May 30 2015,
Self-Transcendence 7 hour RR
Originally this was not going to be a big deal because i really wanted to do my first 50 miler this year, but after injury in December, a very slow comeback from that, some personal tragedy resulting in an emotionally difficult Winter and Spring…and then the 50 miler I had signed up for being cancelled!…well that left the Self-Transcendence 7 hour race as my goal ultra race for 2015.
I ran this event last year and had such a nice time, it looks to be an annual event for me. They were going to have a 13 hour option but since i am still not 100% so i opted for the 7. My A goal was 40 miles. I made it 38. Exactly the same as last year. A geat day weather-wise perhaps a little warm for us NWsterners morning in the 50’s but up to the mid 70’s by afternoon and sunny. The race in a 1.5 mile loop through a variety of terrain and i would say for this area anyway it is Very Flat although not quite as flat as a track and lots of gravel path, my least favorite substrate. The loop is perfect for aid though and i dont have to wear a pack that will rub my nipples off.
I was definitely not as strong as last year, but smarter. I really tried hard to discipline myself in the early laps and not go out too fast. I certainly was not expecting a negative split but I did want to reduce the drop-off…and was successful. My intention was to stay in the 9’s up to 20 miles and then 10’s to 30 and then shuffle whatever i could after that. Anything in the 8’s woudl be a warning that i should slow down. Up to about 22 miles i was right on schedule and everything was fine (actually i was expecting a flare-up from my injury, which even today the morning after the race i am not feeling at all!) but then i was getting a really harsh cramp in my inner left thigh so i had to stop and stretch that out several times between mile 23 and 35 and walk a lot. I was taking scaps and putting tiger balm on it at the aid station and drinking as much fluid as i could keep down but ended up taking some “vitamin-I” at about miles 25 and 35. My pace was still ok when i was running but the cramp just kept coming back. After about mile 32 though it left. Perhaps that was the ibuprophen kicking in. Now i know the danger esp not good on your kidneys but i dont use it regularly so it works well when i need it. Anyway the whole race was fun, esp that Seattle max was there and he is just in another league, but it was inspiring to run with him and i tried my best to keep up. Perhaps he helped me a lot without realizing it because there was a lollipop section where you pass those ahead of you coming the other way and i could measure how much progress i had made in keeping up. Somewhere about mile 18 or so though he was gone and i knew at some point he was going to lap me! It was good timing when did though and it got me stepping up for a while trying to keep up again but he’s just too fast and comfortable in his stride. I hope to be that strong one day!
There were only about 20 participants, but the course being a loop I keep getting to see the same folks over and over so it pays to chat with everyone just a little as this helps me to keep a steady pace and not end up doing fartleks the whole way (like last year). Something fun happened at the end too where the first lady had been very slowly gaining on me the entire race, she finally caught up to me on the very last lap at about 1/4 mile to go! I looked back and saw her coming so i waved her up and said “hello let’s race”, so after 38 miles we sprinted to the finish, which strangely felt very good and loosened me up quite a bit!
After a dip in the lake and a nice post race meal and awards and it was also very nice to have my family there all in all feeling pretty good. Sore and some of my toes are hamburger but feeling alright…and no sign of the injury flaring up. Perhaps that will talk to me tomorrow. Next goal race = a half marathon, hoping for something in the 1:30’s. unless i can find a fifty miler that isnt all straight up and down.
Adding in later: found a nice 50k in Oregon in October. 5k elev chance should be doable and get me into the mountains a little.