Sunday, May 26, 2013

RACE REPORT: Cradle to Grave 30K Trail Race

Training (not much of it):

May 6, Monday: 40 min of biking at a high resistance, in a warm hotel fitness room in Sao Paulo.

May 7, Tuesday: 6.2 mi in 50:25, 8:08 ave, at what was probably 0 degrees of incline.  6am run, pre-breakfast.  For a morning run, my legs were suprisingly fresh.

May 9, Thursday: 5.1 in 42:35, 8:21 ave, at 3 degrees of incline.  Felt great and ready to run uphill today, though it felt like it took more effort than usual, maybe because I was tired from travelling.  Arrived back in the US this morning.

May 12, Sunday: 7.6 in 1:02:43, 8:14 ave, on the grass at the park.  Felt bleh after 2 days of not running.  Family visited this weekend, which threw off the schedule a bit.  I did get to catch up on sleep, though.  Did form drills afterwards because I was still feeling good and still had energy.

May 13, Monday: 5 mi treadmill hill workout in 42:20, 8:28 pace.  2x[1 mi @ 3 degrees, 3/4 mi @ 5 degrees, 1/4 mi @ 7 degrees] @ 7mph, 1/2 mi @ 1 degree, 1/4 mi @ 3 degrees, 1/4 mi @ 5 degrees, 1/4 mi @ 7 degrees at varied paces.  It had been a long time since my last speed or hill session, and since I hadn't done too much training for the 30K, I decided to risk the "inverse taper" with a hill session.

May 14, Tuesday: 65 min body weight strength session.

May 15, Wednesday: 4.1 mi in 33:11, 8:06 ave.  Last run before the *big* race.  Felt comfortable thorugh 4 mi, but the last 0.1 pushed me over the edge and overdid it.  Lesson learned for next time... stop while you're still feeling good.

THE RACE:
I had to drive 1.66 hours to get there, so I woke up at 4am.  I decided to take the longer route, so that I could avoid having to do hairpin turns on mountain ledges in the dark.  Good thing, since it started raining on the way there... really hard.  I got there safely, although I spent a lot of cortisol / adrenaline in doing so, with the rough road conditions.

Parked, got my race packet.  It was a bit chilly in few clothes walking around, but I knew that low 60s would definitely be sports bra weather once we got moving.  It was still pouring at the start and remained that way for the first 1/3 of the race.  I had a gel 15 min pre-race.  We went off, and I settled into 4th place within about a mile.  The first mile wound around the cute Forest Festival Trail, which was paved and took you by some cool forestry artifacts like trains.  Then, it was maybe 2.5 miles of sloshing through mud, balancing over logs, and splashing full-on through a true water-crossing.  It was epic, and it tested my ability to move laterally.  I probably pushed way harder than I should've during those early miles, but it was hard to not get caught up in the epic-ness of the run in the rain and mud.  Once we got to the first aid station at about mile 3.5 and started going on forest service roads, I felt like cheering with the people around me just to celebrate getting through that mud... and we were just getting started.


On the roads, it was about settling in and conserving energy... at one point, a girl passed me (on the uphills, as usual), but I passed back and managed to hold it for the remainder of the race (although only by about 90s). 

The middle of the course went up a steep mountain, and back down.  Lots of hiking, with hands-on-knees.  Going down, I took it perhaps too carefully.  I felt like a coward for doing so, as the men screamed down.  I think I was cautious because I didn't trust the road-shoe Kinvaras in the muddy conditions with all of the roots... that, and it was just steep.  I was kind of disappointed in myself, since I could've gone much faster, had I had the guts.  Instead, I had to absorb a bunch of eccentric contractions, going slowly on the downhills, which I normally need to count on to make up for time lost during the uphills.  I did go fast in the root-less, more tempered downhills, though.  Back onto the forest service roads in the "back" portion of the out-and-back.  Trying to hold off those behind me.  The miles actually went by very quickly.

Then, back through the mud.  It was more comfortable going back, since you knew what to expect, and you could look forward to every step, knowing you were one step closer to the finish.  The last 0.6 mi of the 18.6 mi felt like F-O-R-E-V-E-R.  I had to push my legs, but they held up... not quite marathon bonking effort, but it was pretty tough.  I didn't take any gels on course because I thought they'd be provided, but I only really saw solid food offered, so I stuck with Gatorade (6 stations in all).

Finished 4th for the women.


It was an impeccably organized race.  Perfect course markings left no doubt in your mind.  Great sponsors.  Great support at the aid stations, with lots of food options.  Super-interesting course with the log crossings, mud, water crossing, photo-op option at the summit (which I didn't take, since it would tack on an extra 4 minutes... I never saw the turnoff anyway), mountain requiring hiking, steep decline, forest service roads, single track, paved Forest Festival trail.... awesome venue.  It's hard to believe that this was a first-annual race, because for real, it was really well organized.... hats off to the Race Director and all of the volunteers.

