Thursday, May 12, 2016

Race Report: Farm Park Challenge 6-Hour

The Farm Park Challenge 6-Hour is a bit different than most timed events. The course consist of a 5.2 mile loop that runners must complete six times in under an hour. Each lap starts at the top of the hour, and as long as you make it back before the next hour, you keep going. If you make it to the sixth hour, that's the "race" - how you finish that lap determines your overall place. It's a really fun idea, because you have no incentive to run the first 26ish miles fast, so you can relax, enjoy the day, and chat with people.

Like last year, I had an awesome time! There were some really fun people out there, and I got to meet a lot of my Strava/Twitter friends, which is always good. 

Quick Stats:
Total Time: 5:35ish (Including breaks between laps)
Total Distance: 31 Miles
Place: 2nd Overall, 2nd AG 
  • Shoes: Altra Olympus 2.0 (First time racing in them...and probably my last)
  • Shorts: North Face
  • Shirt: North Face
  • Socks: Injinji 
  • Nutrition: Tailwind, Nuun, Goldfish, Swedish Fish, Coke, Giner Ale, and Ginger Chews
Course: There were two, 5.2 mile loops that we alternated between. Lots of grass/bridal trails, with some muddy single track. Not a ton of elevation gain, but some rolling hills (I think we ended up with 2500 feet over 31 miles).


Expectations and Goals
I was coming off of a very easy two weeks. I had been having hip and knee issues, and decided I'd lay low for a while. About a week before the race, I actually thought about either dropping altogether, or moving to the 3-Hour. However, as race-day moved closer, I was feeling well-rested and healed, so I went for it.

Race Re-Cap
For each of the first five laps, I ran at about a 10 min/mile pace, chatted with people, and made sure I was taking in calories and fluids. It was really fun to exchange stories and not have to worry about running too hard, moving up positions, or anything else that comes with racing.

The day overall was really smooth, except for about 30 minutes of discomfort. I mistakenly added too much Tailwind to my bottle (I was eyeballing from the large bag), and that ended up giving me some stomach issues. However, after a few minutes and some Ginger Chews, I was good to go!

During the fifth lap, I was trying to decide if I was going to really push the final 5.2 miles, or just take it easy. Ultimately, when the RD said, "Go", I couldn't help myself, and I took off. I was in front for about 60 seconds, and then ran side-by-side with another runner for about a mile. After realizing I simply couldn't keep up with his pace, I fell back and tried to hang on to second place. Third wasn't far, so I had about 20 minutes of running scared until I rounded the final turn and couldn't see him behind me.

I was happy with my second, especially since the first place runner has about 50 minutes on me in the marathon distance. That said, I honestly didn't care much about where I placed - it was just nice to get out there for most of the day!

After the race, I headed to the "beer garden" for some pizza, beer, and good conversation. It was a perfect way to end this year's event.

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