10 January 2015

Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 50k

The Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival (put on by the Seattle Running Club) is one cool and unique event.
  • It's in the middle of winter. Say hello to mud and/or freezing temperatures.
  • It starts at 3:00 PM in the afternoon! Instead of ditching your light one third of the way in you are picking it up.
  • There are shorter distances, relay teams and solo runners all on the course at the same time, it's not easy to tell what place you are in.
This year was a 'growing' experience for me. Live and learn, right? Or something like that. I won't bother with excuses, today just was not good.
  • My fitness apparently is not even up to the moderate pace I was trying to maintain today.
  • My back blew sky high at the beginning of the 5th lap. he race is six laps long.
The goal going in was just to try and finish the distance, for the first time ever I was treating a race as a training run. I have run this event once before two years ago and I gotta say, that day was better than today.

On the bright side, my running club (Seattle Running Club) freaking swept the events! Keith Laverty crushed the 5-mile; Joe Creighton, Evan Williams and Mathew Hong got 1st - 3rd in the 10-mile; Trisha Steidl and Uli Steidl won the pairs 50k event and set a new CR and Olin Berger scorched the solo 50k. In fact, Olin was only bested by the team 50k runners by one minute! We also got 1st (Steven Kent) and 2nd (Arthur Martineau) in the Masters division in the 50k. Nice.

Here are the gory details.
  • I did the math and started out hoping I could run 4:30. That's 45 minute laps or 9:00 min/mile which for me is not bad on the trails.
  • Lap #1 and #2 were brilliant. My back was not an issue at all and the pace felt sustainable. I had to hit the porta-potty to take a quick leak after the first lap but no biggie.
  • After lap #3 my stomach was in turmoil... I should have stayed away from the off-brand gel the neutral support at the race was offering up. :( I hit the porta-potty again but even after exiting the can I was still about 10 minutes ahead of my pace.
  • I ran all of lap #4 and was guardedly optimistic that I could do it again on #5. When I hit the aid station I dug around in my drop bag and managed to find some Hammer Gel. It tasted great and was easy on my stomach but it might have been too little too late.
  • About 500 m into lap #5 my left hamstring cramped badly. I had to stop and stretch, then walk, then jog and finally managed to do something approaching running.
  • Maybe .5 miles later my RIGHT hamstring cramped. Damn. This took a bit longer to work out but I got jogging again after a few minutes. Can you say dehydrated? Afternoon events always throw me off.
  • Maybe five minutes after the second hamstring incident my back blew sky high. :( Suddenly it hurt to run even a gradual descent. From here on in I must have walked half of the remaining distance of this lap. So much for being recovered from skiing.
Once my back gave up the ghost I was trying hard to recall how hard those last two laps were in 2013. Honestly the memory was pretty foggy. I recall having to go really slowly because I started out way too quick but I did not recall this much pain. Perhaps two miles into lap #5 I had made the decision to drop.

I think this is my first DNF at any distance and let me tell you, it's a load off. Not that making this decision made finishing my last lap any easier, my back really took the fun out of this run. But I'll be back, this is a great event.

After crossing the finish line for my last time I grabbed my drop bag and bee lined it to my car. And I forgot to tell the timer I had quit... Oops. I got a call later that night from the race director wondering where I was. My bad.

Here are all the pictures.

Sleep 7.5
Waking HR 5:00 AM - 48
Body Weight
Body Fat
Nutrition 30 min before race - sips of Perpetuem, GU
race - 3 bottles each w/2 scoops Perpetuem, 2 shots Hammer Gel, 2 GU
Recovery large bottle w/3 scoops Recoverite
Time of Day 3:00 PM
Workout Type race
Weather mid 40s, heavy mist to light drizzle to dry at the finish, calm
Course 5-mile loop around the perimeter of Bridle Trails State Park
Results DNF
official results
Equipment Brooks PureGrit 3, Ultimate Direction Fastdraw Plus, Garmin Fenix 2
Clothing Injinji Run Original Weight Mini-Crew, Brooks Equilibrium CoRe Short, Brooks 5" Essential Run Short, Craft Active Classic Long Sleeve Baselayer, Brooks short sleeve EZ T III, SmartWool hat, Brooks Vapor Dry Glove II

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