Trail Monster Running

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mt A Nonuple

(Backtracking quite a bit here to June 27th)

Last Saturday I headed down to Mt Agamenticus in York to take part in the annual Western States 6 Hour Commemorative Run. I drove down with Jim, we met fellow Trail Monsters Chuck and Jeremy along with a good group of local runners (who organize the event) and a bunch of friends from GAC. There must have been at least 30 runners starting at 7am.

Last year Emma and I ran together and completed 10 laps of the 3 mile loop in just over 6 hours, and this year I hoped to be able to finish 11 laps in under 6 hours. I knew it was ambitious but I was feeling good going into the run and didn't think it would be any problem.

The route we take starts with about a mile of gradual downhill on a quiet dirt road, then turns off onto a flat old jeep road for 1/4 mile. We then turn onto single-track that climbs to the summit of Mt A with 3/4 of a mile of very steep rocky terrain. From the summit it's a mile downhill on some beautiful single and double-track trails with tight switchbacks and lots of rocks.

The group of Trail Monsters stuck together and ran near the front of the pack. The strategy I tried to use to ensure that I'd be able to get more laps in this year was to run the downhill single-track faster and to take less time at the aid station between laps. We finished the first lap in 31 minutes and were the first ones to set out on our second lap. Just as we were setting off we bumped into John O'Connor who had arrived late and was just getting started. I hadn't seen John since pacing him during his Quad-Boston run in April so it was nice to run with him again and get caught up on what he's been doing since then.

Chuck, Jeremy and John

Although it wasn't all that warm, the sky was very overcast, it was incredibly humid and I always find humid weather the toughest for running in. The effort didn't feel particularly difficult but I noticed that I was sweating a lot. I usually sweat more than a lot of other people, but today it seemed an unusual amount even for me. Initially I wasn't too concerned, I just drank a lot and took S!Caps regularly. For the first few hours of running I was averaging about 16 ounces of fluid every half hour and taking one S!Cap every 45 minutes. What I found strange is that I didn't have to pee. I usually am able to use that as a guage of how well I'm hydrating, and if I don't pee I usually need to drink more but everything I drank seemed to get sweated out immediately.

Chuck, Jeremy, John and GillyNot looking so good.

With each lap there was a little more walking.

This was shortly after Jeremy told me I looked bad.

The first three laps (9 miles) went very well and we were having a lot of fun. When we set off on the 4th lap I was starting to feel the effects of extreme sweating and felt like I was starting to fight a battle to stay well hydrated. I think it was the start of lap 7 when Jeremy told me I was looking pretty pale and generally not right. Now that I've seen the photo of myself I see what he meant. I didn't feel that bad but something wasn't working. I did eventually pee during this lap (3.5 hours into the run) and the color was not good, perhaps suggesting that I had taken on too many electrolytes. It was after finishing the 7th lap that I realized finishing 11 laps was pretty much out of the question.

We had slowed down a lot on lap 7, picked it up a little bit on lap 8, mainly on the run down from the summit. On the way up the mountain we had started talking about how hot it was getting and how much everything sucked. Not a good sign. Chuck complained about loosing his mojo, but after hitting the summit I think he stole a little bit of mine and took off quickly downhill. Jeremy was still running well, but I struggled to hang on to the faster pace. Actually the pace wasn't really faster, it's just that we were no longer slowing down as much as my body was telling me it wanted to.

Chuck decided to stop at 8 laps, Jim had stopped after 4 hours (7 laps?) and was on his second beer by this point, John and Gilly were also kicking back drinking beer and it was hard to find the motivation to keep going. Jeremy wasn't showing any signs of slowing down and we bumped into late arrival Heather and set off for what was to be my final lap. Jeremy and Heather talked about their experiences at the Jay Marathon and I lagged behind. When we reached the summit I told them to keep going while I refilled my water bottle from the tap at the old ski lodge. By now I was drinking about 16 ounces in the first two miles of each lap and refilling at the top. I knew that trying to continue when my body just wasn't working properly was a bad idea so I slowly made my way down off the mountain.

Splits (time includes stops at the aid station):
1 - 31:37
2 - 31:49
3 - 30:44
4 - 32:10
5 - 34:09
6 - 34:52
7 - 37:17
8 - 34:41
9 - 38:08

This was a weird experience. I never felt all that bad and it's not like I was really suffering, but something wasn't working right and it just wasn't my day. I blame the humidity. Bastard! After the run we all went to Rich's house for a big refueling session (BBQ) which helped pull me out of my funk and set me up good for the next run.

time: 5:05:27
distance: 30 miles
pace: 10:10

weather: high 60's to low 70's, overcast, very humid

conditions: mostly dry trails with a few small muddy spots

gear: Inov-8 Roclite 315, Wright Socks, shorts, singlet, hat, handheld bottle


Aurora said...

Damn New England weather.

pathfinder said...

It sucks when you can't quite pin point the problem....hard to remedy if you don't know.