Sunday, November 4, 2007
Slow and Steady gets the PR!
Up until yesterday's Mountain Masochist 50, I had never run a race when "everything came together." I had a goal of setting a PR (sub-9:40) and hoped to break 9:30, but more importantly, I wanted to run a smart race, bringing together all the lessons I have learned in the past 5 years of racing ultras.
I knew I was trained well (see my previous post), I knew the course, and the weather was absolutely perfect for a race in the mountains, with a low of 32 at the start and a high of 55 at the finish. My strategy this year was simple: start more conservatively than last year, and try to have a stronger second half by eating and drinking consistently and keeping my pace steady throughout. By the halfway mark, I was on 9:30 pace and feeling good. I had been sipping Clif Shots every 15 minutes, and switching out Sustained Energy, water, and Nuun with water with every bottle change. Most encouraging was the fact that I was able to run a lot of the uphill sections with minimal effort---something I chalk up to training with long tempo runs at 7:15 pace on hilly roads, big mileage weeks of 70+ mpw, and the 9,000 feet of climb at the Odyssey 40 in September---perfect training.
Another awesome piece of support came from my brand new Ipod Shuffle, which Rusty gave me last week, and which I switched on before entering the notorious loop section. The ultra gods were smiling down on me as almost every song that came up ended up being a favorite tune for running, so I was adequately pumped up by the last 3 miles of the race, knowing I had enough time to break 9:30. But the rocky, leafy sections of the last downhill stretch slowed me down a bit, and since I was totally thrilled with the day thus far, I decided to chill and enjoy myself as I crossed the finish line in 9:34! It was particularly cool to see my hubby, oldest son and daughter at the finish---the cap to a perfect day in the mountains.
I was humbled to be in the same event as some of my ultra heroes---Nikki Kimball, Annette Bednosky, Bethany Patterson, and Krissy Moehl were all contending for the top spots (here is a cool photo of the top 5 women celebrating, taken by Sue Norwood) and it was a thrill to talk to them at the pre-race. This was also David's last Masochist after 25 years as RD, and it was very cool to be part of the celebration. And very fitting---Holiday Lake 50k was my first ultra, and Masochist was my first 50 mile---so setting my Masochist PR on such a perfect day was the essence of "bringing it all together." Here are my photos! Also, here is a photo of Andrew Thompson and J.B. Basham, taken by Sue Norwood, as they finish their DOUBLE Masochist...they started running at 6:30 pm on Friday night from the finish line in Montebello, arrived 12 hours later at the start at the James River Visitors Center, and then turned around to run their second 54 miles. They finished the 108 miles at about 11:15 race time. Incredible.