Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mt. Hood 50 week - Day 3

It's getting closer and closer and I continue to obsess about it.  Today though, I feel like I accomplished a lot.  I read a few other blogs that had race reports from previous years and included some pictures.  I am content with the trails and while slightly freaked out about the elevation gain, I'm also slightly confident.  So here's what I found out: 

It's two out-and-backs. The first one is 14 miles out and the second is 11. While out-and-back courses are slightly tedious, I also like it in long days because mentally, it's easy to break them down. For example, it's easier to talk myself to run a few 14-milers and 11-milers than it is to talk myself into running 50 miles.  You take it one at a time. My Ironman course was two out-and-backs of 6.5 miles each and it was pretty doable (especially the second year).  My 50K course was loops, one short 10k loop and then two 13 mile loops, and it was pretty nice too. The fact that you go through the start/finish half-way is definitely nice since there's a fair share of support and in this specific race, it will be past the half-way point.  

That said, this is my strategy per section, first the 28-miler, then the 22-miler. 

First half: 

As you can see in the elevation profile below, there are 5 aid stations along the course before coming back to the start/finish area and the third one being the turn around point. 

First half - Click to enlarge
The aid stations are in the following mile markers: 6, 9.2, 14.2, 19.2 and 22.4.  I feel I can comfortably jog all the way to the first aid station and even a little past it. Seems like the first big climb comes around mile 6.5 or 7 and should be a mile or mile and a half long. I should walk this. I should be able to jog the next section through the aid station and then walk the other two smaller (but what looks like steeper) hills, but try to keep jogging on the downhills all the way to the 3rd aid station and turn around point. From there, it should be a nice walk to the top of the hill before hitting the downhill.  Apart from a hill somewhere around mile 16ish where there's another little hill, I should be able to jog all the way back to the start/finish area.  I should make a point of having the water in my pack last all the way through mile 28 and make my stops short at the aid stations. Grab some solid food along the way, drink from their cups to "save" my water and keep it as efficient as possible. 

One of my BFFs and lifetime running partner, Theresa, will be meeting up with me at the start/finish area before I head out on the 22 mile section. I'm hoping to still be feeling great and ready to keep rolling, but will be looking forward to a serious pep-talk before I head out to the unknown. I expect to be getting there within 5:30hrs which is an average pace of 11:47min/mile, which is fairly conservative compared to how I've been running lately. 

Up until mile marker 31, it's stuff I know, but I've never ran more than that. While I've never actually RAN all 31 miles, I was able to keep a VERY steady pace for my last 50K despite the 2000ft of gain. Walking the steeper climbs and jogging the flats and downhills. During my last 31-miler I was able to maintain an avg pace of 11:33 min/mile on a more technical course with 6 river crossings and no protection (yes, it was hot and there were barely any trees). I am hoping for something slightly slower, yet more efficient given the conditions. 

Second half: 

As you can see in the elevation profile below, the hills are much more intense and only 3 aid stations along the way with the second being the turn around point.  

Second half - Click to enlarge
I intend to run a couple miles from the start/finish aid station before power-hiking to the first aid station. I will continue to power-hike to the top of that hill and attempt to run the downhill. I'm not a great technical downhill runner and I expect these trails to be much  more mellow (and soft) than the Colorado trails.  If the elevation profile is accurate, it's a 1000ft drop over 3-ish miles, before having to power-hike 500ft. I should be able to jog the flat/downhill before climbing 1000ft over those 3 miles.  Once I reach the top around mile 42, it's literally downhill to the finish with a few "bumps" along the road.  Since this second section is harder, I expect to hit the the same 5:30ish hours, which is an average pace of 15min/mile. 

Not sure if this is "sand-bagging" it too much or if it's too "cocky" of me to think I can just stick to a plan, but I don't know any better. I've never done a 50-miler and not sure what mile 30 through 50 will feel like.  I do expect to hit the wall more than once and the pre-set walk sections should be good for talking myself through the wall and re-grouping.  I do truly believe I'm ready and it's good to have a strategy.  If something goes wrong I will at least know what's coming and will know what kind of "Plan B" I should be coming up with. 

To keep up with this week's trend, here's the weather info.  Still looking good and actually slightly cooler, but still with the sun shining.  A high of 70 definitely guarantees a good performance. 
Saturday is looking good! 

1 comment: