Tag Archives: Cruel Jewel 50

Cruel Jewel 50 2017: using a bad race at the start of the season for future racing gains.

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Leaving mile 31, feeling great!

 

Back in Feb I ran Black Canyon 100k and had a disappointing day.  I can’t blame anyone but myself coupled with a touch of bad luck, however, what I did do was listen and take what that race was telling me and fix the problems.

The first problem I started to address was some wacky gait pattern.  My best guess is that when I fell and gave myself a concussion last August and then ran Run Rabbit Run 105 mile race just 19 days later with complete bed rest between the fall and the race I picked up, and reinforced a weird tight limp I had from the fall.  Things that REALLY hurt during Black Canyon had just started to hurt during Run Rabbit Run.  Clearly training through the pain and hoping that I could correct my gait myself wasn’t working, so after the race I started visiting Brian Beatty at Balanced Movement Therapy on a regular basis to address this problem.  My coach also helped me train smarter, not harder keeping my problematic achilles in mind.  Left to my own devices I am always tempted to over do things. Meghan smartly guided me to just the right amount of training, but not more than my heel could handle.

Second problem: nutrition.  I have been ultra running since 2013 and the right fuel plan has been ever elusive.  When I first started ultra running I was a vegan, which was actually great for recovery, but I just don’t build muscle, so I was really tiny and not very powerful.  In 2015 I added meat back into my diet, being aware of where the meat was from, and if it was raised responsibly and with out hormones.  I gained some strength, but still had energy highs and lows(crashes) during races.   My friend, Sam, recommended the book ROAR this past March, which really helped me gain a lot of insight to fueling and recovery for women.  Its a book specifically for female endurance athletes.  It addresses the different hormone changes throughout a woman’s cycle and how different times of the month need different fueling strategies.  A lightbulb went on for me!  Training got better, I changed my hydration strategy, I ate more protein after exercises, added in good carbs during high hormone times, and I gained muscle, and got leaner.  I weigh much more than I did back in 2013 as a vegan, but look fitter and trim, no more weird skinny fat around my middle.

I also stopped trying to drink my calories; separate food from hydration.  I found that Skratch works best for my hydration needs.  THIS CHANGED EVERYTHING!  I wasn’t bonking due to low calories, I am pretty sure I’m an awesome fat burner while at ultra pace…I was DEHYDRATED all along!! So how did this all help?  Well, even with unseasonably hot weather, and a nice stretch of pavement mid day, I stayed hydrated THE WHOLE RACE! (read no energy dips!) I didn’t eat any more than usual, I think I ate one beef jerky stick, 3 or 4 picky bars, bone broth I made, and also a home made smoothie at mile 30 a few chips, a salted potato, and some gummy bears.  Not a lot of calories, but I felt really great.

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All of us at the start

 

So if you’re here for a race report, the course is the same as it was in 2015, with the finish being slightly altered due to some down trees. You can read my race report from 2015 here.  I was a few minutes behind my 2015 pace into the first crewed aid station at mile 25, but I stayed positive, being mindful that there was so much more race ahead, and it would eventually cool down.  The mid day heat was HOT and I felt feverish around noon.  Fortunately this is where my crew had an ice bandana for me that helped immensely.

The first half of the race is the “runnable” half, while the second half is where the technical steep climbs come in.  I switched out my Orange Mud Hydraquiver, for the Endurance pack because the time between aid stations would get much longer and I didn’t want to get dehydrated so late in the day.

As I ran the “dragon spine” or the Duncan Ridge Trail, I remember exactly where things went bad for me previously, but this time I felt strong and ran all the sections I had opted to hike the last time.

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Getting a little encouragement butt slap from my honey.

The last 8ish miles are straight up Coosa Bald for a mile with no switch backs, and then back down over rocks and roots for roughly 5 miles to a water stop, and then more gently up for 2 miles and back down for a downhill finish into Vogel State Park.  This is where I picked up time.  I was feeling awesome! I ran/hiked up to the top of Coosa, paused at the top and braced myself for the long downhill.  By this point my quads were TOAST.  Coming out of Black Canyon I had aggravated my Achilles tendon so during training I was more conservative so I didn’t do any downhill training.  I put my head down and told myself from there on I was going to suck it up- ignore my quads and run–and run I did…down the hill, pausing once or twice to make sure I was going the right way.  I didn’t stop at the water stop, just cruised right by smelling the barn…in 2015 I think I mostly hiked from the water stop to the finish, I was not going to do that again.  Just as I ran over the bridge here the wind picked up, and I saw a tree fall over to the left of me….like I needed any more motivation to keep running.  The cold rain felt amazing, and the thunder and lightening made my hair stand up.

