Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HURT 100 Mile Training Plan (take 2, part 1)!

Mike Wardian just raced two ultras this weekend on top of a 100 mile week. Anton probably logged 30,000 feet of vert and 24 hours of running in the last seven days, and I have no doubt that Killian jogged to the top of several peaks faster than anyone in history (while smiling and chatting with hikers and taking shots of tequila). I spent all day Monday flying commercial, then spent the week jet lagged in Texas running flat roads at night. Make no mistake about it, I want to be competitive at both the Peacock 100k coming up in six weeks, and at the HURT 100 in January. But my job takes time and takes me away from places conducive to training, and my family deserves as much time from me as possible. It's just not possible or fair for me to take the time away from them. Speaking of family, our fourth child is due in just three weeks. We area very blessed, and I can't wait to meet him! But there's no way that the little guy is going to help me improve, unless some new study shows that lack of sleep and less free time makes runners faster. Anyone else out there in a similar boat? I'm thinking yes... We mortals that sit behind a desk wishing we were able to run FKT's for a living! We mortals that run boring road loops over and over again because it's quicker than getting to a trail head. We mortals that sometimes would rather hang out with family (on a umm, tropical beach) rather than run for six hours on a Saturday! So what's the plan? Relax! This is only part 1! A road map if you will. A guideline I'm putting in writing in the hopes that I can actually heed my own advice. A plan has to solve a problem, so first I must identify the problem(s) accurately. The goal is to be truly competitive with some great runners coming to HURT. This year I proved I can do just that so it stands to reason that I could repeat. The problem is simply getting enough miles/vertical/quality/recovery in order to maximize my potential. This would be the same problem everyone has. Even the runners with tons of free time often mess themselves up by skimping on the recovery. So here's me talking to myself: -Written Training plan. For us people living in the real world, it's gotta be flexible. But a written training plan can help maximize your time, and keep you on track with important workouts. Without a plan I tend to run about the same amount, but end up doing less focused speed work in favor of tons of moderate miles. Also, I highlight really essential runs on my written plan. For ultra that will be the really long runs... it doesn't really matter if I miss the fartlek workout. Every week I do back to back 'medium-long' runs, and try to get runs in that last over two hours, but in the months leading up to a 100 I will accomplish several runs around the six hour mark. These are key, and something that just has to happen. This is why the plan has to be flexible. In my case I will make every effort to ensure that those runs happen while I'm on a work related trip, even if that particular weeks schedule didn't actually call for a 'long-long' run. Shuffle the deck, do the long run.. you may not get another chance! -Run when you can. Too many times I've delayed a run because I just wasn't feeling it right then. A few more minutes checking email or otherwise whiling away the time often has led to either no run, or a drastically shortened run when work or family duties end up popping up. Keep the eyes on the prize and get out that door! -Doubles. Along the same lines as the last one. If you can get out for a few miles now, then do it! Hit the road again later to up the training impulse. I like to take my oldest son out on his bike. He can ride sub 8min/mile for six miles, so that's perfect, and really is quality time. The double jogger works with the other two. -Include the family. Want to run some North Shore trails on Saturday? Maybe if you pack everything for the kids, but leave several hours early you can plan to meet up at the beach. Win-win! -Start going to bed earlier. I'm a night owl. It's time for my wife and I to talk and relax without a thousand requests and questions. But all too often the time is wasted in front of a screen. Earlier bed will make the early morning run more palatable, and/or improve that vital recovery! -Include upper body and resistance work. Hey, the goal is to be a machine that can last all day and all night in the mountains! I'm not talking about turning into a gym rat. I'm talking about dropping off the desk every few minutes to do pushups, bridges, dips, squats, lunges, pull-ups etc. I can't figure out why I'm so lazy when it comes to this obvious stuff, but I am. I suspect that many runners are the same. Time to keep the eye on that prize. The result will be a more capable body all around, and hopefully one that will feel more comfortable after the miles get long. A side benefit might even be improved work productivity, and improved motivation for the run. Nothing sucks the life out of me more than several hours at the desk. I barely feel like walking to the bathroom let alone trail running! -Force yourself out the door even when you don't want to go. Permission to quit after one mile! An oldie but goodie. If you plan on running on any given day, then make it happen. Many of my strongest runs happened when I least felt like heading out the door. That's all for now. I've got a few more floating around in my head, and I'll get another HURT training post up as we get a bit closer. Now off to bed so I can get up earlyish and run!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What the heck happened to the running?

