STRAVA Summary

Monday, March 10, 2014

Green Jewel 50k

I think this race was one that wasn't meant to be. Fortunately it did happen for me and ended with a decent result.
The week before was a challenge, with a calf strain on my "last" long run on Saturday I was worried about how that would affect my run. Then the tingling of a sore throat starting mid week, what else could go wrong? We had said that if there was even a hint that the weather would be crappy in Cleveland we wouldn't go after such a lousy winter, but as it happened the forecast was for temperatures above freezing. So we headed down to Cleveland on Friday afternoon.
This would be my 4th Green Jewel in a row. A great early season race to see where your fitness levels are. It would also be Joan's first crack at it. She was injured last year and came along for support the year before.
Its not an easy race, although its all on pavement it is mostly uphill, gradually for the first 38k, then sharply uphill and followed by about 10k of rolling hills and then finishing with 2k down hill. The 10k of rollers usually get me.

We arrived in Cleveland at about 6:00pm with the temperature at a balmy 11C!! woohoo.

We went directly to the Vertical Runner in Brecksville to pick up our race kits and then off to the hotel, a bite to eat and get ready for the morning.
The race doesn't start until 9am, but you have to be at the finish area by 7:30 to get on the buses to get you to the start. This changed from two years ago when the start was delayed as no one was allowed into the finish area until late due to a salamander migration was complete!!
No such troubles any more though.
WE got to the buses and off to the start where it was much cooler than the previous day. The temps were hovering just above freezing and there was ice on the paved trails. The forecast was for it to warm up and then cool down later. With snow possible. Luckily we were able to stay on the bus until just before the start.
Off we went and my plan was to take it easy for the first while as I was still unsure about my calf. The cold that I was battling had also taken hold and was affecting my breathing somewhat, but I couldn't do much about that. About 1.5k in my calf started to bother me a bit more and I started to think that this wasn't going to be a good race if I finished at all. The calf though, didn't get any worse, just some tightness (at least for now).

I was watching my pace and surprisingly Iw as keeping my pace under 5 min/k's (maybe that's not a surprise). The icy sections were tricky and care was needed to get by with out slipping. Just when I though I was doing ok, I went to avoid some ice and my feet went the wrong way and I ended up down on the ground. I quickly picked myself up with the help of another runner. Brushed it off an continued on, but I could feel my right ankle, knee and hip had hit the ground hard and there was some looseness in my ankle that wasn't there before. That was at about 10k. At 12k my left calf cramped badly and I began to think my race was over not even a quarter of the way in. I stopped and walked, walked for about 20 yards and thought I have to try it to see if I can get going again, otherwise I will be done. I slowly started trying to run, it was painful to start, but gradually it just subsided a bit. I backed off the pace to my "goal pace" of 5:20ish and this seemed manageable. I would feel the calf tighten every now and again, but no sharp pains. So I continued on.
I got to half way with no other incidents and my cold didn't seem to be affecting too much either. I passed through half way at about 2:08, which was well ahead of where I though I should be and was on pace to at least set a personal course best (4:31 in 2012). I was feeling very good, but took precautions to walk any steep hills to protect the calf. At the 38k mark is the major hill on the course and although I ran it last year I decided to proceed cautiously and walk it this year. I was starting to unravel a bit here too, my glutes were so tight it was almost painful. I walked past the aid station at the top of the hill to the next stop sign. Once past I ran and continued to run all but the hills. When I was running I was moving well, it was these damn hill stetting in the way. At the same time I was looking forward to them as it was a respite from the running. Somewhere along here with about 10k to go, Laurie Rehbergar passed by in her car to say hi. What I didn't realize initially was the person in the passenger seat waving madly at me was Joan.

She had dropped due to a "broken bum". Her periformis had cramped really badly and caused her enough pain to stop. Unfortunte, but she was smart about it and made the right decision. She still got 25k in.
I continued on and knew as I got closer that my time was liable to be more like 4:40 than 4:30 and as I hit the last 2k downhill stretch I was glad that it was almost over.
I came in at 4:37:52, 9 minutes quicker than last year, so I was happy with that. I will be much happy if one day I can run the entire last 12k strong.

Overall a good day and good to break the string of bad luck with races so far this year.

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