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Sasquatch 25K Race Report

As promised, here is my personal race report from Saturday's 25K at BRCF.

My longest run in preparation for the race was 10.2 miles.  My average weekly running distance in the 16 weeks leading up was a whopping 21 miles.  I was clearly ready for this race.  Or not.  Actually my total training volume has probably been the highest since high school, but running has been sharing training time with the bike.  I had no doubt in my mind I could handle the distance, it was going to be a question of how destroyed my legs were going to be when I got done.

Race morning brought a decent level of humidity.  Riding out to the water stops in the Ranger it felt pretty cool at 20mph.  I knew that at 9:00/miles (hopefully) it was not going to feel cool.

We had a good crowd on hand with some new faces so I was excited to race.  This really was down to a race for second in the overall series for me though.  If my math was correct all I had to do was finish within one place of Dallas to hold on to second place (provided he placed no higher than 2nd).  That really was the the A goal, the B goal was of course to just plain beat him too.

The gun went off (actually a gun this time) and we headed east into the rising sun following the very gently climbing valley floor.  Series winner and one of the new faces Steve took off in a hurry.  By the time we reached the first real climb at the east end of the property they were gone, never to be seen again.  After a relatively quick first two miles averaging just over 8:00, Dallas, Jeff and I formed a little group and started into the hills.

Our group of three hung together for the next seven miles.  We had a good conversational pace going and power walked the big hills.  It was great company to keep for the first hour and a half of the race.

Somewhere around the top of the major climb to the top of the south property line Jeff tailed off the back of our little group.  We later learned that he came down with the worst case of calf cramps I've ever heard of and limped it in over the next 6 miles resorting to all methods of stretching, walking, and hobbling to get over the hills.

Continuing on without him, Dallas and I tackled the remaining hills on the south property line before reaching the trail merge and water stop.  A quick stop to drink and dump a small cup over my head and we started off again.

This is where the "race" started.  And it started with me asking Dallas if he was "ready to race".  He said something to the effect of "no, you go for it".  We shook hands and I took off thinking I only had about five miles to go and thinking I had enough left to attack it a little bit.

This is where Dallas decided to play it tactically and not actually let me go.  He gave me about a 30m gap and then tailed me.  I was determined not to look back, but I could hear his footsteps following me.  I'd try to pull away a little on the uphills pushing my heart rate to the highest it had been all morning and yet I could hear him crashing down the next hill not far behind me.

His strategy was working and I ran up hills we had walked up before and I was really getting gassed.  I did finally stop hearing his footsteps and backed off on the hills a little bit more.

And then I bonked.  The last major climb at about mile 13.5 I came completely unglued and it wasn't even a power walk to the top.  It was a semi-wobbly walk to the top.  The next two miles were a LONG ways.  I managed to get it rolling again and used the hill down to the final water stop at the screenporch and continued on down to the valley floor.  There is a slight uphill at the bottom before you reach the road and it was hard.

Once on the road the sun was high enough that there was minimal shade and I was cooking.  Despite the good footing and net elevation loss and the fear of being caught by Dallas I could just barely manage a 9:00 mile.  At the artesian well with less than half a mile to go I had to stop and pour water on my head.

In the end I managed to drag my way to the finish about 40 seconds ahead of Dallas.  He said he could see me on the straights in the last mile but just couldn't close.  Thank goodness.  What a great race and good competitors.  My legs actually never gave out on me and I was only a little sore the next day.

On the 21st some guy (Ben Jonjak) got me to sign up for the Birkie Trail marathon.  At the finish of this the thought of running another 10.7 miles was pretty much not possible.  That run is going to be even harder though I'm going to take it even easier.  You should come join our party.

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