Tuesday, December 12, 2006

New 50 Mile PR by 2.5 hours!!!!

Good morning,

I love this race report from Larry who this past weekend ran the Sunmart 50 mile race. I have been working with Larry for about 1 year. Last year he ran this race in 11:17, this year he ran it in 8:45!!!! The women he ran with at mile 49, Anita I coached for a very long time. She has improved and gotten so very strong.. I am so proud of her to!

Larry you rock:)
It was an amazing weekend of race results: still waiting for many to come in!
Richard ran the Sunmart 50k for training for MDS..go Richard
Ann ran her first marathon in Las Vegas with 4:26..the goal was 4:30:) this is my cousin!
Mike had a new PR in the marathon by 25 min. with a time of 3:33:):)
Liz and Patrice ran a 50 mile race in London..there story is an amazing one so I hope they hurry and get it out to us all!!!
Finlay ran Dallas marathon in 4 hours while talking on his phone!
Todd ran Dallas marathon with NO training in a time of 3;25...crazy man we call him:)

Day 2 of my cleanse..I feel good!



It’s dark and I can “smell the barn”. It’s been a very long day on the trail and I’m ready for it to be over. I finally see the finish line and sprint to the end. One of the race volunteers asks for my timing chip, but I just point down to my leg unable to speak a word. If they want it they’re going to have to remove it themselves. There’s no way I can bend down and remove the chip for them. I’m given a finishers medal. The nice afghan finishers blankets are no longer available. I give them my mailing address so they can send one to me. The post-race barbeque has closed up shop. Nothing to eat for this famished runner. The finish line party that was occurring a few hours ago when I was going out for my last loop has diminished to a handfull of people clapping as each runner finishes. I wander back to the club tent in the darkness to have a seat, but I can’t find the tent. The tent has been dismantled and taken away. All that’s left is my chair and drop bag in the spot it’s been in for the entire day. I sit down, lean forward, put my elbows on my knees, and the palms on each cheek of my face. My first 50-miler is complete. It took me eleven hours and fifteen minutes. Climbing Mount Rainier four months earlier was much easier than Sunmart. It’s a cold, dark morning. The humidity hangs in the air as we gather at the starting line next to Lake Raven at Huntsville State Park. It was one year ago that I ran this race and this time it’s a different feeling. I’m going to finish before dark. I will get to enjoy the post-race barbeque. And there’s still going to be afghan blankets at the finish line—I promised my 5-year old son, Harrison, I’d bring him one home from the race. He uses the blanket I got last year almost daily. He gets out of bed in the morning and wraps himself in it. He knows his daddy got it for running 50 miles last year. And he knows I’m going back to do it again this year. His special request was to get him another one. My goal for this race was vengeance for Palo Duro six weeks earlier. I wanted to break nine hours at that race, but it didn’t happen. Yes, it was a huge goal, but I believed I had it in me. I’ve got more experience now and the understanding of what it takes to get to that goal. I never planned on running Sunmart, but I needed to get under nine hours for fifty miles. When I set a goal, I do everything possible to attain it, unless it negatively impacts one crucial thing—family. If any goal in my life were to have a negative impact to my family, then reaching the goal would be pointless. It would hold no meaning except selfishness. My primary goal was to break nine hours. I didn’t have an BHAG (“big hairy ass goal”) at the start of the race, but I derived one late in the race. After the playing of the national anthem, the starting horn sounded and off we went. The first half mile is on an asphalt road before we encounter the single-track. This is helpful in spreading out the runners and avoiding a bottleneck entering the trail. I keep track of my heart rate and hold back. If I go out too fast early in the race I will surely pay for it later. Patience is key. The race is a 12.5 mile loop course through the thick pine woods of east Texas. The course makes a complete circle around a small, serene lake. Although there are 5 aid stations on the course, I only use the one located near the mid-way point. I use it only to fill my bottles with water. I’m carrying my own drink mix. Only stopping at this aid station minimizes lost clock time. I wan’t going to to anything to jeopardize my goal. The first loop is uneventful and I complete it in 2 hours 4 minutes. I stop by my drop bag, refill my bottles with the help of a friend who is not running today, but is an accomplished ultra runner, and off I go for the next loop. The second loop is uneventful. There are several of us that have been running the same pace, since the beginning. We trade positions as some stop at aid stations and others for nature breaks. I continue to keep my effort in check and power walk any up hill sections. Others pass me, albeit slowly, while I’m walking. I consider these walking sections as banking energy that I’ll need later in the race. I’m closely approaching what I estimate as the 20-mile mark. This is where I plan on increasing the effort. I patiently wait until the opportune moment and then pick up the pace. I immediately pass all the runners I’ve been hanging out with for 20 miles. A few are suprised and wondering what I’m doing. I hear the comments behind me as I continue down the trail. It feels good to run at this greater effort level. It feels like a more natural pace. The last mile into