Dirty 30 Race - Crash and Burn
Well, this past Saturday I ran the Dirty 30 race up in the foothills outside of Golden. I had signed up for the race at the last minute do to a change in summer plans, and as a result, I had a terrible race. I've been thinking over the last two days about my performance, running through my head the various things I did wrong leading up to the race and during the race. I'm fairly bummed about my time, and it has been difficult to process the experience. I've come up with a couple of solid excuses for my performance, but I also know in my head that that is all they are, excuses. Now that it has been a couple days, I've gotten over the sour experience and have reset my sights on future races with a much stronger commitment to properly train and execute.
Lack of Miles: Going over in my head the various reasons or possible reasons for my performance, one thing stands out - no long runs. I mean, why race an ultra if you have only done 3 long runs of 20 miles each over the past several months? Seems silly now that I think about it, but that is what happened. I was originally planning on peaking more in July and August for several races then, but had to change plans and sign up for this race at the last minute. After working on a solid base and solid vertical this spring, my original plans were to start ramping up the longer runs for the races later this summer. But with a change in plans, I didn't get to do that and so attempted the race on only 3 longish runs; all my other runs have been averaging 7-15 miles. This, I now realize, is simply not adequate enough to perform during an ultra, as I clearly started to fad after mile 19 during the race. This lack of miles is also evidence in my stats for May, during which time I only ran 227 miles. Not nearly enough miles or time on the feet.
Dehydration: New this year was the movement of Aid Station 3 to the parking lot, and not at the junction of Horseshoe and Black Bear. As a result, runners had the option of basically skipping the ~.1 mile run from the junction down to the aid station and back. I opted to not add that bit on, and as a result, ran out of water on the long climb up Horseshoe and then over Mule Deer to Snowshoe Hare. This was clearly a mistake, as I was struggling when I got to Aid 4. Upon arrival, I slammed several bottles of water and Heed and instantly felt better and picked my pace back up. I lost 30 minutes during this section. Again, this might have been avoided if I had done more long runs this spring.
Motivation: I signed up for the race last minute, and mentally I don't think I was really ready to race. Even from the gun, I was apathetic about "getting after it" and simply rolled in with a large group about 20 places back. Normally I'll try and stay a bit closer to the front, but from the get go I just was not into it. It's hard to say why, but I think in the back of my head I knew I was not ready for the race and therefore lacked the necessary motivation to really try.
I've come up with a couple other excuses in my head, but it seems to me the lack of miles and mid-race dehydration are what caused me to crash and burn on this race. Either way, they are still just excuses. I guess the biggest lesson is to not do a race you are not prepared for. Simple when you think about it. I finished in 6:17:16 which was good for 59th place.
However, now that I have gotten over all of the negative aspects of the race and feeling bad, I'm now even more determined to properly train. This involves speed work, real long runs, tempo runs, etc. Not just running hills every day. I'm developing a 3 month training schedule that I'll post next - any thoughts or training ideas would be greatly appreciated.