Mar 6, 2011

Race Report: PCTR Malibu Creek 50km

Santa Monica Bay from Malibu Creek State Park
The buildup to the San Diego 100 mile endurance run continues with the Pacific Coast Trail Runs Malibu Creek 50km (31.5 mile):
After the Calico Ghost Town 50km I signed up for this race 6 weeks later which was a perfect amount of time to get some more solid foundation and increase my training mileage. I have been running 60-70 miles per week evenly split between road and trail. Now that this race is complete I'm going to increase the mileage to 100 miles/week in order to make sure I have a solid foundation before June. The key is to  do the runs consistently at a sub-normal pace while staying injury free. We'll see how that goes.  It's been OK in terms of time management between PT school, studying, and work to get those 60-70 in, but 100 is going to be tough. However, I do have daylight savings on my side starting next week so that will definitely help.   As far as the race goes, beside the timing, this took place at my home course so I figured why not? The course has 12,000ft of elevation change (~6K up, ~6K down) and I consider it fairly challenging.
1 Minute before the finish. Checking watch. Sub 5? Turns out no.
The first quarter of the race had me a little off in terms of finding a rhythm because of the unusual feeling of having runners around me (I train solo).  Soon enough I found a rhythm and completed the first loop in ~2:23 and I was feeling pretty good.  There are a couple of new things I tried for this race that I haven't done before: 1) Wearing a Nathan 2L Bladder Pack vs. Bottles 2) Consuming gels and Nuun during the run. I purposely only consume water during training because I want my body to adapt to having an absence of carbohydrates and electrolytes so when race time comes it's to my advantage to eat the gels. As a consequence the training runs can sometimes feel tiring and slow.  I was anxious to see how the 2nd loop was going to go considering my longest training run was one loop 2x week (15.75 miles) but I trusted my training and to a certain extent my diet. The mid-thigh Malibu Creek crossing proved to be a leg re-fresher and I ran most of the steep portions of the trail. What I found baffling and somewhat annoying was that Maggie Beach, the 50km 1st place woman's winner, passed me power hiking while I was keeping to running the race.  We passed each other a few times all the way until a minute before the finish line.  I started to feel a little nauseous 20 minutes before the finish but I was able to finish a strong (for me) 5:00.13, revenging a DNF 2 years ago because of an injury and PRing the course by 21 minutes. That placed me 5th overall and 2nd in my age group (20-29).  I don't know where I could have found the extra 14 seconds to break 5 hours; maybe those 2 minutes at the half-way aid station. Who knows.
I must say that this was my best race to date.  I kept with a consistent training schedule, didn't get hurt, and ran a solid race.  Typically after a race like my legs feel tired but I must say that as of now they feel normal. We'll see in the next couple days though.  The hydration pack turned out to be a very good tool; no more fumbling for gels while having a bottle in hand. Even though the time is about 8 minutes off last month's PR this had 4,000ft more elevation change so I know that things are certainly on the up and up.
I'm not entirely sure when my next race will be since I have a 130 mile Grand Canyon trek in a month, but I think I'm going to run the Rim2Rim2Rim the day after the trip; a 41 mile classic trail run from the Grand Canyon South Rim to North Rim and back.  Past that I will probably enter the Bishop High Sierra 100km on May 21, my last race before the 100.
On another note, Megan who had been pretty much swimming until 2 weeks ago since her January race only because of a little back issue placed 3rd in the 25km with a time of 2:16. Pretty awesome considering she didn't run a trail in 5 weeks.
We also bought our plane tickets to Europe for our Grand Traverse of the Alps trek in July/August. That was very exciting for us and we are very much looking forward to it. More details on the trip when the time approaches.
Photo Courtesy of Andy Noise

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