Youngs Lake Ultra

today i ran the youngs lake ultra – 28.8 miles with 2,700 feet of gain. for me this race was a “c” race. meaning no taper or reduction in training before it. i ran 35 miles last weekend at the blanchard mountain ultra and had a 23hr week of training going into this race. this was my “race pace” long run… which is almost impossible to do to yourself outside of an actual race. i felt like this relatively flat course (in the ultra world) would be a good test of my leg speed, kick and general fitness. i was hoping to run close to the course record time, and clock somewhere in the 7:30’s per mile. i knew this would be tough at this point in my training. i have just started running again and have done all of one speed session so far. the race consisted of three 9.6 mile loops with 900 feet of gain/loss each.

mission accomplished!
total time 3:39 – 7:36 min pace per mile – 4th overall (just 2 minutes off of the course record)

1st lap: 1:11 (avg hr 153)
even though my goal was to run 7:30’s for the 29 miles i got caught up in chasing james varner out the gate. this was a bad idea as he was running to break his course record and he did – congrats james! watching him disappear played mind games with me. i was over my anaerobic threshold and he was ever so slowly disappearing. i am now painfully aware that i am almost too competitive to do races as training sessions. i was a bit wheezy from the dairy i had last night. i was tired from not sleeping enough and drinking too much coffee yesterday.. i basically had no spunk and my legs felt like they had nothing in them. this is undoubedly also because of the 23 hours of training i put in this week. i should have expected this to happen really… but somehow i was not mentally prepared to feel this way.

i once read an interview with ned overend that stuck with me. he spoke of early season races where he’ll get his ass handed to him and have tons of people ask “what happened?”. his response was something like “what do you mean? that went well!”.

2nd lap: 1:13 (avg hr 150)
ran by myself and tried to focus on keeping my heart rate as close to my anaerobic threshold as possible. this was harder than it should have been because of my general energy deficit. my legs still felt flat. but this was great mental training. focusing on my hr kept me from thinking about how boring the course was and how i still had over 1.5 hours of hammering to go.

3rd lap: 1:14 (avg hr 152)
although i felt like i was super steady this lap it was a delusion. as i neared the finish i realized i was a few minutes off pace. i somehow found enough to poured it on at the end going well over my anaerobic threshold for the last couple miles… at one point felt like i was floating!

i learn something every time i race – what did i learn this race?

  • no dairy in the week before a race, and certainly not the night before! (but that cheddar cheese the frasers served last night was sooooo good!) damn. i was congested this morning, and wheezy during the race.
  • always have my asthma inhaler available in drop bag (how many times do i have to learn this one?)
  • the continental divide is my ultra race shoe! most had race flats or road shoes on. i have moved up a 1/2 size in continental divides. they were certainly overkill for this race.. however i didn’t want to be testing them for the first time at big horn or western. they worked beautifully with my sole custom footbeds… perfection.
  • don’t let negative thoughts invade. this only happens to me when i’m overtrained or tired going into a race. i had a lot of negative thoughts during the first lap because i was getting smoked. after i realized i was on track for 7:30 min miles i was fine. but that is just plain dumb. i knew it too. i kept changing my negative thoughts to positive thoughts, focussing on what i could affect. it was hard to pull my head out of it simply because i felt flat, empty and tired during the first lap. so much of ultra distance racing is mental – i gotta work on that.