Saturday, June 2, 2012

The North Face 50M - Washington DC

Hi Endurance Athletes + fans! It's been a while, yeah? Well, after being injured last November, my blogging has plummeted - but I have endured and did some races; just not blogged about it.

Well, I decided to run The North Face 50 miler as a pre-race for the upcoming summer Ironman races. I felt like it was the right race to do since I used to live in Virginia and why not hit a race there since it would be a nice way to meet my old friends and get a good run out of the way.

Unlike Hong Kong where stone and cement is replaced by Virginia's lush green trees and dirty trails; where hot humidity is replaced with cool dry weather; where pollution is replaced with pollen, it would be my first debut to run a race on American soil since 23 years ago. Unfortunately, my training hasn't been consistent because of injuries; but I felt pretty good going into the race and had ample servicing at the physio and sports massage bench.

The race started at 5:00AM with about 45 minutes of night running. A headlight was required and so, I wanted to wear my camera since I didn't know when the light would be ample for the camera. I held the headlamp in my right hand and used it more like a flashlight. The course started/ended at the same place. It runs past Trump International golf course east into Great Falls where there is a 3 loop run. It's about 20km to the drop bag location which includes a few steep hills through the forest. The initial 20km was a mud fest and very slippery. If you ever thought about doing a mud run, there are many in America. I just wasn't planning to do one this year but the rain was torrential the day before stirring up overflowing streams.

As always, Jogger style; I went out pretty fast and then cruised about 35km afterwards. My biggest problem is that it's hard to not go fast initially. I think I should concentrate on 10-20km races as I might be better at them, but anyways; I'm not trying to be the fastest.

I think the overall going to the physio and doing many strength training and more stretching help a lot on this race. There was no occasion where my legs cramped up like previous races; but I did have a bit of cramping in my lats around 60km.

I saw probably around 4 other people wearing the new Spyridon LS Vibram Five Fingers. The shoes really were meant for these trails and the mushy soft mud felt like velvet. There were some rough rocks in a very small section of the race; but overall, the run was quite comfortable compared to the other old VFF KSO versions.

Overall, I'm very happy with my time based on my preparation and happy to see that I am back on track for a decent running season. I think the most important learning experience to tell is keep care of your body and please see a professional person whether it is in physio, chiro, accupuncture, voodoo or whatever your religion might be. Just don't be a hero and think you can heal the body yourself. That's just my opinion from a 9 months disability.

And if you get a chance to run in America, there are definitely fine places to race off road. Take a look at TNF and if you need more distance; I'm sure there is a race right around the corner if you search for it.

My results:
place: 136/320
bib: 188
time: 10:36:18
chip: 10:36:12
pace: 12:44/mile
AG: M36-45
AG Place: 39/86
Gender Place: 117/248
21.7 Mile Split: 3:51:22
28.6 Mile Split: 5:21:17
35.5 Mile Split: 6:57:14