Thursday, August 6, 2015

Altra Coventry Woods Challenge

In the London Airport on the way home.  Kids were good but 15 hours of travelling is not easy

A little less than a week before I was scheduled to come home from Bosnia/Croatia with the kids, Emir asked me if I wanted to run a trail race, the Coventry Woods ChallengeAltra was the main sponsor and since Emir and I are ambassadors and local to this event, they asked if we would be the representatives for the race and they would give us entry to whichever event we wanted.  Of course, I said I wanted to do it.  Who am I to turn down a race?!  A free race, no less! 

#teamdedic back together stateside! (and sportin the buff)
The race took place Sunday August 2nd, which was only a few days after the long trip home.  I didn't think this would matter at all.  I've stayed in Bosnia/Croatia for 5-6 weeks in the past and I just come home and return to normal life.  At least I thought I did.  I forgot the important detail that the last time I went was 2 years ago.  Even that last trip over, I was not running the amount I run now.  And when I look back, that summer I was only doing 3-5 miles maybe 3-4x/week and definitely didn't run for a few days after my return.  This year, we got home around 9:30pm Wednesday evening, I went to work Thursday and then went for a run Thursday after work.  I felt o-k but definitely kind of weird, not my normal self and I had to stop and use the potty for a #2 a couple miles in.  Things were definitely off but it was my first run back and less than 24 hours after landing.  Saturday, Emir and I decided to go to the big trail together with Una for our shakeout since Niko wasn't home.  I felt really good the first 5 miles and we were moving at a good pace then I had to continue on myself to reach 75 minutes while Emir was done after 5 miles.  We are on different training schedules since he has Eastern States 100 miler in 2 weeks.  A minute or two after I left him, my stomach became seriously unahppy.  At this point, I was in the middle of the woods so I had to just carry on but I felt awful.  Around mile 6 I found Emir again and then I went off to try to finish.  At mile 7, I decided to be done even though I still had 8 minutes left.  My stomach hurt too bad and I felt REALLY weak.  As soon as we got home pardon my description but I threw up out my ass and I felt so weak and nauseous I had to lay down for a couple hours.  I still didn't feel right after laying down but it was better.   I was hoping with a good night's sleep, I would feel like running in the morning.
double Bob back in action after a couple months off
Even though the race didn't start until 8 and was about 45-50 minutes from us, we got up early since we had the Altra booth to set up.  I was feeling better but just still not myself.  I was a little worried but I thought, "nah I'll be fine."  We got to the trail around 6:15 and found the RD Don so we could find out where to set up.  Don was SUPER nice and SUPER enthusiastic!  He was also the one who was more than willing last minute to give us entry into whichever race we wanted.  There was a 10K, 3 hour and 6 hour.  Obviously we opted for the 6 hour. 

We got the tent set up and just waited around for a bit.  Once runners started showing up to pick up their bibs, a number of them came over to talk to us about Altras.  We had a supply of the Olympus, one of their trail shoes, for people to try on and they could run in if they wanted to.  Surprisingly, for such a small event, we had about 6 people who wanted to wear them for their race.  And every single one came back afterwards saying how much they loved the shoe.  There were also plenty of other people that were not comfortable running in a new shoe for their race but tried them on and asked lots of questions about Altras.  It was fun!  I almost forgot we were running a race. 

I think our booth was pretty awesome
I think that tent would look great in our backyard ;-)
We started the race a little after 8.  Don was allowing a little extra time for people to finish at the potty which was nice.  He instructed us that our first lap had a little addition to make it 6.2 for the 10K people but that we would not do that every lap, so I knew once he said that, it would not be a 10K for each lap as I thought but not really a big deal.  The first lap I enjoyed.  I talked to a couple friends.  The woods were beautiful.  I had never run there before but it was very nice.  The terrain was more challenging than I expected.  Definitely lots of ups and downs and plenty of rocks and tree roots.  I tripped a million times as did everyone else.  I also fell once and witnessed mult falls by other people.  I also saw the cuts and dirt on a lot of other runners to indicate they had fallen.  But  in general everything was ok.  I was with Emir then lost him to a potty break but then he found me again.  I was right with him but then the gopro fell out of my flipbelt.  I stopped to get it and then next thing I knew he was gone.  I figured I would see him at the end of the lap, as I couldn't be too far behind but then I fell.  I didn't think this stuff threw me too far off but there was no sign of him when I finished the first lap.  I went over to the altra tent, grabbed a couple things and ditched the gopro and headed back out. 
I was looking forward to a race after the Sljeme mishap...
As I started the second lap, I started feeling just a general sluggishness and not great in my stomach.  Great.  I kept going but I was slow.  I was walking pretty much all the uphills and I wasn't even running fast on the downhills.  There's not much I can say except it was a struggle.  When I finished the second lap, I went into the port a potty.  I was able to purge, it wasn't as bad as the day before but I still wasn't feeling very good.  I decided I needed to go out on another lap anyway.  I mean what loser stops after 2 laps?! 

Let's just say Lap 3, SUCKED!  A few minutes in, my stomach started cramping.  I had to go even slower than lap 2.  I was even walking some flats now in addition to downhills.  UGH.  it was so frustrating because my legs were feeling good, I wanted to go faster but my stomach hurt so bad.  Nothing I did made it better.  I was battling myself in my head but made the decision that I should just be done after lap 3.  It was so hard for me.  I never like stopping before I'm done my mileage or before time is up but I just couldn't do it.  After I finished lap 3 and sat down.  I felt awful, like such a loser for stopping already.  I had only run for 3:30, I could have gotten a bunch more than the 17 miles I got in.  Even now I'm still upset I didn't do more even though I know I really couldn't, my body just wouldn't let me.
not the day I hoped for, but still had fun overall.  (more buff action!)
Despite my despair, I actually did enjoy the remainder of the race.  There were a bunch of 3 hour racers hanging around so they came to talk to me about Altras for a while and then as other 6 hour people finished up their day, they started trickling in.  I really did enjoy talking to all the different runners.  We talked shoes and races.  If I had kept running, I wouldn't have had this experience, so maybe not a such a bad day after all.  I still got a long run in and I got to interact with a bunch of great people, nothing to be sad about.

Emir had a great day!  He finished 5 laps and got 2nd in his age group.  He was definitely feeling good and it was good confidence with only 2 weeks until his first 100 miler. 

The race itself was extremely well organized!  Everything was in order, the trail was VERY well marked and all the race volunteers were super friendly and happy to be there.  The trail itself is beautiful and great for running loops.  It was really a very nice event, we would definitely do it again.

Now it's time to gear up for Emir's Eastern States 100 miler!  Even though this is his race, it's still a huge event for me.  This is the first time either one of us is running further than 100K.  And this is the first time I will be crewing/pacing for him.  I've come to watch him at the HAT 50K a couple times but that's completely different than what this will be.  Lucky for us, our friend MO will be helping me crew, thank goodness!!  Eastern States is an extremely difficult race which almost always carries over into being difficult logistically to access aid stations etc.  There are only some aid stations that crew may access in addition to only a few where you can pick up a pacer.  Having a second person on the crew is really going to help with all these logistics and getting to the various places we need to be.  It's going to be a long day and half of waiting etc plus I'm planning on pacing him the last 22 miles.  I may end up more tired than him!  haha   As nervous as I am for all of this, I can't wait.  He's been working so hard and I know he will be great.  Stay tuned!!!

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