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Run Efficient: Big A 50k

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Big A 50k

So the Mt. A 50k was a small organized race of what I thought was going to be about 28 people, 48 turned out. New Balance was there to scan people's feet, both before, during and after the race. They used this futuristic machine to give a 3D image of the foot to measure the effects of distance running. I think about half the racers signed up for the diagnostics and the procedure was very fast and efficient.

The race started out with a usual large group at a relatively smart pace. Lots of Trail Monsters showing their colors and excitement. I did the first lap with the Nathan Endurance Vest as I wanted to make sure I was hydrated, and was not sure about the water on the 7.8 mile lap. James, Stephen, Brent and I stayed together during the first lap and took it relatively easy, although the course quickly showed it was going to be taxing, with relatively few flat or rest areas. This is always a concern for me as eating and choking go hand-in-hand enough without gasping for air on an ascent or focusing intently on descents. We wrapped up our first lap and I hopped on the foot scanner at the aid station.

Second lap had me in a tiffy. I turned around after getting scanned and saw none of the people I was running with. I ditched my Nathan pack, filled a bottle, and sucked down a tasty, salty potato. I really did not want to run alone as the course was tricky at junctions with minimal marking and while focusing on footing it was easy to miss a turn. After about a mile I caught up with James and Carter on the first climb. We ran together for a while until the second hill where James and I continued on to run the rest of the lap. We took turns missing, and spotting the course and realized the lead person needed to pay attention to foot-fall, while the person in back navigated. After the third hill, which for me was the toughest as the incline seemed to go on forever, I took a fun digger and managed to roll out of it without too much damage. I was most likely talking about food... This lap was way faster than our first and I started thinking I might not be saving enough for the end. Lap ends, foot tested, food ingested.

Third lap, James was nice enough to wait a bit for me. The guy is super efficient at transitions and is able to fit an entire power bar and 8 ounces of water in his mouth at the same time, ridiculous. I started feeling it late in this lap as we continued to move at a quick pace. At one point James bashed his broken toe and shook it off with a couple preternatural grunts which only gave him more energy (I think he learned it at the Barkley). At about a mile or so to the transition area I realized I'd have to slow my pace and could not keep up with him any more. He hung about for a bit and it was a real bummer as we had a bunch of fun and I really enjoyed his company. At this point we realized there was only one person in front of James and I really did not want to slow him down as he was running real strong. Three down, foot scan, grab as much food as I can carry.

So I knew I needed energy, and took in as much as I could to give myself gusto. This lap I ran alone and walked the majority of the hills, really feeling it. I've taken too much sodium in past races and gained weight, which led to foot swelling, and blisters. Not fun. I've been careful not to overdo it but was surprised at about mile 27 to feel cramping in both quads. All I had with me was water at this point and no salt tabs. So looking around I decided to do the next best thing and began licking my arms from wrist to shoulder like a crazed panther. I could not help laughing at how ridiculous it was as I fervently recycled salt from myself. It worked, cramps went away within minutes. Most likely coincidence, but whatever. My pace felt so slow and agonizing the last bunch of miles I couldn't help thinking someone was directly behind me ready to pass at break neck speed.

All-in-all the race was fantastic. Great company, great course, great organization, thanks to Bob Najar, Rich Collins, NB, and crew.

distance: 31.25
duration: 5:36:00
pace: 10:46
elevation gain: 5600


At May 8, 2011 at 8:33 PM , Blogger sn0m8n said...

Licking your arms is moderately ingenious. Gross, but brilliant. Oh, only huge nerds blog.

At May 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM , Blogger vja said...

Yuck! I wonder if it worked because of the placebo effect or it you got enough salt that way. Again, yuck, but way to think on your feet!


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