Sunday, October 19, 2008

Stone Steps...DONE DEAL!!

Everything started out just great this morning. With about 67 runners participating, the race started promptly at 8:00 am, temperature in the mid 40s. Throughout the event, it rose to about 65 and the sun was out the entire time.

The course was beautiful and I felt I had prepared fairly well for the event, though as mentioned in previous posts, I was a bit concerned about IT band and hamstring issues. Everything seemed to be working fine until about mile 23, just as I was beginning the final two loops, a 3.5 miler and the final 5.3 miler. I was very sluggish going into the smaller loop and found myself walking more than running. I was also running alone, which is usually not good for me. Fortunately, someone caught ups to me and gave me some encouraging words. I managed to work my way to the check point and prepped myself to head out one last time for the final 5.3 miles. I downed some PB&J sandwiches and a GU and started out.

About 1 mile later (27), I bonked...everything hurt. My toes, IT and hamstring started to really ache. I fell into a brisk walk to try and recover, but with every descent, my toes screamed, "stop!" I kept catching roots with my shoes, further intensifying the pain. The constant barrage of stones and roots on the trail also caused extreme discomfort as it forced me to shift my footing constantly. Mile 28...3 more to go. I pushed on at a steady gait. My goal was 6:30, and I was 5:50 hours into it.

Still alone, I walked for the next mile or so and reached the fourth and final ascent of the stone steps. This felt pretty good as it helped to stretch everything out a little bit and I was able to run on a smooth part of the trail for about half a mile. I was getting so close, but the pain resurfaced and forced me to walk again for the next 1.5 miles or so. 6:15 and still another 1.75 mils to go with another steep descent and nasty climb before the finish. At 6:35, I reached the 30.5 mile mark and knew it was going to be OK. Thank god for a small group of runners coming up behind me. This boosted my adrenaline just enough to scramble to the finish with the family waiting.

Sophie, thanks for the encouragement. I met a guy there with a VHTRC shirt on! I think his name was Bill Lohse (?).

Ouch, I hurt, but I did it! 6:42 hours later I have completed my first ultra! Unfortunately no photos, but plenty of memories. It's going to be a sore morning!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Stone Steps Training Update

I have been icing/stretching/resting a lot (maybe too much - only about 8 miles this week) and taking my ibuprophen regularly, so I'm hoping come Sunday, things will fall into place. I'm just going to go out slow and hang on for 31 miles. But if things start to tighten up too much, I have no problem with calling it quits.
Weather is going to be sunny and cool in the morning (low 40's) with a high of about 65. I'm hoping for some fog...that would be cool to run through! I'll have photos and a race update next week!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stone Steps...this Sunday

Aaaaagh...I have just sent in my registration. I am hoping that I have trained enough, despite the sore left leg issues. The course shown at left (click to enlarge), is a series of loops: 4 large loops (5.3 miles) and three small loops (about 3.5 miles). The weather is supposed to be in the AM and warming up to the 70s by noon.
I have been trying to follow Sophie's fueling, stretching and icing advice for the past week, but I'm still sore. I am hoping the adrenaline and other runners will smooth things out and make for a great adventure in downtown Cincinnati!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

StoneSteps 50K Training Update

Given that Mt. Airy Forest in right next door to downtown Cincinnati, it is a beautiful park and a surprisingly great place for an ultra-marathon...the Stone Steps 50K. I went for a long training run on Saturday, about 16 miles, and the trails are totally clear of debris from Hurricane Ike. Unfortunately, my hamstring and IT issues have resurfaced. I am stretching like crazy and hoping that plenty of rest and rehab will make the Stone Steps a reality. With just under 2 weeks to go, I am going to wait until race day to register. So for now, I'm going one day at a time. This afternoon, I struggled through about 1.5 miles with discomfort.
Frustrating indeed.