Fast Guy Problems: LFD and an automatic PR at the 2015 Champoeg 30K

I’m sure a couple of you are quite perplexed by the ‘LFD’ in the title. It is merely a play on the more well-known runners term, LSD (Long Slow Distance). Only in the LFD, the pace is a bit more heated. I have signed up for the Champoeg 30K on March 7th as a training/benchmark run for the Eugene Marathon. The goal is to run close to marathon goal pace and find out how that affects me. I have never done a race at this distance before, so the automatic PR is a great perk.

This is a great event, I ran the 10K last year, and you can read my recap. The RD does a great job, and Champoeg has got to be one of the prettiest places in the area to run. It’s nice to get off the roads and away from the traffic. Hills are relatively minor (in my opinion), and the footing is pretty safe, as long as you watch out for evil pine cones. One took out my ankle last year. Other than that, it was a great run that I managed to place second in.

As noted above, I am placing my sights higher this year than I generally do at a long race. The game plan for most events 15K or longer is to start relaxed and just run what feels comfortable. Usually after a couple of miles I warm up and increase pace without regarding to a watch or timing. I can generally expect to keep it under 6:30 pace, providing I refrain from surging too hard when I warm up, and stay fueled.

Personally, the act of actually “fueling” is my Achilles heel. As recently as last year, any run over 8 miles could potentially put me in danger of “bonking”. With a change in diet and weight increase, I can look at these long runs in a new light. The habit of using gel or ShotBloks every 3 miles while running has greatly increased my capability. The trick is to use small amounts at a time, with water intermittently, to avoid stressing my stomach. This has turned into an ability to run regular half marathons at under 5:50 pace.

The next step is to then find out my potential at the full marathon distance. The Champoeg 30K is a perfect intermediary distance to test fueling and pacing practice. The three loop course will also help prevent me from panicking if I overdo it and have to resort to eating more or taking a walk break. The on course aid stations and porta potties will be reassuring to see each time I pass, because you never know how your body might react at that kind of stress level.

Even though I am planning on running without a watch, I just checked a pace calculator to see what 6:15 per mile would net me for 30K. 1:56 and change sounds somewhat respectable. On the trails of Champoeg, 6:15 doesn’t sound like too much of a trial. Keeping that pace for 18 miles might be. But if I can find my stride, and I am healthy, I may even surprise myself. But sitting on the couch “blue skying” numbers isn’t worth much. So you will find me at the line on March 7th, rain or shine.

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