Monday, March 26, 2012

Bel Monte Endurance Race 50 miles - not exactly a result to be proud of…

Well, I dropped off at the 41-mile aid station. The course proved to be too difficult for my training level.

Bel Monte Endurance Race 50-miles endurance run was held on Saturday, March 24 and is organized by the same the folks from Charlottesville Running Company / Bad to the Bone Endurance Sports - Gill and Francesca Conte, etc. - who organizes the Ultra Race of Champions 100K (UROC) and the Uber Rock 50K which I run twice, last time - this September.
Famous ultra-marathon runners participate In UROC; in September 2011 was won by Geoff Roes, a second place taken by the same Mike Wardian, who won Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in DC a week ago – a race in which I and my friend Alex Egorov also participated.
Bel Monte Endurance Race includes 50K, 50 miles, and 50 miles mountain bike competition and is apparently a lower-profile event, but boy – these courses are is beautiful and runs are much harder than Uber Rock 50K!

I’m probably trying to pursue too many different agendas now – performing LM Pump, TRX, and kettlebell fitness programs, participating in a month-long climber conditioning class in our rock gym, and in Total Immersion – style swimming class, trying to fix my awful freestyle technique before Ironman 70.3 EagleMan Triathlon in June. For last couple of month some small but nasty injuries are following me. First I got a left knee pain and was suggested to do a minor knee surgery, which I postponed until a break in a season. It didn’t bother me much during Holiday Lake 50K Trail Run on February 11, neither during Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on March 17. Then I developed some intermittent right foot pain, don’t know what is it yet. These injuries didn’t allow me to train properly for Bel Monte 50-miler. Honestly, I didn’t expect such a hard and technical route either.

The weather is unusually warm this March, but on a race day forecast was – all rain. It was raining the whole morning, and after we started at 7:30 sometimes it turned into downpours. Not a pleasant experience on a steep slopes of running course, covered with slippery lose rocks. In addition, I couldn’t see anything through glasses. I felt just one time, but was moving painfully slow. In 50.43 miles of Bel Monte Endurance Run includes 8,879 feet of altitude gain and some ascents are quite steep. But what was killing me were descents on lose wet rocks. In addition, I forgot my Amphipod belt at home and didn’t drink and eat gel often enough. In the middle of the day rain stopped and it becomes hot. I felt miserable, but managed to complete first 50K at acceptable pace. Then it gradually started to rain again. Soon, lack of proper training showed itself and I started to move extremely slow – and couldn’t do anything about it anymore. I reached White Rock gap aid station (mile 40.7) in almost 12 hours, while the official race cut time was 13 hours. It was raining cats and dogs, quite cold, and getting dark. A guy at aid station was packing his stuff into a car and was quite surprised to see me. “Do they know you’re still on a route?”, – he asked. I said – “have no idea”. I asked him what I’m supposed to do, he said – up to you. And I decided to drop off. I was still able to think clearly, but couldn’t move faster than 3 miles per hour or so. It just didn’t make much sense to crawl three more hours in a complete darkness and under a cold rain. I thought – even if I finish it wouldn’t accomplish much. That’s not how I supposed to run a distance. And I gave up. He finished packing his stuff and drove me to finish.

I was still in a workable condition the next day on Sunday and went to our climbing gym to do a “home work” for climbing conditioning class. And today I resumed Les Mills Pump (barbell) workouts I postponed for last ultra-runs. I’m going to check with a doctor what’s going on with my foot. And I need some training strategy to learn how to run on lose rocks, especially – downward. I was always pretty bad on doing it and it hurts my mountain climbing abilities too. Any ideas?

Next big event will be Ironman 70.3 EagleMan Triathlon in June. I was planning to run Promise Land 50K trail run at the end of April, but I’m not sure now. It’s an extremely difficult 50 km, I tried it once 4 years ago.