Trail Monster Running

Visit the official TRAIL MONSTER RUNNING website for information on upcoming group runs, local trails, trail races and more, including the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival and the Bradbury Mountain trail Running Series.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Maine Track Club 50K

As my last long training run for the Stone Cat 50 miler I decided to run the MTC 50k in Brunswick this morning, another one of Erik's races. Even though it's a road race I thought it would be a good opportunity to get in some relatively fast-paced miles and not have to worry about carrying my own aid or making long stops to refuel on my own.

I had the somewhat foolish notion that I might be able to break 4 hours on this course, which under "normal" circumstances I might be able to pull off, but since I ran my ass off last week at the Mtn Epic race, and then followed that up with a nasty cold I wasn't really at the top of my game. I should have adjusted my race plan accordingly but didn't, and still set off with the intention of averaging a 7:44 pace for the whole run. At 18 miles my average pace was 7:45, pretty much on target, but things went downhill from there and the last 13 miles I averaged a 9:01 pace. Ouch!

The format of this race is a 4 mile loop that you run too many times (especially if you choose to run the 50 miler). To get to 31 miles everyone starts the race with a 1 mile out-and-back, 50k runners do 7x four mile laps, cross the finish line and then have to do a half mile out-and-back. I decided that this race was more about mental training than physical, since my physical race fell apart it was a real test of my mental ability to keep going when things became unpleasant and my goal was slipping away. And it didn't help that every 4 miles I crossed the finish line and ran past my car which provided an easy opportunity to drop out. By 22 miles I had already thought about the title for today's blog post: "My First DNF"

don't be fooled by those little lumps, this is a flat course

Here are my stats from the race, unfortunately my Garmin crapped out just after 25 miles so I guessed at my final lap splits, and I'm not sure exactly what my official finishing time was:

First 2 - 15:54 - 7:57 pace
Lap 1 - 30:43 - 7:40 pace
Lap 2 - 30:26 - 7:36 pace
Lap 3 - 31:17 - 7:49 pace
Lap 4 - 31:26 - 7:51 pace
Lap 5 - 33:05 - 8:16 pace
Lap 6 - 36:00 - 9:00 pace - ESTIMATE dead watch
Lap 7 - 39:00 - 9:45 pace - ESTIMATE
Last 1 - 9:00 pace - ESTIMATE

Total - 4:17:xx - 8:17ish pace

For the first half of the race (I was told) that I had a comfortable lead. No offense to the other runners taking part today but this race is very small, low-key and doesn't attract a lot of really fast runners. And I think most participants choose to run the 50 miler, or at least they set off with that intention. I have no idea how many people ran the 50k today, but at last year's race there were 18 finishers and the winning time was 4:23.

On my 4th lap, around mile 16, I started to slow down. Not significantly at first, but I was definitely starting to feel less good. My watch stopped displaying my mile splits and I couldn't read my total time, which was probably a good thing because it meant I didn't stress about how much I was slowing down. I hoped it was just a passing low spot, but despite consistently drinking and snacking during the run my energy was fading and all the hard road miles were beating the crap out of me. I did try to run as much of the race as possible on the dirt shoulder, and probably managed 1/4-1/3 of the race in the dirt but it was still my longest road run in well over a year.

At the end of lap 5 (22 miles) I was pretty much ready to drop out, but after taking a few minutes at the aid station talking to Erik - "Your races are killing me!" - I thought I'd do one more lap and call it a marathon. Of course when I finished the next lap I knew that I only had 5 more miles to go and figured I could continue on for a bit longer. That last lap was really not fun. My calves were tight and felt on the verge of cramping, my right hip was sore from the camber, my lungs felt like they weren't fully inflating. There's no way a 9:45 pace should have me feeling out of breath.

With about 1.5 miles to go I felt so bad that I decided to walk for a few minutes. Even though I was so close to the finish I just didn't see the point in pushing myself too hard on what was supposed to be a training run. Unfortunately someone else did see the point in pushing it and the woman who right behind me (2nd place in the race) took the opportunity to pass me. I totally lacked the motivation to put up a fight but I did start running again. I stayed about 50' behind her hoping that she was doing the 50 miler, but it didn't make sense. When we got to the 50k turnaround point with 1/2 mile to go back to the finish she turned and it was confirmed which race she was doing. I still lacked the motivation to put up a fight.

With about 1/4 mile to go Ed from GAC who was running the 50 miler passed going the opposite direction and shouted to me: "Don't let her do it to you Ian." This was just the motivation I needed to put on as much of a sprint finish as I could muster. I'm sure it wasn't impressive to look at, but it was just enough to regain the lead that I had held for the first 29.5 miles of the race. With a little guilt I finished about 3 seconds ahead of the first place woman.

While I was pretty excited to win the race I was pretty dissapointed at how much I slowed down over the last 13 miles. I was definitely still recovering from last weekend's race and the nasty cold I had... still have. All good training.

RESULTS and PHOTOS by Don Penta (as well as those above)

time: 4:17:24
distance: 31 miles
pace: 8:18
place: 1/17

weather: uper 30's to mid 40's, overcast, windy

conditions: flat-ass roads

gear: Saucony Grid Sinister, SmartWool socks, 3/4 length tights, long sleeve shirt, sleeveless shirt, hat, handheld bottle


middle.professor said...

