Friday, April 22, 2011

Desert R.A.T.S. Trail Running Festival 50 mile Race Report

Take it easy baby

take it as it comes

don't move to fast

and you want your love to last

oh you been moving much to fast

These lyrics gave me a laugh as the Doors song played over my headphones at mile 43 just as my legs were starting to cramp up. At the time it felt like Morrison was singing directly to me. Funny thing was, or not funny depending how you look at it, is I had been taking is easy and I had been taking as it came. I didn't feel like a had been moving much to fast ,but the love did last which I determined was my cramping legs for another half hour or so.

The first 25 miles of the Gemini Desert Rats 50 mile race were uneventful. The sun was out, there was absolutely no snow on the ground, I had been running a fairly easy pace and managed to run by myself for most of the race. I was behind on my splits from the start, in fact at the the first aid station at 5.9m I was already 4 min behind and would continue to loose another 3-4 minutes on each section. I didn't worry about it, I just continued to run a pace that I felt was proper for 50 miles. I had a time goal for the race (8:20) but since I had not raced since CCC100 in August I was trying to just focus on the basics, fluids, calories, electrolytes and pace. I figured my best advantage in the race was going to be experience and would catch some people on the second 25 mile loop.

At the 25 mile turn around I was in 8th place in a time of 4:06 and was now 15 minutes behind my pace goal, but I was feeling good, I managed a quick turn around and headed quickly back out for the second loop which you run in the reverse direction. It was great to travel in the reverse direction because it makes it a little more interesting, but also means you get to run against everybody that was behind you for the next hour. This made for a rather annoying climb as it was hard to get in a rhythm while constantly saying good job to everybody and trying not to crash into people.

Just after the next aid station at mile 31 I started to see people in the distance, which finally pushed me into race mode. I started to pick up the pace to catch people. I went from 7th to 4th by the next aid station at mile 37 but I had also managed to run out of water in this section and the heat (all 71 deg of it) had also started to wear me down. Hey no laughing, its been freaking cold in SLC all winter and most of the spring. I think I only ran one day above 60 degrees since October of last year. Needless to say I was not heat trained.

After getting word at mile 37 aid station that 3rd place (Anita Ortiz) was 20 min ahead of me I slowed the pace back down and tried to get back on track with water and electrolytes and was determined not to get passed by anyone and hang onto 4th place. I started to cramp just before going into the last aid station at mile 44, luckily I had read AJW 's race report on hia AR50 race and had read at one point he had taken 3 s-caps at one time and it had worked for him when he was on the edge of cramping up. For some reason I have never thought of taking more then one at a time. I only took two but it was enough to keep the cramps at bay and kept me going and I was able walk the last hill and run hard down the last technical decent to the finish. I was amazed that I needed so much salt as I had been taking around 200-300mg per hour for most of the race. After finishing in a time of 8:37 I sat down and realized why I needed so much salt. My face was absolutely covered in it.

I am happy with the race, the course was a good mixture of fast smooth sections and short sections of very technical rocky trails with moderate climbing. The race organizers claim more than 8,000 vertical climb but I would guess that is a bit of a stretch. The course was well marked and the views were fantastic, the aid stations were some of the best I have found. Duncan Callahan was 1st overall in a time of 7:38, Anita Ortiz was 3rd overall and first female in a time of 8:16. To see full results click here.


peter said...

Funny that 70 degrees is running in the heat. Now I am a little worried about the big ditch run. I may have to tie a rope to you, so that you can pull my sorry ass back up. Great race, Greg! Take it easy baby.

Jay said...

Great race and great race report! Thanks for sharing. I've had a couple of runs the past week where the temp has been in the 70's and I was sure I was going to melt. Though - melting is soooo much better than being cold!

Scott said...

Nice race Greg. Sometimes I have to up my salt intake too 800mg per hour (in the heat), but I sweat a ton. I see nothing wrong with taking 2-3 s caps at a time (every now and then), sometimes you just need more than that one per hour.

I will have to put this on my to do race list.

Nice report.