Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 Mad Marsh Ultra Race Report

This is the second year in a row that I ran the Mad Marsh Ultra 50K on Ladys Island in Beaufort, South Carolina. The race is put on by "Skunk Girl" Becky with East Coast Ultras and is held on an amazing course. The race is made up of 7 laps of 4.5 miles each. This year Paul, Gary and Racheal also signed up.
My race plan consisted of a very relaxed run and just run a controlled race. My mileage over the past few months have been less than "ULTRA" with my longest training run clocking in at 15 miles since last July.
The biggest change that I made going into this race was my new nutrition plan. I planned on eating nothing but "real food" through out the entire race and bypass the "GUs". I used my new iFitness belt which holds 2 8oz water bottles and started off with both bottles filled with Coconut Water (pineapple flavor) and a single GU in the zipper pocket.
Paul and I rode into the race together as we were providing the finish line chute for the race. We quickly set up the chute and got our group's tent set up for the morning. by the time we got our supplies laid out on the table it was almost time to start.
With a few quick words by race director Becky we were sent down the trail. For the first time that I can think of I did not line up at the front of the pack. Instead I held back around 15th in a field of 78 and conversed my way through through the first lap with Bob and Dave from Ohio. I set my hydration timer to 10:00 and would sip each time the watch beeped. At the 3 mile mark I quickly got an empty feeling in my stomach and quickly sucked down a GU (plan 1 failure). Over the next mile and a half I kept doubting my plan but the GU did the trick and I felt fine.
Lap one ended and I never looked at my watch. I quickly grab a "rice bar" and topped off my Coconut water. Paul recent gave me a cook book and we each tried a recipe made up of "sticky rice", scrambled eggs, bacon, brown sugar and soy sauce. The mixture is then formed into bars and wrapped in tin foil. Lap number two and three were all about staying comfortable and the weather was still pretty cool.
The start of lap 4 I pulled off my arm sleeves and swapped out one bottle of coconut water for flat coke. At this point I also began eating half of a banana and taking a strawberry fig newton with me as I left the aid station. This repeated till the end of the race and I felt perfect.
As I came into the aid station to start the 5th lap, I began to do the math in my head and quickly realized that I was somehow well ahead of my personal best. If I could continue to hold on to this pace I should finish 20 minutes ahead of my PR. Three laps equaling a half marathon is a long time to maintain a steady pace when you have 20 miles under your legs already. Instead of focusing on my finishing time, I just decided to finish my current lap. I continued to hold a pace right around 8:30 and everything just felt "right".
At the start of lap 6, I drank half a bottle of ensure and finished off the last half of banana I had left on the table. The weather was also heating up now. I made a quick decision to leave my shirt on but instead fold my bandana down to just a head band. I'm glad that I left my shirt on, because the windy got pretty nasty on the long straght aways. Now I was really counting down the minutes as the window to break 4:30 was still well in reach.
In attempts to save every second, the transition to start my last last was very quick. I grabbed 2 Fig newtons and headed out. My legs were more than fried at this point and it was everything I could do jus tto keep my GPS pace from saying anything greater than 9:30. I always talk to my kids when I get to this point to try and keep myself from backing off. "Come on Izzy get daddy a little farther" "you've got this Jake, we can do it buddy" my mantras always fall back to the kids and their endless supply of energy and it worked. "We" crossed the line in 4:26:48 with a new PR of 11:00 on the same course.
My pace was pretty consistant over the 31 miles and the real food kept me feeling fresh and the lack of caffeine did not have me crashing or jittery at the end of the race like I have felt before. I really liked the feeling of using the real food over the GU but know that in a pinch the GU still packs the necessary "stuff" to get where I need to be.
Total Time - 4:26:48
Average Pace - 8:31
Top pace - 6:27
Overall - 6th Place
Shoes: Brooks Pure Project Grit Size 10
Mile 1 - 8:16
Mile 2 - 8:28
Mile 3 - 8:32
Mile 4 - 8:10
Mile 5 - 8:02
Mile 6 - 7:52
Mile 7 - 7:56
Mile 8 - 7:38
Mile 9 - 8:08
Mile 10 - 7:42
Mile 11 - 8:00
Mile 12 - 8:20
Mile 13 - 8:16
Mile 14 - 8:22
Mile 15 - 8:18
Mile 16 - 8:40
Mile 17 - 8:46
Mile 18 - 8:56
Mile 19 - 8:08
Mile 20 - 8:34
Mile 21 - 8:44
Mile 22 - 8:32
Mile 23 - 9:48
Mile 24 - 8:34
Mile 25 - 8:56
Mile 26 - 9:04
Mile 27 - 9:16
Mile 28 - 9:14
Mile 29 - 9:26
Mile 30 - 9:36
Mile 31 - 9:04
Lap 1 - 8oz Coconut Water (Pineapple flavor), 1 GU Roctane - Pineapple
Lap 2 - 8oz Coconut Water (Pineapple flavor), 1 Rice Bar
Lap 3 - 8oz Coconut Water (Pineapple flavor), 1 Rice Bar
Lap 4 - 8oz Flat Coca-Cola, 1/2 Banana, 2 Strawberry Fig Newtons
Lap 5 - 4 oz Flat Coca-Cola, 4 oz Coconut Water (Pineapple flavor), 2 strawberry Fig Newtons
Lap 6 - 8oz Ensure, 1/2 Banana, 2 strawberry Fig Newtons
Lap 7 - 2 strawberry Fig Newtons, remaining ensure and coconut water in my bottles
Great race, all the pieces just came together and ended up with a new PR. Next race: December 3, 2011 - Enmark Bridge run: Double Pump 5k followed by a 10K over the Savannah Bridge.
See you on the trail!!!

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