Saturday, July 25, 2015

Audi Power of Four Race

Audi Power of Four Race

I went into the Audi Power of Four 50K race with a couple goals in mind: get points in the US Skyrunning series, stay steady and strong for the entire race - don't crash and burn, and use it as a build up race for Nolan's. I'd say I accomplished all three goals, but I still was a bit disappointed in myself.

I won't go into a turn by turn race report, as that really only helps those who ran the course. Instead, the quick summary of the day is that there were three major climbs, two major descents, some traversing, meandering, and then a final mellow descent down to the finish. It rained off and on all day, making the course extremely muddy and wet, but it kept the heat down which was a good thing. I've heard a lot of people gripping about the first part of the course, where we went straight up Aspen and Highlands - pure powerhiking. I've also heard some people complain about the descent off Highlands - straight down ~2,000 in just under 2 miles. I found those sections to be fun and challenging, just what I would expect from a skyrace. My complaint with the course was the last section on Snowmass where we tooled around on tedious singletrack switchbacking slowly down to get in the correct miles to equal a 50K. Basically, I hated the running part!

And really, that is where I fell apart. Going up, going down, no problem, but the long traverse over to Snowmass in the deep mud, and then the tooling around on Snowmass for over 7K to just get in some random miles really killed my spirits and I mentally threw in the towel. I guess I'm just not a "runner" deep down.

I ended up 7th Master and 37th Overall. My watch said the race was 33 miles with 11,000' of gain. Despite my mental failure, I had a great time at the race - incredible course, great aid station volunteers, and a pretty fun day out in the mountains. If there were any complaints, it would be more options at the aid stations (pretty much only water, a few had Coke, and some Clif products) and some sort of medal at the finish line. This last thing seems to be a trend with the Skyraces, perhaps because the RDs need to pay the Skyrunning Federation too much to be part of the series or something, but I know mentally I really wanted something to prove that I slogged through that course. Now I've got less then six days to continue to recover and prep before the Tushar 93K in middle-of-nowhere Utah.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Talking About Races

Talking About Races

I've had some interesting experiences lately talking about races. I'm on Strava, but don't really get too into the analytics of it. Likewise, I have a GPS watch, but don't really know how to use it, and so I only clock car-to-car times, or on Strava, elapsed time. For me, this is fine since in a race it is about elapsed time, not moving time. However, when talking to people about races or even training runs, more often than not they are referring to moving time. This is not necessarily a problem, but I've noticed that after these talks, I end up having self-doubts about my abilities or training. Below is an extreme example that I ran across on Strava from earlier this week.
Now here is an example of where moving and elapsed times are totally way off. This may be no big deal, except that I often have a hard time parsing this out in my head, and instead think that I need to run way faster, or give up completely.

For example, I'm doing the Audi Power of Four 50K race in a couple weeks. I've never done the race, but I was talking with someone who did it last year and they were saying things like "it will be really fast on the downhills, probably sub-5 min/miles." I'm like, shit, I don't know if I have ever run a sub-5 min/mile, let alone during a 50K. I'm going to get killed! But is that really true?

Does talking about races help or hinder? For me, I can't decide. I think I learn some things about the course, what to expect, but at the same time, I seem to come away from these types of conversations a bit worse off. I get negative and have self doubts about my abilities and my training. I like to think that I'm training as best as I know how given that I work full time and have other responsibilities, but I also know there are people who will be at the race who are professionals or who don't have any other life constraints except for running. I don't come from a running background, but a climbing one. So running fast is not something I can just do. I ran some fast races this winter, but now my mountain legs are back and that means I've slowed down. Anyways, I'm just not sure how good it is to talk with other runners about things unless they are totally opposite, like running in Europe or something that doesn't directly touch my life. Even talking about local runs, I often get discouraged because I don't think I will ever be that fast. However, it could just be the difference between moving and elapsed times... Just some thoughts.

 Old stuff in the Niwot Ridge biosphere - a nice hard run can be done here up through the biosphere to the ridge itself.
 Sunset in the Sawatch Range.
 This is the east ridge of Yale, which is the descent on the Nolan's line going north to south.
 This is the ridge coming out of Maxwell Gulch on Princeton, which is the ascent on the Nolan's line going north to south.
 This is the descent off Princeton, follow the ridge, turn left and down to where the snow almost ends, then off into the grass and follow the faint climbers trail to Alpine.
 I got these in the mail to try. A new shoe company with a new concept. They feel really interesting, but I have yet to actually run in them. We will see shortly.
 Long's in the distance from a run up Audubon from the winter trailhead. Why pay the entry fee when it is pretty easy to just run the trails from the winter trailhead.
 Looks, a brown object! No, a big bull moose. There were three of them in the willows just past Brainard Lake the other day. Apparently they are pretty common there right now.
 The flowers are in full bloom in the mountains right now!
 Nice perspective of James Peak's east face.
 The Continental Divide and the Pfiffner Traverse.
One of the most appealing looking sections of trail I know of! Yes, please run here.