about was comfort and taking it easy. 

I started out in the easy 8's and as soon as that took any effort at all I quickly ditched the 8's and flirted with the 9's for a couple of miles. I didn't have enough experience with the distance to know how much "push" to invest in the effort, but I knew I had a good solid bank of 8's working to keep my avg pace low, and I knew my goal pace to beat from week 5 was in the high 11's, so I decided to place a bet on holding a high 11/low 12 for the remainder of the course. 

I used regular walk intervals every mile after mile 12. Monitoring my Garmin closely, I would start each mile with a 1/10th mile brisk walk, follow that up with whatever effort was required to bring my avg pace for that mile back down to a mid 11/low 12, walk again until the avg pace was back up to a 13, then use whatever was needed to pull the avg back close to a 12 min/mile. After seeing two 12's I decided I was selling myself short, so I opted for all 11's after mile 17.

This strategy worked extraordinarily well until mile 27. 

At mile 26 I filled my water bottle at an aid station and it was cold and it felt oh so good and I drank the whole fracking thing in less than a quarter mile. I wanted to turn around and go back and drink a lot more water and fill up my bottle again, but that would have devastated everything I was working for.

I was already feeling some fatigue and I had 4 miles to go with no water so I decided to drop my per mile goal pace to a sub 15, which translated to a speed walk with just the occasional light jog. Fortunately some volunteers were monitoring a road crossing somewhere along mile 29 and they had a water cooler. With a fresh infusion of H2O and a full water bottle I was now able to take my mind off conserving energy and instead focus on a strong finish!

Of course a strong finish at that point would still looked like death, but I did kick it up to a 13 for the final full mile and a high 9 for the .27 mile sprint to the finish! As is typical, I was late turning off my Garmin, so final stats don't accurately reflect the effort to the finish. 

Garmin Data: HERE
(Note: Garmin only holds roughly 3h45m of geographical information, then starts to erase oldest data first. It does retain per mile pace stats though.)

Official Results:
New River Trail 50k (NT) USATF certified marathon split: 4:37:22
2013-time: 5:43:48, Pace: 10:59, Place 86/128 overall, 25/40 in my age group, 57/79 among men 

No comments:

Post a Comment