After getting hurt at HURT I wanted to jump right back on the wagon. My head was hurt as much as my leg, and as soon as I was reasonably able I started back in, and made plans to run the Bighorn 100 in June. My ego said I needed to run that with the intention of being in it to win. It went well for a while, and I really jumped into training. I won a shorter trail race here, and had some epic runs in places like Australia and New Zealand. Then I developed a terrible condition in my other leg. Best I can tell it was some kind of pirformitis, or a nerve near my rear getting pressured and causing symptoms down the leg. Imagine an achy feeling down the thigh and terminating in the knee. Terminating with a vengeance like a spike in the inside of the knee! I'd run one mile feeling fine, then suddenly hardly able to walk. My knee even buckled while walking a couple of times! Shocking, kinda scary, and even more frustrating when I'd feel just fine 30 minutes later. I ran a 1/2 marathon in Guam. For some reason the knee held up (didn't seem to develop the same symptoms when starting a run at a higher intensity), but the flat run was a disaster that had me over 30 seconds per mile slower THAN MY TRAINING PACE! I was demoralized, and quit running for a couple of weeks. I decided there was no way that I could make Bighorn, and pulled out of that, leaving my schedule open for the summer. I bought a sweet mountain bike, and took the wind surfer out a few times... then... Well, it's difficult to manage an injury that doesn't manifest any symptoms until after one is already out running, but after a couple of weeks I just knew that I would have no trouble. My first run back in early May was on a treadmill in Canada. The next day a couple of hours on a beautiful trail in Maryland. Since then I've built back up to 60-70 miles per week. I'm on the trails, and I'm running a few fast miles on the roads. I've got new kicks in the form of Hoka Huaka's (love them), and I just found out I'm going to be running the HURT 100 against some seriously tough competition. Time to turn it on! Training is going to have to be smart though. We have a baby coming in September, and that is sure to be a limit. One that I'm happy for! I won't be running 100+ miles per week, but I'm going to show that I can run with the best at half that!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Junk Miles!

Truth is, I don't think there is such a thing as Junk Miles in the sense that is commonly referred to. Often speedsters seem to think that most any miles that aren't part of a 'workout' are junk. I disagree. I think any miles that take away from your objectives are potentially junk, but that could be a workout that lasts too long, or a long run that wears you out rather than builds you up. But sometimes those miles are good for the soul, and if that's the case, they're good enough for me! I've been running tons of Junk Miles for the last few months. And enjoying many of them! Five miles pushing a double jogger while my oldest son rides his bike beside me? Awesome! And that adventure run that turns into a hike on a barely passable ridge trail? Worth it! But I've been putting in some work too. Workouts, hills, trails and hot roads. I'm ready for my first serious race in months. Maunawili 22 mile. Tough trail, and lots of runners (for a HURT race). Some competition too. The win is not guaranteed by any means, but it's a stepping stone to defending the title at Peacock 100k.

Shoe Reviews! Hoka Conquest review, and Hoka Rapa Nui review.

I've done a bunch of running in these shoes this year.  After getting a killer HURT discount on the Hoka Rapa Nui and later the Conquest at Kailua's awesome little running store 'Be Fit Kailua' I'd say I've found two of my favorite shoes. I just picked up a pair of Huaka's, and they seem fantastic, but I have got to wait and see if they are durable enough for the kind of running I do.

First the Rapa Nui.  It's like a more svelt Stinson, and for me that's good, because I had trouble with the Stinson's large footprint and my narrow stride (too narrow?).  It's got less cushioning than the initial Hoka models (Mafte, Bondi, Stinson), a narrower footprint, and nice medium lugs that cover the entire outsole.  It also comes with speed laces and a set of traditional laces should you decide the speed system isn't for you.

