Saturday, August 11, 2007

ASYMCA Mud Run 8K 11 Aug 2007

Instead of doing my Week 5 Key Workout #2, I did an 8K race...The ASYMCA Mud Run 8K

Thursday: Was suppose to be a cross training day but couldn't work out so it was a rest day.

Friday: Cross trained instead of the Key Workout #2. I figured I would substitute the race on Saturday for my key workout. First I did 40 minutes of abs and weights. Then 30 minutes on the elliptical set at Random, Level 12 good for 3.4 miles. And finished with 30 minutes on the lifecycle set at Random, Level 12 good for 8.2 miles.

Saturday: Ran the 8K Mud run.

This run takes place on the Naval Amphibious base in Norfolk off of the Chesapeake Bay. The mud run consisted of an obstacle type course with a combination of running on the sand, running over sand berms, over hay bales, through a stream, a couple of low crawls, going over a wall and of course running through muddy water. I thought it would be interesting and a break from the usual road course type races. We couldn't have ordered a better what we got for the middle of summer...especially after two weeks of very hot and humid days and nights. It was probably in the 70s at start time with a nice breeze off the ocean and cloud cover most of the time.

The night before...I like to lay out my running stuff and pin my bib on my shirt so there won't be things that I forget on race day...I had a problem with deciding what to wear because I knew I was going to get wet, sandy and muddy. I decided on a pair of NB 856 shoes that were tight fitting and would drain the water out well. I figured with the tight fit, less sand and water would get in. I didn't get a restful sleep that night...not because nerves or getting to bed late...but because of our fire alarm system starting to beep around 2 a.m. It will beep if the backup batteries are low or if they are dirty. I tried to go back to sleep but it kept beeping about every 30 minutes. I was just going to leave it till I got home from the race to change the batteries but my wife...bless her thoughtful soul...tried to find which of the 8 alarms was beeping and finally changed three of them before the beeping one was wife is sooo good to me for doing that so I could get some sleep. I just get off to sleep and the alarm clock goes off telling me it's time to get up. I shower and eat breakfast and drive to the base getting there about an hour before the 8:00 start time. They had us park in a area about half a mile away because they were expecting quite a turnout for this race...I think there were over 2000 runners, but no problems, there was plenty of time before the race and it was good to warm up a bit. I get my timing chip, make a visit to the port-a-lets and warm up by running and exploring the final finish stretch which is mostly asphalt covered by sand.

The start of the race was in the sand on the beach at the water line and goes down the beach for a little over a mile in the sand...and we started off in waves. The first wave was just men up to the age of 39, the second wave...which is my wave... for us older guys and some of the teams, a third wave for other teams and women and a fourth wave...I think for some of the military teams...can't remember it all but I was in the second wave. Each wave starts five minutes after the wave before it. So the first wave gets off at 8:00 and five minutes later our wave gets started. I find myself a couple of rows of runners back from the front of the start line and in the middle...which was a big mistake. The horn goes off for our wave and everyone surges forward. I find I have to walk and jog a bit to get around the slower runners in front as more runners surge past on both sides of sand that is very hard to run and maneuver in. The only packed sand was at the water edges where the ocean waves would cover your shoes if you didn't watch out. At first I tried to keep out of the water and on dry sand but progress on the dry sand was very slow and energy sapping. It seemed like I couldn't get out of the crowd of runners that I was in unless I went wide right into the very soft sand or wide left which was in the ocean. After about half a mile the runners started thinning out and I could finally get past a good number of slower runners. A couple of times we actually had to run around obstacles...tree branches, trunks...and into the surf to get around. After about a mile we turned right into the sand dunes going up an incline...sand berms...and finally found firm ground to run on. We weaved through a parking lot and through some trees. The path through the trees was very narrow where passing other slower runners was dangerous due to the thorny brambles along the path grabbing at your ankles and thighs along with dangerously low tree branches that we had to weave and bob around. I was able to make some passes at corners or on rare occasion where the path widened. We came out of the trees into the parking lot again and then into more sand dunes and berms that were created by the course designer where they would heap up the sand into mounds that had to be climbed and crossed. We then had to run through a stream that was almost knee high and about as wide as a one lane street. Then more sand dune running heading back towards where the start/finish area is and up over some hay bales. We finally get back to the blacktopped road for a bit before going up a stretch of a nice hill and coming back down to the blacktop and actual street running for about half a mile. I was able to pick up my pace and passed a whole bunch of runners on the flat, firm wonderful asphalt! But all too soon it was back to running in the sand and going up and down sand berms. After running through some more sand we reach the low crawl obstacle. There is about 10 feet of rope strung out across the sand path and up hill. We exit to more sand...more berms and more hay bales to climb over. We eventually hit the not the running wall but a barrier type wall where we have to get up and over. Just after the wall we get to the mud pit and run/slosh through about 6-8 meters of mud, sand and water...not bad but it does slow you down a lot. And then of course more sand and berm running on the other side. A final low crawl through some more ropes and more sand running and a final up over a sand berm and we're back on sand covered blacktop heading to the finish line. I sprint as soon as my feet hit solid ground to the finish. My finish time that I saw on the clock was 53 minutes something but after subtracting the 5 minutes for the second wave start, it came out to around 48 minutes...48 minutes for 5 miles! My worst 10K was 3 minutes faster! It was hard to accept that my pace was nearly 10 mpm...I really thought I would have done a lot better. It was hard to pass runners in some spots and was forced to run at their slower pace. The sand was very difficult to run in. I tried different strategies...running in the foot steps, running on the edges...running in the middle...none seemed to be any easier.

