The first race of the season and the first trail race since knee surgery last June are now behind me. Yesterday turned out to be a great start to the season. I ended up winning the overall in the Navarino Eco Marathon in a time of 2:53:55 averaging 6:38′s for the 26.2 miles of trail.
The race course was 2 laps of a 13.1 mile loop that was also used for the half-marathon. The terrain is mostly made up of rolling two track and for the most part is pretty firm and pretty fast to run on. Wind may have been the largest natural obstacle of the day with 17 mph sustained winds that gusted to 25-30 mph. It was windy enough at one point to actually move me from one side of the two-track to the other side, so yeah, it was stout.
As I set out on this season I had and still have one goal. I want to work out as many kinks out of my running and racing as I can before the Leadville 100. I have come a long way since last springs knee surgery but it’s clear there are some issues I need to work out that only come to light when you strap on a timing chip and go from point A to point B at full tilt.
I managed to create a couple of obstacles for myself on Saturday that were significantly tougher than the wind. I must have been a little over excited to get things underway. I cracked out the first mile in 5:37. Smart Dan, 25.2 to go, settle down you dummy. That was the start of what became my pacing issue. I was feeling really good early on and settled into a pretty even pace and came through the half in 1:22:19. I knew that it was a little quick for the first half and had already started to think about the hills on the end of the lap and imagined how big the would seem in a little over an hour. I’m not sure if the wind was really that much worse on the second loop or if I really lost that much control of my pacing, but watching my splits vary by up to 30 seconds from one mile to the next was becoming a little concerning. Chalk that up as something that I need to work on.
Around mile 17 I started to have some nutritional issues and found myself panicking. While I have what I consider the best nutritional system available as my nutritional program, something didn’t sit right. My stomach started to bunch up and I could actually feel fluid sloshing around in my stomach from one side to the other. I didn’t use anything different than I have over the last few seasons and I’ve never had an issue before. It may never happen again, but it’s clearly something that I need to spend some more time working out before I get into the rest of my season.
I was able to plod through the rest of the race, relying pretty heavily on the mile markers. 9 to go… you run this far every day. 6 to go… it’s only 10k. 3 to go… if you could suck it up you’d be there in 17 minutes and be done with it. And so on until the finish at 2:53:55.
I am in no way upset about the race. Actually, extremely happy that these issue came to the forefront and give me something to focus on other than just logging miles. Working on these will keep me from becoming complacent and should ensure that I continue to get faster and faster. I am definitely OK with getting faster!
The next race on the docket is a little different than this one. I have a little bit of a pause in racing, returning to the starting line on June 5th for the FANS 24 Hour. This will again, give me the opportunity to work out any kinks, with a focus on running while sleep deprived and fine tuning my fueling.
Navarino Eco Marathon Gear:
Shoes: Vasque – Transistor FS
Socks: Darn Tough- 1/4 Sock Cushion
Shorts: CW-X- Stabilyx Short
Fuel: Hammer Mandrin Orange Heed, Endurolytes, Espresso Hammer Gel