Saturday, September 1, 2007

Squak Mt & Cougar Mt Race Loop 25 miles

Current Mile total: 1102.5 miles

What possesses me to go out and run like this? Why do I do it?
Sometimes I ask myself that question, it's not just friends and family who ask it. Saturday night I believe that question rolled around in my head a little. But the big question that was on my mind, and apparently everyone's mind after today's run, was not "why do we run?" but rather, "how can we finish the Northface 50 miler in the 13 hour cutoff limit?"

When we saw Brian and Michael the next day they both admitted that they had serious doubts about people being able to finish this course before it was shut down. They only ran 21 today and still came out of it feeling troubled by the time limit. They questimated that it would take them 5 hours to complete the first loop. They know that the second half will be considerably harder. If they have doubts, well, I think we need to seriously consider them. We ran for 6:37 minutes today. That was half the course. One complete loop of the 2 loop event. This means we'd need to do a negative split on a 50 mile course. I've never done a negative split on a 5k much less on a marathon so its an obvious assumption that I'll not do it on my first 50 miler. Now it may have taken me over 6 hours to finish the course today, but it shouldn't have. Had all things gone as they hopefully will on race day I think I can easily take off 30 minutes.

First of all, we took it real easy today so that we'd finish strong with a positive attitude of which we did end up doing. Secondly, we we're in charge of finding our own way through the trails by using the map. Brian usually leaves markers but today we did not have that luxury. And I'm glad that we had to, cause Brian's been a crutch for us and today I finally felt like I learned the trails out there. It came at a price though. I got us off the proper route. We ended up doing the loop backwards for half the course. The course criss-crosses at one point and we took the wrong direction. Then later on we missed another turn and ended up running about a total of a half mile more than we should. So if you factor in all the stopping to look at the map, I think you can easily take off a half hour. Then we ran out of water. I think that's the THIRDLY item. It was a warm day out there and we ran out of water at around 19 miles. Fortunately for us, when you cross over from one mountain to the next, there's a construction site. We ran up there and practically begged them for water. They made our day by pointing toward the water cooler behind the door.

So yeah, I think I could have reduced my time by a bit. But lets say that I'm able to take my time down to 5:30 for one loop. That leaves me with 7:30 hours to do the next. Seems alright, right? Wrong. The first loop will start in the dark. That's right. It starts at 5:30 in the morning and at that time of the year, it'll be dark.

--Sunrise at that time of year will be 6:15. So I'll be running in the dark for 45 minutes.

This is a correction to the sunrise time. The chart I found said to add 1 hour to the time if we use daylight savings. So it looks as thought I'll be running in the dark for two hours. --

And then it'll take time for the sun to offer any help. So I figure the first hour I'll be going extra slow. So 5:30 on my first loop. Doubtful. I suppose going slow in the beginning will help me warm up. But let's figure that there's probably no way that I'll finish the first loop sooner than 6 hours.

So there you go. That means I'll have to run the second in 7 hours. Seem like a good margin? Maybe. But At the end of today's run I was beat. Light-headed and starving. The second loop is going to be tough. Tears will happen, I'll do more walking than running I'm sure. Did I mention that there will be leaves on the ground hiding the rocks and roots making it more likely that I'll trip and stumble?

So after all that, its no wonder why there is now talk of impossibilities. Of discouragement. Even the elite doubt our success. Perhaps Scott will push the time limit. Maybe. Maybe not.
But in the face of that I'm still happy to try. I love it when people say something can't be done. Its just what I need sometimes to help push me to succeed. I don't feel that way all the time. The goal has to be realistic. I mean its not like we're doing the Badwater race(135 miles through death valley). Now that's crazy! To me, this course is possible. It will be tough, I may not finish in time but I'm going to try my absolute best to do so. Others may get discouraged but to me when someone says I can't do something, I swear to me its a slap in the face and a toss of the gauntlet. Sounds like a challenge to me.

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