Saturday, October 08, 2011

Flagline 50K

It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm still out there running despite a few hurdles since White River.  I felt really good after White River, but near the end of the first week of recovery I developed and IT band/lateral quad issue that had me out of commission from any significant running (read 20-25 mi/week) for nearly a month.  As I started to recover, I was trying to find a race to get in before fall and came upon Flagline which happend to be the same weekend that I needed to head to Portland for a work related training.  I got in a good 2 weeks of running in the 8-9 hour (42, 46 mi) and felt good to run Flagline conservatively without any taper.  I've also been dealing with a foot issue as a result of too narrow toe boxes (and possibly compromised form) in some of my shoes, especially (sadly) most of the Inov-8's that I'd been using throughout the first half of the year.  I did the two weeks previous to Flagline in the Merrell Trail Gloves which, although very minimal, provide a wider toe box and yet more protection than a Vibram Five Finger.  After a couple technical mountain runs in them in training, I was pretty confident they would be up to the task of running Flagline although I've not run anything that far or technical in something that minimal.  In the end they turned out great and my feet have never felt better at the end of an ultra.  I ran with no socks and had no blister issues and now after at least 100 miles on them, they are my go to shoe for running trails and mountains and don't do too bad on the road either (although I wouldn't do an exclusive road run in them).

Heading out nice and slow on a perfect morning for a run.  Photo - Derek Schultz

Back to Flagline:  I started out much more conservative than I usually do and I think this paid off given the circumstances because after a easy 15 miles that I felt great for, I could feel my minimal base of training since White River starting to catch up with me.  The great part was that although I started to feel poor, I really didn't slow down much and actually ran all of the biggest climb of the course (1100 ft climb) at mile 22-24 ish.  The last 4-5 miles I was suffering, but again didn't slow significantly and ended up finishing in a new 50K pr of 5:25:22.  Crazy thing was there were a lot of fast folks here (probably because it was the US Track and Field 50K national championship race) and I only ended up getting 41st place.  It was a fast course, but had enough climbing (3,600 ft) to keep it interesting and was almost 75% single track at higher elevation (between 6,300-7,000 ft for most of the course).  It was a good experience for me and although I was a little more beat out after than I wanted, I feel like I'm slowly adapting and this year will really build a great base for me next year.

My feet after finishing; dirty, but feeling pretty good :-).

Next on the radar is the Boise Foothills Frenzy 50K in 2 weeks.  I'm recovering good enough that it is still a consideration, but it will have to be run conservatively as well.  I still figure it is good experience and should be a fun, first year, event.  The main focus for the last 2 months of Fall/Winter is the North Face 50 mile and will be what my training from here on out is centered on.  I had my worst ultra race to date there last year in the 50K and am looking for some redemption not to mention rubbing shoulders with some of the super fast elites that seem to show up there every year.  Plus the Marin Headlands of San Francisco are just a great place to run!  Look for a race report from Boise up in a couple of weeks and maybe even something else sooner.

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