Monday, March 31, 2008

The Eastern States 20 Mile and Mount Washington

The last half of last week went well from a running perspective. My weekly runs were status quo while I ended the week with a race, the Eastern States 20 Mile. Wednesday's and Thursday's run were the standard Freeport lunch run. Wednesday we ran the 6.1 mile loop that mimics the L.L.Bean 4th of July 10K at a negative split pace. The pace was a 7:18 with an average HR of 157 bpm, extremely high for this pace and distance. This is a clear indication of a lack of sleep, thanks to a teething toddler and older sister who can not sleep anywhere but in mommy and daddy's room. Thursday was a bit slower as Jim and I agreed to take it easy. The pace was a pedestrian 7:41 with an average HR of 145, still a bit high but better.

The weekend was all about the Eastern States run. Saturday was a prep day with 8 miles run on the basement. The roads were a little sloppy after a snowfall (yeah, it is spring in Maine) Friday night and the trails around me are in little condition to be run on, so I hit the treadmill. The pace was easy with the intent to just wear the legs down a bit. I seem to run better on race day if I run a decent distance at a moderate pace. This keeps my legs fresh and ready, while also increasing the training value of the next day's race when training for an even longer run. On to Sunday...

Sunday was beautiful and the Eastern States course was even more spectacular (at least the first 15 miles). Brian, my buddy and pacer in last year's Vermont 100 and also in the upcoming edition of the race, carpooled down with us. The intent was for us to run together but Brian wisely bailed out before the race due to foot pains (possible stress fracture - not good to run on). So I got my extremely unattractive purple/burgundy tech shirt which will never see the light of day except maybe on one of Kelly's grandmother's beautiful quilts, and headed to the start with Kelly, the kids, and Brian. There I joined Jamie and his friend Mindy, a very talented runner (Mindy - where does 5Squirrels come from???), for the next 20 miles. We started with a conservative pace and through the run threw in some good tempo increases, but for the most part kept it on the easy side.

As I said above, the course was beautiful. The houses along the New Hampshire coast were spectacular. I felt as though I was running in Newport, Rhode Island in Rockefeller's neighborhood. These houses were grossly too big, but fun to look at all the same. Jamie and I made sport of the houses and their imagined owners by wondering if we could take them in fisticuffs (helped pass the time). While the course was great, it seemed like the run took forever. I think this was due to my hunger, which I should have expected given the late start (11 AM) and the fact that the last food I had was at 8:30 AM. By mile 7, I started getting antsy for the finish. This isn't a good thing for a race that was over 7 miles. To truly enjoy a race, you can't worry about where the finish is. Once your mind goes there, it's over. But you have to keep running, which we did. The course and the run turned a little south once we hit the mile 15 marker when we left the beautiful part of the New Hampshire coast for the Jersey shoreline (Jamie's statement). The last five miles of the course seemed like we were running through Old Orchard Beach on steroids. To add insult to injury, my nose started to bleed at this point and did not let up until crossing the finish line. It isn't unusual for me to get a nose bleed during winter runs due to the cold, dry air, but this one was persistent and added to my elevated heart rate. It would have been quite easy to track me down on the course by following my blood trail!

While the course was beautiful and the company top notch (thanks Jamie and Mindy), I do have some gripes. While not terribly outspoken about race issues, there are a few grievances I feel I must air here. First, the shirt. Why burgundy? Second, there was no food at the finish. I paid $35 bucks and got a bottle of "Smart Water" at the finish. I have run 5Ks that featured a buffet table that would give a Vegas buffet a run for its money. 20 miles and nothing. The least the race organizers could have done was notify participants that no food would be handed out at the finish and that they should fend for themselves. I would have been okay with that. Finally, my chip did not work and my finish was not recorded. Crazy colored shirt, nose bleed, no food, and no record of running. 'Nuf said.

Race stats: Eastern States 20 Mile / 20.3 Miles (includes a detour for a potty break)/ 8:17 avg pace / 145 avg HR / Eastern States results

On the bright side, I got into the Mount Washington Road Race today, courtesy of Erik Boucher and the Maine Track Club. I was fortunate to get one of the ten club slots for members. I don't know why I should be this psyched to run 5,000 feet up a "hill" in 7.6 miles, but I am. This will be my first time up the auto road, and I have to say I think this is a much better way to get up than via auto.

And finally, regarding regarding registration for the L.L.Bean 4th of July 10K, I heard today that we are about 20% of the way to handing out all the free shoes after having only opened registration about a week ago. If you are interested in running and getting some great schwag, sign up now.


Jamie said...

Great report bud. That was definitely a fun time. And awesome about Mt. Washington! Glad you got in.

Blaine Moore said...

Happy Birthday, and congrats on getting into Mt Washington!

As for Eastern States, they gave out jackets last year. I wear mine all the time on runs (although I tore out the elastic a couple of weeks ago...)

Did you go to the buffet after the race? Last year they only had water at the finish line, but the shuttle brought you back up into New Hampshire where they had a buffet and the awards ceremony. If you had taken the shuttle to the starting line, then that's where you would have been parked.

mindy said...

Congrats on Mt. Washington! I'll have to get some tips from you... Was great running with you and meeting your beautiful litle girl -looking forward to more road/trail runs with you guys this summer (on your easy days :) My chip didn't match my garmin at all...

mindy said...

p.s. 5 Squirrels is a reference to my first post - I observed 5 baby squirrels in a tree one day all intently staring at one thing in my backyard. My dog pooping. Sounded like a good blog title (5 Squirrels, not "My Dog Pooping").

IronMatron said...

Fun to read the report from 3 perspectives! it sucks they didn't have your time recorded. That's just not cool. Burgundy is definitely a bad color for a shirt, but really, how much do you wear your race shirts anyway? I have about 2 out of 1000 that actually fit me well, are real running coolmax shirts, and that aren't totally heinous.

I can't believe you ran a a 20 mile race not having eaten since 8:30 am. geez.

Anonymous said...

what do you want?
A crappy cotton shirt with a bunch of advertising on the back?
LiveStrongMaine = pompous snob