Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forest Park 50K

I woke up to a queasy stomach though I was unsure whether to blame it on the 7 beers or the giardia. Grabbed a quick breakfast of peanut butter toast and Bobby drove me out to the start under overcast skies and a chilly, damp air. At the start I took care of some "buisness" and then introduced myself to Yassine Diboun who was talking with Jason Hill. It was a neat way to get acquainted with the PDX ultra scene, chatting with two of the fastest guys in Oregon (and, well, period).

With the 20K and 50K starting together I was tucked behind Jason, Yassine, and Todd Braje. At the gun, I made a consious decision to keep my distance from them, sitting around 50 meters behind and just behind the 20K female leader. During the opening 10K I just tried to maintain a steady pace while not pushing too hard. The miles are rolling uphill and at low elevation I was running much faster than normal but not breathing much at all. During the short out and back, I was already a few minutes back and when the 20K runners turned back I was suddenly all alone in the midst of the gigantic forest. It was truly breathtaking and I was having a blast cruising through the singletrack and ferns.

About mile 10 the course began to change a bit, we were deeper in the forest and the trail was getting progressively sloppier and I slower. Sometime during mile 16 I was getting some good momentum after a few quick miles and while near full speed I stepped on a wet, wooden bridge and went down hard. The lower 2/3 of my body slammed on the bridge and luckily my face went straight into the mud. I was pissed at the time, but realized quickly how funny it must have looked to the hiker I had just passed and got to laughing at myself a bit which helped dull the ache. From here we got to some nice technical and steep short uphills followed by a wicked 1 mile descent. I thought the first 3/4 of a mile were nuts as I pushed the pace on the crazy slick mud, but then the last 1/4 mile was INSANE! It was fun and scary at the same time and I ended up on my butt doing a sort of baseball slide (good photos of it here and all me here). Thanks Glenn, for capturing us in all of our glory (falling on our asses covered in mud)!
Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

This is my favorite, you can see the mud on my face and where the bill of my visor dug into the mud from my prior face plant! Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

Anyways, just after this it's a easy jeep road back to a more difficult, sloppy, but runnable climb back to the 3rd aid station. Here's where I realized some mistakes I had made in preparation, but I was unfocused and made another tactical error. I had only packed 4 gels in my pocket assuming that the aid stations would have some, but I was wrong. I don't mind them not carrying any (they're expensive) and it was my own fault for not checking that before hand. When I found out I just went through the aid stop without picking up anything, a big mistake. I ate my last gel and proceeded to work back towards the final aid station but started to fade quickly after a few quick miles. You can see that I lost a good chunk of time there at around mile 22 on, even after hearing that I had cut down the 3rd place lead to roughly 4 minutes (according to a runner heading my way, so it could have been much more).

At the last aid station I realized that a PR was out of the question unless I ran near 5K race pace for the final 10K. While mostly downhill, I knew that was just not in the cards and lost some motivation. I had grabbed a handfull of trailmix and tried not to choke on it as I headed back, but I was struggling a bit. About mile 26/27 stomach cramps really hit me hard which could have been due to lack of fuel, giardia (had needed to go bad for a while), or a number of other things. I stepped off to releive myself and felt much better so I made a decision to be sure I could go under 4:20. I stayed relaxed through until the pure downhill the final 2 miles and with about 1.5 miles to go I started to turn it up a bit. This section was crazy because it's rocky and wet and there were people out on hikes all over the place with dogs and such. I did my best to be polite while letting people know I was coming and kept pushing and pushing. Near 1/2 mile to go I was really flying (watch read 5:04/m for a while) and I turned a bend to the finish saw the clock tick over 4:18 and cruised in for my 2nd fastest 50K and 4th place. Results here. As you can see, I lost a good chuck of time in the final 10 miles, a combination of a number of miscues on my part, but I still had a lot left in the tank which is a good sign.

I can't thank enough the volunteers and everyone who helped out with the race, I thought it was marked extremely well (though Todd Braje went off course and either DNF'd or DQ'd, not sure). Big thanks to Yassine and Jason for the kind words and good times, great runs guys. I have some pictures to come later.

Most of all, thank you to Bobby and Natalie, my great friends, and the best hosts you could imagine. In fact, my trip outside of the race was so good, I'm going to write up a trip report seperately. It was a quick trip for me, like 36 hours, but it's good to be home with my wife and son again.


mi splt time pace
1 7:47 7:47 7:42
2 8:10 15:57 8:10
3 7:46 23:43 7:51
4 7:42 31:25 7:42
5 7:46 39:11 7:41
6 8:01 47:12 8:06
7 7:36 54:48 7:36
8 8:04 1:02:52 8:04
9 8:10 1:11:02 8:10
10 7:59 1:19:01 7:54
11 9:07 1:28:08 9:07
12 8:31 1:36:39 8:31
13 8:08 1:44:47 8:08
14 7:35 1:52:22 7:35
15 8:24 2:00:46 8:24
16 9:06 2:09:52 9:06
17 7:36 2:17:28 7:36
18 10:50 2:28:18 10:50
19 7:58 2:36:16 7:58
20 7:56 2:44:12 7:56
21 8:04 2:52:16 7:59
22 9:20 3:01:36 9:20
23 9:04 3:10:40 9:04
24 11:03 3:21:43 10:56
25 8:28 3:30:11 8:28
26 8:23 3:38:34 8:23
27 8:34 3:47:08 8:29
28 9:18 3:56:26 9:24
29 9:06 4:05:32 9:06
30 8:07 4:13:39 8:07
30.72 4:37 4:18:16 6:25

It was muddy, this was after the first cleaning! Wore my Drymax 1/4 Trail Lites and was good to go!


Michael Smith said...

Nice job! I love the muddy shoes. It's great that you could laugh at yourself after the little spill on the bridge. Glad you were ok.

PatrickGarcia said...

Thanks Michael, life is a comedy right?!

Jim P. said...

Nice work out there, Patrick. I'm with you on the gels thing. Always nice when they're available. Too rare, though.

Woody said...

Another solid race! A fast 50k on four gels & a handful of trail mix is impressive. Looked like a awesome place to run.

Jaime said...

Hope that's not how they taught you how to break up 2 in college. Yet another impressive outing. Keep up that consistent work!

PatrickGarcia said...

Thanks guys!

@Jaime- Hell no, spikes up. In fact, I was tossed from my final game ever in college for taking out the shortstop, but that little b***ch had it coming...