2007/11/03 – 2007 Rocky Raccoon 25k/50k

Location

Huntsville State Park

What Is It?

25k/50k Trail Run

Team Name: Steve Mertz

Category: 25k, Male

Placing

  • 86 out of 257 totals. 2:31:18

Local copy of Race Results

Experience

My first trail run. My first run over 11 miles for running non-stop. My first day with two races in the same day. Today was a day of many firsts.

I didn’t really know what to expect, when I got there so I was a little bit nervous about the setup and where to park. But that all went away as soon as I got there as I realized it was just like any other race.

I went in for packet pickup, got my goodie bag and headed back to my truck to prepare, pin my number on, hydrate, eat, etc. I also popped a couple electrolyte pills, and hummed and hawed on getting some to take with me on the run. I ultimately decided not to. BAD Mistake, but I will come to that later.

I watched the 50k racers start, as they started an hour ahead of the 25k racers. So I knew what to expect at the start line. As I was headed back to my truck for final prep, I came across a couple of friends who were also doing the 25k (and are much faster than I am) and we chatted a bit. And then went off to finalize everything.

We then line up at the start for the race shortly before 8am. And listen to the last bits of info about how the trails will be ran, and about the various aid stations that are out on the course. Pretty much the same ole, same ole as any pre-race meeting, nothing new or exciting here.

And then they let us loose! We start off the run on the road up to where the trail head is. I’m feeling really good but know that I need to pace myself here so I don’t burn out too quickly. As we go along the road, we come to the hill that leads up to the trail head and this is where I decide to start picking up my pace a bit and start to pass people running up the hill.

We then head into the trails at the top and I’m feeling really good at this point, and start to find my groove. I find a nice pace behind some people. We come to some technical uphills and people start to slow, so I pick up my pace. I prefer running up the hills faster to keep my momentum and speed the same. It works for me in the past to keep going the same speed, I seem to tire less over all. So I do it here and pass a bunch of people. I use this strategy through out the race and it was good for me.

I find some other people to pace behind. I look at my watch and we are running about 8 minute miles at this point. And I was planning on taking it easy and doing 9 minute miles to save myself for the next race in a couple of hours. But since I’m feeling so good now, I figured “Ah what the heck. Let’s see what we can do.” So I continue running behind this group at this pace. We get to the first aid station and I promptly turn around and head back down the road we just ran up (it was out and back at this point) and managed to pass a bunch of people because of not stopping. I had no reason to stop as I have my CamelBak full of water, so no need to hydrate. But that was all I had with me, other than a couple Larabars, and this was going to come back to get me later in the race…

At around mile 5 I started to feel some heat on my left toe. I knew I was going to be getting a blister there but didn’t want to stop so I continue on a while. And after a while it was just too much so I stopped and adjusted my shoe and sock, and saw no reason for the rubbing on my toe. This hasn’t happened to me before on a run, so I’m not sure what is going on. But I put everything back on and start back up running again. Luckily I was by myself at this point and no one passed me. And people were starting to catch up so I took off and continued along at my 8 minute mile pace I was running. And it quickly put some distance between me and the people behind me.

Then at about mile 7 I started to get the same sensation on my right toe. So I decide this is going to be a painful run and just ignore the toes

As I approach another aid station I slow down to see what they have and think about the fact I have no electrolytes with me. They have HEED, but not knowing the strength or flavor of it, I opt out of getting and and continue through without stopping. They also had various bagels and other goodies that looked quite tasty, but I didn’t want to risk it my stomach on stuff I have no idea what it really is.

So I pass another group of people by not stopping and onward I go! We hit another hill up and it’s rather technical and I start picking up speed a bit here and catch up to and pass more people. I love this tactic. Most folks seem quite surprised to see themselves being passed on uphills that are kind of technical. Makes me feel good, and I am running at a good clip now.

At about mile 11, my legs start to feel the fact that I’ve rarely been at this mileage and start to feel a bit heavy, but I continue on, slowing down a bit. The legs feel quite heavy and sluggish. But I’m determined to finish this run… while running instead of walking.

Then my mistake that I made, at the beginning of the race became apparent at about 13.5 miles. The lack of electrolytes in my body hit my legs. Both quads, hamstrings, shins, calves, feet and toes all started to cramp. I knew instantly that I had screwed up pretty bad by not bringing those electrolytes. And I will never race without some with me again. This was quite painful, running while completely cramped up. But I was completely determined to run the whole way.

So I stumbled and hobbled my way to the finish line. Those last 2 miles were absolutely miserable. I grab some HEED from the aid station at the end of the finish, and down it. My friends were at the end already checking out the other finishers and so I chatted with them a couple minutes while I waited my legs to decramp and then I headed off to the next race!

Pace (minute per mile):

  1. 09:34
  2. 08:58
  3. 08:10
  4. 07:57
  5. 07:54
  6. 07:57
  7. 08:25
  8. 08:16
  9. 08:16
  10. 07:53
  11. 10:16
  12. 09:26
  13. 10:43
  14. 11:29
  15. 12:04
  16. 12ish.

Multimedia

Pictures Pending…

Maps

Maps Pending…

Final Thoughts

This was a good test for me. Pushing myself running for 15.5 miles, or 2.5 hours. It was also a very good reminder to never leave home without electrolytes! I won’t be doing that twice!

I actually had fun out there though today. Imagine that. Me having fun running. I guess I’m slowly (or quickly?) becoming more and more of a runner. Scarey thought!

A Couple Days Later… (2007/11/05)

Yesterday was bad. My legs were very heavy and stiff, and the bottoms of my feet were very tender from the blisters. But today the feet are better and the legs are a bit more usable. Probably won’t go running any time soon on them though.

I did push myself doing the two races in one day. And thinking back, I could have probably pushed myself a bit harder during the trekking. I feel like I slacked off a bit, when I could have pushed it a bit more. I won’t be doing that during the Jail Break though, I will make triple sure of that.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>