Sunday, November 2, 2014

"Super" Day at Autumn Leaves

Another year, another mess of loops at Autumn Leaves. This year was bittersweet since I was originally planning to run at Les Templiers in France on the last weekend of October. Autumn Leaves is in nearby Champoeg State park with a great “low-key” feel, wonderful race directors, and a fast course, but there is no denying that it is NOT France! But I’d come to terms with not going to France a while ago and since I was free, well, why not pick up finish #5 at Autumn Leaves?? Plus, I had a Supergirl costume just dying to be put to use!

I originally got the Supergirl attire back in 2011, when I had the crazy idea of going after the Guinness World Record for female marathon in a superhero costume, which at the time was 3:08. I had a friend (not a runner) who had recently gotten into going after life goals and after a motivating email from him, I made a rash purchase on the Target website. It was only $12.88 with free shipping, so it wasn't a huge investment. It came in a package labeled "Secret Wishes: Costumes for Playful Adults." Well, running in a costume makes me a "playful adult", right?? Hahaha! But after reading all the requirements from Guinness, I was kind of apathetic about the whole thing and never really pursued it. Then Camille Herron slammed the door on the whole idea with her 2:48 Spidergirl run a few years ago - that's out of my superhero league! So other than a brief appearance at the first Superhero 5k with my son Liam, Supergirl has been stuck in her plastic packaging.
This is exactly how I look in this costume when I am not running.

Last year, I was eager to test my fitness at AL and ran the 50 miler all out to a 6:11 finish. This year, my goals were quite different and I really wanted to focus on holding back and staying comfortable all day to put in a good training effort for the 100k Worlds on Nov. 21. And of course, I needed to keep my costume contest streak alive, too!
Supergirl and the Autumn Leaves
We started in pitch black and pouring rain and I did a good job running super easy. I ran a couple of the early miles with Liz who was trying her first 50k after doing a few marathons - your typical story - until Liz told me she was 17 and had done her first marathon at age 14. I laughed and told her I was old enough to be her mom. “Oh, no,” she tells me, “my parents are still older than you!” Haha- I like that young people are getting into the sport, but they sure do make me feel old! But with age comes wisdom and I knew Liz was working too hard for so early so I was happy for her when she said she was going to back off.

My idea was to start slow and cut down the pace for every 6.25 mile lap. Things went right on plan until the end of loop 2 when the RD’s and timer told me I was “first master, second woman.” So the pace for lap three got a little more aggressive than planned. ;) My friend Josh coyly asked me after the race what my place had to do with pace for a “training run.” Haha - well, I do have a race bib on after all!

The ladies at the turn around let me know I was 8 minutes back and that she “looks like she is only 15.” Great, another teenager!

On the return I was bummed to see Joe Uhan, who had been battling with Josh for the men’s lead, and he just wasn’t feeling good. But it was nice to have his company through the woods back to the start/finish, where he planned to drop. To prove to me how bad he felt, he told me that just running along with me his heart rate was 160. I looked down and mine read 169! Um, maybe I should back off a bit!

At the start/finish both the RD and the timer assured me they had made a mistake; the other woman was a 50 mile early starter! Since I was already running around my 100km PR pace, I decided to just hold that for the final two loops to the finish. The beauty of starting slow is that you get to pass a lot of people at the end! I finished in a personal worst (and slower than both 50k splits during my two 50 mile runs here) in 4:05, but it was good enough for first female/third overall. And most importantly: costume contest victory!! :)
Flying to the finish!
Lap 1: 55:21 (8:53)
Lap 2: 50:18 (8:06)
Lap 3: 46:13 (7:27)
Lap 4: 46:28 (7:29)
Lap 5: 46:42 (7:32)

I don't think I fulfilled any of my husband's "Secret Wishes" last weekend, but after feeling so crappy for so many weeks through the summer and after AC, it was great to cruise around 50k feeling fantastic. Whatever overtraining/overfatigue I had going on seems to be behind me. Though I am happy that running feels "playful" again, this wasn't exactly a confidence boost. As noted, the time was slower than 50 mile pace the last two years. I got 30k of good 100k pace training, but I can't say it felt entirely easy and I certainly couldn't have kept it up for another 70k on that day, so I still have a lot of uncertainty about my fitness. 

I tried to "cram" a bit this week with 99.25 miles in six days (because I am staying under 100 mpw for the time being - ha!) including a good tempo run and a hill session. I finished up the week sweeping at the Silver Falls 50k and marathon. Sweeping may be the most playful of all running activities. My day went like this: Stand around eating candy and chatting (Mac was running the 50k so we had to get there fairly early. Being the day after Halloween, there was a lot of candy and let's just say I wasn't adhering to low carb breakfasting on this morning). After the marathon start (30 minutes after the 50k start) we ran at a good clip to the second AS. Then we stood around and ate a bunch. Then we ran at a good clip till we caught the last marathoner. Then we walked. When the marathon and 50k course split, we took off sprinting because now we were way behind the last 50k'er. Then we caught her and walked. Chill and chat at the aid station, stuff your face, run hard till you recatch the last runner, walk, repeat. Kind of a funny way to run and not exactly the best road 100k training, but it was fun to get some time on the trails again and it was good to help out Run Wild Adventures, a company that has been very successful bringing trail races to the Salem area (yes, Salem!).

Less than three weeks till Worlds. Until then, I'll be doing few last ditch speed workouts and a lot of "Wishful" thinking!


Dr. O said...

My friend and I put out the glow lights at the Javelina Jundred last night. I know what you mean about stopping and starting. It was a great way to run the loop and see all the runners in costume. Sometimes running is just about having fun. And.......we got to see Gordy Ansleigh running! Bonus.

Alex Bridgeforth said...

Awesome job. The costume idea was great and of course you crushed it. Hopefully we'll be able to run together again at next year's Trail Running Camp.