Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dawg Gone Long Run...Turned Short Run

Race day started off well to the sound of my alarm at 3:30AM. I was up and getting ready without any problem. I took my time and got everything together that I would need for the day, and loaded up my car. I was out the door by 4:30 and on my way. I arrived at Caesar Creek State Park around 5:55 and gathered my things to bring to the starting area. My water bottle was in my drop bag, and when I opened my drop bag to take it out, the entire bottom of my drop bag was filled with the water from my water bottle. Not a good sign. I hoped that the lid just wasn't on tight and that there wasn't a leak. This was a brand new water bottle from the North Face. How could it be leaking?? 
The race was a very casual atmosphere similar to my 50 mile race in Nevada in April. We actually ended up starting around 6:37 instead of the posted start time of 6:30. I approached the start line with the other runners thinking about my mindset for this race. I decided that if this was an easy flat trail course, I would run the entire 50 mile race. However, if there ended up being a lot of short up and down climbs that would wear on my legs, I would cut the race short. I didn't want to jeopardize the race I had planned for on the 17th. The course seemed fine at the on-set. I was on my planned pace of 6 mile per hour. I ran the first 5, and walked the 6th mile with a total time of about 55 minutes. Once I started to run again, a couple things changed. The course became much more up and down, single track, and I was stuck behind a group of runners for several miles. It was difficult to pass due to the number of runners in front of me and the terrain. I settled in at a 10:30 pace for the next few miles which was discouraging. I could no longer stick with my planned run 5 walk 1 paces I had wanted to maintain. The course became very hilly at this point as well. Not gradual, long elevation gains and losses, but quick up and downs that I'm not particularly good at running. On top of this, my water bottle actually did have a leak, so even after refilling it at an aid station, I had no water within about 200 yards. This was really discouraging. To make a long story short, I decided at about mile 18 that I would stop the race at mile 21. My main reason was that I knew this was going to be an 10:30 - 11:00 hour run if I continued on, and this would without a doubt impact my race at Headlands. The next factor was my inability to carry water with me. I didn't want to risk dehydration. So, I decided to take the safe option, which even after all consideration was a very difficult decision to make mentally, and stopped at mile 21. 
I had mixed emotions about stopping. I still have a feeling of being a quitter, which is a hard feeling to overcome no matter what justifications I give myself for stopping. I hope to redeem myself next Saturday with a strong race at Headlands. This week will consist of little running and lifting. Mostly stretching and resting to make sure I am fully recovered. 
With the exception of my personal issues, The Dawg Gone Long Run would have been a great race to run. I will definitely consider it again next year. Everyone was friendly and helpful, aid stations were well stocked, and there was some type of aid station about every 3 miles. Hopefully next year they will plan on having finisher awards. I believe they only had awards for the top male and female. It would be nice to get a finisher award for completing a challenging race such as this. 


  1. You made the right choice, and while that doesn't make stopping feel any better, it was the right thing to do. Dehydration would have ruined next week's race - which was not the point of a practice run like this one. Not really fair to call yourself a quitter over this one - you weren't quitting because you couldn't handle it. Shake it off, and you'll do fine next week. I'll be waiting to hear a fantastic race report from that one -

  2. Thanks Teri! I'm definitely going with an easy week this week. I'm not sure if I'll run at all. I might just walk some. How's that for tapering :)

  3. Brandon OpaczewskiJuly 11, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    You may or may not remember me, we ran and chatted a bit on the first out and back on an asphalt section by the lake before re-entering the trail. I told you i was trying to just maintain 6mph for the race (which slowly, but steadily would have won it), and you let me know about your 5 run/1 walk strategy. Runner's remorse is in all of us, but you made the decision for a reason. Trust that instinct. It will all pass and then you'll be rocking it again at another race, like next weekend, go get 'em. Ultra's are 80-90% mental, believe it. People like you and i have the physical ability to do it, and that's why we keep doing it right? Indeed. Hey i found this by just googling the race, but if you are on Facebook, look me up. Good luck next weekend! -Brandon Opaczewski
    p.s. I self-destructed at mile 42 and blew my 9:30 goal, ended up 10:48...bummer, but i'm already looking for my next one!

  4. Hey Brandon- Thanks for leaving a comment. I definitely remember chatting with you. I was a little bummed about my decision, but I figured I didn't have the 11 hours in me this weekend and then again next weekend. I totally agree with you that utlras are 80-90% mental. That's one thing I like so much about them. Overcoming your body's desire to stop and continue to move on. I'll check look you up on Facebook and get in touch. I'd like to know what other races you're looking at doing in the future. Awesome job finishing the race yesterday and best of luck to you in the future!

  5. Do you know the meaning of taper? ;) You ran a smart race, B...glad you're saving up for next weekend's big race.