Sunday, May 23, 2010

2010 Jemez Race Report, Short and Sweet

This race report is going to be short and sweet, cuz that's how the race was for me. I had no way of training for the aspect that kicked my ass, and that was the altitude.
Let's start at the beginning. Aubrey and I got to Los Alamos Friday around 2pm, got checked into the hotel, and went to China Palace for some lunch. After that, we hung out at the hotel until time for packet pickup at 5pm. While grabbing my packet, we got to see Micah True, aka "Caballo Blanco", hanging out in line as well. Seemed like a really nice guy. Anyway, back to the hotel afterwards and an early bedtime.
We got up at 3am, I ate a bowl of oatmeal, and we headed to the Posse Shack, and waited for the start. We started right on time, 5am. We had to use headlamps for the first 30 minutes or so but after that, you could see with no problem. The course is simply gorgeous with amazing, sweeping vistas of the sleeping city below. I started off nice and slow and felt really, really good going out. The first seven miles were very uneventful, just cruising along, enjoying the scenery. The first big climb was fairly easy for me as well. I remember absolutely HURTING on that climb two years ago. However, my strength training in preparation for this year really made a difference. My legs would recover VERY quickly. However, once I started to climb Caballo, my heart would start trying to beat out of my chest and I would get short of breath. I was having to stop and rest every couple hundred feet. I muddled my way to the top finally, and then on the way back down I felt really strong again, running the downhills really easily. I slipped in some scree on a switchback and went down on my right side, sliding off the trail into the woods. I cut my finger, my right elbow, and my left shin. haha I'm starting to get used to falling, since it seems to happen to me at least once per race. What a loser! ha Anyway, once I made it down Caballo, you have to climb out to the Pipeline Aid Station. This is where things got worse for me. I was really struggling on the ascent, trying to catch my breath. I was yawning constantly, trying to get more air. Every time I'd find a fallen log or tree stump, I'd sit down to let my heart rate drop back down and my breathing settle. I know that several times, sitting on those tree logs and stumps, I had to have looked like Rodin's Thinker, or even more apropos, Rodin's Pouter. My thoughts ranged from "F**K this!" to "Come on, you can do this!" back to "F**K this!" Eventually, even walking became too hard, so I just decided no more. There would be no way I would make the cutoff at the Ski Lodge, even if I could have made it there at all. I dropped at the Pipeline Aid Station, the same place I dropped 2 years ago. This is the second DNF that Jemez has dealt me and I'm not sure exactly what to do about it. How do I, living in the Panhandle, train for the altitude without spending $4000 on an altitude tent. To be honest, right now, I don't even care about training for it again, but we all know how it goes. Eventually the urge will win out and I'll try it again. But for right now, I'm changing venues. (Another post will follow, outlining my new adventure.)
So two things that worked REALLY well for this race were 1. My strength training- my legs never hurt at any time and they recovered really quickly after reaching the tops of climbs 2. I used Vespa for this race- This stuff is the shizz!!! Over the twenty total miles that I traveled, I used only 2 Vespas with nothing else to eat but 4 Peanut M&M's and felt NO energy lags AT ALL!!
As I work with the Vespa more, I will post more about them and the results that I'm getting from them.
So anyway, Jemez was a flop for me..........once again. However, I still have to say that they put on an amazing race, and I highly recommend it if you can get ready for it! If you are a fairly low altitude flatlander then just be careful! One of these days, maybe, I'll go back but for right now, the two ass-whuppins I've received are more than enough. Thank you, please, drive through.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Day of Hell for the Hamstrings

I was invited for a 4-6 hour run at Palo Duro Canyon by David Steadman. My wife has known David forever but today was the first time I've ever met him. I picked him up at his house and we made the 1 1/2 hour trip to the canyon. We hit it off pretty quickly, talking about past endeavors and races we've had in common. He's been racing in marathons and triathlons for years but just broke into ultras last year with Jemez as his first, the brave soul! Anyway, once we made it to the canyon we found the Juniper picnic area which is the race start for the trail run in October and we took off. We spent a good 4 1/2 hours just cruising the trails and chatting the whole time and at one point we took a trail that went from the bottom of the canyon straight up to the top. Good stuff! All in all, we had a great day of training and the way I felt on the inclines and declines really made me realize that my strength training is paying off! A few more runs this week with another 3 hour run next Saturday and I'll be ready...............I think!