That was probably the most exhausting short race that I have ever run. Running through the sand is not easy...especially going up the berms...and saps your energy quickly. The other obstacles were minor bumps in the road and were no problem...although I did see a guy in front of me trip on a hay bale coming down and hit the ground pretty hard...he was okay though...the sand at least cushions your fall.

After crossing the finish line and talking with a few people who I had run with, I headed for the water and food...Pizza...Yes! I must have eaten almost a whole pizza myself. I rinsed off at the water buffalo...a large military water tank on wheels that is towed by a truck...went back for some more pizza and drink and headed home. It was a fun run and I had a blast!

Race results:
There were 21 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 1633 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 98 of 1633
Age group finish place was 2 of 21
Time: 48:17 for an overall pace of 9:42 per mile

I took a nap when I got home...I was that tired!


Steph Bachman said...

What a fun race! Your time is very good, especially with the sand and obstacles.

Charlie said...

It really was fun Steph...especially afterwards looking back...but sure didn't seem to be fun at times when your trudging through the sand and dunes thinking where is that damn finish line!


Nat said...

What a cool race. And I think that is a great time. The sand is really hard on the legs and everything else, well, I would have been so worried about twisting my ankles that any sort of pace would have just gone out the window.
And I am scolding you here in that you should know better than to start out in the middle. You need to always push your way up front. Even if you can't crank out the 5 minute mile you can hold the pace for at least the first 1/4 mile no reason to be humble. You deserve to toe the line in the front row. I'm just saying, you are a fast runner and you need to be up front. Congrats.

cymrusteve said...

Charlie, you did great! Did you see your race pictures?

During the race it's so frustrating running on the soft sand, but afterwards you look back and think how much fun it was. Strange how the mind works isn't it?

Looking forward to the Strider Mile on Saturday. Are you racing it?


Charlie said...

Hey Ms Natalie,

You're right about this race...I should have moved closer to the front and closer to the water at the start...if you look at the picture at the start in my latest post, you will see I was hemmed in pretty good...I couldn't go forward or to the sides and if I slowed down or stopped, people from behind would have run me over.

I want to run it next file away some strategy for next time! ;o)


Charlie said...

Hi Steve and thanks,

Yeah, It seemed a lot more fun after I cross the finish line than running the last mile wondering when the sand and dunes would stop and the finish line would show up.

I saw the photos and posted the links to some in my latest post.

I don't think I'll be participating in the Stider Mile...I would love to but I hope to give my left leg a rest and see if won't feel better soon. Good Luck to you though!