I didn’t once look at the time on my watch after cresting Coosa, 11+ hours had passed. I knew I wanted to better my last Cruel Jewel time of 13:33, I actually stopped and told myself here that I could do it if I just went for it, and I did!  I was shocked to see the blinking red lights of the finish line clock through the driving rain still under 13 hours!  I was ecstatic!

12:57!  36 minutes faster than my last CJ50, and 33 minutes better than the women’s CR of 13:30!  First place female and 3rd overall!  The rain continued into the night, and stopping only as the sun rose. We stayed up to watch every last Trailhead finish. Congratulations to you all!

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12:57 New Course Record!

 

I have to give thanks here to Carson Footwear and Everett’s support, Orange Mud and Josh for the hydration packs! Big thanks to my coach Meghan Arbogast too!

Also, to ET and her lucky crew pants.  I so appreciate having you there to boss me around, to Liz for her first 50–you were awesome!  Thanks for the fun birthday weekend, and for the training runs.  Thanks to Brian and your magic PT, thanks Lawst, Galoot, Nymf, Riff, Kyle, Elliott, Steep, and Tim for getting in on the weekend fun. Congratulations on your races as well(and for your crewing)!  Saving the biggest thanks to Drew and Emmitt, thanks for being my guys and supporting me. love you!

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Part One of The Cruel Jewel Experience; the start of the 100

Vogel State Park

I have to break this up into a few posts. The weekend was just too epic and long for one post. So if you would like to read about the 50 mile race skip to the next post, I’m focusing more on the start of the 100 mile in this post.

The Chattahoochee Mountains

The Cruel Jewel 100/50 mile race is held at Vogel state park in Georgia.  It has 33k/17k of climbing, and is a Hardrock qualifier, as well as UTMB qualifier.  Hopefully you have been following along on my #crueljewelexperience and know about my training leading up.  If not, long story short.  Last year I was offered a spot but  it scared me and I felt underprepared so I kept it in the back of my mind, and this year several of my friends and I signed up.  There are NO mountains with in 2+ hour drive of where I live so it was also sort of a training experiment.  Could I train for a mountainous race with what I have to train on?  rolling single track trails, a treadmill, stadium, and lots of core work.  The short answer is, yes I can!

Anyway onto the report. My husband and myself caravanned with two other cars down to Blairsville GA.  The ride is about 5.5 hours, so we stopped in Asheville for some really good tacos at the White Duck Taco shop..mm.  We arrived at our cabin and were joined by several other friends over the next few hours.   We chatted, stretched, rolled out our tight muscles from the long ride and got to bed at 11pm.

The next morning everyone slept in (except maybe me, I was up at 5 eager to watch the sunrise over the mountains from the back deck.  To my disappointment it was a foggy and humid morning, but yoga in the misty air was quite nice instead.

We all had breakfast, the 100 milers packed up their things and we headed out to the start.  Luckily we had a house very close to the start so 15 minutes later we arrived at Vogel State Park.

Runners and crew before we set off to Vogel State Park

The 100 milers were excited and nervous all at the same time, and paced, jumped, and stretched as the RD spoke about the course.  At noon they took off 1/4 of a mile down the road to the single track and up Coosa Bald.

The rest of us went back to the house, ate and got ready to crew.

Mile 20 was the first place we could see the 100-milers.  The first runner, Karl Meltzer, came through at exactly 4 hours, a few minutes later the front pack of runners came in, Avery Collins, Jared Scott, and Jordan was part of this pack of 6 front runners.  They all looked a bit wore for wear, but only stopped a moment before heading back into the single track.

Drew, myself, and Nate decided to drive onto the next aid station, mile 25 to see how they did in the next section… before we had to had off to bed.

The drive to the next aid station was really easy, and only took a handful of minutes.

Wilscot aid station, mile 25 for the 100. Jordan changing socks and fixing his shoes. (Also, I can’t help it, sometimes I’m a goof)

We arrived before any of the runners.  Karl was first to come in at 4 hurts and 58 minutes, then Jared Scott at 5:08, then the rest of the front pack.  The steepness of the descents had taken a toll already on all their feet.  each runner changed socks, added glide or taped their feet from the friction.  Jordan did also.  Changed socks, added Vaseline, and then took off… forgetting poles and headlamp!  We  chased him down, and he was off.

