Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Managing Mediocrity - RRR Race Report

I had a really interesting run at the Run Rabbit Run 50 miler in Steamboat Springs this past weekend.

I really didn't have much confidence in my body going into this race and as it turned out I never felt very good on race day. Lucky for me though I never felt all that bad either. Just really mediocre for 7 hours. Luckily I've had three weeks of feeling mediocre (at best) so I was good and ready to just keep plugging along feeling this way.

I realized early on in this race that I was really going to need to focus on trying to do the best I could with what little I had on this day. My stomach wasn't wanting as much food and water as I needed so the entire run was a study in trying to get down enough, without taking down too much and upsetting my stomach.

It turned out that I timed it just right. I was on the edge of getting sick all day and then finally, just seconds after crossing the finish line everything I had in my stomach came up. It took a few hours after that to get my stomach back, but then by Sunday morning I felt almost like I hadn't raced the day before. I felt weak enough all day that I wasn't ever able to push myself hard enough to get sore muscles and once I was rehydrated and renourished (I think I ate 7 pieces of pizza at the post race dinner) I pretty much felt recovered.

And the best thing is that I even seem to have gotten rid of my chest cold. It bothered me quite a lot in the first half of the race but then somewhere around mile 30 my chest felt better and has felt mostly better since. I had also developed a really sore muscle in my back the day before the race that seems to have been healed during the run. I like to joke that the best way to get rid of injury, illness, or weakness is to run 50 or 100 miles, but I think I'm beginning to actually believe this.

In all it was a nice race to go run. It would have been nice to feel a lot better on race day, but it felt nice to do such a good job of getting the most out of a weak body. I feel like my body had a very similar day to The Miwok in '09 that I dropped out of, but this time I had the experience and the patience to manage my body much better and was able to manipulate it into running a pretty strong race despite not being very strong on that day. It feels good to know that I have at least learned that much.

Beyond this it was really nice to go to this race because this is one of the "good ones." I would highly recommend this race to anyone looking for a new 50 miler to run. Everything was run very well, and all of the people (organizers, volunteers, other runners) were very friendly, generous, and enjoyable to be around. This race does a perfect job of being totally organized, without being too organized. Many races just feel like a race, and the entire experience there boils down to the time that you are running the course. Run Rabbit Run is not one of these races. The course is very challenging and very enjoyable, but the entire event has a "soul" and a "spirit" to it that makes the 7 hours of running the course just one small part of a very nourishing weekend. Thanks to everyone who was a part of my weekend in Steamboat for this nourishment. Hope to see you all next year... and watch out cause I'm pretty sure on a good day I could run this one quite a bit faster.


trudginalong said...

Congrats on toughing out a solid race man, it was surprisingly hot out too. Love to see you come back and kill it, I figure you'd be looking at something well into the low 6's eh?

KovasP said...

Good to hear you're feeling better - bumer about not feeling well during the race but it turns out it was the best medecine!

Aaron said...

Nice meeting you at the pre-race meeting Geoff. I am in awe at your 'mediocre' performance. That's totally inspiring. It's pretty interesting how the 50 miles at steamboat actually healed you in multiple ways.
Hopefully now you are feeling better and can enjoy the fall mountain running around here moreso. See you around.

Marny said...

Hi Geoff! I ran RRR as well and seeing you blaze down the trail was definitely one of the highlights of my race. I'd never call your running mediocre, but if that's how you felt, then you should know that you make mediocrity look awesome!

Neal Gorman said...

Captain Studliness,
I have enjoyed the pleasure of 'healing' races as well. It is totally counterintuitive to begin a race (particularly a 100), banged up in some way, shape or form, and come out healed on the other end. Amazing how that seems to work. Excellent job at RRR and setting [another] new standard.

michelle said...

glad you're feelin better!

Mom said...

I still don't think running 50 miles would heal my cold but I am so glad it helped you - love ya.