My initial impression was of a nice trail shoe that seems pretty comfortable on the road, has good cushioning, and light weight.  After a while you get used to the cushioning, and it's never as obvious as with a new set of Bondi's.  Throwing on my Scott Kinabalu's told a different story though... the Hoka's have WAY more cush!  The tread seems to be a good compromise for most trail conditions and the occasional road section (important here in Hawaii as I'll often connect very technical and/or muddy trails with sections of road).  Uppers are not slipper-fit, but are comfortable with no obvious flaws.

My complaints with this shoe have a lot to do with the fact I have unique feet.  Very wide across the toes!  The shoes felt narrow from the start, and after the HURT 100 my toes were DAMAGED in a bad way.  This was partially my fault for choosing Injinji toe socks that actually serve to widen my feet slightly.
The second issue was that I found my feet sliding around to an unusual degree after my feet got wet (even just sweat).  This quickly causes 'bumper toe' blisters and lost toenails.  I took out the inserts and that seemed to create more friction and held my feet in place better without tightening the laces unfomfortably.  Speaking of which...
The speed lace system works ok, but when I really wanted to get the shoes tight (to alleviate the slipping in the uppers) and tried to cinch the laces down I found the plastic clip that the laces run through would abraid the laces and cause bulges that rendered the system almost inoperative.

Overall I love the Rapa Nui's.  I'm on my second pair, and feel like they serve as an excellent long distance trail shoe.  Small and light enough to feel fast and nimble, but with cushioning not available in shoes other than Hoka's!

On to the Hoka Conquest.  This seems to be a higher tech approach to the simple plush of the Bondi.  Still a large outsole, but not as obviously 'clown shoes' as the earlier Hoka models.  You can easily go elsewhere for the specific technologies; I'll just cover my impressions.

Initially it's clear that this is a road shoe as there are no significant tread lugs.  Same speed lace option as the Rapa Nui, similar midsole thickness as Bondi.

I found the upper to be tight across the toe box.  Disconcertingly so at first.  I quickly wore some blisters on my little toes, but after about 50 miles the shoes wore in enough that the problem all but disappeared.
The midsole cushioning is again not nearly as obvious as on the Bondi, despite the thickness.  The feeling is similar to a normal cushioned trainer from any of the big companies.  The difference seems to be in its longevity.  My Bondi's quickly showed compression of the midsole.  These Conquest's have run over 500 miles and the midsole looks... new!
There also seems to be some gentle stability control, and I feel less like my feet are rolling around in a pillow. 
The uppers fit well (other than the afore mentioned narrowness), but drain sweat poorly.  Not a problem in some areas, but here in Hawaii sweat accumulation will turn the shoes into heavy soggy like you've been running in the rain, and drying happens slowly.  Drainage ports work well for getting the slosh out after a deep puddle, but feet just seem to stay wet forever.

Conclusions:  I've enjoyed the Conquest, and they make a solid partner for all road running, and any dry/not slippery trails.  The fact is I prefer the the Bondi's plusher feel, but the Conquest feels more stable, and lasts way longer.. an important factor when you're dropping some serious dough on new kicks.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

HURT 100 2014 Race Report


 
 
As I sit here a week after HURT I think I find myself in a pretty good place.  Sure, it didn't go as planned (more on that later), but I proved something to myself, and I find a renewed excitement for the sport, and more love than ever for the wonderful people involved!
Physically it's a mixed bag.  I got away with very little muscle soreness, which is surprising considering how far I ran, the elevation change, brutal terrain, and the pace that I was holding.  But I do have a calf injury, and I've never experienced such damage to my toes (even when I lost nine toenails at San Diego 100.
 
I talked a little about my training in a previous post, and I'm pretty sure I needed another month to really hit the sweet spot, but as I flew back to Oahu after a short trip to socal I felt a kind of confidence building.  A confidence that allowed me to feel excited for the race, mixed with healthy nerves.  After all, this is home, and it doesn't 'hurt' to have home field advantage.
 

