On October 11, 2014, I ran 10:06 for 50 miles at Dick Collins Fire Trails. I gave it my all that day. I did not go out too fast, forget to eat, nor make any other obvious mistakes. That was just the best I was able to do on that particular day this past October. On January 10, 2015, I ran 8:06:45 at the Avalon 50, a new personal best.
I wish I could fully explain how I improved my time by two hour, in just three months. The main factor was probably stress. I've been able to reduce my stress level progressively over the past six months or so, and stress is apparently a major factor in how my heart performs. Less stress equals better heart performance equals better running performance. It is difficult to believe a drop in stress levels could make that much difference, but I have no other explanation for the bulk of that improvement.
I also ran a smart race. Last year at Avalon, I didn't have much training behind me, went out too fast and got in trouble around 35 miles. I distinctly remember walking on several miles of flat ground around mile 40. One of my main goals this year was to be strong enough to take advantage of all that runnable ground late in the race.
This year, I made a concerted effort to control the pace early on. I walked the uphills every time I felt like I was straining, and I made sure I was taking full advantage of all the downhills. I'm used to passing other runners on the uphills, only to watch them pass me back on the downs. This was the first time I can remember being passed by other runners on the uphills, then passing them going down.
I also stuck to a simple nutrition plan, taking a plain Gu every half an hour, and drinking a few cups of Coke or ginger ale at every aid station. Thank you Ryan for the plan; thank you to David for pushing me to get a nutrition plan and follow it.
My patience paid off. Last year, it took me 5:13 to get to the Little Harbor Aid Station at mile 33.2, and I was in 13th place overall. I finished at 8:22, 25th place. In other words, I lost 12 spots in 16.8 miles. Not so great.
|2014 Partial Results|
|2015 Final Results|
But, as those who know me can easily predict, my next question is: How much faster can I run? Time to get to work on that.
John came along with me to Avalon. He woke up before the 5am start to get this video of the start:
And he waited around the finish line to get this one at the finish line:
Here are a few more photos from the weekend (can't recall who took which ones):
|Naomi, Amy, Anton and Me|
|One More Shot of Avalon Harbor|