Monday, May 26, 2008

Back to Back Long Runs

Some ultrarunners love doing back to back long runs. Others don't like it at all. I've never been a big fan of doing long runs back to back, but I wanted to get in a lot of miles this weekend. So, I decided to go long both Saturday and Sunday.

My plan was a very easy 20 on Saturday and then the Pineland Farms 50K on Sunday.

On Saturday, it was cool and breezy and I ran a nice, relaxed 20 on a mixture of paved and dirt roads. The course was rolling, but not exceptionally hilly - 1400 feet of climbing over the 20 miles.

Saturday night, I got to bed early because of the race on Sunday and to get as much sleep as possible between the two longer days. I got up about 3:15 a.m. and got on the road to Maine within 20 minutes. I was amazed at the number of speed traps yesterday. I was expecting an increase in speed traps because of the holiday weekend, but it was crazy. I got hit by instant-on radar at 5:30 a.m. in New Hampshire. In Maine, it seemed like there was a state cop every couple miles.

I arrived at the race about an hour before the start and had plenty of time to get a drop bag together and to socialize with friends. As we started at 8:00, I fell in with a speedy friend for a while and then had to back off after about 3 miles. From there, I just relaxed through the first loop, wondering when the serious fatigue might set in. As I started my second 25K loop, I felt pretty good. I hit the halfway point in just under 3:03. After the long day on Saturday, I was guessing I'd run at least 6:30 and maybe 7:00, so the 3:03 halfway split surprised me.

But, while the course was all trails and it was rolling (about 3500' of climbing over 50K), the footing was great and about as non-technical as trails can be. Around mile 22 or so, I started to push a little bit, wanting to be done. I caught up to a friend at the mile 23 aid station, and he made no attempt to run with me. I was starting to pass people somewhat frequently.

I hit the 25.8 mile aid station in about 5:15, and I was feeling great. I really pushed the 4.3 miles back to this aid station pretty hard and passed a number of runners. As I got back to the aid station, I ditched my bottle and my small pack and headed for the finish. One runner was close behind me and I didn't want to get caught. It wasn't close, as I cruised the last mile at a sub-9 pace. My final time was 6:13:xx - I didn't catch the exact number of seconds and I forgot to hit the stop button on my watch. So, I'd done the second half of the race in about 3:11 - not much slower than the first half.

By the time I finished, they'd run out of beer, which was probably just as well, given that I had to drive home. I grabbed some food very quickly and headed for home. I got a giant cup of coffee from an evil corporate coffee venue on the Maine turnpike; I needed the caffeine for the drive.

Oh yeah, on top of the ridiculous amount of money I spent for gas yesterday (way more than my race entry), I also had to pay almost $8 to drive on roads that I thought my tax dollars already paid for. Vermont has no tolls on their interstates, but the rest of New England sure does.

6 comments:

Jamie said...

Hi Damon. Congrats on a great race! Impressive, given the 20-miler the day before.

I also got in WS, so maybe I'll see you there.

-Jamie

Dr. Andy said...

Nice runs Damon. I think all that training is starting to pay off. Just over a month to go and it looks like much of the snow will be gone

-Dr. X

ollie said...

I'll add my "congratulations" as well.

Speed Racer said...

Sounds like you had a really great race. I'm surprised I didn't see more of you, we must have been leap-frogging the whole time! I am amazed that you can use the words "easy" and "20 miles" next to each other in the same sentence. Especially when the next sentence starts, "And then I ran 50K". I have so much to learn!

Congratulations again.

David Ray said...

Good weekend! Way to run strong.

Damon said...

Speed Racer, we were together the first time through the open fields, but after that, I think I was just behind you the rest of the way. I think the second time through the fields, you were coming out of the back field just as I was starting it, so we were 4 or 5 minutes apart.

It sounds like you picked up the pace in the last few miles just like me, so we simply stayed separated by less than a mile for the last 25+ miles.