Sunday, December 16, 2007

30K Race Report

It was with no small amount of trepidation that I lined up in the start chute for the Desert Classic 30K this morning. It’s a perfectly nice race; very well organized and run in combination with a 30K relay (5K, 10K, 10K, 5K) and usually draws about 100 people … 20 or so running the relay and 80 running the 30K. I ran this race last year and had a blast. In fact, it was the best race I’ve ever run and the only time I’ve ever won an age/gender medal. So this morning, with far less preparation than last year, I knew I wasn’t going to do as well. I just needed to lower my expectations, set a game plan and run my race.

At gun time, the temperature was 35F with the sun peaking over the horizon. I elected to ditch my long sleeve technical shirt and instead huddled in the middle of the pack trying to stay warm waiting for the gun. Yeah, I know 35F sounds a little chilly to be standing around in shorts and a singlet, but this is the desert. I knew that it would warm up quickly as the sun continued to rise and I’d quickly get way too hot with long sleeves and gloves.

The first mile went by in 8:37, a little faster that I wanted, so I backed off and quickly settled into a 9:10ish pace for the first 9 miles. Other than a brief potty break along mile 8, I did a great job holding a comfortable pace on the out bound.

Once I turned around and started heading back to the start, I got a burst of energy and immediately increased the pace. I clocked mile 10 at 8:47 and mile 11 at 8:41. I was still feeling pretty good, but noticed that I was starting to breathe harder. Regardless, I had confidence that I could keep up this pace for the rest of the race. I’d caught up with and passed a group of 3 runners that were 40 seconds in front of me at the turn and I really didn’t want to get passed again by these folks.

After an 8:37 mile 12 however, things started heading south. I haven’t run further than 12 miles since my last marathon in June and my quads started complaining about the pace … which started the usual internal dialog so many of us have deep into a long run, “slow down, you can’t keep this up for 6 more miles”, “shut up, we’re not slowing down”, “you’re going regret this”, “yeah, yeah, yeah, tell it to the judge”; so on I went, but running closer to 8:50 than 8:30. The quads continue complaining and a couple of runners sailed by me (they were even smiling) and I trudged on through mile 14, 15, 16 and 17 - just praying for the finish line. On mile 18, I caught up runners on the last leg of the relay and put the hammer down. Now that there were more people on the course, the chance of getting passed went way up. I don't know why this was important, but it was.

Mile 18 went by in 8:30 and then immediately after passing the 18 mile marker, I ran into a large traffic cone. I must have been so tired at that point that I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to where I was running. This cone was probably 2 feet tall and hard to miss. The cones run along the entire race course, so I’d been passing one every 15 seconds or so for the past 18 miles, but for some reason, this cone just jumped out and attacked me.

When I hit the cone, I started falling forward and veered into the road. Fortunately there weren’t any cars coming (or I wouldn't have been around to write this report)but the non-graceful stumbling act took a lot out of me. I completed the last 0.6 miles close to a 9:00/mi pace; not great, but I finished.


8:37, 9:07, 9:11, 9:06, 9:20, 9:07, 9:07, 9:57 (pottie break), 9:10
8:47, 8:41, 8:37 8:48, 8:35, 8:50, 8:48, 9:01, 8:31

Post Race - I had intended to do a cool down, but there was no way I could run another step after I crossed the finish line. Instead, I walked around the post-race area for 30 minutes chatting with folks and trying to get the lactic acid out of my legs. When I got home, my feet were killing me. My right foot was throbbing where I have a bone chip floating around, my arthritic big toe on my left foot was throbbing, my old plantar fasciitis injury in the right foot ached and the ball of my left foot was sore. What a mess. My muscles held up fine, but my feet were complaining from the quick ramp up in mileage. Fortunately, after a 30 minute soak in ice water, most of the soreness went away.

Thank you all for all your encouragement over the past several weeks. Ironically, even though this wasn't the best race of my life, it did give me the confidence of finishing the Carlsbad marathon next month. It won't be a blazing fast marathon, but I should be able to complete it.

Have a great week.


Ewen said...

Gee, you kept that one close to your chest Phil. 30k, just like that!

Well done mate. It should give you confidence for Carlsbad, especially the strong back half.

I wouldn't have like the job of picking up a zillion cones afterwards. What was your final time? And 18 miles... that would be a US 30k ;)

Jamie said...

Great job Phil! Wow, you really put it all out there on the table. No doubt a good springboard for Carlsbad. Enjoy the recovery!

Thomas said...

It's not the potential for injury that's the worst thing about little accidents like that, it's the complete and utter loss of dignity, isn't it?

Congrats on a nice race, but I really have to ask: Are you sure you're prepared for a marathon?

carmen said...

Yesterday morning I did a short loop around Tempe Town Lake and remembered my experience of running the ARR 30k last year. It was also my good fortune to meet you there. Ifelt tired all over again just reading what happened to you near the end. I think I even tensed up when you described your fall!

Good job on the run and good luck as you continue on to Carlsbad. :)

Anne said...

I think you just wanted to be sure that traffic cone didn't finish ahead of you! I'm glad the ice soak eased the pain. Doesn't sound like there was a tendon on bone that wasn't afflicted.

Love2Run said...

Good race Phil but it sounds like you have some serious foot issues besides just dodging cones. Take care out there!

Gotta Run said...

So you took out a race cone?? I know it is not funny but I did get a little giggle. I have done so many things like that so you have to just go with it. Your times were great!!! hope your feet feel better now.

One month until your marathon. not much time to rest. You will be fine and ready come race day.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

attack of the killer cones!


glad it gave it you confidence.

Bex said...

Good race despite not being as well-trained as last year. It looks like it'll be you and me in the mid-pack at Carlsbad.