Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rut 50k 2014, race report

I had a great time yet again at the Rut 50k race in Big Sky. The race did not go particularily well for me, but the course was fun, and it is always great to spend time with the close knit ski racing and running community. It was also pretty cool to hear tales of the fastest people in the world battling it out on the course. And, Leah had a great run. Go Leah!
Hurting on the climb to Lone Peak.  Photo: Jenny Pierce
The race itself started out well. I finished the first climb in about 40th place, right where I wanted to be. The entire climb and descent to the first aid felt like I was floating, almost effortlessly. From the first aid, I followed Anna Frost all the way to the top of the Headwaters. I pulled the pace back a bit about halfway throught the climb and topped out on Headwaters feeling good. The descent off Headwaters felt great with the notable exception of one distinct cramping twinge in my left adductor, a problem that would eventually derail my race. I pushed at a hard and steady pace to tram dock, losing another place or two, but still keeping my goal pace. I also saw my dad at the out and back from tram dock, which was fun. About 500 vertical feet up the Lone peak climb, my left adductor cramped magnificently, forcing a long stop to whimper a bit, loosen out, and refuel. I was able to get the legs loosened up, and gingerly hobbled my way up to the summit, arriving in decent time but worried about how I was going to finish the race.

I took some time to completely fuel in the aid station, then began gingerly descending Lone peak. Fortunately, the cramps stayed in the background, and I was able to work my way down at a slow but even pace.  From the bottom of the descent, my legs were actually feeing good again, and I made a hard push to the top of Dakota then down to the bottom of the Andesite climb, reeling in a few runners in the process. About half way up the Andesite climb, my adductors started cramping again, and I had to stop about four times. Super painful and generally not good.  From the last aid, I just kind of jogged it in, keeping a mellow and steady pace to the finish. I finished in 7 hrs 27 minutes, about a half hour behind my time goal. It was great to see friends and family at the finish, and I was psyched to cheer Leah in at the end of a hard but very strong run for her.

Although I was dissapointed in the adductor cramping problems, I am grateful to have had almost a year of tweak and injury free running. Which has translated into many, many runs and mountain adventures unencumbered by fear of tweaks and injury. I am also eager to focus a bit on the adductor cramping issue, as it seems to plague many crossover ski racers such as myself. I used poles for the race, and I don't think they helped much, so scratch them in the future. Also, I used leopard print gaiters. Those things rock.

I have to once again give a big congratulations to the Montana Mikes for putting together one heck of  a Montana spirited run, party and experience I will never forget. And thanks to all of the international runners who not only out-ran the locals, but also participated in the event, inspired us all, and threw down as hard as anyone at the post-race dance party. 

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