Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tiadaghton Trail Half Marathon - 3-26-2011

I am home from the 2011 Tiadaghton Trail Half.    This is another fine race put on by    The race is located at exit 199 (Mile Run) on Interstate 80.  
     Getting there this morning was easy as usual.  We left Altoona around 720 and arrived at the race site at around 850am.    Pulling into the lot I looked at the outside temp on my car and it read 18 degrees.  Oh fun.     Getting outside was even worse, it was windy.  Yuck.  
     Packet pick up was very easy.    They had everything very well coordinated and made things quick.  One of the people that went with me was not pre-registered and it only took him about 5 minutes to get registered.  
     The cool thing about this race was that I was able to spend some time this morning with my running friend Shelly Starkey from Oregon.  Shelly also brought her brother John to the race.   John has never run a race and this was going to be his first race ever.
     The race started right on time at 1000am.   The start is a nice run up a gravel/dirt road to the trailhead.   At the trailhead the cluster started.   It was a free for all to get across the stream and there were people falling in the stream and crossing anywhere they could find.  I actually walked about 100 yards up stream and crossed to avoid the headaches.   
     From here, the course varies from single track to jeep/fire roads.   The course is very well marked.  It would be really hard to get lost on this course.    
     The fun part was, there was snow everywhere.  But the course was in good condition.   
     There is only one MAJOR climb in the course that is pretty much not runnable.  This big climb is at about the 8.5 mile mark.  The course itself is very runnable with some rolling terrain and some climbs and good downhills.
     As you approach the end, the course winds to I80.   When you get to I80, you have to run through a culvert under the interstate.   Needless to say, a stream also runs through this culvert.   You can figure it out, the race was held in March, there was snow on the course, and the water was FREEZING cold.  But, being that it is at the end of the race, this FREEZING cold water felt really good on the feet.   
     Once you cross out of the culvert, it is approximately 3/10 of an uphill run to the finish.   
     This race does give a finishers medal to all finishers.   They also have hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, Sheetz sandwiches, and donuts at the end.    
     I listened to everyone and did not push myself during this race.  I made this a fun run and still finished at 2:52:34.   I found a great pace and the pace I ran today will be great for the Oil Creek 100.
     I highly recommend this race for anyone that wants to do a trail half.   Very well organized, good course (not too hard, but not too easy), a nice long sleeve shirt, good food, and good times had by all.
     See you on the trails or the roads. 
Matty L

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2011 Lt. J.C. Stone 50K Ultramarathon - Pittsburgh, PA

 I am home from the 2011 running of the LT J.C. Stone 50K at North Park, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa.    Let me tell you, it was one hell of a weekend. 
      We left Altoona on Friday, March 18, 2011 after me getting a few hours of shut eye from a long night at work.   I crawled into bed around 830am and was back up at 11am to get ready to go to Pittsburgh.  I got the car packed up and away we went after picking the kids up at school.   
      So we are just outside of Murraysville, and it dawns on me that I left my hydration pack and S-caps (electrolyte tabs) sitting on a chair at the house.   Well, too late to go back home, gotta get to race packet pick up. 
      As usual, we got to Lou D'Angelo's Office (Race Director) and had a nice talk with Lou.    Once again, for $50 you get a long sleeve and a short sleeve tech shirt along with a fully stocked aid station, a water and gatorade station, door prizes, and the fun time of running 50K.    I expressed my concerns to Lou about my hydration pack and S-caps.    Lou sent me to Second Sole in Cranberry.    Very small, but great running store.   They put on a lot of races in the Pittsburgh Area.   I was able to purchase the LAST Nathan Hydration pack that they had in stock and a bottle of Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte tabs.   Unfortunately, I dont use Hammer, so this was going to be an adventure.  
      After getting this stuff picked up, and adding an unexpected expense to the trip, we got checked in to the hotel.   From there I had my typical pre race dinner of a medium rare steak, potatoes, and brocoli.  Yummy.  
      We got back to the hotel and I got everything ready for the morning.   We all crawled into bed around 8pm.    Well, wasn't it just my luck.   There was 4 bus loads of elderly folks staying in the hotel.   Well, none of them could hear and I think all of them needed to do walker races around our floor at 10pm.   Yeah, so much for sleep.
      We got up at 440am and got ready for the race.   The weather was saying that it was 40 degrees out, and was to hit mid 50's by the middle of the day.   I opted to wear a short sleeve tech shirt, shorts, arm warmers, and leg compression sleeves.  
      We got to the park and I got out of the car to get my timing chip.   I was definately warm enough at that time.    Then, I stood outside for a few minutes and started freezing.  The thermometer in the car read 33.   Ooops, bad choice Matty.   
      So I went to the race briefing at 715am and we were all off at 730am.     The start of this race includes a 1.1 mile loop and then an additional 6 five mile loops.     I was feeling good and rocking through the course.  I came through the first 6.1 miles in just over 43 minutes.   My second 5 mile loop was just over 37 minutes.   The third loop was just over 37 minutes.   I came through the 16.1 mile mark in just over 1:58.   I was so excited.   Gonna go under 4 hours for a 50k which would have put me around 3:15 for my marathon time.   Then tragedy struck.
      I came around the turn around the 18.5 to 19 mile mark and started powering up the hill.   Well, it felt like someone was jamming a dagger into my right quad when I would push off on hill climbs.     The pain was radiating from the bottom of my right quad up into my groin.   Yeah, not as much fun as it sounds.    I ended up finishing this loop in just over 45 minutes.     The next two loops were just painful.   The good news was, the pain wasn't getting better, but the pain wasn't getting worse.   When I came through marathon distance in around 3:43, I decided to power through the pain for the last 5 miles and get my medal.   I told Rachelle that I would see her in about an hour.   I was able to hold right around 10 minute miles for the last 5 and finish in 4:34.   
      This year was 13 minutes slower than last year, but sometimes an injury will do that to you. 
      I was able to see a Doctor that was on site after I finished and he used some kinesio tape to tape my right quad.    Within about 10 minutes, the pain was gone.   The way he taped it was just awesome and it really took care of the pressure and the pain.   
      By the way, it was only 44 degrees at the finish with pretty good winds.  So much for mid 50's.  
      I was happy with my first half of the race, but not so happy with the second half.   This happens, and we have to learn from each race.   
      I will go back and do J.C. Stone again next year.   I really believe that I can go under 4 hours for this race and maybe make the top 100 fastest 50K times in UltraRunner Magazine.   
      By the way, the winning time this year was 3:22.    The course record was broken by over 20 minutes.   And I was really disappointed with being passed by Ultra running elite coming into the 20 mile mark.  I was leading one of the top women in Ultra Running for 20 miles.  
      This is a great race to run and is well worth the fun/pain.  And yes, they have a generous cut off time of 8 hours.
      Run strong and See you on the roads or trails very soon!!!!