Monday, October 31, 2011

McNotAgain 2011 Race Report

I ran the McNotAgain 30-Mile Race this past weekend.  It was my fourth time running the event.  Kind of strange since this is only the 3rd year!  True enough, but back in 2008, Mike Siltman did a test-run fat ass style event to see if anyone would be interested.  I ran that informal "race" too.  So this was my fourth "McNotAgain" trail run.  I'll bet I'm the only person to have run all four events. Enough history. How did this year go?

I had three goals for this year's race:

1. Finish the full 30 miles and remain uninjured
2. Break 6:00
3. Beat Kevin Cox (my informal ultra running arch rival)

Well, 2 out of 3 goals ain't bad.  I finished in 5:57:59 and had no injuries.  Kevin finished in 5:57:20. Thirty tough trail miles and he beats me by 39 seconds!  What have I done to betray the running gods and deserve such smiting?  Oh well, at least I beat "Fast Eddy" who was with me for 25 straight miles until I pulled away at the last aid station and beat him by 3 minutes. Eddy should be my new nemesis.

This is a GREAT small-town, laid-back, fun race on a tough 10-mile loop course. Mike Siltman started it and directed the first two years.  This year Paul and Kirby took over. Who knows who'll direct next year...but I'll be there running the 4th version of this race in 2012. McNaughton Park in the fall is really nice. Thirty miles in the cool fall weather on dry trails is a nice treat just before Halloween.  This year was ideal. We had temperatures in the mid-30s at 8am...slowly rising to the mid-50s at the finish. Full sun with a slight breeze made the entire day perfect for trail running. We've had little rain in central Illinois lately, so the trails and creek crossings were dry. Everything was set-up for a fast race.

I intentionally held back on my first 10-mile loop. My mantra was, "Don't pass, don't be passed."  I wanted to take it easy and go with the flow of middle of the pack runners. At times it felt too slow, and I passed a couple of runners in the first 2 miles, but then settled in and took it easy. In an ultra, there's always time to pick it up and push the pace. My lap time was 1:57.  I wanted sub-2:00 each loop so this split time felt good.

On the second loop, I wanted to push just a bit, but still keep it under control.  I listened to my iPod, passed a few runners, and noticed the same guy running my pace (Eddy).  He was with me on the first loop too. Occasionally he'd pass me, then I'd pass him back, then we'd meet at the mid-course aid station.  As we checked-in and grabbed snacks, we'd nod at each other, comment on how we were pushing each other, and head back on the course. We finished the second loop within a few seconds of each other. My split time for this loop was 2:04. I was disappointed in the slower time. Now a sub-6:00 finish seemed unlikely.  I was getting tired and my feet were getting sore so I swapped shoes (Mizuno Revolver racing flats replaced my NB Trail Minimus).

As I headed down the first hill on loop three, I saw "Fast Eddy" about 100 feet ahead of me.  Damn...he got out of the aid station before me!  I cranked my iPod and committed to catching Eddy. The song "Jailbreak" from Thin Lizzy played, I picked up the pace, and easily passed Eddy...of course, he was taking a pee break at the moment so it wasn't the greatest accomplishment. After 20+ miles, I'll take whatever advantage that comes my way. Long story short, Eddy was within sight, just behind me, until mile 26. After leaving the Heaven's Gate small loop, I kicked it up a notch to try and finish in under 6 hours. The last 4 miles I pushed felt like 6 minute miles, but was probably around 9:00 pace. Still pretty good for miles 26-30 of a hilly trail ultra!  I didn't see another runner until I finished. Eddy finished 3 minutes later. The winner, David Timmsen, finished in 4:58. I'll be back next year and I'll be in better shape. My goal is 5:29. Can my old nemesis Kevin match that time? How about my new rival Eddy?  Only time will tell.  Until then, I have my new training partner...Thin Lizzy...

The basic statistics (from my Garmin 305 GPS/HR watch):
Distance: 28.26 miles (race was actually 30 miles)
Time: 5:57:59
Finish Place: 11/31 finishers
Elevation Gain: 2,574 feet
HR Average: 150
HR Peak: 170
Calories: 3,519
Weather: 34 => 56, sunny with a slight breeze


Kevin said...

Great race Chris! I was hiding behind a tree waiting until you came into sight. Then I sprinted for the finish just to annoy you ;)

Seriously, it was a great day. The weather could not have been better and my wife Robin and I finished her second ultra together. I also became the first McNotAgain 30 mile race 40 mile finisher as I paced her for her last lap.

Bring it next year. My PR is 5:28 (2010), so 5:29 might not be good enough.

You look like you are running well. The scuttlebut on the course was that you were getting stronger with every race. I'm definitely hearing your footsteps and am motivated to get into training mode. Maybe I'll even buy a heartrate monitor.

Also, I ran the 40 miles in the Inov-8 F-Lite 195s. I would not recommend it to any other 200 pounders. Ouch. Need some padding (besides that around my middle these daya).

What's your next race?

Chris said...

Good race. Nice getting 40 miles. Congrats to Robin.

I am getting better with each race. it's tough since I haven't gotten in much solid training. Been busy at work, plus the work stress had led to two illnesses in the last month--cold plus stomach flu. I'm back on track and looking forward to a nice stretch of good training. No ultras the rest of 2011.