These things creep up on you like Christmas.. ready or not!  Before you know it you're on a small concrete bridge leading into the jungle at 5:59am with 130 other excited runners.  I moved through the crowd until I was near the front, and in a flash we were off!  Pretty hard to stay nervous when the pace is an easy hike up Hogsback.  I've run these trails a lot, and frequently find it difficult to hit splits that would result in a good race time, even on ten mile runs.  I've been hoping that my GPS was simply reading the distances short due to switchbacks and poor reception in the forest (meaning my splits were actually better, and I was going faster than I thought).  I knew that if it was easy to keep up with Gary Robbins, even for a few miles, that I would stand a good chance at a good race.  Immediately that seemed to be the case.  We had a blast for those first few miles.  One runner off the front (don't worry about that little guy), and a group of five or six of us not far back.  The first major descent saw Gary speed ahead, and I ended up in fifth by the Paradise aid station (an awesome pirate themed party at the Manoa Falls trailhead!).  Right there it was obvious that the leader was hurting, and he quickly fell back (and out) putting me in fourth.  A very nice guy named Timo (from Germany, but currently residing in Japan) caught me, and we finished the loop in 3:41 basically tied for fourth.

We set out into the increasing heat for the second loop, determined to slow a bit and maintain a steady, but conservative pace.  This was a pretty uneventful loop, and I finished it in 4:10, having passed a runner and moving up to third place (still with Timo close behind), and right on pace.  If anything I found that I needed a bit more than 30oz of water I was carrying, and probably should have been forcing a few more calories because the sport drink they were serving seemed very diluted.

The third loop got interesting.  I simply tuned out the repetitive nature of the course, and zoned out.  Soon someone told me that the leader was only minutes ahead.  I knew that Gary was well up on me, so I assumed that they meant Yassine, and that was second place.  I put no thought into it, but by mile 45 I had caught and passed Yassine and was in second.  That played games with me.  In a perfect world that would happen way later in the race, and I wouldn't have to worry about defending the spot.  Whatever.  No change of plans.  Plug ahead.  Drink, run, hike, eat, repeat!  Loop three done in the daylight in 4:30, for a total time of 12:20ish.

Loop four.  Night settled on the forest quickly.  Roots that I easily vaulted became obstacles that slowed me to a walk as I clambered over and around.  Everything took on a slippery and dangerous sheen of moisture.  It seemed I was crawling around the loop, and Gary's increasing lead showed that I was indeed moving slowly, but the gap to those behind me remained the same or increased (except for Timo who stayed close, and Alex who seemed to be closing a bit about 30 minutes back).  Loop four done in 5:15.  New batteries in the light.. what a difference!

Off we go for loop five.  Timo close behind.  He mentions moving up Hogsback more quickly, but I can't, and he doesn't get by me.  Ah, good ole' Hogsback!  This section of trail pretty well sums up Oahu trail running, although it's harder than most.  Take a nice Pacific Northwest single track trail snaking up a seven hundred foot climb.  Now take out the switch backs and send it straight up on a 20%+ grade.  Make it fifty feet wide, but with no good route up.  Take away the buffed out pine needle track and replace it with literally millions of root steps up to three feet high.  By the fifth time up this nasty beast my heart was hammering in my chest just to maintain a walking pace.  Forget 'power hiking'!

 I start to feel better.  I'm smelling the barn a bit.  Time is melting together, and five hours out here really doesn't seem that bad at all!  I pick up the pace on the easier climbs, gapping Timo until I can no longer see his light.  22:30 looks like a possibility if these woods will let me pass!  I'm running scared though.  Alex isn't far back, and Timo is right there.  The truth is, fourth would be a bit of a let down after all this.  I power up to the top of Manoa Cliff trail, and then it popped.  I stepped off a root with full ankle flexion (as opposed to extension), and the pressure of full power in that position caused a sharp pain in my upper calf.  Even though I've never felt a cramp like that, I attempted to stretch it out, but soon realized I was dealing with a serious strain of the muscle.  Running was out of the question, as was any kind of powerful hike.  The only thing I could do was hobble forward without stressing that muscle at all.  Unable to believe what had happened to me, I continued down the trail towards Paradise instead of turning back to the start/finish.  But the truth became clear:  my race was O-V-E-R!  I gathered a small bamboo stick to take the strain, and wobbled on.  There is something to be said for overcoming adversity to finish, but I don't want to do that if it means damaging myself, and perhaps losing an entire season to injury.

