I went to madcity 50k race with expectation of a PR. I have trained hard for this race by putting almost 90-100 miles per week over the course of 3 months. I ran twice a day, mostly getting my 70% of the run early morning and 30% later in the day or during the lunch time. I still maintained my high fat low carb diet but this time I was not very sincere. This means that I used to cheat or cheated by eating whatever i wanted to eat at least once a week. However, my training and body weight was good. I have never been this light before (155 pounds). So my expectation of getting a PR in my backyard was not unfounded.
Night before the race: Since it was Friday and my daughter was very excited about junk food. So, we ordered cheese pizza (Not keto). My wife also made pasta. So we had purely unhealthy but much needed carbs for me.
I arranged my shoes, GPS watch, shorts, my bib number on my t-shirt and put everything on my couch so that it is easier in the morning. I planned to sleep more on Friday night but unlike any other time, i slept well. I usually have race related stress and do not sleep much a night before.
I woke up at 5 am, prepared my tea and sipped it watching my phone. FAST FORWARD… I arrived at the race start/finish area around 7:30am and meat my friends Donna, Dale, Emily who were running 50k relay. I also saw Rolando who was running 50k too. We had a quick chat and race started at 8:00 am.
I saw some 2:20 marathoners lining up for the race. I was thinking about my place in the race. One thing was certain that I can not win this race or should not even try that. I have also checked online other runners and one of them came from Arizona. Other came from Colorado and both of them were sub 2:20 marathoners. They had already ran an Olympic qualifier.
So, I told myself, “Do not even think about second position”. My eyes were still looking for the bronze medal but there are some pretty lean athletes who looked so skinny that even 4th and 5th position seemed in danger. Nevertheless, I told myself, no matter what I need to run my PR at least by an hour. I ran road 50k in 2014 and my time was 4:32.
The race course was five 10k loops around lake Wingra in Madison WI. It was a windy and chilly day but much better than last year.
So I started very conservatively at 6:40/mile and planned to bring it down to 6:30 by the 3rd loop. Dale and myself ran together for 4 miles and then he dropped me and was leading by a quarter mile. I did not try to keep up with him because Dale and team were doing 4 people relay.
First three miles in the loop was very windy and it was little hilly too. My pace came down to 6:32 in the first loop and i was feeling good.
I was trying to maintain 6:32 pace for the second loop but then wind and hills brought it down to 6:33. I saw Dale slow down in the second loop and passed him around mile 10. By mile 10 in the race my pace was 6:33 and I told myself that I need to maintain it now. Took a quick gel and grabbed some water from the second aid station. I was hoping to hold the 6:33 pace for rest of the race.
I started loop 3 by garbing bottle from Donna. I have prepared a water bottle with some salt. Started sipping that slowly but it was not sitting well in my stomach. I was burping badly. At halfway point, in the third loop I was feeling like to throw up but kept going but my pace dropped to 6:36 per mile. Legs started feeling tired and I told myself that it is supposed to be tough, you have worked hard for this day. Let the legs hurt. By now little hills started to feel tougher but it was not too bad. I was already at mile 19.
Loop 3rd went ok and my average pace dropped to 6:36. Now, I lowered my expectations and hoped to maintain that without doing anything stupid. In 4th loop the hill near Seminole highway felt really tough but I kept going was holding onto the pace. Then took another gel at mile 20.
Since real running battle had started now, calculations kept creeping in my mind. I was hoping that if i reach 21.2 mile mark in 2 hours and 20 minutes, and run rest 10 miles at an average pace of 7. I should be able to finish the race in 3:30. I ran 21.2 in 2 hours and 18 minutes and told myself that even If i maintain 7 min pace i can still finish in 3:28.
Finished 4th loop feeling tired. By this time my pace was 6:38. David came to see me and ran a quarter mile with me. He asked me if i need anything. He encouraged me and i took off for the last lap. Even the small bridge near the start/finish line felt really tough at that point but i kept pushing hard. I was curious to see what my 26.2 split will be as I really wanted to make it 2:49:xx and but that was out of reach now. I reached marathon mark in 2:53:13. I felt good about marathon PR and now wanted to give everything in the last 5 miles but the killer hill at the Seminole hwy slowed me a bit. However that followed by some downhill section in the arboretum. I opened up my legs in that section and pushed hard for the flat section after that. One more aid station and then I have only 5k to go. There was again a sharp downhill just after the aid station and I ran that very fast where my pace dropped below 6 at that point I was feeling like, dude you got this, one more hill go ..go…go. I was breathing hard but wanted to give everything left in me. Last mile and I was looking for 3:27 finish. I unleashed myself in the last mile and let it hurt. My back and legs were hurting really bad with my breathing going all over but I told myself that you have worked so hard for this day, you have given up so much for this day, so push harder. One more turn and the finish line was a quarter mile away. I was pretty sure that it will be 3:27:XX and i finished in 3:27:43. Felt thrilled and hugged my family and friends who was waiting for me at the finish line. I thank everyone who have supported me in my running journey. I was told that I am 3rd Male and WISCONSIN STATE CHAMPION FOR 50k ROAD RACE.
Note: My secret goal was 3:22:30 but 3:27 is not bad.
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