Friday, September 16, 2016

2016 Superior Fall 50 mile: By the numbers

First the data: my 13 hr pace chart and my splits for the same race, plus analysis is at this link.

A couple notes of the chart. This pace chart was initially created so that I would spend 45 percent of my time in the first half (or so) of the race and 55 percent in the second half (or so) of the race. The aid station at Cramer Road is at mile 26.7 of the 52.1 mile event, so its 0.65 miles past half way. Based on that, I was trying run a 5:51/7:09 split between the halves. 

My actual splits and elapsed time are in the ACTUAL (ELAPSED) and ACTUAL (SECTION) columns. The DIFFERENCE (ELAPSED/SECTION) columns compare my actual elapsed and section times, respectfully, with my estimated elapsed/section times. Negative numbers indicate I was under my estimate, positive means I was over. 

The three columns to the right are a feeble attempt to compare how difficult (in-race, not had each been run individually on fresh legs) each section is by comparing my actual race times as a percentage of the finish time to the section distances as a percentage of the total distance. A negative number means I took less time in a section that its proportionate distance, a positive means the opposite. Note the limitations of this data, as it does not control for elevation changes or terrain. 

With that, some observations: 

I ran a more even race than anticipated, with a 47.7/52.3% split front to back as a percentage of total time. Looking at the first half data, this was primarily a function of my effort to get to Cramer, which was off by a full 15 minutes (almost three minutes per mile slower than anticipated). I went through a rough patch in-race during this section, and hiked more than I would have liked. 

I was about 0:45/mile slower than anticipated in the Crosby/Manitou section, and was pleasantly pleads with that effort. No issues there. 

The second half was run remarkably faster, with two consecutive sections being run a full 11 minutes faster than anticipated, the sections to Temperance (1.5 min/mi) and to Sawbill (2 min/mi). Both of these sections have given me fits in the past. The Temperance section is split into three parts, with the second part traversing the Cross River and the third part climbing out of the Cross River and up and over the hills and down into the Temperance River. This second part is technical and hard to run quickly, and the third part is a climb and descent that is generally exposed and dusty. It crushed my dreams in 2013 when I came into the Temperance aid station incoherent. The section to Sawbill is relatively gentle, but contains the long haul up, around, and down Carlton peak. This section kicked by butt in 2015 because the climb up is exposed. 

The section from Sawbill to Oberg is far and away the easiest section in the entire course (including the 100 mile course), but this year it was full of mud and muck, making the going slow. I was nine seconds off my goal time for this section nonetheless. Finally, the section into Lutsen felt slow in-race because getting up and over Moose Mountain felt like a slow slog, but again I was but a few seconds off (48) for the overall section time. 

Race report coming soon.