Way to push through and avoid the DNF.

Blaine Moore said...

A win's a win, congratulations! Nice finish; you did just what you had to.

Sparkplug said...

Nice job Ian! Glad you pushed through on a tough course mentally. I love to do that loop as part of a run out in that area, but I do it once :-)

Anonymous said...

You're a pussy. And you're not that good.

Roger said...

Dude, for all intents you got girled! You should man up and give her some credit.

R. Ian Parlin said...

Hey Anonymous,
If you're going to call me a pussy then at least have the balls to admit who you are.

I didn't get girled, but even if I did what's wrong with that? This is one of the few races I've ever done where I DID finish ahead of all the women. What's your point?

pathfinder said...

Hey Ian,

I did read the CH Runners comments about your blog and have to agree that they somehow mis understood your report. Perhaps I would view it different if I didn't know you but I doubt it.

You gave an honest and humbling (at times) report of how you felt during the race.

I did notice the woman you passed responded in a much better way than the rest of them. She stated facts and did not make interpitations.

I would hope that these runners would at least take the time to get to know you before they pass judgement.

I have no problem racing a women at the end and being excited if I out kick her .... at that point I am only trying to do my best to beat who ever is in front of me...gender has no bearing.

Being excited about beating another runner actually shows them respect ....otherwise if you didn't respect their race, why would you be excited?

I sense some jealousy here.

middle.professor said...

I've asked Joan Messick, via a Facebook message, to post this to the CH Runners forum since I have no desire to register only to post it:

You CH Runners need to get a life. You've spent the last day dissing a fellow runner who has single handedly built a greater Portland trail running community by organizing a running club and, more importantly, directs 4 trail races during the summer, one of which is very large and a New England favorite. What do you do for your local running community other than hiding behind the veil of a registration-only forum, pseudonymously hurling insults, with all the wit of a middle school boy, at runners that are 1000 miles away (with the occasional anonymous insult to his own blog). The running community is small but reputations last forever.

Jeff Walker
Falmouth Maine

middle.professor said...

And I sent this to "Rogers" blog (I equate Roger with Wilson, the CH runner forum moderator)

Roger - I find it ironic that your contribution to a forum topic about why guys think women are racing against them, was to post to the guy's blog that he "got girled". The point by Joan, which you seem to have missed, is that this is insulting language. But seeing as how no one on the forum called you out on it I guess tribalism rules. And I'd expect more from a competitive masters runner and coach.

Jeff Walker - Falmouth ME

Blaine Moore said...

I find it humorous that they hope that runners will find their forum based on this and become members when they seem to be such a negative crowd.

The 3 seconds early in bed did make me giggle, though, I'll admit that.

Being as it may - you outraced a competitor. Just because the awards are different doesn't mean you aren't racing one another - if you have the same start line, the same finish line, and the same course, it's the same race even if recognition is different.

I've been girled (and geezered) plenty of times, and there's nothing wrong with that. I also do my best to try to avoid getting girled, geezered, or beaten by anybody else that I happen to be racing no matter what their age or gender. Maybe I'm just competitive.

R. Ian Parlin said...

Thanks for confirming that I didn't come across as a complete asshole, that certainly was not my intention.

I don't think Joan did anything wrong here, it's the people from the CH Runners forum that misinterpreted what I said. Joan may have misunderstood me in my report when I said I was excited about winning and thought I was excited to beat a girl. When she originally passed me, because at that moment I really didn't care about racing, I completely understand that she did care about her race. And my little “sprint” at the end had nothing to do with beating a girl, it was about pulling myself out of a low spot and finishing as strong as I could. Although I admit that by me quoting Ed (“Don’t let her do it to you Ian”) I may have made it seem like I cared about the fact that she is a woman, I cared more about the fact that I had lead the race for 29.5 miles and then lost it, and in that last 1/4 mile I finally decided that I did care about trying to regain my lead. Male or female makes no difference to me in this situation, it’s about finding the motivation to push myself.

This would be a completely different story if I had trailed her for the whole race and only out-sprinted her at the end. I have no problem admitting that Joan ran a better race than me, I never said that I had a good race or that I’m a great runner.

Roger said...

So you guys want to join our forum? We really are a friendly bunch--if not a little snarky at times.

R. Ian Parlin said...


In the years that I have spent running races, directing races, and building a running club I have met hundreds of thoughtful, considerate and generous people; enough to know that I don't need to waste my time with the kind of people who posted the comments I read on the CH Runners forum.

So you can take your friendly forum and shove it up your fucking ass. Don't worry dickweed, I'm just being snarky!

Ian Parlin

Jamie Anderson said...

What Jeff said. Ian rocks. That message board sounds like it has quite a few losers on it.

JimR said...

"So you can take your friendly forum and shove it up your fucking ass"

Hah! Okay, that wuz funny.


Anonymous said...


I'm sorry about any grief/trouble I've caused based on my post on the other site. I don't want to give excuses; writing what I did was childish. I honestly didn't mean any harm.

I thought you were long gone in the 50k when you pulled away from me (though you were already 200m away) and the other man running w/ you (then me). You were the better runner in Maine.

I wish you all the luck in the world in your 50-miler and any other race. I'm sure you'll run sub-8 easy for the 50-miler.

Joan Messick

Regis044 said...

Sooooo much drama. That's why I stick to wiffleball these days.