Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Race and Pace reports - Ugly Mudder and Gasparilla Distance Classic

So I'm a little bit behind here.  Better late than never though, right?

So back on February 26 I finally etched a "trail race" onto my list of accomplishments.  The Ugly Mudder, 7.25 miles of mostly single track, rocky, "hilly" terrain that, yeah, had some mud, some bushwacking and some good ole fashioned fun!  This year the race was added to the LaSportiva Mountain Cup series and ended up drawing a field of nearly 900 runners from 16 states.  I had no idea what I was doing or where I'd stack up but I had been told that after the 1/3 mile asphalt start you want to be up front so you don't get bottle necked on the single track.

I hopped on the front row and we were off.  I hit the single track in about 10th-12th, mission accomplished!  My trail legs seemed to find themselves pretty quickly and I felt as though I was doing a good job picking my footing and my lines.  I concentrating on following the group in front of me and didn't worry about anyone behind me.  I was pretty strong on the climbs, but man was I redlined, and early in the race too.
Just past the 2 mile point, and I'm wondering if I can run 5 more miles!!
We hit a Reading landmark, the Pagoda, just past the two mile point.  The view was awesome, but I wasn't stopping to take it in.  By that point we were up pretty high and I was feeling it, big time.  I remember thinking "there's no way I can finish this race, 5 more miles, OUCH".  By this point the fast guys were gone, but I had a few runners around me and I was sitting about 8th-10th.  From this point forward I definitely lowered my effort slightly, which meant walking up a few of the big hills because honestly it seemed that if you ran you may be able to go faster, but not much and there was no need to get those extra couple seconds on the climbs if you're toasted for the rest of the race.

I had run the last mile or so in warmup, so after some cool slippery, turny single track I finally recognized some terrain.  I had just let a faster runner who had caught me pass, so I hit the gas and tried to stick with him.  I guess this point of the race is where "real trail runners" shine, because he (and the next guy in front of me) simply dusted me!  As I crested Mt Watafug through a lively group of supporters I could finally see the finish line. 

The end result, 9th overall and 5th in the 30-39 age group.  I used my Brooks Adrenaline ASR's which were the perfect choice for me.  I can't believe how minimal of shoes that some runners wore on those trails, wow!  After a short and painful cooldown, I was out of there.  Mission accomplished, I really liked the trail scene.

Next up was our trip down to Florida to catch some rays and pace at the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, FL.  We brought the whole family down and visited my father in law who spends the winter about 2 hours south of Tampa.  We were treated to some great weather when we got there, mid 80's and humid.  A perfect cure for the northeast winter blues.  I got a great run in on Friday, 13 miles with 10 miles at goal marathon pace (6:10-5:15).  Then we were off to Tampa.

Gasparilla is a great event, a 15K and 5K on Saturday and a Half Marathon and 8K on Sunday.  And we were pacing all four events!  I paced 7:30 pace for both Saturday races, then 7:15 (1:35) for the half and 7:00 for the 8K.  Saturday was a beautiful day, albeit a little hot and humid.  I had a great group in the 15K and met some great new people.  One thing I always say about Florida is that nobody is actually "from" Florida, they all end up there for one reason or another!
Pacing the 15K, it was HOT!
Sunday morning was an early one, the 1/2 started at 6am which meant a 5am march down to the start area.  A cold front rolled in over night and it was WINDY, I'm talking 20+mph sustained and gusts over 40mph!  And as luck would have it the skies OPENED UP on us as we walked the 1/2mi to the start, luckily we were able to take cover and stay dry.  I had a great group in the half.  As usual when you figure in the dark, early turns, etc, we were a little slow in the first mile, but I was very consistent for the last 10 miles or so, finishing in 1:34:58, just 0:02 shy of hitting the target!  Again, I had some great people in my group including a couple of Yankee fans down from NYC who were planning to hit the spring training game that day.  The wind made things tough from a pacing standpoint because it was hard to just a steady effort.  Surprisingly though, my sign survived the whole race!

Lauren and I headed back to her dad's and spent the next couple of days playing with the kids, swimming, etc.  I do enjoy Florida in the winter, that is for sure.

1 comment:

  1. Nice result in the Ugly Mudder, that is a gigantic field

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