Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 Into The Darkness 4 Miler

2014
Into The Darkness 4 Miler
Night Trail Run

History
Red=Personal Record, Brown=Hike
2010-time: 32:36.18, pace: 7:57/M, Place 45/409 overall, 6/28 in my age group & 31/198 among men
2011-time: 1:39:37.40, pace: 24:39/M, Place 420/420 overall, 26/26 in my age group, 215/215 among men
2012-time: 1:26:40.63, pace: 21:50/M, Place 508/513 overall, 34/34 in my age group, 247/249 among men
 2013-time: 35:46.77, pace: 8:50/M, Place 60/425 overall, 6/27 in my age group & 53/207 among men
 
2014-time: 33:09.19, pace: 8:17/M, Place 17/299 overall, 1/19 in my age group & 17/155 among men
The Event
Fueling and muscular endurance strategy have always been a challenge for me at this night race. I train in the mornings, so I know how to fuel in the mornings, and I know how my body responds in the mornings. Racing in the mornings is just an extension of my routine.
My daughter Faith, and her friend Halley, hiked the event this year in about 1 hr 20 min for a new course PR for Faith. Super proud of both girls for going the distance and staying active.

Racing at night, however, breaks my routine and forces me to accommodate new dynamics in to my preparedness. This year I decided to warm up my muscles around noon with an easy 2 hr cross training routine I like to call CycloSwim where I ride my bicycle to the gym, swim laps in the pool and ride back home. By focusing on easy cycling and swimming my intent was to avoid fatiguing my legs while conditioning my cardiovascular system for a short term boost. A similar strategy had seemed to pay off well at this years Blue Ridge Half.

After finishing my low/medium intensity workout I allowed myself a few hours of relaxation and errand running before the race. I was keeping pace with the top 10 for the first mile, but couldn't find a good rhythm to transition to for the first prolonged uphill. About 5 or 6 passed me on that section and 2 or 3 more passed me over the remainder of the course.

    After about 3 miles in, there was no one in sight in front of me and I couldn't hear anyone behind me either, so I just kinda lost my motivation to push hard for speed and instead just focused on feeling good and saving something for the home stretch in case I needed to defend my spot. No one behind me ever closed the gap, so I ran the last mile in near isolation at a comfortable, but not too comfortable, effort.

Having never placed at this event before, the final results surprised me to say the least. My trail running people are what I consider to be intensely athletic and competitive. I knew I wasn't in PR shape, and even my 2010 course PR of 32:36 only netted me a 6th place Age Group that year, so I was somewhat shocked to see I had earned the Masters Award. Mountain Junkie Master Awards only go 1 deep so I consider them to be particularly prestigious. I only have 1 other and that was from the 2012 Trail Nut 10k.
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