Rio

May 1st, Wednesday: Arrived in Buenos Aires that morning.  Got in a run before I met up with my colleagues to work for the rest of the day.  7.8 miles on the gravel/grass track that runs along the Ecological Reserve.  Did 3 laps of it.  I would've gone into the Reserve, but it was closed for the May Day holiday.  I could've possibly gone for a 4th lap, but I had to rush back to allow time to shower.  Estimated 8:36 pace.

Too busy the next 2 days to work out.

Then... flew out to Rio to spend the weekend there, in between days at the office in Buenos Aires, AR, and Sao Paulo, BR!!!  It would be my first time, and it had been a dream to go for a while.  I was psyched.

We arrived at 1am early Saturday morning, and as we made the 30 min drive into the city, I saw a small white figure among the darkness of the night, and I asked the driver if that was "Christo", and it was!  We drove along the Copacabana beach, which was very empty at that time, to our hotel.  It took me a while before I went to sleep, because I was busy planning out touring options for the next day.

I woke up at 5:45am later that morning to head out to watch the sunrise and get in a run before the day's adventures began.  It was stop-and-go due to picture-taking, but it was so fresh out there... "fresh" is the word I'd use.  I grew up only a couple of miles away from a beach, but this was unlike any other that I've seen. 




I headed down Copacabana, where the sand was a bit cambered, but ok.  As the waves came in, I had to sprint every now and then to avoid getting wet.  I ran into a bird who did the same.


I saw people pushing canoes out into the ocean.  I saw some cool sandcastles (I'll show a pic later).  I then went to Ipanema beach, where I explored a rocky outcropping that's supposed to be a good place to watch sunsets.  There, I saw stretchers/yogis.

 

Once I got back, I had breakfast with my travel buddies, and we met our driver, who'd take us to different sites during the day.

(Christ the Redeemer)


(view of the Favelas)

(Federal Soccer Stadium)



(Awesome, long staircase that had tiles from all over the world... this was one of my favorite parts of the tour)


(Cablecar ride up to Sugarloaf Mountain, which had a great view of the city)

Afterwards, we enjoyed the view from the beach below, with fresh coconuts.



That evening, we walked Copacabana again, to catch the sunset from the rocky outcropping that I had explored that morning.




The next morning, no time for a run, because I signed up to go Hang-gliding!







It was awesome to fly above the water, soar among the birds, and see the city in another way.

After I got back, I played in the water.


and just enjoyed chilling at the beach.  Rio is such a relaxing place, and it was a huge contrast to the non-stop workdays.



Afterwards, enjoyed a Caiprinha to cool off (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caipirinha).



Awesome weekend.... awesome.  It's a special place.

Apr 21-29: Recovering from the Morris Dupont Trail Half Marathon, Beers - p

Catch-up post...

FIT:

Apr 21, Sunday: 1 hr of biking, to get bloodflow going the day after the Morris Broadband Dupont Trail Half Marathon.

Apr 23, Tuesday: 4 mi @ 3 degrees of incline @ 8:23 pace.  Felt suprisingly strong, but I was mentally finished after 4 miles... not much stamina.

Apr 25, Thursday: 4 mi @ 2 degrees of incline @ 8:10 pace.  Pumped arms to reduce leg pounding.  Sped up a lot in the last mile (7:23 pace) because someone was waiting for the treadmill.

Apr 27, Sautrday: 15.1 mi long run in the park @ 9:48 pace.  I had a month in between the Trail Half and the Trail 30K (18.6 mi), so this would be my stepping stone run.  Took it really slow, but legs were still thrashed from the previous weekend.

Apr 28, Sunday: 55 min of body-weight strength.

Apr 29, Monday: 4.5 mi of Intervals @ 1 degree of incline (7:24 ave pace).  0.5 mi warmup in 4:12, 4x[0.5 in 3:20 (9mph), 0.25 in 2:00 (7.5mph)], 1 mi cooldown in 7:48.

FUN:

I once a round table that was covered with beer bottle caps, many years ago.  Very clever.  I decided that I'd start a collection of caps, so that I could make one, too.  It will go in my future house. 

I decided to start my collection a little before my South Africa trip.  With the trips, I had lots of opportunities to get beers, although right during that trip, they made a rule that we couldn't buy alcohol anymore.  It would've been fun to get caps from around the world.  Oh well.  My colleagues from around the world are still going to try to help me, though.

Trader Joe's, and lots of other stores, sell beer by the bottle, so I select a carton and fill it up.  Half a bottle (more like 2 swallows) is really enough for me, so I often save the other half for the next day.  Tastes the same to me... it may be even more palateable the next day.  My rate is about 1 per week.  It will take me a while.  Maybe I'll post updates on the size of my collection every now and then.