Monday, November 1, 2010

The End of a Season

This past weekend I wrapped up my last official race of the year - Autumn Leaves 10k put on by the ORRC at Champoeg Park.  I had originally signed up for the 50 miler, but after much internal (and external) debate, I opted for the shorter distance and a morning of volunteering.  After this event, the rest of 2010 is all fun (Hot Buttered Run!) and the beginnings of another round of Ironman training.  It's time to focus on a bit of recovery, nailing down a healthy nutrition plan, and gearing up for an already overbooked 2011.
Here's the race report from Autumn Leaves:

I arrived at 5:30am to a misty fog and pitch black darkness.  Headlamps dotted the horizon as the early-starters for the 50 miler were milling around nervously chatting, filling water bottles, organizing drop bags, and trying to keep warm.  I studied their actions, hoping to glean insider information into the ultramarathon world.
I spent the next 4 hours helping hand out packets and running miscellaneous errands.  The regular start for the 50mi/50k went off, and some of the early starters were finishing up their first laps.  Just as the sun started to peek out and the fog lifted, the 10k-ers began arriving.  There was a bit of warming up, a quick pre-race briefing, and then the race directer yelled "GO".

The first part of the course was on a smooth multi-use path and wound through the forest, along the Willamette River, and up over a (very slippery) wooden bridge.  Leaves covered the ground, but the trees were still brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.  Everything smelled like fresh rain.  It was one of the most peaceful races I can remember.
The second part of the course was single-track trail.  Despite the now constant rain, it was only mildly muddy.  And surprisingly not crowded.  Like my last trail race, I found my earphones to be an annoyance and quickly stuffed them away.  I remember asking myself why it had been so long since my last trail run.  And being amused that I could feel so much pain and so much peace at the same time.

Moments before the start, I decided to turn the run into a max heart race test.  The plan was to use the first 3 miles as warmup, go hard for 2 miles, and then cool down for the last mile.  About 1.25 miles into the "hard" part, my vision blurred, my ears started buzzing, and there was nothing I could do to get enough oxygen RIGHT NOW.  So I started my cooldown a bit early...but that was far preferable than an embarrassing visit with the paramedics.
The 10k course proved to be a bit longer than 6.2 miles (admitted long by the race director, and logged as 6.72 miles by my Garmin).  Even so, it was a decent PR and a satisfying way to end the season.  Garmin data:
Distance - 6.72 miles
Time - 1:07:13 (pace = 9:59/mile)
Fastest single mile - 7:39

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