Ben on his second day with ultimate crew chief ET!

By then it was after 5 and we needed to get back for dinner and pack our drop bags.

I took advantage of the hottub at the house and watched the sunset, trying to wind down before bed.

I fell asleep instantly but woke up at 2:30. Wide awake!  I was too excited to run, and wanted to know how my friends were faring out on the course.  There were still 4 off the 5 100 milers still out on the course.  I got a text reading that Meltzer had hit the turn at 9:30 pm, and Jordan at 11:30, Ben at 2:30 and crash and burn at 5 am(and were taking a nap)

This is where I am going to stop.  Next post is the 50 mile race report!

Cruel Jewel Tapering, April 23-May 4

Feet in the grass, and these cloud shorts make me happy!

Well that’s not your typical week cycle, I know, but its sort of how this week went.  I felt a tweak in my calf last Wednesday, tried to roll it and stretch it and work it out…I thought I had, but 7 miles into my usual 20 mile workout I had to quit with pain in my calf that traveled down to my Achillies tendon. Very SAD face 😦

I have had Achillies Tendonosis before (that’s what its called once your tendonitis has been ignored for so long that the tendon is no longer getting blood flow and is sort of rotting apart..) EW, I know.  I should know better; well I do know better, now.  So I stopped right away on Thursday, ran some very slow. short, easy miles on Friday, hiked on the treadmill on Saturday, followed by some balancing and leg strengthening exercises, and then was talked into warm-not-quite-hot yoga with my sister for 2 hours.

Enjoying a morning walk with Mr. Emmitt

The yoga actually helped immensely, I just get so bound up sometimes.  The heat and the humidity, and the last 40 minutes were longer held stretches.  It seemed to help me a bit.

Trying out my new Vest Pack from Orange Mud with my best bud.

However, it wasn’t enough, I could still feel the tendons in my lower leg snapping against each other when I went up and down stairs.  So I did what every injured runner on their third day of injury (during what is supposed to be their peak week of training);  I threw myself a huge pity party.  I slept in so late that my husband; the connoisseur of weekend sleeping in,  insisted that I was in bed too long. I listened to 4 podcasts, cleaned the house, and then got back into bed and binged on netflix while Emmitt the dog happily joined me for a pity party snuggle.

I know, right, totally self indulgent there.  I think I just needed one of those days to just lay around.  No major house projects, no going out, no plans, just quiet.

Monday I felt much better and got in to see my massage therapist, who really I only get to see in desperate times, and this was one of those times!  He started working on my left calf, gentle at first…and then I could tell he was getting frustrated.  There weren’t “knots,” each muscle and tendon in my lower leg; calf, ankle, shin, foot were pulled tight, like..I believe he said a guitar string and he was having a hard time loosening anything up.  He spent more than 1.5 hours just from my knees down.  I am very grateful for his strong hands and determination, I left feeling so much better.  I was able to run easy on Monday afternoon, and then nice and speedy on Tuesday.

Since I missed out on TWOT last weekend, hence the pity party, I decided I was just going to try to run Umstead as fast as I could repeating ever hill at least twice around and aim for 20 miles in 2:40 or less.  I was so close, 2:41…but my hips were finally open and my ankle could move again! YAY!

Of course everything tightened back up again later in the week, not as badly as before, but still the nagging calf tightening, which has traveled to my ankles, pulling something out of line so my ankle is locking from time to time.

Very easy day at the stadium, focusing on form and soft landing.

The rest of my training isn’t much to mention.  I had a few good runs, and a few runs I had to cut short because the stabbing calf pain came back.  I am really starting to worry that this won’t be resolved in time….but still trying to stay positive!

I don’t want to complain or dwell on it though.  The weather has been beautiful, I have less than two weeks of tapering. I got to garden, do packet pickup for the race we TrailHeads put on in May; Philosopher’s Way Trail Race.  That was fun, despite the single track trails being closed due to wet weather.  (it was kind of a shock, they had never closed the trails due to rain before, and we didn’t have much actually.)   It was fun to run the double track though and cheer on runners.

Goofing off with friend, Katie at Philosopher’s Way Trail Run after packet pickup duties were done. (Mr Emmitt looks confused)

Other than that there’s not much to tell.  Just taper, roll, rest, eat, repeat.

Sorry for the lack luster post.

Hope you all are having a happy spring full of sunny training!