So as I said in Monday's post, it wasn't until Saturday night when I decided to run the Caumsett 50K the next morning. My plan up until that point was to volunteer, but since I hadn't arranged a commitment with the Race Director, I wasn't bound to anything. My last-minute reasoning for running was pretty sound, if slightly risky. Three weeks from Umstead and I have a decent base but very little in the way of long runs. Getting in a 31-miler will certainly help if I don't hurt myself and I can recover completely. Neither of those two factors was a given.
* I was still feeling the hamstring. There seemed to be a significant possibility that I could re-tweak it again, which would be bad. On the other hand, this was a really good opportunity to test it, and see if it would be a problem at Umstead. As it turned out, it had my attention in the first 10K or so, but was never painful. I never even felt it in the last 80% of the race.
* When I ran this asphalt course last year, my knees hurt for a week. I definitely want to be 100% recovered and fresh on March 27, and only 20 days separate Caumsett and Umstead. Time will tell if this was a good idea, but the early indications are good. On Monday (the day after), I ran 6 miles on a track at 11:20 pace and felt great most of the way. On Tuesday I ran 3 asphalt miles and was only tired because I pushed the pace a bit with 10:10 miles.
I thought I could PR in this race, so on Saturday night I pulled out the calculator and determined a per-lap pace that went out several digits, based on the 11.78xxxx laps of this 2.3xxxxx mile course, which I pulled off the race's web site. I came up with numbers that would be mentally fun to keep track of. But when we arrived on Sunday morning, we found that they changed the course to ten even laps of 5K. Initially annoyed that I'd have to do some re-calculating, I realized that this actually made things extremely simple. My goal time was 6:47, 407 minutes. Divide that by ten. Easy. I'll round down to a 40 minutes per lap goal.
So I get there, meet a bunch of friends, and get started. Here is a lap-by-lap report of what happened.
The starting line
Lap 1 - 35:33
I started off cold, probably the least-dressed person in the course - a tank top and shorts. No hat, sleeves, or gloves. I warmed up pretty quickly, and chugged along, slowly.
Lap 2 - 35:12
My fastest lap, It wasn't until now when I realized that I was slow in lap 1. I really got into a zone.. and cruised.
Lap 3 - 36:08
Still cruising, but coming out of the mental zone (nothing good lasts forever.) Still, I felt good and by the end of this lap I was 20 minutes ahead of PR pace.
Lap 4 - 39:16
This was the same as lap 3, but with a short bathroom break.
Lap 5 - 41:05
The hills were getting predictably longer, and my pace slowed. I wasn't alarmed by just how much my pace slowed until I came through the starting line and saw a 41-minute split - with no bathroom break. I wasn't feeling hungry or bonking, but I also wanted to stay ahead of my nutrition - and I thought it would be wise to eat half a PBJ here. I regretted that damned PBJ for the next 3 hours.
Lap 6 - 39:03
Alarmed by the slow pace, I pushed here and got a better time for it, but the rumbling in my stomach was building and definitely had my attention at the end of the lap.
Lap 7 - 49:22
Now 21 minutes ahead of PR pace, my stomach was in complete rebellion. I took a gamble by returning to "The Throne", to try and improve my situation. I lost the bet, with no significant improvement and a loss of 7-10 minutes.
Lap 8 - 51:17
My slowest lap, I walked it holding my stomach almost completely. It was here that I realized the reality that there would be no PR today. My entire 21-minute advantage against my PR was lost in laps 7 and 8. Damn that PBJ!!
Lap 9 - 45:14
Time turned out to be the remedy I needed. My stomach started to recover a bit and by the end of this lap I was run-walking again.
Lap 10 - 42:54
I felt pretty good at this lap, and finished strong.
So, there you have it. Half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich probably made a 20-minute difference in my time.
I just discovered a picture of me running it on Scott Dunlap's blog. To my knowledge this is the only picture that exists of me in this race:
You can clearly see me wearing yellow in the background
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