So yesterday was the Mohican trail 50K (31.2 miles) up at Mohican State Park ---
Let me start with the "thank yous", for they are numerous. Em, my "biggest" cheerleader, thanks for all the support out there on the trail. And Jess, thanks a bunch for coming out on a chilly Sunday morning and cheering me on. Chris, thanks for the company over the final 15 miles - hope your feet came out ok after the vibram experiment. And Jen, great to see you at the covered bridge.
And a big thanks to all the volunteers at the aid stations. Friendly and encouraging, they really help to make this event such a positive experience. And a big congratulations to Rob, the race director, for hosting another great event.
OK, as for the race ...
Went up to the park the night before. Got race packet. Got settled in at the lodge. Ate pretty clean. Tried to hydrate well. Went back and forth between shorts and tights for the race. Hmmm. Checked alarm 6 or 7 times. Called and asked for wake-up call for 5 minutes later than I had set the alarm. OK, I might have some issues. Gotta get some sleep.
Popped up Sunday morning - ahead of schedule. Wolfed down a bagel with peanut butter. Sipped on a gatorade. Opted for shorts (was never cold during race). Got packed up and left the lodge, heading for the starting area.
Ran into friends Joe and Jen. Joe was running the 25K yesterday - sounds like he enjoyed it. Attaway Joe!
It was about 32 degrees when we toed the starting line at 8 AM. Partly cloudy. No wind to speak of, a really great morning for running. A gentleman says "go", and ....
Then we're off, easy jog for a couple of minutes until we hit the first hill for some single-file walking as the elites disappear into the Mohican forest. Bye bye, fast people. I was sporting my heart rate monitor, so I settled into an easy pace. Like last year, I figured the heart rate monitor offered my best chance to find a pace that was sustainable for 6+ hours --- with an AT of 165, I was hoping to keep most of my miles in the 140 - 155 range (knowing a consistent level would be difficult in the hills).
Based on last year's experience with the trails, I knew where I would spend more time walking (and hopefully recovering a bit) - and therefore I tried to go a bit harder on the other sections. This strategy put me a bit ahead of last year's pace through the first several aid stations. Really liked the second section - love me some pine trees.
Saw Emmie and Jess at aid station 3 over by the lodge, around mile 16. This is also where Chris hopped in ... he was a good sport, as I'm not terribly good company on the run. I tend to like the quiet. Felt relatively good at this point ... heart rate was in good shape, but left knee was starting to complain a bit.
Worked our way back to the covered bridge aid station (just over 20 miles) at a reasonable pace, then took off along the "green trail" headed up to the fire tower. A fair amount of incline along this segment which is not a great combination with my little bird legs. I cussed and complained. It was fun. I think this is also where I took my first header, fortunately landing mostly in leaves. Feet just not getting as high off the trail at this point, making it much easier for the roots and rocks to sneak up and grab me. Bugger. Nothing hurt but my pride - could have been much worse. Tip of the cap to the running gods.
Made it to the fire tower - phew - like just over 22 miles into the race, so still plenty of distance left but this was a big landmark for me knowing that some time could be had over the final two legs of the race if I could take advantage of these segments. Said hi/bye to Emmie and Jess at the fire tower and headed off for the next segment of approximately 5 miles.
Hit the covered bridge aid station (around mile 27) for the final time - about 4.25 miles standing between us and the finish line. Mostly flat at first, following the meanders of the river, this is a beautiful section of the course. I had hoped to do some good work here, knowing that we'd hit a challenging hill about 1.5 miles from the finish. Managed to wipe out again, again coming away with no injuries. Double thanks. Unfortunately I did more walking than I would have liked here, dealing with some discomfort in both knees, but eventually got into a little bit of a groove as we came upon the final climb. Walked up the hill. Felt sorry for myself. What's that smell? Oh, that's me. Yuk. Sped up a bit once we crested the hill, knowing that the sooner I hit the finish line, the sooner I could get off my feet. Chris veered off near the finish line, as I plodded across the finish line to the applause from Emmie and Jess.
Had two primary goals going in to this year's race: (1) have fun and avoid injuries, and (2) try to beat my time from last year. Accomplished both, so I consider it a success. Certainly room for improvement, but it was a fun day (albeit challenging) on some beautiful trails. Note: the trail shoes will never again be allowed in the house, instead relegated to the porch for the remainder of their useful life.
According to my watch (unofficial), I had a total time of 6:35.14, average pace of about 12:45 per mile, while burning a total of 5,687 calories. My average heart rate during the event was 149 BPM.
Time per trail segment, according to my HR monitor -
Segment 1 = 1:08.30 (avg. HR 144)
Segment 2= 1:02.36 (avg. HR 149)
Segment 3 = 1:03 .33 (avg. HR 150)
Segment 4 = 52.10 (avg. HR 151)
Segment 5 = 39.43 (avg. HR 152)
Segment 7 = 50.42 (avg. HR 152)
Segment 8 = 57.56 (avg. HR = 148)
Time per heart rate zone, according to HR monitor:
Zone 1: 1:28.10
Zone 2: 2:28.58
Zone 3: 1:44.33
Zone 4: 31.33