A.M. Top of Utah Half. 1:11:13. 4th place. Got beat by Teren (1:06:38), Seth (1:10:37), and Josh Stefen (1:10:46). Held off Jon (1:11:40), and Paul (1:12:14). Better quality race than two weeks ago in Provo Half. Details to follow...
Stayed at Paul's house. Got to see little Seth. Got to race the big Seth as well. How do you get your shirt to finish 46 seconds ahead of you? Let Seth borrow it, of course :-)
Warmed up with Paul. We saw two moose. Paul wondered if the plural of moose was meese. I thought it should be mooses. Turns out both of us were wrong. I did Googled it and found that the correct form is moose. Go figure. I've run TOU every year they've had it (9 times) without ever seeing a moose, and now two at once!
Paul invented a new concept. I think he should patent it. For every bathroom visit prior to the start of a race you get a star. For every stop during the race you lose a star. So at the start this was going to be a two-star race for me.
With the latest neural fatigue problems I did not have firm expectations for the race. I told Paul the night before it could be as fast as 1:09 or as slow as 1:14. I figured the best way to work around the neural fatigue would be to run as unmotivated as possible. I noticed that neural fatigue often kicks in from an overexertion of some kind - a hill, a surge, or a pace that is a tad too brisk held for 10 minutes. It is easy to mistake it for the consequences of getting into oxygen debt, but overtime I learned to distinguish the two. If it is just oxygen debt, you will breathe harder for a minute or two afterwards, back off the pace a bit, recover, and then you are good to go again. Maybe 3 seconds per mile slower than what you would have otherwise. Neural fatigue is a different beast. You step into the red zone, and you are out for the rest of the race. The breathing slows down. The heart rate drops. The pace drops to as much as 20 seconds per mile slower and stays that way to the end. You keep telling yourself - I am feeling good, I am going to pick it up, you think you are picking it up, but the splits show otherwise. You try to kick in the last 50 meters, and you cannot. It is like a bad dream when you try to run away from a robber but your body is paralyzed for no understandable reason.
Mile 1 - 5:27. Running with Josh Stefen. Teren and Seth did 5:19 - they are both jogging. Feeling sluggish.
Mile 2 - 5:17. The downhill got steeper, I picked it up, dropped Josh, started closing on Teren and Seth. Got excited, and pushed harder hoping to catch up to them. Then there is this feeling - you get too excited, the neural fatigue will get you. Do not red line. So I eased off. Teren/Seth did 5:19.
Mile 3 - 5:25. Josh caught up to me, and gapped me a bit. I thought for a while he was gone. Then there was a short steep downhill and I caught up to him. Told myself, ran with him to 4, you can at least do that.
Mile 4 - 5:21. Drafting behind Josh changed from miserable to sustainable, I think I can make it to 5.
Mile 5 - 5:14. More downhill, some tailwind, starting to feel good. 26:44 at 5 miles.
Mile 6 - 5:12. Even better. We are now ahead of the 5:20 guy. At the start it looked like averaging 5:30s would be a challenge. Thinking about gapping Josh.
Mile 7 - 5:15. Happy to gap the 5:20 guy some more, will need that for sure later on. Tried to gap Josh as well, but was not successful. Now drafting behind him.
Mile 8 - 5:25. Not enjoying it as much on flatter ground, but the pace feels sustainable.
Mile 9 - 5:21. Cannot complain about that. Don't think the grade has changed, still about 0.5% down, and we are still ahead of the 5:20 guy. Did not expect that so late in the race.
Mile 10 - 5:29. Some headwind, but Josh has wide shoulders. 53:26 at 10 miles.
Mile 11 - 5:46. Uphill started. At first it felt bearable, but the further we go, the harder it gets. I am feeling like I am carrying a bookcase that I am about to drop.
Mile 12 - 5:57. Uphill continues. I cannot hold the bookcase any more, it goes down. I think the bookcase's name was Josh. He is gone, has about 10 seconds on me. I am thinking with the downhill on the last mile I can close the gap.
Mile 13 - 5:39. Legs are just not moving. Here comes the neural fatigue with all of its ugly symptoms. I see Josh putting a gap on me. I see Seth within reachable distances. I am not breathing very hard. The legs do not hurt. Josh is worth some cash and circuit points. Seth is worth some cash and circuit points. I want to catch them and I want it bad. But there is nothing I can do no matter how hard I try.
Last 0.1 - 31 seconds. A desperate attempt at a kick. My watch said 1:11:11. Official time was 1:11:13.
Paced Breanna during the cool down/extra miles. Then went to find Bonnie, but missed her - ran right past her and did not spot her in the crowd. Ended up with 21 miles for the workout.
Interesting how the hill knocked me out. This has happened before. In 2003 St. George I lost contact with the OTQ pack at 9 miles going up a long gradual climb, and never recovered. That same year I was running well in the first 6 miles of the Springfield marathon until we hit a hill about half a mile long. Afterwards I was not myself for the rest of the race. However, I've had good days when a long hill did not bother me in spite of taking it hard. Last year I did fine in the Provo River half, Salt Lake (Emmigration Canyon) half, and Park City Half. This year I did OK on the Avon pass in Wasatch Back.
My theory. The hill increases the amount of neural output. On a bad day this could put me in the red zone of neural fatigue. Something pops in the brain, and it stops working for the rest of the race.
T4 Racer - 467.93 miles.
P.M. 1 with Julia in 10:50, then 2 with Benjamin, Jenny and Jared in 16:39. Jared had a side ache and fell behind.