Failing to plan is planning to fail. But even the best laid plans are mere guideposts on your journey. My plan of not taking any rest days was quickly derailed this week by various elements and I had to simply re-adjust. Perhaps my legs needed a day or two to freshen up. I always try to see the best in every derailment, because whining about it doesn’t move you forward and fighting to stay on track only leads to more catastrophic collisions.
Fitness and banking are closely related. They both have deposits and withdrawals. The more you deposit, the more you can withdraw. Every week that you can click off high mileage without injuries is a huge deposit in your fitness bank account. With nearly 10 weeks of 80+ miles per week in the bank, I had plenty to withdraw at the U.S.A. Half Marathon Trail Championships in Bend, OR.
Long races are always a challenge for me, because I’m still learning how to gauge my fitness and pace myself. Just because the first five minute mile feels comfortable does not mean that you’ll be able to hold that pace for mile two, let alone the entire race. It’s easy to get in over your head early in a long race and then suffer through the seemingly endless final miles. Based on my training, I guessed that I’d be able to safely run 5:30 miles on the flats, and 6:00+ on the hills, but I also wanted to keep the top 5 runners in sight. There is nothing worse than running a half marathon all by yourself. Thankfully, race winner (7 time US trail champ) Max King took us out at a very comfy 5:30 pace on a downhill grade. Max had run a 13:56 5k on the track in Portland the night before and he was probably a bit tired.
Three miles into the race, we were a pack of five running well ahead of sixth place. I felt comfortable and was confident that I could maintain the pace as we continuously wound around ponderosa pine trees in the sparse forest. Max’s training partner, Mario Mendoza decided to make a break and he bolted ahead. Max answered with a surge of his own. Kris Houghton, running in third picked it up as well, as did Cory Jenkins in fourth. I made a quick calculation and decided that I was safer where I was and let them pull away. I had decided that 5th was good enough and I didn’t want to risk it by surging and then burning out later on.
Eight miles later, as I passed the eleven mile marker, I began to regret my choice. I still felt fresh. Spurred on by the cheers and clamoring cowbells of the last aid station, I picked up the pace, determined to catch up to Cory in fourth. Over the next mile and a half I moved closer and closer to him. When we reached the final road section that lead to the finish I was only ten seconds back. He heard the cheers for me behind him and turned to see how close I was. When a runner turns to look back it’s a good indication that they are exhausted and can’t go any faster. This was not the case with Cory. When he saw me, he pulled out the meanest kick I’ve ever seen and opened the gap back up to over thirty seconds in the final half mile. I was impressed.
In the end, I got my fifth place finish and also captured my fifth U.S.A. Masters National Championship. That was one big withdrawal. Time to make some more deposits for the mother of all mountain races next weekend at Mount Washington.
- Total Training Time – 11:47:59
- Total Running Time – 11:24:58
- Total Running Miles – 74.1
- Total Elevation Gain – 6,942 ft
Monday June 6th – 00:00:00
Tuesday June 7th – 03:12:57
- Upright Rower – 23:00
- Bolles Brook Trail – 9 miles, 1:34:18
- Road Run – 6.1 miles, 48:00
- Road Run – 3.47 miles, 27:39
Wednesday June 8th – 02:39:23
Thursday June 9th – 02:10:54
Friday June 10th – 00:00:00
- TRAVEL – REST
Saturday June 11th – 00:46:32
- Race Preview – 4.83 miles, 46:32
Sunday June 12th – 02:58:05
- Race Warmup – 3.1 miles, 31:34
- U.S.A. Half Marathon Trail Championships – 13 miles, 1:18:45
- Race Warmdown – 1.78 miles, 23:14
- Bend, OR – 5.26 miles, 44:32
Weekly, Monthly and Yearly training totals can be found at http://runningraw.com/training.html