Friday, September 11, 2015

Green Lakes 2015

Ah, the Green Lakes Endurance Runs. Back for another round, I decided to give the 100K a go as my final training run for Virgil Crest. That meant double the pleasure and double the fun I had during the 50K last year and the year before. (Race report from 2014.) My main goals for the 100K (62 miles) were to make sure some of my new gear is in working order for a race situation, to further dial in my nutrition, and to spend a long day on my feet. The tricky part was to remember that I'd need enough left in the tank to recover adequately during my three week taper between Green Lakes and Virgil. The common "I have no goal time" statement of course was always a lie. In the back of my head, I thought a sub 12 hour finish seemed reasonable, but I had to remember it was low on the priority list. I was telling people I wanted to finish before 7:00 pm when the park's swimming area closes so I could cool down in the water immediately afterward. A chance to hop in the lake meant breaking 13 hours.

Race Summary


The course is a loop of mostly flat trails, about half of which is exposed to the sun when the trails deviate from the woods for a few extended stretches. The loop is repeated eight times for the 100K, with access to a drop bag at the start/finish area.

Midway through lap 7. Photo: Tom Garby
In brief, the 100K went pretty well. It didn't really hit me until a few miles into the race that today would be my longest run ever by a full twelve miles. I was forced to push that thought aside and focus on pacing to avoid starting out too fast and burning out in the second half.

I got worried as I started feeling the first bits of fatigue around mile 20. I thought I could easily breeze through the first 50K before experiencing any signs of slowing, but to no avail. Laps three and four weren't terrible, but felt like more of an effort than I was hoping for. I made it through the first half in about 5:30 - not a bad split to go sub 12:00, but I already knew this time was not in the cards today.

Laps five and six were a struggle. I managed to keep moving in part because of all the 50K runners still on the course that I was able to converse with. This helped to take my mind off the pain and the monotony of such a repetitive course. On lap seven, my friend Tom, who was out for a long training run on the trails, kept running into me at different points and told me to keep moving because I was looking strong. I knew it wasn't true, but hey - sometimes those little