Monday, October 26, 2015

Surf the Murph Recap

Surf the Murph
Saturday October 24, 2015
25K / 50K / 50 mile

Last year, I was an idiot to even try this trail run.  I added to a knee injury that would later take me out of running for more than six weeks, and I was coming off (what I would call) a slight concussion.  This year, I didn’t have any health concerns going in, but my training had been less than last year’s.  Going into the run, my long run was only 9.5 miles, my recent monthly totals were only around 45 miles and I had not done a trail run yet this year.  I haven’t ramped up the mileage yet this year; I am trying to take it slow and avoid injury.  My main goals for the near future are a healthy winter, lots of miles, a sub 4.5 hour marathon in May and a 70.3 triathlon in June.  At the Murph, I was hoping to do all three 16.7 mile loops for the total ultra of 50 miles, but that was going to ask of my legs. 

The Friday before the run it rained a lot.  The morning of the trail run it was raining a bit, but no steady showers.  However, the rain had accumulated and trail was quite muddy with a fair amount of standing water.  The 50 mile hopefuls went off at 6:00am; sunrise was not until about 7:30am.  The temp at the start was about 48° with about a 15mph wind.  With the rain, temp and prospective muddy/wet conditions I decided to wear dress warm.  I wore a sleeveless run shirt, a long sleeve compression shirt and a long sleeve loose shirt on top and run tights with shorts on bottom.  I also wore a winter cap and run gloves.  For the dark, I had a head lamp and a handheld flashlight tied to my water belt.  It may have been a bit much, but I was comfortable and have no regrets on clothing (on the first lap).   

The first five plus miles of the run are all hills; some are pretty steep.  Last year, I tried to run all the hills and was burnt up by mile 13.  This year, I walked just about every up hill and was cautious on the downhills.  This was my plan going into the race, the mud and wet just made the plan that much more reasonable. 

It took a mile or two before I could work out a spot for myself.  I wanted to run alone; I didn’t want to hear anyone’s crappy stories that early in the day (or at all for that matter).  After a bit, all the Chatty McListentome runners passed me or fell back, and I was left by myself in the dark.  Running in the dark, in the mud, with a flashlight was a blast.  It was slow moving, but I was having fun.  By the second aid station at 5.5 miles, the rain had stopped and the sun was lighting the way.  The course turns into a reasonable amount of flats after that point as well.  I ditched my long sleeve compression shirt, run gloves, winter hat and head lamp with my drop bag.  I picked up my earmuff headband, a banana, a Slim Jim and I was on my way.  I did the hills in about a 15 minute per mile pace; I was hoping to get back some of that time on the flats. 

The course is flat off and on for next 6 to 7 miles, and then the last third of the loop is somewhere in between the hilly hills of the start and the lesser hills of the flats.  I did this middle part at about a 13 minute per mile pace.  My overall pace dropped below 14 minutes per mile.  After the aid station at the 13 mile mark, I was definitely slowing down.  I wasn’t injured, but I kinda knew I didn’t have the legs to get around the course two more times.  Anyhoo, the last third of the first loop wasn’t too bad.  I wanted to do 4 hour loops, and I ended the first loop at 3:52.  I ended up running with a young lady from North Dakota for the last 2.5 miles, and we chatted on the walks uphill.  It was nice to talk to someone for a bit, and she saved my butt right before mile 16 when I missed a turn.  I lost her at the loop one finish; I would run the second loop by myself.

At the start/finish line I changed into fresh clothes, mostly.  I kept my loose long sleeve, but changed the shirt underneath.  Also, I ditched the run tights and got a fresh pair of shorts.   I did not change my run underpants, idiot.  I know it’s probably a little bit too much info, but there were chafing issues on lap two and it hurt.  Similarly, I got nipple raped by my shirt on the first lap and got to enjoy that for the rest of the day.  I suppose it’s better to find out these problems now instead of in a race where I care about my time, but it still hurt.  Anyhoo, after a change and grabbing some food I was off on lap two.

I knew right away that I wasn’t going to finish three laps.  I was already counting down the minutes to the next marker on mile two.  My legs were tight.  I probably took too long between laps (8-10 minutes) and sat down for too long. When I got going, I felt better, but the first third of the lap doesn’t lend itself nicely to any extended running.  As I went along, the downhills became downright painful.  At least I wasn’t injured like last year; my legs were just tired and my muscles were tight.  I was just asking too much of legs that weren’t properly trained.    See below for how ridiculous the 50K and/or 50 mile distance was compared to my training. The spike in October only includes the Murph and a 5K earlier in the week.

Blue = run miles
Red = Bike miles
Yellow - Swim miles
Only Run Miles

Blue = Run hours
Red = Bike hours
Yellow - Swim hours
Dark Blue = Stationary Bike hours
Black = Weights hours 

I averaged about a 14 minute mile on the first loop and about a 17 minute mile on the second loop.  On the second loop, my time at the aid stations increased, my time running drastically decreased and my pace dried up.  My garmin says that I didn’t break a 10 min per mile pace at any point in the last 8 miles.  Ouch.

The four big blue spikes below are the stops at the start of the second lap and the stops at the first three aid stations on the second lap.  The lesser spikes are the sorter stops on the first lap and at the last aid station of the second lap.  At that point, I just wanted to be done.  There is also a little bump in mile 33 where I had to sit down and stretch because my legs were so tight.

But, I did finish two laps!  33.5 miles isn’t anything to sneeze at, and I am proud to have done it.  My total time was right around 8 hours 45 minutes for about a 15.5 minute per mile pace.  My time put me in 111th place out of about 143 people who finished the 50K.  I would have liked to come in about 45 minutes quicker, but I really can’t complaint based on my “training” and the 3400 ft of elevation gain (and down).  I don’t know if I’ll do this run again next year.  If I do, I should actually train and try to finish the 50 mile.  At this point I hurt, and I have no interest in planning out a year from now. 

This pretty my wraps up my race year.  I had signed up for a 5K at work earlier in the month, but I’ve become disillusioned with my job and blew it off for a longer run at home.  There is a mustache half marathon run in November, but it will probably be cold and I don’t really want to pay for a 13.1 mile run at this point.  I think I’ll try to get in a half in the next couple months, but it will probably just be around the neighborhood.   

Post Script
Many people asked me why I was limping on the Monday following this run.  If I tell them my legs hurt because I went for a run, they assume it's my first run ever and that I am quite feeble. If I tell them the length of the run then they think I'm crazy or bragging.  I think I prefer the former.