Bonk Weekend Anyone?
This past weekend was the fourth annual Yankee Springs Trail Run hosted by Switchback Endurance (@MITrailRaces). Nested in the woods of the Yankee Springs State Park in Middleville, MI, the event offers multiple races throughout the weekend. Starting with a 10K on Friday night, your choice of a marathon or a double marathon on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. Again I planned on taking on the Ultra Challenge for the weekend which consists of completing the 10K, double marathon and the half marathon. Last year I had a successful attempt at running all three events in which I ended up the overall winner for the ultra challenge.
This year’s plan was to aim for a PR at the double marathon. My fastest time on the course was set in 2012 with a time of 10:36:13. With the training I’ve completed this year plus the times I’ve finished at two of the DWD 50 mile race + plus my Haven-Kal-Haven adventure I thought I could be in good shape for a 9 hour +/- finish time.
Friday Night – 10K
After getting the family unpacked and settled in at our cottage at a nearby lake, I quickly scarfed down a McDonald’s 10 piece chicken nuggets along with some fries (great dinner, eh?) and headed over to the event to get my packet and SUIT UP for the 10K that starts at 8pm. Obviously I didn’t eat right before this event (full-time dad, husband, work, life….well, you know how it goes) but I didn’t care as I wasn’t planning to hit the 10K that hard but wanted to keep an honest pace throughout the run. The #YSTR 10k course is a ‘fun one’ in that the first mile is basically flat but then you get to work on your heart rate as the next 1.5 miles. From there though it really gets fun as there are some great downhill switchbacks that you can really push fast through. Many times I wanted to push the lever and hammer the pace but I didn’t want to risk the chance of a cramp for the next day. I finished with a 3 minute PR for the course, 6th overall & 3rd in AG (tough crowd).
Headed back to the cottage to help get the kids to bed, clean up, eat some real food for dinner and gear up for Saturday’s race.
Saturday – Double Marathon
Alarm going off at 4:45 am = RACE day! After a semi decent night of sleep it was time to tackle what would be a tough day ahead of me. Dropped my gear tub off at the gear tarp and some final adjustments to my Ultimate Direction vest, we toed the line and the RD yells GO. The course is a 13.1 mile loop thus for the double you need to tackle it 4 times. I wanted to ease into a pace for the first lap but see if a 2 hr pace for the first lap would be doable. During the lap I hooked up with a friend that was looking to negative split the day thus I figured if I stuck with him for the first half that might lead to a successful day. All ‘systems’ felt like a go during the first lap. I never pushed the pace that hard on the downhills but kept a consistent. I skipped most of the aid stations for the first lap as I basically had everything I needed on me (water, Gatorade, CHOMPS). As I rolled in on my end of my first loop the timing clock clicked over to 2hrs. PERFECT! I felt that was a good time and more importantly I felt good. I grabbed some fruit and away we go for lap 2. The big hill that you encounter at first I decided to power hike it for this lap. Everything at this point still felt great.
While coming out of the single track onto the entrance to the Deep Lake MTB staging area (aid station #1) I felt my right quad begin to tighten up and to the point of feeling like it was about to cramp. This was around mile 16. I stopped at the aid station and massaged the heck out of it then jumped back onto the trail and continued on. From here on my quad just starting getting worse. It never cramped but I had that soreness feeling that I would typically get on the last 5 miles of my 50 mile races or a post marathon race day. The downhills would amplify the pain to the point that I had to walk them. This was nothing like I’ve ever experienced at this early in miles. Over the next couple miles I would run the ups as that didn’t hurt as bad but the downhills sucked. From mile 20 on it was a battle to even walk. At this point I knew my PR attempt at the double was out the door. 🙁 After passing the last aid station on the loop, I made the decision to call it as I didn’t want to risk the chance of pulling something thus not allowing me to complete the next Dances with Dirt event in July. I rolled into the start/finish and let Kim know that I was done. Finished the two laps (marathon distance) around 4:30.
Have to say that I had a blast hanging with other runners that called it quits earlier and cheering on the front-runners as they rolled through. Angry Orchard Hard Cider beer definitely helps the attitude. 🙂
Sunday – Half Marathon
Woke up Sunday morning, suited up and played on the trails in some rain. We had a good solid 30 minutes of rain for the start of the half marathon. I used the rain as a distraction from my leg and ‘tried’ to have fun. I won’t lie, it was definitely a hard run as my leg was still feeling it from Saturday. In the end I finished the half in 2:06 and some change. Wish I could have kept that pace for all four laps the day before. 🙂
Since I dropped to the marathon distance on Saturday I was placed in the marathon three-day challenge and ended up taking the overall Masters division. Wasn’t planning that but heck, I’ll take it.
Since the weekend I’ve been able to knock out a recovery run and ever since my leg is starting to come back. I may never figure out what happened and with that I’m happy that I was able to get some decent miles last week and accept that I had a bonk run as the overall target this year is Run Woodstock Hallucination 100 in Sept.
Time to recover, rebuild and focus on DWD Devil’s Lake 50 mile on July 12!