the start/finish is an out and back—one mile each way. It allows me to gauge if I have lost or gained on those ahead of me. For now, it appears everyone is in about the same spot as the first loop. One interesting thing happend on my way in to the start/finish, though. A runner goes flying past me. It was Greg Crowther, the eventual winner in 5:37, finishing his third loop. That was humbling. I finish the second loop in 2 hours 8 minutes. Again, a friend helps fill my water bottles. Off I go for the third loop. I monitor more runners during the first mile out to see how much ground I’ve gained on the runners I passed earlier. Around mile 30, my old nemesis comes back. It’s my gut and it’s not feeling good. I do my best to sustain my pace. I’ve been here before, but know my experience at Palo Duro will be invaluable in managing the problem. I continue on and hold my pace. I’ve been consistently passing runners since mile twenty. I’m confident I’m not overdoing the pace since I was conservative at the beginning of the race. It’s during these miles that the demons typically pay me a visit. Luckily, I was left alone with my thoughts. While some thoughts were negative, I quickly absconded them, and focused on visualizing crossing the finish line and getting an afghan blanket for my son. During the one mile out-and-back, I assess my position. I’ve gained significant ground on several runners. I finish the third loop in 2 hours 12 minutes. My ad hoc crew person quickly fills only one of my bottles. The other one is almost full and I plan on only drinking 3 bottles on the last loop. I don’t think my stomach can tolerate more that 60 ounces for the remainder of the race. I change into a short-sleeve shirt. It’s still in the 40’s, but feels warm to me. Off I go for my final good-bye loop. I keep up the pace on the out-and-back because I want to ensure as many runners that I’ve already passed don’t see me during this mile. I’m not racing, per se, but it’s my way of motivating myself in keeping up the pace. I do some quick calculations in my head and realize I’ve got to run the last loop under 2 hours 36 minutes to meet my goal. I start thinking how great it would be if I could set a 2.5 hour PR over last year. I was too tired mentally to calculate what finishing time that would be, but I would just run and let it sort itself out. I get to the first aid station and am desperate to get my gut better. I toss my Sharkies in the trash can and assess what’s available at the aid station. Before this moment, I was using only one aid station on the course for the entire race and that was just for water. The selection of food was mind boggling. I settled for a few pieces of potato, a fig newton, and a few jellybeans. I stop at the next aid station and grab only purple jellybeans. Next aid station, more jellybeans and some M&Ms. I finally make it to the mid-point aid station and get a refill on one of my bottles and grab more grape jellybeans. My gut feels much better and I run/walk with a guy I know from the local running club. He’s going to PR and I tell him that I will too. We start discussing if we’re going to break nine hours and he seems doubtful. This was a reality check. I picked up the pace and passed more runners. I arrive at the final aid station and need a boost. With hands on my knees bent over, I ask for a Coke. I don’t normally drink caffeine, but I’m craving it. They’re all out. The aid station volunteer is apologetic, but I told him no need to apologize for somthing he can’t control. I thanked him for helping everyone out, grab a few grape jellybeans and off I go with less than three miles to go. I’m walking all the uphills. Just a note: The uphills are not anything significant. But if it “looked” like an uphill, I was power walking it. I continue to pass runners. Then, I hear someone quickly approaching. It is a woman I passed on the second loop. I comment to her on how strong she looks. We strike up a converstaion and I pull in behind her. She is going to be my rabbit—i’m going to stay close behind her. I find out she’s completed Badwater, Leadville, and many other 100’s. She’s running all the uphills and I do the same. I tell her we’re almost to mile forty-nine. She comments that we have a chance to finish in 8:45. I look at my watch and it reads “8:37”. “That’s a tall order”, I thought. Off we go on the final mile. The only real hills on the course exist during this mile and we run them all and pass more runners along the way. A half mile from the finish, the course flattens out and I tell her I’m going to pick up the pace. Off I go and she give me words of encouragement as I run toward the finish. I ran the last mile in under eight minutes and finish with 8:45. A race volunteer removes my timing chip without hesitation. I immediately walk over to a table and grab my son’s afghan blanket. I’m given a finishers medal. I look for the woman, Anita Fromm, that helped me finish so strong. I wanted to thank her and give her a hug, but I couldn’t find her. I get to experience the post-race barbeque. I walk back to my chair in the sunshine that has finally broken through the clouds. The club tents are still there and my chair and drop bag are amongst many. What a difference one year makes.

1 comment:

Bob Gentile said...

WOW some great Race results... and Awesome report Larry..took me some time to read it though (slow reader- more of a cliff notes person :-)

But I read it all and well done...

LARRY WROTE: While some thoughts were negative, I quickly absconded them, and focused on visualizing crossing the finish line and getting an afghan blanket for my son.

GREAT REASON!!!!!!! Way to use your WHY's during the race!!!

Bob