Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blah, And Then Even Worse

Things started out feeling "off" for me at Western States this year, and from there it just kept going downhill. My legs felt weak right off the start and my heart rate and rate of breathing were elevated way above normal. My stomach felt a little off as well.

Nonetheless, I had a lot of fun running through the snow that covered most of the course from about mile 3 to mile 13, but once we got back on dry ground my legs felt like I had already run 50 or 60 miles - not a good place to be at mile 13. I tried easing back a bit, but felt even a bit worse when I ran slower. No one was pushing a very aggresive pace at this point so I was able to stay somewhat near the leaders despite how weak I was feeling. I tried my best for a few hours to stay close enough to still be in position to take a shot at the leaders later in the race if I could turn things around, but finally at about mile 35 I decided to ease way off and let go of any hope of racing for the win and just try to figure out a way to finish. Well, after 20 more miles (probably half of which was walking) it was obvious that finishing in the state I was in was going to be a stubborn death march that I just wasn't willing or interested in taking part in. I eventually pulled the plug at mile 56. Even with only 35 miles of hard running my legs feel as fatigued and sore today as they usually do after running a full 100.

I am of course a bit upset to have had such a tough race, but I had several hours out on the trail yesterday to come to terms with this one and begin to focus on the things I could take away from this that will make me a stronger runner in the future. I got to run with some great folks and then see most of them finish in Auburn several hours later. It was far from how I envisioned my day going, but it was still a great thing to be a part of.

Huge congratulations to Kilian and Ellie. They both had amazing races. Kilian showed amazing persistence and just kept plugging along at a decent clip all day. Mike, Nick, and Jez made him really work for his win and each ran amazing races themselves. Ellie's performance is still too unbelievable for me to put into words, but I'll try anyway. Ellie was 15 minutes behind with only 10 miles to go in the race! And she ended up winning by over 20 minutes! This after she was more than 30 minutes behind the women's leader when she left Michigan Bluff at mile 56. When the dust had settled she was across the finish line with the second fastest women's time in the history of the race. I couldn't help but think about how similar her race was to my race last year, but in reality what she did yesterday made what I did last year seem like no big deal in comparison. The amount of time that she made up on the leaders in the second half of the race was more than double what I did last year. Good stuff.

34 comments:

Tim said...

Sounded like quite a finish, bears and all. Thanks for the report, hope you get your mojo back quickly!

Spud said...

Bad luck Geoff, save it for UTMB.

Anthony said...

Was following closely from Israel.
Sorry to hear that you had a tough day. In your pre-race interview you said that you had a hard and relatively fast training run a week before the race. Do you think the lack of a (longer) taper could have been part of the reason?
Looking forward to seeing you run strong at UTMB.

Brian said...

Can't win them all. At least now the media created streak-monkey is off your back, even if you didn't think about it much yourself. Take a short rest, get feeling right, then show those European boys how its done at UTMB.

TonyP said...

Sorry to hear about this, Geoff. Your attitude about it is stellar...you will surely draw from this experience to make yourself a stronger runner going forward. Best of luck at UTMB!

Nemo Camino said...

Don't worry you will learn from this experience.

Hope you will be all right to run the utmb.

I'd like to say to you that following your running adventures inspire me a lot.

James Brennan, Esq., LL.M. said...

Geoff, kudos to you for cheering runners on and hanging out at the finish. When I have a bad day it takes 48 hours to lick my wounds and just to get out of bed at a normal hour. You were at the finish line on the video feed getting peppered with questions and answering people sincerely and cheering on runners. You are an example of what makes ultras awesome, you are 100% Authentic. Next year, Im trying that Alaska camp. James

Agiofws said...

I just assume it wasn't your good day... Save it for the Utmb GOOD luck you...

Barry Bliss said...
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Thad Sweet said...

I agree with many people Geoff that the attitude you displayed is what makes you a true professional. To be able to cheer on others in the face of your own personal disappointments says much about you as a person. Keep your head up!

Barry Bliss said...

Geoff,
Yesterday I watched the pre race interviews with you and Killian on youtube, and the difference was obvious.
You basically said that you had not tapered in a way that would enable you to run well, and you hinted that you mentioned being tired---too tired, too close to the race--due to running as if no race was approaching.
Are you going to focus on UTB in a more complete way than you did WS?
I could be wrong, but I believe you are at least as strong of a runner as Killian, but he rested properly and you didn't.
I am just throwing it out there.
Take care.
Barry

Sara said...

Sorry it wasn't your day, Geoff. I just watched the video on youtube of Kilian's last mile, and was so impressed to see you there giving him a high-five before he got on the track. The fact he came to a dead stop when he saw you, wow. Great respect shown by both of you, nice to see.

