Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Castlewood Cup 15k: Race Report

It seems like it has been awhile since I wrote a race report. So this might be terrible. Not that you have come to expect literary greatness from my writing, but don't judge me.

So it has officially been 1 year since I started running on trails. I signed up for the 2011 Castlewood Cup not having run on a trail before. Sure I had run on some gravelly type stuff, but not single track, rocky, rooty, stumpy, stuff. It was an eye opening experience and a complete blast. Last year, I didn't own a pair of trail shoes. Now I own 3. I used to be worried about water crossings. This year I passed a guy in a creek. Its been a great year looking back from what I have done from 2011 until now. Oh and I just checked my time for last year's race:

Castlewood Cup 2011 Results
Time: 1:24:33
Pace: 9:05/mile
Overall Finish: 99th

The day started out cold. Not necessarily when you looked at the temp (32F), but there was a 10 - 15mph wind that really sucked. It was clear and sunny though. So I had some trouble figuring out my attire. The goofy part about this race was the starting time, 10am. Its kind of wonky to have the start that late because I completely second guessed myself as to what I was putting in my body. Especially since I have had some recent exercise induced bathroom issues. However, the weird start time allowed me to get there with plenty of time for a Daily Mile meet up before the race. I should write a post on Daily Mile and the benefits of it, but for now I will just leave it stating that its great to have a social network of runner people. You can always bounce ideas off of them and it gives you a great baseline to start a friendship. No more sappy stuff.

I hadn't trained as much as I would have liked for this but kids, family, life, motivation, have all gotten in the way. I was shooting for a top 50 and to beat an 8:30 pace. So I went into the race not expecting either since its kind of a hilly bastard in the first 5 miles and I tend to go out fast and try to hold on at the end of races.

A thing of beauty isn't it?

Ok race time... This year they did a wave start in an effort to control the flow and get the faster people out front and eliminate some of the clogging on the trails. I think it seemed to work better this year. I was in the 2nd wave and I was happy with that. As usual with my race starts, I went out fast. Too fast? Not sure. However, I never ever want to look back on a race and say that I could have gone harder at some point. So, we started out on some flat grass for about a mile and then get saddled with 1 of 3 significant hills on the course. I backed off on the pace just before I got to the hill so my HR wasn't sky high going up it. It worked out and I hit the hill with minimal problems going up it. I followed this strategy when I was approaching all the other "major" hills on the course (which are all in the first 5 miles or so). I went into these hills with the thought of just keeping an eye on my HR and paying attention to my body. This strategy worked well. I did however walk for about 20-30 seconds about half-way up the last major hill. Whatever the break, I was able to pretty much take off at the top of the hill and get past some people. So now, I was past the hardest part of the race. There were just some minor roller coaster type hills left. I checked my watch and saw I was doing pretty decent on time and was trying to calculate my finish time. DUMB!!! As I am day dreaming about my finish, it hit me. "It" being the ground. I wasn't paying attention and I was heading down on to the rocky trail. I have never fallen running before. Ever. I was able to somehow barrel roll out of the fall leaving only my right knee and left forearm a little achy but felt like an idiot.

I knew the next 10 min would probably make or break me in the race. I was constantly evaluating the injuries and reminding myself to pick up my feet so my dumb arse didn't fall again. Knowing I would be in some pain at the end of the race, I decided to suck it up and go. There was less than a 5K left and I had to make it off the hill anyway. Soon, the pain subsided and I was back to running down the hill like an idiot. I popped out of the woods with less than 2 miles to go and knew there was only one more obstacle in my way, the dreaded creek crossing. Last year I had a revelation while crossing the thing: "There's no way you are going to stay dry, so F it and go." I carried this same mentality with me this year and blew through the water. Some guy in front of me was tip-toeing over the rocks and I passed him while going through the creek. I probably splashed the crap out of him and pissed him off , but oh well I didn't see him again.

For the last mile or so, I could tell I had some hot spots on my feet and they were much more prevalent after the creek. So I tried to kick in as much as I had for the remainder. I swear the last 3 tenths of a mile of this race seems like an eternity. You have to run by the finish area (which was serving pulled pork and I love me some pork). My aches and pains all started to feel much worse and I just wanted to be done. Then I saw the finish... So I sacked up whatever I had left and bolted. Done....
At the finish line: Sweet Jesus am I really this ugly?
While I didn't realize how hideous I looked, I was really happy with the finish. I blew out my time from the previous year by almost 7 minutes and my pace was under 8:30 like I had wanted. Top 50 was not in the cards this year but oh well.

Unfortunately, I didn't have time to stay around and taste the pork or beer because I had a pretty busy Saturday planned, but Big River Running knows how to cater an event. So I am sure it was awesome.

Here's some fun crap that I get joy out of analyzing:

complements of 
 Other stuff per my Garmin

Avg Pace

Moving Time:1:17:22
Elapsed Time:1:17:57
Avg Pace:8:20 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:16 min/mi
Best Pace:5:49 min/mi
Elevation Gain:677 ft
Elevation Loss:676 ft
MinElevation:407 ft
MaxElevation:640 ft
Heart Rate
Avg HR:165 bpm
Max HR:197 bpm

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