Monday, February 9, 2009

Rocky Raccoon Race Report or Whoo Hoo! 50 mile PR!

Zach and I hit the road about 5am and arrived at Huntsville State Park around 12:45pm or so. We got checked into the park and headed to our campsite. We shared a site with the Crownover family and had a fantastic time. Zach's one mile race was to start at 4pm so we headed over to packet pickup after we got our tent set up and squared away. We got our packets and headed over to the kids' race start where they took off and ran a half mile out and back. One kid was trained for this and he meant business. He was a tad older than Zach and man, could that kid run! He finished in 7:26 and Zach came in behind him, taking second with a time of 8:15, a one mile PR for him! Way to go, Zach!
Later that evening we met Tony, Sergio and his wife, Rick, Wayne, and Kira at Chili's for a nice, gentle supper. Just a caesar salad and potato soup for me, oh, and a big glass of Shiner Bock! Yum! We didn't stay too long and headed back to camp for an early night.
The race, as usual, started promptly at 7am. It was a new course for this year as well so it didn't feel like the same race at all. I felt really good heading out since it was nice and cool with a breeze coming off the lake from time to time. I wore shorts and a long sleeve North Face technical shirt and was fine all day, even in the heat. Once again, the course was absolutely beautiful and serene. I, myself, didn't feel like the roots were as bad this year. Others would disagree! ha Oh, well. I saw Andy Jones-Wilkins and Jamie Donaldson several times throughout the day as well. It's always really cool to be able to run on the same course with such talented individuals! Anyway, around mile 8, I felt like someone kicked me in my left calf with a pointy-toed boot! I walked for a minute trying to figure out what the hell had happened since it was still hurting like crazy. I finally decided, "Screw it!," and took off running again. After a little bit the pain disappeared completely and I ran the rest of the race in relative comfort. I guess I was just able to run through it. My left calf is bruised and swollen now but hopefully on the mend already. I still don't know what it was.
Anyway, I ran the first loop in about 2:55 and still had a lot left in the tank. My mental game was stronger this year I think and that's what made the difference for me. I didn't spend any time at all at the aid stations, just grabbing a fresh bottle of water to mix with my Clip2 and then heading out. I only used Gu this race, no solid foods, save for a few M&M's. I just wasn't hungry out there. The second loop was completely uneventful except I was able to see Zach and my other friends at some of the aid stations. Julie, Becca, and the kids were making their rounds to all the aid stations since they were crewing their husbands in the 100. Their cheering for me was always the extra energy in my step for a couple of miles after I passed them! Thank you guys so much for being there! I love you all! I believe I finished the second loop in about 3:25 or so. When I took off on the third loop, I realized that I had the opportunity to set a 50 mile PR even if I ran the last loop in 4 hours. I was stoked! Amazingly enough I was able to run most of the third loop. I made sure to walk the uphills (of which there were more this year) and then run all downhills and flats. I really felt pretty good! Anyway, I crossed the finish line in 9:50, shaving 35 minutes off of my previous 50 mile PR! After the race I headed back to camp and hit the showers. I stayed in there forever! I had to chuckle too cuz while I was in there Noah and Micah came in with their Grandad Doug for a shower because they were swinging on some poison ivy vines! haha Hopefully the shower worked and they won't be miserable! After my life-giving shower I headed back to the finish line and found Rick there waiting for Tony to come in. Rick had some pizza at his table that he offered so I swiped a slice. Thanks, Rick!! It was the first solid food I'd had all day and it was majorly yummy! Later on that evening we had taco soup at the Crownover's camper again which was just AMAZING! That stuff is like ambrosia after a long race! I headed to bed early and got up early to see some friends after they completed the 100 miler! Before I left camp I talked to Matt who had run an amazing race and finished in 21:22! He was really sore, and his foot was as red as my calf was. He had to use a makeshift cane to get around camp. I also saw Brett who had finished in just under 24 hrs. At the race finish I ran into Tony, his pacer Rick, and Sergio while they waited for Wayne. They had all come in under 24 hours, so big congrats to all those guys! I love how publicly posting your goals on your blog puts so much pressure on you! ha Great job you guys! As soon as I get some pics I will post them but for now this is all there is. Thanks to every one out there, all the volunteers, and a big thanks to Joe and Joyce for another race well run! Peace!

Addendum 7:34pm
I went to work as scheduled at 6:45pm and by the time I got there my left calf and ankle was already double in size. ha I had one of my Doctor friends check it out (in case you didn't know, I work in an ER) and he said that it looks like I ruptured the "muscle belly" of my left calf. He was concerned that I could develop rhabdomyolysis from it if I didn't drink enough water. Luckily, that's all I've done since finishing the race! I'm not worried about it at all. They had me come home tonight and marked me off the schedule for tomorrow night as well so I don't go back to work until Saturday night. I will keep my leg compressed with ice and elevate all week! I plan on running Cross Timbers in two weeks as planned but I'm not running a step until then! Wish me luck!


Rick Gaston said...

Mark, congratulations on a your PR. That's huge, a whopping 35 minutes. You've got your work cut out for you for the next one. People were suffering left and right from the heat and there you were, cruising around in your black long sleeve technical shirt. Sorry to hear about the calf, I hope it's nothing serious. How lucky are you to be around doctors who can do a quick diagnosis. Great running and I hope to see you again at another trail race.

AnthonyP said...

Way to go Mark. It was great to see you again. That calf looked pretty nasty, so take care of it. Hope to see you again real soon.

Bob - said...

hmmm interesting about the calf to do that after the race and from reading ur report didn't seem to have any issues with it...right?! or did I miss something, it has been a long day for me :-(

COngrats again Mark, 9:50 is a sweet 50 mile time!! Way to Go! and way to get mentally stronger also, huge part of ultras!