Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Clinton Lake Race: Predict My Finish

Clinton Lake Race
In four days, on Saturday morning, I'll attempt the Clinton Lake 30-Mile Trail Race. It's familiar terrain. I train there. The race is familiar too. I started it. None of that matters when you toe the starting line. You never know what'll happen. With the extreme winter, I haven't had solid training. Very few long runs. To put it bluntly, I'm unprepared. Really unprepared. I have no business even attempting this race. In this year's previous race attempts, I'm 0-3. I'd rather not end up 0-4. So, how do I think I'll do? How do you think I'll do?  Here are three possible scenarios.

Scenario #1: My first run at Clinton Lake in the last 3 months was this past Sunday. I did one 10-mile trail loop in 1:46. That's an OK time. Nothing fast, but not extremely slow either. If things go well this weekend, I might be able to average 2-hour loops and end up with a 6 hour finish time. Maybe even 5:59. Yeah, let's say 5 hours, 59 minutes is the best I can do. I'd be happy with that finish time. I'm thinking lap splits of 1:50-2:00-2:09 = 5:59. Doable, right? Maybe. Maybe not. Plus, pushing this hard will bring risk of injury.

Scenario #2: I haven't run much and I'm ill prepared to race 30 miles on hilly trails. I should take it easy and just finish. Seriously control my instincts and go with the back-of-the-pack runners and walkers. Hang out at aid stations, enjoy the day, socialize. It could be a very easy long run. I can imagine 2:30 splits for each loop with a finish time of 7:30. We'll under the 8-hour cut-off. If things go south, I still have a 30 minute cushion. I finish the day without injury and feeling strong. Not a bad idea, eh?

Scenario #3: I do not finish, DNF. It's possible. I might push too hard and get injured. I might be going along at a reasonable pace, get too tired, and feel that 20 miles is enough. I might "enjoy" myself so much at aid stations that I miss the cut-off and "finish" after 8 hours. I can also see several situations where I drop out at 20 or 25 miles. I've heard that canoe aid station (aka, "The Iron Bridge Bar & Grill") is pretty alluring. It's siren song may capture me and never let me go! Lounge chair, beer, veggie burgers, fire pit, good music, fun time...

So, what do you think? 
Do I run well and achieve a 5:59 finish time?
Take it extremely easy and finish around 7:30?
Or do I get another DNF and go 0-4?

UPDATE (March 29, 2014): Finished the race in 5:42! Sweet.


Chris said...

I'm going to split the difference between options #1 & #2: 6:45 finish.

Chris said...

Nice guess (and probably doable). I'd actually be happy with that time. Not sure what I'm trying for and probably won't commit to any strategy until the starting gun goes off on Saturday morning.

ed said...

I see you easily achieving sub-6 -- IF the trail is in decent shape (your home course tends to get quite sloppy when wet!) and IF you set your mind to it from the start (& don't make this just an all fun & social event).

Maybe someone will offer up a challenge to help you get motivated into running what you're capable of Saturday . . . I'd like to see it!

jeff said...

I see your weekly mileage is going up. that is good

% odds on clinton:

10% okay time
40% slow time
50% DNF

Jeff(lost 2.5" off waist so far- down 10 lbs)

Chris said...

So Ed says try hard and get the sub-6, Jeff says 50% chance of DNF. Geeeeez! Maybe I should DNS. Looks like rain Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Michael Astrosky said...

I am thinking you go with #2. Run the first 2 as you see fit and play at the aid stations. Then SAG with me and the slow runners to make sure we finish. Or just run all 3 loops easy and still finish before me.

Chris said...


Maybe that's the plan. Run well for 2 loops (as best I can), then hang with whomever at aid stations and back of pack. 20 miles hard, 10 miles "at a leisurely pace."

Kristy said...

Congrats on a better-than-expected finish at Clinton, Chris!

Chris said...

Thanks Kristy!