Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Just Wow

The overwhelming feeling I can recall about running Saturday at the North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain/Harriman State Park is Wow This Is Fun, closely followed by This Is Unexpectedly Easy For Me.


I suppose I am half way decent at running long races on rocky trails.  Either that, or the field was weak.  I finished the rocky, mountainous course in 5:54:41, 34/252 runners, 2nd in 46-55 age group.

And I am looking at that and sitting back and saying Just Wow.  Just Wow because I am coming off an injury year (2011).  Just Wow because my longest run going into this was only about 18 miles.

So where did my performance come from?

First factor may be my years of running, since 1973.  Living my life running has stoked my innate ability to cover distance at an easy pace.  I guess my systems are efficient when in motion, and my heart, lungs, circulatory system, and muscles can work in good efficient harmony for many hours.

Second factor may be a pretty decent taper week.  I only ran about 15 miles in the 5 days leading up to this event.

Third factor may be focused training leading up to this event.  I did run a lot of trails, and tried to make most of my runs over 10 miles.

Fourth factor may be hydration and nutrition.  I ran with a Camelbak and drank at will.  I consumed 8 PowerBar Gels, a couple of quarter-cut PBJ's, Gatorade at the aid stations, and about 5 SaltStick electrolyte replacement tablets.

Actually, factor four is pretty damn important.  Last year when I was feeling injured I cycled over 4000 miles.  Many of those were long days in the saddle, and I would often be the guy in the group doing most of the pulls late in the ride.  I attribute that to using a Camelbak, gels, and electrolyte tabs.  My cycling buddies generally used water bottles and Gatorade.  I think I know how to keep the nutrition and hydration flowing better than a lot of others.  I don't eat things I am not used to when running a trail race.

Since finishing NFEC 50K, I have been pretty happy and confident about my current running fitness.  I sincerely didn't think I was anywhere near where I was a year to a year and a half ago.  This is my first official 50K race finish, actually.  I dropped out of Watchung Winter Ultra in 2009 when I tripped and broke a rib.  In 2010 I switched during the race to the marathon distance.  I didn't run any in 2011.  I have done the entire 34 miles on the D&R Towpath from Trenton to New Brunswick for RVRR's annual Towpath "Train"ing Run, but that isn't a 50K.

1 comment:

Mike Dixon said...

Nice work Gene! You were looking really strong out there when I came up on you near the end. Keep training intelligently. We learn so much from your longevity in the sport, I'm proud of ya!