Monday, August 9, 2010

The Two Hour PR - Tales from Grand Ridge 50k

Trail runs and 50k's are a funny thing with respect to personal records (PRs) - the trail conditions, elevation gains, altitude and even distance can vary widely from race to race. But when you get a two hour PR on a trail 50k it's more than just a difference in course conditions - it's a reason to be proud.

Happy to be finishing!
Grand Ridge is one of my favorite parks to run - it's just outside Seattle so it has a bit of altitude and quite a bit of up-and-down and is really good single track.

The Grand Ridge Trail Run is put on by Evergreen Trail Runs. The 50k course consists of two loops with a double lollipop and an out-and-back to cover the distance. One aid station near the start of the out-and-back provided four stops while on course plus aid (and drop) at the halfway point (and finish).

From a "race" perspective I feel like I'm starting to nail down my plans headed into a long run like this - with what and how much to fuel, what gear to wear and carry, and how to pace early and late in the race. I was not at all nervous going into the race - after two marathons, one 50k and a four week training cycle in the nine previous weeks I knew I could cover the distance and was strong and ready for the run.

I had the following goals in the following order:

  1. Finish (iow "be safe")
  2. Finish under 7:00 (iow "have a fun race")
  3. Finish under 6:25:29 (checkout White River to know why I chose this time)
  4. Finish sub 6:00 (run really, really well for 30 miles)
I honestly had no idea how I'd do given my previous effort at Grey Rock but figured 6:15 - 6:25 was a reasonable time given that I'd run 11 1/2 miles out here at an 11:30 pace.