Oct 25, 2013

Ted Corbitt 24-hour Run: 62.86 miles

The ugly
I had a few firsts in this race -
* My first Broadway Ultra Society event
* My first manually-counted timed race
* My first time kicking a rat during a race

I also has several goals:
* "A" goal was a new PR for 24 hours - 87.5 miles
* "B" goal was 77-4 miles, the distance required for a special award
* "C" goal was 100K (62 miles), because it's nice and round (like me!)

I was doing well early in this race, when I ran my first mile with Emmy and Ken, neither of whom I've seen in a while. But I broke down surprisingly early. It got hot that day, and that definitely was a factor, but I think the bigger issue was that I had overdone it. After the race I looked back at my log and saw that I had no less than 6 weekends in in the 2.5 months leading up to this where I went 50 miles, and a couple of weekends where I went 100K. Plus I had just returned from a particularly difficult (and humbling) 100-mile attempt in Colorado. I was just worn down.

So, when I went through 50K in 8 hours (PR: 6:47), I wrote off my "A" goal. When I went through 50 miles in 14 hours (PR: 11:47), I wrote off my "B" goal. My "C" goal, to get to 100K, was now my primary focus. And I was deteriorating. Once midnight came, I marched on to finish those last ten laps (12 miles), but it was pretty ugly.

Coincidentally, the post-midnight time (4:45) and distance (12 miles) were about the same as my last lap at Umstead in 2012 - where I did 12.5 miles in about 4:45. But that was after 87.5 miles, and after 24 hours of running. This was after 50 miles and 14 hours. And it wasn't a question of fitness: two months prior to this, I completed a 50-mile trail race in San Francisco, with 10,000 feet of climbing, in 14 hours. This flat asphalt course is at least 2 hours faster. It think I was just worn out after a very hard summer.

But having a bad race did not keep me from having a good time. After last year's focus on Ironman, I feel like I've lost touch with my ultrarunning friends. There are many people who I used to see every month who I've not seen in a couple of years - Emmy and Ken among them, but also Shannon and Cherie and Eliot and Ray and Phil (Good luck this weekend Phil and Cherie!!) and two Freds. I keep saying that timed races (actually any race with short-loop courses) are great, because they're wonderful for catching up with old friends and making new ones.

As far as me, however, this race was a dramatic wake-up call. It is probably the first time I've actually seen clear deterioration due to over-racing. I took the hint and spent a couple of weeks essentially not training at all (1-mile daily runs to maintain the streak notwithstanding), and it seems to have made a difference. I've thrown in a couple of 5K runs this week and felt really strong.

For better or worse, I am returning to long distances, probably sooner than is smart. But these are races that I've already registered for and I do plan on running them. This weekend is the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC, which will be a good test of my recovery which will determine my strategy at the NJ One-Day in two weekends. If I do really well at MCM I'll put in a strong effort at NJ1D, but if not, I'll probably just take it easy there and hang out.