Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reach the Beach 2009

I completed my first multistage relay race this past weekend. Reach the Beach is a race that this year was 207 miles long consisting of 36 legs averaging 5.8 miles each and teams from 4-12 people would work to cover the distance. This is the 11th year that RTB has been run. Our team, The Ninjas, had ten people and we came in 10th in a field of 399 teams. Last year, with a slower pace The Ninjas came in 5th. It seems other people trained harder this year.

The race goes from Cannon Mountain Ski Resort to Hampton Beach. Each team is given a number (we were 359) and each runner a number (I was 7). At every exchange or transition area the person that was running hands one of those slap on wrist bracelets to the next runner. At the transition areas the staff keep track of the runner numbers to make sure that the teams maintain the same order. We were fortunate to not have anyone drop out this year so everybody ran their assigned legs. That's a good thing because I was the first alternate and I was pretty tired another four miles would not make me feel better right now.

We had a pretty strong team with maybe half of the team still actually training 50+ miles a week. In total it took us 22:35:17 for an average pace of 6:32. We had several people with legs that were at sub 6 pace and a few people averaged 6:0x pace. Personally I ran 23.1 miles in three legs of 7.2, 7.4 and 8.5 miles and averaged 6:11 pace over all. That is only 5 seconds per mile slower than my half marathon PR. That is also about 2:42 marathon pace, a pace I could clearly not run for a marathon right now. That pace was fantastic for me because I put down 6:30 as my approximate goal pace and I was not sure if I could do that or not. To get that far under 6:30 with only a few weeks of training raises my goals for the rest of 2009. I would like to find a half marathon or something in November where I can knock a few minutes off of my PR.

What carnage did I come away with? I went for a run with the girls yesterday at 8:35 pace and I feel better. However, yesterday and today I am having trouble going down stairs, standing up, and doing anything involving my quads. I'm taking today, Monday, off after 25 days of running and not even bike riding for my first complete day off in like five weeks. It hurts... in a good way. I feel great! I am not injured! I feel more fit then I did four days ago. It is desirable to start a new training cycle from roughly the same place you ended the last one and I feel this preseason indicator was a very strong indication that I will run fast this spring.

Will I do it again? Most likely. I'm reading a lot of Lydiard training and I like the idea of a yearly cycle instead of a four or six month training cycle so I think that spring and summer will most likely be my highly competitive months and fall will be the build up phase where I can take the time to waste myself over 22 hours of torture. In fact, if people are willing to train a little harder, it would be really cool to try and win this thing.

Some rough quotes:
"It's all about the Grape Nuts. They have lots of fiber. I'm probably going to eat a whole box. Do you want some?" - Mark

"There was a female moose in the road and I didn't know what to do. Fortunately, it ran back into the woods before I got to it" - Nick

"Have you even run nine miles this year?" - me
"No, I don't think so." - Matt
After the 9.2 mile leg
"I passed 12 people...(three seconds later) and got passed by 16 people." - Matt I have to give Matt credit because he had a very long leg and he didn't walk at all despite the obvious pain he was in. It helped our team save some time.

"Hey, there's a corner up there slow down." - Paul to me who was driving the van at 5 am.

The first words I heard when I woke up from sleeping alone in a field Saturday at 8 am after an hour of sleep: "I almost ran over that person sleeping over there in the field."

"Oh a real runner." - Some guy I passed in the morning.

On a separate note: Why do I put all of this effort into running and climbing mountains instead of working hard and finishing my thesis? I do work hard at my thesis, but I am in a place where everyone works hard so it is not too unique. Also, people treat you different if they think you are smart regardless of wether you are or not. So many of the hard working students I know are somewhat ashamed or secretive of their talents and accomplishments. Additionally, who really wants to read about the nodes that I'm constraining or how excited I get when the deformation in my simulations is on the same scale as the measured values?

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