Monday, June 12, 2017

Green Jewel 50K Race Report & Training Update for Canal Corridor 100

Prerace selfie with the hubby!
Saturday I ran the Green Jewel 50K for the third time...although this time it was a much different race for me than the past two years. For starters, it moved to June instead of March as originally scheduled. As you can imagine this made for a much warmer race. Also, the course was reversed to start in Brecksville and end in Rocky River. This means most of the climbing is done before you hit the Emerald necklace. Finally, I have been training intently for the Canalway 100 next month and never really planned to race this so I ran my first ever 100 mile week last week and then only tapered for two days leading into this. A friend of mine suggested that I race the 50K and then run the next day early on tired legs to simulate how I will feel at the end of the 100. Okay, I thought that made sense so I listened. I decided to attempt to race this thing even thought I figured I would pay for this decision being as fatigued as I am.

Somewhere in my irrational mind I thought I might even be able to beat my time of 4:38 from last year. We started off in the park running straight up hill from Oak Grove at about an 8-8:15 mile pace. Ouch. This hurt. My legs were not happy and I was laboring from the start. Once you get off the trail you run some miles on Valley Parkway. There are some decent sized hills and I can recall my calves cramping up into painful little balls so I decided I would take a little walk break. I remember one of my splits being about 10 so I think I ran about 8 and then walked for 2 minutes. That helped. But this continued. It was the worst my calves have ever felt in a race and I debated dropping out and heading back to the car. Noway! I told myself you HAVE to run this race! What if this happens during your 100? You can't just give up! So onward I went. Fortunately I had a water bottle with Nuun with me as well because it was getting hot early on and without water and electrolytes the cramping in my calves probably would have been worse. Either way I knew this was going to be a long sufferfest!

By the first aid station at Ridge Road I was feeling a little better about my chances of surviving the race - mainly because we were heading downhill then. Although it is not the easiest thing to run fast down Ridge Road either. Ouch! Onward I went after a gel and some Tailwind. Around that time I was still trying for sub 9 for a bit but by 13 or 14 I really wasn't feeling great. I was sore, hot and just kindof apathetic about my chance at having a great race. Onward I went just trying to walk a little as needed to rest my tired body. I remember thinking it was taking forever to get to the check point at Wallace Lake. I was pretty excited to get my drop bag and get my Smuckers Uncrustable for a snack along with my GU Rocktane gel. But when I got there my bag was not there and I think we were at about 16.5-17 miles not 14 since the course was reversed. This was not good for my psyche and I was again cursing my decision to race this thing and I decided I would just survive it.

My friend Tony ran by and motioned for me to run with him and his group as I was walking and I said "I'm not racing it, just gonna finish it." Part of me wanted to quit, part of me wanted to walk it in and part of me just wanted to get it done as fast as possible. So I ran as fast as I could and then took walk breaks when I wanted to. I reminded myself that this race is the best training run I would have before Canalway. I couldn't just give in. I drudged on in the heat, took in some gels and tailwind and eventually found myself at the mile 27 aid station. I was pretty excited then to be close to the finish and my friend Jim was working the aid station and gave me some cheers and energy to move on.

I was able to run most of the end but did walk some of the uphill as I was pretty exhausted and hot. I was trying to break 5 hours at least but came up a little short at 5:08 and change. I finished 4th female, 1st in my AG. But really I was just happy that I pushed myself through a very, very tough day for me physically and mentally. I assume this is how it will feel during the 100. I am sure I will hurt like hell and I will want to quit a million times but will need to dig deep and find the strength to continue on towards the finish. I hope that this training I am doing now will make me strong enough physically and mentally to remain as focused and strong as possible.

Steph L, me and Steph I post race
After the race I went to the bathroom to change into dry clothes and then walked back over to the finish to watch for my friends (and fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors) Stephanie L and Stephanie I. Both of them were standing there when I walked up. I was excited to see that they had both done well! Stephanie L had run her first 50K and rocked it and came in not too far behind me placing 2nd in our AG! Stephanie I and her teammate were the 2nd place womens' relay team! Steve also had a good race considering that he too is very fatigued he still placed in the top 10 and in his AG!

Post race Steve and I headed over to Fatheads for some hard earned burgers and hoppy beers! Then it was time to go home, shower, sleep and get up early to run on tired legs. Our plan was to get up in the wee hours of Sunday am and head to the Towpath for 8-10 in the dark. But at 3am I just couldn't drag myself out of bed so we snoozed and instead ran around 8am. It was already hot and muggy and we did 9 slow miles before having a snack and heading out on the cross bikes for an hour of fun biking. The week wrapped up with 60 miles of running, 30 miles of biking. Today I am resting but got in a nice lunch walk on the Towpath. I will try to get in one last big week of 90+ miles and start my taper about 2 weeks out on Sunday.

hard-earned hoppy beers at Fatheads post-race!

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