And yeah, unbelievable race by Ellie!!!! The women's race was awesome.

Geoff said...

barry,
i may have in fact not tapered enough, but i'm certain there was more going on than that. I only ran 19 miles total in the 5 days before the race. Typically if I run that little in 5 days I at least feel fresh for several hours. saturday i only felt fresh for a few minutes.
but, yeah, you can be certain i will take a much more focused approach to utmb. utmb has been my focus race for this season ever since last year's race was ended.

slowrunner said...

wow mr roes - you are human! just another example of how incredibly generous and down-to-earth you are. run your beautiful trails and regenerate your spirit! you will be back!

big hugs my friend . . .

eric said...

ech, oh well, a bad day. i'm sure you probably wish it didn't happen on such a stage, but the cards have been played. probably smarts more than you're willing to admit to us... even super-human runners who do it for the love of it like to compete ad win. but you'll bounce back, i'm sure... just glad to hear you aren't injured. it's kind of nerve wracking following that sort of race online!

onward!

William said...

Tough day Geoff, but I'm sure UTMB will be a different story. Best of luck in your preparation.

sado said...

Ultimately this experience will make you stronger. Best of luck, I will be rooting for you at the UTMB.

Mike Place said...

Seeing you at the finish line congratulating runners and cheering them on was the classiest thing I've witnessed in a long while. The sport is lucky to have you, Geoff. Well done.

Hone said...

You know your body better than anyone else but I have felt the exact same way that you have described at a few races I have run. I think (in my cases) that I have shown up to the races slightly dehydrated and that has spelled disaster for me from the start.

Also let me know if you ever find out who Cloud is. I might not be the best runner but I can scrap with the best of them. I will personally track him down and (in front of his entire family) beat his ass.

John said...

Sorry to hear that your race didn't go as planned. That being said your attitude towards this is absolutely stellar. Good luck with the prep for UTMB. Rest, recharge the batteries and then get ready for the rematch! I'll be following along with most everybody else I'm sure.

Barry Bliss said...

Geoff,
I hear you, brother.
Good luck with everything.
Barry

Jay said...

I'm all in with that second paragragh that Hone left!

alligator said...

I'll be rooting for you when UTMB comes around! Good luck!

Bill said...

You always hope the days when things just won't fall into place happen on a non-race day but if you run enough of them, your number is bound to come up. Just a nasty bump in the road. Great effort Geoff. I'm betting UTMB will be a different story.

Thomas Bussiere said...

It is what I love about the 100M distance - You never know if finishing is an option (winning in your case). Use this as fuel and focus on UTMB.

Cloud said...
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Cloud said...
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George Volp√£o said...

Buenas Geoff!

I aprecciate a lot your running history. There is "days" and "days". DnF's are part of the sport, you know it, of course. Be sure that, after all of this, here in Brazil the trail running community aprecciate even more your job. And we'll be with you at UTMB, really.

Goog report! Have a nice recovery!

Trevor said...

Geoff, thanks for the recap. We all have bad races...it actually makes you more human to all of us :)

You going to the finish and congratulating Kilian and the other runners was truly powerful....other professional athletes should take notice (i.e. basketball, football, etc).

Best of luck at UTMB.

Tina said...

You truly represent ultra running and excellent sportsmanship! Geoff, you have such a great attitude... great to hear that you went for a post run and did some sorting out, mind clearing. Personally, I don't think your relaxed attitude about WS had anything to do with it (unlike what Cloud said). I've done my very best in lot's of things when I was the most relaxed... some people are just that way. :)
Sounds like you were simply still ran down from the bug you had a week ago.

You and Anton Krupicka are two of the most inspirational runners to me! When I get too technical and start to forget "why I run," I read or watch something about either of you and I'm reminded to get my perspective back.
Continue training by listening to your body and inner self, that is surely the best way.
Recover well, and may you excel at UTMB!!

Nathan Jackson said...

Come back strong for UTMB, Geoff. Everybody has off days. Except for Cloud, whose days are filled only with sunshine, happiness and PRs.

Andyedwards said...

are Geoff i really feel for you there. sorry to hear about that. you are such an inspiration. you should be proud of your life so far. times like these are what make the good times so good.

Jon Allen said...

Sorry to hear, Geoff. Sometimes it happens. Good luck at UTMB.

fabrice said...

Bonjour from Chamonix, sometime it is just not your day and maybe better there than at the UTMB.... The Mt blanc is really looking like the World Championship of the 100 other than Anton not been there everyone will be. I am sure you are going to kick some AHHHH :-)

8 weeks to go