The Connection Runners + [running man]

Run Rabbit Run 50: race report

I have to get to do some work to prepare for work and class tomorrow, so I'll keep this relatively short. I got into Steamboat with GF and she convinced me that we should stay in a hotel as oppose to camping. It ended up being reasonably affordable and it was great to sleep in a bed before and after a race, although it made it seem like less of a weekend up in the mountains. The pre-race meeting was fine. It was fairly emotional as this year it was dedicated to Jenna Gruber, who helped put the race together and died in a car accident last year. It was a nice speech and a good way to remember her.

The race was...well...fine. I didn't have a great time. From the get go things just weren't really feeling all that good. The course is an out and back and on the way out, at every aid station, I considered dropping out. I've never DNF'd so I stuck it out. I think the smarter thing would have been to have not started. That being said, it was an absolutely gorgeous day to be running in Steamboat.

We started a little after 6, I think. It was pretty cold, so we had gathered in the Bear (place at the base of Steamboat's ski resort) and a few minutes before start time, we were ushered out. As soon as I walked up to the beginning, I realized the countdown was already at 6 or maybe 5. Then we were off. The leaders were going pretty fast, and I held on for a bit, but eventually just dropped off because after a mile or two, the tightness in my left knee came back. I decided that there was a lot of race left, so I'd just relax and make the best of this run.

The entire way out was fraught with distressing thoughts: "what am I doing out here?" "I should have just volunteered today", etc. I didn't see many people for the majority of the way out. I guess I was at a pace where the people ahead were going faster and the people behind were going the same or a bit slower. The most memorable part of the entire race out was the sunrise over the valley. I'm not sure if anyone else saw it, but it was grand.

I'm going to skip the first half of the race. I didn't enjoy it so I don't think you'd enjoy reading about it.

When I hit the half way point, I decided to suck it up and finish, banish the negative thoughts, and find my way to the end. This mental adjustment helped considerably. I started feeling better, my muscle cramps (which had been continually gnawing at my pace) subsided, and I settled into a pace that I felt was appropriate. The day had gone from very cold, seeing frost on the ground to very hot. Thankfully there was a nice breeze (or wind as it was pretty strong) that kept me cool. The entire way back, except for a few steep parts were good. I see-sawed with a fellow named Todd, who I eventually passed in one of the latter climbs, and caught a few people on the way back. I really wanted to bag a sub-9, but when I crested the peak and could see down the 6 remaining miles into Steamboat at 2:30, I knew it wasn't going to happen. The way down, 6 miles of quad-thrashing hard-packed dirt road, were awful. From miles 25-44, I started to get into my groove. If the course had continued as it had been from 6-44, I would have had a great day, but that's how it works. And, although I'm not 'glad' that's how it works at the moment, I respect that's what ultrarunning is about.

I finished in something like 9:16 or 17. I haven't seen any official posting, but it was slower than I had hoped. Even though I was slower than I hoped, I still shed 30 minutes or so from my time on this course last year...which is pretty good.

Recovery was pretty rough. I laid on the ground with my feet up for a bit, I drank what seemed to be several gallons of water, ate a few slices of pizza, and after about 30 minutes started to feel better. I hink I felt worse after this run since my first marathon a several years ago (although I'm not nearly that sore). As of right now, my legs hurt. Bad. There isn't any damage joint-wise, but the muscles are very sore. That last section to the finish (the 6 miles downhill) hurt. There's no way around it. I think I'll be on the bike for a while.

In sum: I should have had more fun than I did. I don't know what my problem was or is. The weather was perfect, the run was perfectly organized with wonderful volunteers (although this year didn't have the big party scene at mile 38 that they had last year which was disappointing). The only thing lacking was my enjoyment. I think I need to take a few weeks, perhaps a month and focus on other pursuits for a bit to get my head back into it. For all of the others who ran this run (and had a good time), Congratulations! All in all, it was a nice weekend spent up in the mountains and if every weekend could be spent like that then I'll be very happy. I hope to see you out there next year.