Sunday, March 4, 2012

God Has a Plan for Me, It's 3rd

Nueces 50 Mile was today and was the USA 50 Trail Championship. It was my first focus race of the year and my first ultra of the year. As for my results, the blog title says it all, I was third. That is my 8th third place finish at a USA ultra or trail championship. It’s not that third is my favorite place. It’s just seems to be the place likes me. No real complaints, but I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that I’m trying or that I want to win. More training, get healthier to see if there is any faster in me. Or maybe see about adding a fist fight portion to these races?

The site of Nueces 50 Mile is at Camp Eagle along the Nueces River. It is a beautiful site and rocky challenging course. On the drive out you pass several hunting preserves with several boasting exotic game. That just left Alison looking for the exotic animal, but mostly saying those are just regular old cows, or horses, or deer, or turkey. We did see a few unique game species, plus a herd of goats. But they were regular old goats, no mountain goats. The rockiness of the course is one that wears your legs down from all the unstable running. It is a three loop course with four sections between aid stations. So roughly 5 miles to aid 1, 4 miles to aid 2, 5 miles to aid 3, and 2+ miles to complete the loop.

As for my race today, it went fairly well. Dave James was here. Which leads to a funny Jason story right away. Dave and I have become friends over the past year and I hadn’t seen him in a while. So when I saw him on the starting line, I gave him a hug. After the race Dave said that he has gotten handshakes and fist bumps on the starting line, but never a hug. He joked that the hug was the reason he took off and left us at the start. Maybe that could be my thing, hugging competitors on the starting line? Anyway, since Dave was off into the darkness on his own, that left a sizeable group of us together through the first two aid stations. It was me leading with Jordan McDougal, Paul Terranova, Dan Vega, and Steven Moore following, plus some others early on. After that second aid station 9 miles in, Jordan sped up. I was comfortable with my pace, so let him go. I basically always focus on running my pace and don’t ever try to cover anybody’s moves. The rest of us stayed together through the first loop of 16.67 miles. I was rather comfortable and glad to do that loop in 2:10.

The second loop had me leading again with Dan and Paul right with me as Steven took some extra time at the Pavillion. As we hit the biggest climb for each loop which comes about 10 miles in, I kept a running pace as Paul and Dan needed to walk. At the next aid, I had also closed on Dave and Jordan. But then I lost ground on the more runable last section of each loop. My time for that loop was 2:11. I was glad to be close to the time of the first loop and had
hoped for something close on the last loop. Unfortunately, I all too quickly found myself deep in the pain cave. The right quad that had been aching during that second loop was settling into a deeper ache. I had come in concerned really only about my right calf. Of course it didn’t hurt at all, but the left calf had developed a significant ache in that second loop as well. Now in the third loop, the calf pain became harsh. Not to mention, I felt overall dead legged, plus the heat was getting to me. It was that ultra game of just keep moving, breaking the remaining distance into smaller manageable pieces. I gained only a little on Dave through the first 9 miles of this loop and lost time on Jordan. Again on this next section with the significant climb at 10 miles, I found that as bad as I felt, I could still run up the climbs. I did feel good about that mentally. Over this section, I had cut Dave’s lead to 4 minutes which had been as much as 11, plus shaved a couple of minutes of Jordan’s lead. But the last 2+ mile section, wouldn’t help me catch Dave and would see Jordan gain those minutes back. My last loop was a 2:26 high, which I consider basically dying to slow that much. My time was 3+ minutes faster than last year. Considering the broken arm and still missing fitness from that ordeal, I’m satisfied with my results.

Of course I got to hang out with some Texas running friends, plus make some new ones. The race directors Joe and Joyce are great folks to visit with and put on a great event. It was another fun trip and social gathering for me. So on to a few more days of suffering and strained walking.

Shoes: Skylite 2.0 were very nimble on the rocky course.
Nutrition: Honey Stinger Gels and Chews, plus Clif Shot Bloks

Top Few Nueces Results 2012

1. Jordan McDougal - 6:30.47
2. Dave James - 6:43.48
3. Jason Bryant - 6:47.53
4. Paul Terranova - 7:06.05
5. Dan Vega (1st Master) - 7:13.14
6. Steven Moore (2nd Master) - 7:17.05

1. Michele Suszek - 7:25.41 CR
2. Melanie Fryar - 7:45.28
3. Lorena Devlyn - 9:54.50