Saturday, March 22, 2008

2008 McKay Hollow Madness Trail Half Marathon

Why are the times so slow? Because it is basically thr hardest parts of the Mountain Mist Ultra Marathon, except for Waterline. Though, technical trails with lots of climb... that's why!


1 ROB YOUNGREN 1:45:57
5 MARTY CLARKE 1:53:37
6 DINK TAYLOR 1:53:51
8 JOHN JEFFREY 1:56:42
10 JOSH WHEELER 1:58:32

This race started on a cold, windy and dark morning at the ranger station of Monte Sano helping Tom Possert with last minute set up. The wind slowly faded, the sun rose slightly, but the temperature at race time 7:03 am was 37 degrees.

The first 2 miles of this race was on the paved road and along the gravel road that doubles as the white trail out to O'Shaungnessy Point. Last year I went through these miles fairly quickly, but I knew that this year I needed to stay with the leaders until the decent into where the real single track trail running began. These first two miles were run at around 6:30 pace. David Purinton took the early lead, followed by Rob Youngren, Marty Clarke, two younger runners and then me.

I followed Marty down the Warrior Connector to Goat trail and then over to warpath. I pushed hard on Warrior, running much faster than my normal downhill pace. The trail had dried out since earlier in the week and it was very runnable. The first mud was not until the climb up Warpath Ridge. I walked most of Warpath, saving my legs for later in the race. I passed Marty going up and held him off until the aid station.

Marty pulled ahead before the aid station, stopped and got some Gatorade, which allowed me to catch him. I tossed my sleaves to Grady, and went with just a tri top and gloves. Knowing that Marty was a better downhill runner, I let him lead down into Mckay hollow on the technical downhill. I had one younger runner right behind me, who I passed just before the aid station.

At the bottom of McKay I pulled ahead of Marty and really dropped the hammer. I ran really well through this section, missing most of the mud. I was starting to catch glimpse of David, and nearly closed on him in this section.

Marty stayed very closed all the way to the base of Natural Well. I ran as most of Natural Well as I could, but most of it was a fast hike walk to the top. I took two shot blox on the way up. I was averaging 7:30 pace at the base, and this dropped to 8:19 pace by the rock where the climbers repel. I was still dealing with severe acid build up in my calves that I just could not shake. It had started at mile 2 and would not go away. I tried a quick 5 second stretch at Natural Well, but there was no relief. David had dropped me on this hill climb.

I ran past the Arrowhead trail head and headed out to Trough Springs. I was flying back along Natural Well, running through the rocks and water at a pace never seen before on this section with my legs. At the turn around, I realized that Rob was about 3 minutes ahead, then David, then a young kid and then me!!! I thought I was in about 5-7th, but was in 4th. After the turn, I realized how close Marty, then Dink, then Blake and many others were. I was starting to get nervous.

I made the turn down Arrowhead and began to cruise. I told Joey to hammer this section to make up time, which is just what I did. I was running so fast that it was borderline dangerous. Yet somehow Marty caught up to me and I let him pass. He said that Dink was making a move on us. I took two more shot blox on the small hill climb in Arrowhead which I walked up. The two of us ran together for another 3 miles to the Arrowhead/Natural Well lower crossing. I was fairly close on the technical and hill climbs but he would stretch it out on the flats.

We made the right turn and took the technical section down where Marty really opened up a gap. I struggled down and even slipped on the creek crossing and smashed my right shin on a rock. it really shook me and after crossing the lower stream, I saw how close Dink and the younger kid were to me; maybe 90 seconds behind.

Then I got some luck... Marty was a little turned around at the last water crossing and had to climb back up the hill. I was saying all along that this race would be won and lost on Death Trail. I ran as much of if as I ever had, power walked the rest and began to create some distance between us. I'm not sure of my time, but when I made it to the top, Marty and Dink were no where in site.

I hit the top of the picnic falls and then started to run strong to the finish. I kept looking back expecting to see them close in, but they never did. I came into the finish with a little sprint and much to the surprise look on many faces, I pulled in at 4th overall place of 134 runners with a time of 1:52:16. The course was a little shorter than last year, but I had cut off about 10 minutes.

I was about 6 minutes behind the winner Rob, but about 2 minutes ahead of Marty and 2 more ahead of Dink. Turns out that Dink rolled an ankle which slowed him down. If not? Maybe he would have kept up with the push. I also took Blake down as well.

What a great day! The weather was perfect, the conditions on the trail were tough but I flew through them in record pace for me. I am very happy and proud of my results and believe that my training on speed and trail is really paying off early this year.

I'd say of my 75 career races, this is top 5 along with 05 Christy's Race (4mi and 5k PR's), 07 Green Bay Marathon (Boston Qualifier), 07 Monte Sano 15km (15k PR), 06 Bellin 10km (10k PR) and 07 Huntsville Half Marathon (Half mary PR).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

2008 Delano 12 hour

Eric's Delano 12 hour relay splits

Team miles 0 to 6
1st Rotation 6 miles 42:38
7:06 pace
Through 6 miles: 42:38
7:06 pace

Team miles 24 to 30
2nd Rotation 6 miles 41:13
6:52 pace
Through 12 miles: 1:23:51
6:59 pace

Team miles 47 to 52
3rd Rotation 5 miles 35:18
7:03 pace
Through 17 miles: 1:59:09
7:00 pace

Team miles 69 to 73
4th Rotation 4 miles 28:06
7:02 pace
Through 21 miles: 2:27:15
7:01 pace

Team miles 89 to 93
5th Rotation 4 miles 28:54
7:13 pace
Through 25 miles 2:57:09
7:05 pace