Monday, August 27, 2012

bulldog 25K - aftermath

saturday's race marked the longest run i've completed (race, practice or otherwise), so i'm both proud and thrilled to have survived the 15+M course.

getting numbers out of the way, i crossed the line at 2:40:08, which was good enough to land me in 84th place out of 320 runners.

physically, i felt great throughout. i paced myself in the early goings, fully aware that the 3.4M ascent up bulldog motorway was just right around the corner. after a combination of power hiking and running, i crested the top and reached aid station #2 (corral canyon at mile 7.5) in 1:28, so all was going fine. i had them top off my hydration pack and handheld while i relieved myself in 30 seconds at the port-a-potty. i also took a saltstick capsule to replenish sodium lost thru sweat and to ward off muscle cramps, fully aware that i had a cramping issue the last time at malibu creek.

i shoved off and powered thru the next few miles of rolling hills, then sped down the steep descent of miles 10-12. we hit the single track and crossed a stream before easing into the last aid station (run by the coyotes!) at mile 13.1 in 2:18. just as i was arriving, i felt my right calf spasm, the exact same thing that came up at xterra. i took down more salt and gatorade and tried to finish out the remaining 2.5M without incident.

i adopted a slower pace than race pace to make sure my calf wouldn't give out on me and hit the last hill (dubbed the "angry chihuahua"), where i surprisingly ran the whole way up. after snaking our way down, all that was left was the last mile of straightaway to the finish. here i switched on cruise control and pretty much coasted thru, taking time to pose just before crossing the line.

it sounds like a broken record, but it's frustrating to not being able to race on your own terms. i had paced myself well - perhaps too well? - to set up the last 25% of the race, so to leave those reserves relatively untapped left me smarting for a faster time. the positive is that i still felt strong and wanted to tear up the last few miles. the negative is that once again, part of my body prevented me from doing so.

is my mind telling me to ignore the flashing warning signs and suck it up and power thru? because everybody is feeling a tweak at one point or another and i shouldn't be overly sensitive to everything? or am i being smart by listening to my body and living to run another day? and why is it that i get the cramp only at the same section of the same course, but not anywhere else to date? is it because of any trail runs in the 14-15M range, or is it because of the specific contours of malibu creek's course layout that tweak my calf so?

all valid questions i'll hope to get answers on in the coming weeks. in the meantime, it's time to savor finishing my first 25K and by default, getting my PR!

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