The nice folks at Paradise helped me.  They wrapped my leg, gave me good physical therapy advice,  fed me soup, gave me blankets, and would have dried my tears if I'd been so inclined.  I called my wife, and a couple of hours later I was headed home.

This race proved to me that what I did at Peacock 100k was no aberration.  There is always self doubt.  Training is never perfect, and I'm not the fastest runner out there, but I can run with some of the best mountain runners out there and give a good accounting of myself.  All that said, 87 miles and 22000' climbed, but not getting to finish is a pretty hard pill to swallow.

What I did right:  Nutrition and hydration was probably a B+.  I needed a bit more than the 30oz I was carrying during the day, but I made up for it at the aid stations by chugging.  15oz containers of coconut water at Nu'uanu aid station was a great move.  100 calories, some electrolytes, and hydration allowing me to catch up.  Two gel's an hour worked for a long time, and when I got sick of it I switched to baby food pouches that held equivalent calories and taste way better!  Not much real food at the aid other than watermelon slices.
Pacing:  Not bad, say a B.  The first loop looks fast, but it felt controlled, and allowed me to rack up some miles before it got hot.  The second and third loops were in the range, but the fourth loop was too slow.  I need to practice running on that terrain at night in order to maximize my pace when I'm exhausted.  For what it's worth, I definitely felt like I was on track to run a faster last loop.

What I did wrong:  Body Glide!  I didn't use enough, and I didn't use any product on my feet.  I chaffed everywhere.  Even the gel's in my pockets wore my thighs raw!
Shoes/Socks:  Hoka Rapanui's are a bit narrow for me.  I foolishly combined them with Injinji toe socks that make my feet even wider.  I am paying the price!

Where to now?  I'm pumped to get back out there.  My calf is recovering nicely, although running is still out.  If I'm able to get in, I'm going to redo 2013 by running Cascade Crest 100 in late August, Peacock 100k in October, and HURT100 in 2015.  That means my season starts later than most, so the next couple of months will be pretty chill.  I'm going to get back in the weight room.  I'm going windsurfing.  I'm going hiking!  There's more things to do in Hawaii than there is time in our lives!  I'll pick up some easy running when I can, and when I get going more seriously in a couple of months I'm going to train for some speed.  I might even try for a marathon PR.  Then a couple of big months of mountain running prior to CCC.  June and July will be pretty hard, but I can't wait!

As always, thanks to my wonderful wife for caring so much!  Thanks to all my family for standing by me through thick and thin.  And thanks to the HURT Ohana.  Trail running is full of caring and humble individuals.  HURT seems to bring this to another level, and the truth is that makes one of the toughest mountain races so much easier!


Sunday, January 5, 2014

How to train for a 100 mile race (HURT 100)

Well, I wanted to post something like that.  I wanted to come into HURT in the best shape and ready to run off the front, or at least give the front runners a race.  Instead I came into Cascade Crest 100 last August in great shape, underperformed, took some time off, did some unfocused running, miraculously won the Peacock 100k in record time, took more time off, did some jogging, felt ready to train for HURT, got sick, got interrupted by work, and finally got into training almost exactly one month ago.

Today I ran my last long run.  Almost five hours, 23ish miles, and 6500' of climbing in the Nature Center.  The goal was a nice steady '100 mile' pace, lots of climbing, no injuries, and a quick recovery.  As I sit here typing I'm amazed that I was able to do that run with not an ache or pain lingering.  Hopefully that's a good sign!

I've gotten a bit slower than my peak last summer, but since I got into training late I focused on consistent runs, getting some steeper climbs in, and some faster runs on trails to practice the agility needed to jump over wild boars or roosters that inhabit the trails around here.  No 100 mile weeks with insane vertical, but this week I topped out at 76ish miles and around 18500 feet of climbing.  That's going to be enough, it just kinda stinks that I'm just starting to really feel ready to train hard for another month, but times already up!

