Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bear Mtn Trail Races: Another Look Back

The race organizers of the North Face Endurance Challenge trail races at Bear Mountain did finally get results posted on the web. Scroll down to find the Bear Mountain races from May 9, 2009, each distance listed separately.

I wanted to make sure to recognize a few other performances by friends of mine that I failed to mention in my last blog post:
Cassandra Miller, 1st female in the half-marathon
Clint Earnhart, 3rd overall in the half-marathon
James Redmond, 21st in half-marathon
Bobby Hutton, 23rd in the half, the only other New York Harrier .
Lou Pahnke, 79th in the 50k (his first 50k, I believe, same as me)
Carrie Gatlin, 95th (15th woman) in the 50k
Two other friends of mine, Eric and Mark, were pulled from the 50 miler at about 34 miles for not making the time cutoff. They were disappointed, but seemed to take it in stride. It would seem that the time cutoffs for the 50 miler remain rather aggressive, given the technical and difficult nature of the trails in use. Nice work, everyone. I'm sure I missed a few other Reservoir Dogs who were running, there seemed to be a lot of them out there, that's only because I just don't know everyone on that team.

I've been analyzing my own race over the past couple of days, trying to see if my subjective experience matched my actual performance. Here is a breakdown of my splits from aid station to aid station, along with paces for each and cumulatives:

It's obvious that my pace varied quite a bit, probably in correlation with the terrain and technical nature of the various sections of the race. I also spent more time in aid stations progressively until after 21 mile station, where I ate so much that I felt full the rest of the way (so I paused only briefly for a quick drink at the last two stations). Obviously, I struggled to get from 25 to 28 miles. This section of the course included the climb up and over the Timp Pass, which was the steepest in the race. I walked most of it, and I was so tired that I ran poorly on the rocky descent (sort of race-walking , more than running). Once I got past that section, I rallied a bit on the final 3 miles or so, running my second-fastest miles splits on the day (admittedly, that section was less-technical, although it did have three uphills worth note and I was definitely plodding along with neither grace nor style at that point).

I liked Ben's comment to my last post, that these races are more about mental anguish than physical pain. I wish I could claim it was true for me. If you look at the photos of me nearing the finish line (from my previous post), you can probably notice that I'm favoring my left leg, limping slightly (hips dropping in, lower back a little stiff, shoulders uneven). I wish that my hip had felt better, then I could have faced the mental pain differently ... as it was, I was all-too-focused on dealing with a nagging injury (physical pain with every step).

I feel a little better today, in retrospect, about simply finishing the race. I can't say that I'm measurably proud, because I honestly think I should have been running at least a minute per mile faster ... but I can admit that there is something to be said about not giving up. I also have to be sensitive to the fact that, despite feeling like I struggled all day long, I managed to finish 25th out of 161, which comparatively is not all that bad. Plus, I'm sure those behind me were giving it their best, and suffering with their own injuries, demons, doubts, and challenges.

Funny (ironic) that I can truly say that everyone who completed that course should be proud, and yet not feel quite that way about my own performance. I suppose it's part of the character trait that makes us runners: always hungry, never quite satisfied, always anticipating a better race next time.

1 comment:

  1. Ben Nephew (3rd place, 50 miler) has a good race review here:


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