Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Table Rock Ultra 54 Mile Race Recap


Table Rock Mtn

Wiseman's View
December 14th, 2013, 31 to 36F with freezing ice and driving rain for at least 8 hours
50K (31 miles) and 54 Mile Races: Total climb during the race was around 8000ft. Most of the elevation gained was in the steep hills. I do not remember more than one gradual climb during the day. Started at Lake James Park- Nebo NC and ran to the top of Wiseman's View, Table Rock Mtn, and through Linville Gorge Wilderness and back to Lake James. 48% gravel road, 48% payment and 4% technical trails with rocks (top of Table Rock Mtn).
We started at 7am at Lake James Park (Nebo NC- outside of Morganton NC). My plan was to run the 54-mile race. I started with my friends (Caleb Steedley from China Grove & Shane Vanhoose from Salisbury and Jake Edmiston from Boone).
My goals coming into the race were to finish it strong (no death marching at the end), focus on my heart rate (more about that later), and learn more about my race nutritional needs as I plan longer races in 2014.
My nutrition before the race was: oatmeal, banana, and a greek yogurt when I woke up. 1 hour before the start, I drank a serving of Ucan Super Starch and a Vespa Power Amino Acid Supplement to stimulate fat burning. Over the last 3 weeks, I have been running all of my runs on an empty stomach and reducing my daily carbs to less than 50grams to stimulate fat burning instead of depending on carbs and bonking during long runs and races. I brought my Gel Bottle and only used 1 Expresso Hammer Gel at mile 20 and am not sure I really needed it. I felt full the whole race which is an indication of my body depending on my fat for fuel. I did take another Vespa Power Amino Acid Supplement at mile 30 to continue to encourage fat burning. I did snack on trail mix at every aid station. I am super happy with not bonking, feeling full, plenty of energy and no stomach upset. I drank Xtend Endurance recovery drink on the way home.
We were able to get 3 miles in before the rain started coming down. The rain would not start to taper off for the next 8 hours. We all knew going in the weather would be one of the challenges so we agreed not to discuss it as we were focused on having a good race. I think the longer the race is the more my mental attitude has to do with how I perform. I wore my Rain Jacket, , light gloves, gel holster to hold my gel bottle and a Nathan Vest to hold all my supplies (salt caps, pain, water bottle, poncho, Tums, etc). I also wore a Heart Rate Monitor Watch and my Garmin 405CX watch on the other arm. The Garmin watch only lasted 6 hours. The reason I wanted the Garmin was to monitor my pace for the first half of the race. I have demonstrated in past races what not to do by running too hard at the beginning of the race and not have any energy left at the end. We stayed around 9 minutes per mile pace for the first portion of the race, which was fine since it was going to be a long day.
I stayed in the 140 to 150 HR zone on all flat and downhill portions of the race. When the big climbs came and I would get to 165, I would slow down my pace until I got to the top of the hill. What was as challenging as the steep hills was keeping my heart rate at 140 or higher on the down hills. Some of the hills would drop quickly so I would push my pace to keep my engine running at a constant rate. A couple of downhill portions I saw Jake and I were at a running at 7 minute per mile pace. Ice and mud played a part in some of the slower portions at the highest points. The technical 2-mile trail at the top of Table Rock Mtn was not runable with the rocks, high rock steps, and ice, which accounted for the 20+ min per mile pace. There were 3 hills of 1 mile or more than were not runable as my heart rate would get up to 170 so I focused on power hiking to the top and getting back into my rhythm. Once Jake and I started coming down from Table Rock (mile 35), we never stopped running to power hike again which showed how well my nutrition and heart rate strategy was working. We passed probably 4 to 5 runners over the last 10 miles due to us keeping a steady 10 minutes per mile pace. There were many hills, we discovered and just started laughing from the steepness of the climb ahead. I would focus on the next 10 feet in front of me and not look up. I went to my happy place in mind and soon I would be on flat ground so I could recover and get my heart rate back into my aerobic training zone. The aid stations and volunteers were great and the cups of hot soup warmed me up.
Overall, I am very happy to have come in at 9:18:31, 7th place overall and 1st in the 40 to 54 age group. The poor conditions gave me confidence to know I can dig deep to keep going as I look for longer races in the future. The priority now until after the Boston Marathon in April is working on pace and strength training to get to a 6:35 pace to break 2:55 in a marathon. I have the Frosty Fifty (31 miles) in January and the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February to help me gauge where I am from a running pace standpoint.

Pace -Mile
Overall Place
Age Group Place
2nd Place- 39 and Under
1st Place- 40 to 54
4th Place- 40 to 54
5th Place- 39 and Under

Martin & Jake- Wet and Tired

You can follow my training on Daily Mile- Martin Thorne

Special thanks to the Race Director- Mark Rostan and his Table Rock Ultra team for putting on a great race.

1 comment:

  1. Great results! Best wishes during your Boston training, I hope Myrtle Beach gives you better weather.