So some high points of my 'training':

1.  I love how living here in Kailua allows me to run to some very difficult and steep mountains right from my doorstep.  I just feel intuitively that there are gains to be had by running fast on the roads, hammering the legs up and down trails on mountains like Olomana, and then asking the ole' pins to deliver on the roads again to get back home.

2.  Exploration.  Every time I go somewhere new and get out to run I come away impressed with what I find.  When I was sent to Wilmington, Delaware for simulator training my reaction was 'ugh'.  I knew that there would be little of interest there, especially in early December.  I was wrong!  I got to enjoy a week of winter, a foot of fresh snow, and lots of miles on great trails in some beautiful state park areas.  Hawaii trails are more challenging, and certainly offer stunning scenery, but doing something new was a great way to get motivated for a month of hard running.

3.  When I'm sick of grinding out an hour or two on the roads or trails I've found that doing what I've termed an 'adventure run' fits the bill.  Usually this simply means I'm going to run and hike up something steep. 

4.  I enjoyed spending some time on my new (to me) windsurfer while I was taking it easy after Peacock.  I could almost feel myself getting smarter and more athletic as I tried to teach myself this fun sport.  I am really looking forward to getting back out there after HURT!

What am I expecting to happen on the infamous five loops of HURT?

Gary Robbins had a down month in November and early December, but he's put in some quality work since, and is clearly the favorite to win again.  He's simply world class, and understands how to run a course like this better than anyone.  Yassine Diboun has also been training hard, and I'm pretty sure he'll be near the front.  There are a few other runners that will come in ready to throw down, notably Tracy Garneau.  She's the female course record holder at just a tad over 24 hours, and she's shooting for sub 24 this year.  I hope she has a great run!

The best bet for me will be to take it out easy and controlled, inside the top ten, and wait for people to come back to me.  We'll all be slowing down, but for everyone except Gary it's going to be a game of who slows the least... it's going to get ugly!  I know I haven't trained as much as some of these guys, so it just makes sense to conserve what I have, eat a lot, and hopefully maintain a positive outlook that will allow some magic a-la Peacock to occur.  Let's see if I can stick to the strategy!  My backup plan is to run right at lactate threshold for as long as possible...

What's next?

After HURT I'm taking a few weeks completely off running, and after that it will be short fun runs only for a few more weeks.  I want to spend more time windsurfing, more time on the mat at our wonderful Jiu Jitsu school, and more time with the family doing things like hikes or kayaking in Kailua bay.  After that I'm not sure.  The plan is to try to get into Cascade Crest 100 again though, so if that happens I'll be trying for a breakout run there, and that means several months of hard training.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Peacock 100k Race Report



