Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Long Cane Ultramarathon Race Report... well sort of

"Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

Sometimes making the right decision is not easy; and in the case of the Long Cane 55 Miler, I had to do something that I had never done before. In the middle of the race I dropped my distance from the 55 mile race to the 50K due to an annoyance in my knee.  For those of you that know me or have met me, you know I never quit anything.  It doesn't matter how bad I feel in a race or how much further I have to go, I would rather walk the rest of the way than quit.  But with two weeks until the North Face 50 I had to think about that race and did not want to do anything that would prevent me from seeking my revenge at North Face this year (read last years report on how North Face beat me up.)

Long Cane Ultra is a part of the Ultra on Trails series that Terri Hayes puts on.  This is a series of FREE races that promotes the sport of trail running in South Carolina and Florida.  Terri does a phenomenal job at these races as the aid stations are often stocked just as well, if not better, than some of the other ultras I have competed in.

Instead of boring you with details about my race, I am going to give you the good, the bad and the ugly of what happened at Long Cane.

The Good - With North Face 50 in two weeks, I wanted to use Long Cane's 55 miles as a chance to get a long run in on some trails and to test out my new nutrition plan.  In past races I have always struggled with going out too fast so I was also concentrating on pacing myself.  I did not go into Long Cane looking for love but by the time it was over I was in love with Clif gels.  I ended up running about 35 miles total on Saturday, and not once did I have a low point or lack of energy.  I never became fatigued, and I could have easily run another few hours before I slowed down.  I took a Clif gel every 40 minutes and it did wonders.  It not only gave me energy but it tasted amazing.  I even joked that I might start eating them for breakfast.  I am extremely happy with my fitness and my new, established nutrition plan heading into North Face. Additionally, I ended up placing 1st in the 50K. All in all, it was a nice run.

The Bad - I was fighting an inner battle with my mind on whether or not I missed a turn. The course was well marked and made perfect sense when looking at it on a map, however for about 10 minutes I was arguing with myself that I was going the wrong direction.  Finally, I decided to turn around and run back until I came across another runner.  It took about a mile until I finally saw someone else, who then confirmed I was going in the right direction. In the end my paranoia about missing a turn was wrong and cost me about 2 miles.

The Ugly - About 25 miles into the race my right knee started to hurt.  I have no clue where this came from as I had never felt this before.  I came into the 27 mile aid station right at 4 hrs into the race, and physically I felt fine except for my knee.  It was hurting badly but I knew I at least wanted to finish the 50K option.  I took some ibuprofen and ran/walked the last 4 miles to the finish.

With the knee issue aside, when I reflect on my run at Long Cane I can be happy with the fact that I got 5 hrs of running in on a beautiful trail without any muscle fatigue or soreness.  The Long Cane trail had a good mixture of rocks, roots, hills and even a water crossing or two.  It was definitely a good trail to run to help prepare me for North Face. Hopefully my knee will not hurt at North Face because I have the fitness and nutrition plan that will allow me to get my revenge.

Off we go!

5 hours later - finally finished!

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