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Monday, March 5, 2012

Green Jewel 50k Race report

I did the Green Jewel 50k race last year and felt it was a great way to get the racing season kick started. I t meant training started early in the year, but got me better prepared for the long distances I would run later in the spring/summer getting ready for Burning River. By all accounts it was a good move as Burning River was a great race as I did very well. So I thought what better way to get the 2012 season started than to sign up and train for the Green Jewel again. Another factor was that the race is an incredibly well organized, low key event that brings some great individuals from the north east Ohio running community together. I have got to know a few of them over the past year and its one of the things that keeps me coming back for races in this part of the world.
This year I would drive the six hours to Cleveland with Chris Battaglia, who I talked into signing up as Theo was still recovering from his injuries and was far from ready to race this distance. We left Friday morning and made to the Cleveland metro area by about 3 pm and hit the hotel to check in. There's no "expo" for this race, bib pick up etc is in the morning at the finish area, prior to getting on the bus to go to the start. Once we were settled in we went out to check out one of the local running store, the Vertical Runner. as it turned out they had what I had been very keen to search out, the new Garmin 910XT. I couldn't resist and picked it up. A good pasta dinner at the Olive Garden and an early night preceded the 4 am wake up.
Off to the race finish area to catch the bus, but a wrinkle in the plans. We pulled onto the road into the park area and then red lights in front of us! Whats going on? We weren't any where near the pick up area. Chris walked down the line of cars to find out what was going on. He came back with our bibs and it turned out we were waiting for the Park Ranger to open up the gates, which were closed due to the Salamander migration season. But the ranger showed up just prior to 6am and we were let in to get on the buses. The race would start about 25 minutes late due to the delay.
Last year there was only one bus, this year two and off we went to Rocky River and the start area. We didn't have to wait long to get the race started, which was nice as it was quite cool and very breezy. Prior to the start I got to talk to Bob King who I met at the Burning River training runs last year. Bob wasn't running, but volunteering which is very admirable. He was actually the aid Station captain at mile 15. Also met Pam Rickard who I had befriended on Facebook, a great bubbly personality.

I set my new Garmin up and off we went at about 7:23am. The majority of the first part of the course is run on bike paths through the Cleveland Metro Park system. The first part seems to be quite flat, while actually it is slowly rising. I quickly hooked up with Zack Johnson and we ran together form that point on till about 27k. We got chatting and didn't pay attention to our pace, which was a little too fast for our own good, but at the same time it may have helped our positive finishes.

We went through the 15 mile mark in about 2 hours and 5 minutes and half way about 3 minutes later. It was at about this point that I was feeling the pace as my glutes were starting to tell me to back off. So at about 27k I told Zack go on with out me as I needed to back off. I took a few walk breaks and had quite a number of runners pass me. I was starting to take walk break every 2k or so. At the 19 mile aid station there was a smorgasbord of food, including steak, potatoes, and much more. At this point trying to digest steak would be impossible for me. I had a small cup of potato soup and was back off running again. After a couple more k I realized that I was gaining on Zack again. I caught him and it turns out he was hurting. His core was in pain from too much core work the day before. I left him behind but Zack would catch me on my walk breaks. At 38k we hit the first big hill

and a long walk up it ensued, a quick stop at the aid station at the top (the last aid) and we were off running again. Gradually I left Zack behind as I found I was able to push the pace a bit more, still walking most of the hills. I didn't remember all those hills from last year. In the latter parts of the race I was calculating what my possible finish times may be and figuring that a 4:35 finish was not out of the question. I had figured before hand that I would be happy with beating last years 4:48 time, very happy with a 4:45. A best case scenario would be 4:30. So I was doing well.
The last few kilometres were down hill, and although painful on the very sore quads, I pushed it and came into the finish at 4:31. I was very happy about that.

Zack came in shortly after me in a time of 4:35 for a new PR. Pam finished in 4:44 for a PR of an hour, incredible!! Chris finished in 5:50 looking really strong finishing.

Again a great race on a challenging course with great race volunteers and the best race director! I'm sure I will be back again next year as well as showing up to many more races in Ohio over the next few years.

1 comment:

ultrailz said...

Keith, so glad to be a part of the race report. Really enjoyed running & talking with you. Congrats on the race, you really pushed the finish!