I kinda mentioned this in my pre-race thoughts, but the week after Cascade I ran six miles, the next week 35, then 45, a couple of weeks at around 50-55, and then just 20 this week.  I didn't feel ready.  This is super low mileage. Would my summer fitness hold me over, or was it fading, leaving me with a long tough day in the hot mountains of the North Shore?  Would the IT band flare up and leave me limping back down the hill?  62 miles and 17,500' of climbing should answer the questions!
Of course, I went into this thing with a very minor head cold, and few expectations.  I knew the course record was 13h09m, which speaks to a very tough trail.  I knew Tracy Garneau was coming, and she is  a world class elite from Canada.  I figured I'd just run and see how things played out.  My excitement to really throw down had been lacking since Cascade Crest.  The day prior my wife asked me if I was even excited to do this race.  My answer was... uhhh, I guess yes?
An easy drive to the North Shore for the 6am start, and before I blinked I was cruising up the first big climb.  The course roughly goes like this:  A very big climb, right turn onto a counterclockwise loop that brings you back to near the top of the first climb, then a jeep trail (Crossover Road) that leads to a paved road off the mountain all the way back to sea level (Long Road).  Back up Long Road, back over Crossover, and back down the first climb.  That's 30 miles.  Repeat for the 100k (with a small and very tough twist known as Are's loop to make the mileage right).  Anyway, I quickly found myself in the lead of the 100k, and right behind two guys running the 50k.  I knew there were a bunch of 100k'ers breathing down my neck, but I kept a nice steady pace and enjoyed the run all the way around to the bottom of Long Road (19 miles).  I made sure to smile a lot!  Temps were reasonable due to showers moving through, and even though that made the jeep roads really slick, I was thankful for the lack of serious heat. 
The return trip up Long Road was the first opportunity to see the competition, as they were coming down.  Local fast guy Alex was about .5 miles behind me, and Tracy was about a mile back.  Close!  I powered up Long Road, but near the top I started to become light headed and dizzy.  My mental power drained away, and I cursed the slippery Crossover road.  I started thinking that just one loop was smart.  My IT band was bothering me, and why push it?  By this time I was leading everyone including all runners in the 'short' 50k race.  This mental funk was ridiculous!  Could you imagine dropping out from the lead with a healthy body?  The pressure of running off the front was hurting my head.  I started to question if I even had the strong mind required to be competitive at this sort of thing!  This is called a 'low spot', and it happens a lot in really long races.  Easy to see that sitting here, but when I'm out there experiencing the thing it feels different.  Nevertheless, I finished the loop, and started the second, knowing that hanging around the start/finish/midpoint aid station could spell disaster.  My competition was coming down, and the gap seemed about the same.  The climb was awful, but my mental power started to come back.  I hit Are's loop and started to think about racing.  A little to early for that, but I came up with a mantra:  DON'T LET THEM HAVE THIS SECTION OF TRAIL!  I'd look at the climb ahead, and determine to cover it as fast as I could (with respect to distance remaining).  Anyone behind me was going to have to take this lead from me.  I must have repeated some variation of that mantra about 1000 times... I wasn't going to surrender!  At the bottom of Long Road again (51 miles in), I felt comfortable... for about a second.  It was then that I realized that Alex was less than a quarter mile away.  Three minutes behind including his stop to refill the bottles.  I just knew he was going to pass me, but I regrouped and determined to give him a fight, and hauled back up Long.  I had become emotionally invested in winning this thing, and couldn't bear to lose it in the last hour or so. I hiked the steep stuff faster than I've ever hiked before (let's just say hiking isn't my specialty).  No kidding, I blasted Highway To Hell on my iPod.  Every tedious steep climb on Crossover I repeated my mantra, running faster splits than I had 40 miles before.  I hit the last aid and left in a big hurry.  I sacrificed my legs on the brutal descent back off the mountain.  As much as it would have depressed me to lose the lead at the bottom of Long at 51 miles, I sure couldn't lose it with three to go!  I hammered the switchbacks, tried my best to float over the rocks, and finally flew through the finish in 11:35.  Good for the win, and a Course Record of 1h35m.  Alex had faded some, but finished in a very solid 12:10, also below the old CR.  I wouldn't have run nearly as fast without him!  At the finish aid station I overheard him asking about vegan food.  Sure enough, another vegan runner.  This day we went 1-2!
I'm very proud of this performance.  Sure, different competition could have beaten me, or the same competition with different training, but I'm proud that I found the mental power to come back from a big rut and run hard when my physical power was diminishing.  It was a special feeling.  I learned a few things.  Take care of the body and it will bounce back from a low.  Mental power is worth more than physical power (sometimes).  And don't underestimate how much time you can make up (or lose) in the last few miles.  I put three minutes per mile on Alex from the bottom of Long to the finish (11 miles).  My high point coincided with his low, and that just goes to show you that it isn't over until it's over!  Now for another break, and then begins HURT 100 training!
Peacock is an outstanding event.  It's an 'old school' ultra.  Hard nosed, but with super friendly staff and volunteers.  Incredible views of awesome terrain, the pacific ocean, and beaches cap this thing off.  To all the mainlanders:  It's worth the trip out to HI to run this one!
Thanks to everyone involved in this event, and huge thanks to my wife for carrying the family while I took off and ran for the day!