Weekend wrap up and some lessons learned. | Lift Heavy Run Long

First, check out Becky’s recap of the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon.  It kind of plays a little bit into my experience at Wades Big Adventure this weekend.  I was talking to my friend Adam (Becky’s boyfriend) this morning about how the race went, and we got to talking about what I think is one of the hardest things for a runner to learn.  That is going out too fast in a long race.  This is such a hard thing to learn, but you must learn it and the only way to learn it is to experience it at least a couple of times.  If you talk to any really good distance runner about this, they will tell you that if you get somewhere between 10 and 13 miles in a marathon and you don’t feel like you’re going way too slow then you’re going WAY too fast.  You really have to force yourself to dial it down a little bit during the first part of a race.  It’s hard because adrenaline is pumping, and you’re excited to finally be at the start of the race.  However, you really have to make yourself go out at a comfortable pace.  Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there.  On to Wades Big Adventure

First things first, I did not train for this race.  I didn’t rest at all the week before, and in fact nailed a huge back squat PR on the Friday before (bad idea, or good depending on how you look at it).  My legs were very, very sore.  However, going into this race in this condition helped me really understand the importance of tapering and not going hard on race week.  I felt the fatigue because of it early in the race.  Here’s a pic of my buddy Charles and I at the start of the race:

It was pretty chilly, but a little jogging before hand helped warm me up a little.  At the start of the race, there was a bit of a log jam through the first mile or so because the trail was pretty thin and there wasn’t a lot of room to pass anyone.  I eventually settled in with a small group of runners.  I felt comfortable, but felt like I might have been running too fast.  I was with a group of about 6 or 7 people for  about 5 or 6 miles until I started gassing out a little bit.  I decided I had better dial it down a little bit, and let some folks go by me.  This is where I started wishing (once again) that I had a GPS watch to see what pace I was running at.  I’m really going to need to get one of those.  I managed to make it through the first half of the race, and was glad to be making my way back to the finish line.  Through miles 14-18 I was very drained.  I felt like I had ran 30 miles, not 15 or 16.  I was firmly submerged in my “just keep putting one foot in front of the other” ultra marathon pace, and I was very surprised to be that worn out.  My legs felt so weak that I thought I may have to sit down and rest.  I didn’t.    I finally made it to the end of the race.  It was very uneventful, there was no clock so I didn’t know how I did.  I was just hoping it was under 4 hours!  Some other runners that I had been running with on and off for a big portion of the race had finished a few minutes ahead of me.  They had clocked themselves at around 3:12, so I figured I came in somewhere between 3:13-3:15.  That’s a sub 11 pace, probably somewhere between 10:50 and 10:55.  That’s really not that bad, I just felt really bad physically so I was down on myself quite a bit.  All in all, I can’t really complain.  I haven’t ran at all since the Bartlett Park Ultras 50K.  I trained hard for that race, and came away with a pretty decent PR.  All in all, Wades Big Adventure was a fun race and I’ll definitely do it again next year no matter what.