Friday, March 25, 2011

Race Plan: Superior Trail Races Spring 50K

A few weeks ago, I put down the money and signed up for the Superior Trail Races Spring 50K. I ran this same race in 2009 as my first ultra, and looking back, had mixed results. I am a wiser, faster runner now and have a better understanding of my body past the arbitrary 26.2 mark.

Like Surf the Murph, I have a few goals - in order of importance:
  • Finish
  • Race hard.
  • Bomb the downhills (and there are a lot)
  • Run even splits
  • Run sub-5 hours
These goals have slightly changed now that I have finished a 50 miler on rolling terrain. As always, finishing is tops, but a well-run race takes precedence over time. The second, third and fourth items go to the quality of the run and the skill by which it is raced. These goals are also in line with the competitive nature of the event. At some point, time becomes irrelevant and you are no longer running against the course or clock, but against competition.

My pace chart is here. Based on 2010 results (and partially 2009, now that I look back), a sub-5 hour finish is likely to put me in the top 20. This year, the races are capped at 250 between the 25K and the 50K and that number was reached last weekend on March 19. I also expect stiff competition near the top. This may push a sub-5 hour finish into the top 25 or 30 spots, but it is by no means shabby. Perhaps even a top-10 finish is possible if I can average 9-minute miles despite all those hills.

I haven't adjusted (nor will I bother to adjust) the paces to correspond to the elevation changes. The SHT travels in and out of valleys and up and over hills. I can't imagine that the elevation gain/loss is much different between the out and back portions. Either way, the start and finish is the same so the gain on one half is the loss of the other and visa versa. I'll run with consistent effort and deal with any differences that way.

I'll have a new crew member, also. A friend of mine from college (who happened to perform my wedding ceremony) will be joining my wife for the race. His support will be welcomed.


roughkat said...

About half of last year's top 20 aren't running it this year. That doesn't mean that other people that signed up in time won't fill those spots but it might open the chance for you to move up the standings with a sub-5 hour time. Just don't be too shocked if you find yourself in the top 10 heading out. It might not necessarily mean you are going too fast.

treklightly said...

Good luck on the race!! I was still thinking about doing the 25k, but missed my window of opportuniyt. I will have to sign up early next year. Next time you are in the cities on the weekend, give me a shout and we can go for a run... Cheers!

Matt Lutz said...

Thanks guys. I'm going to run the competitors through and get a good idea of the field's speed.

Anonymous said...

Woot woot (says the friend from -- and post! -- college).