2014 Speedgoat 50km Race Report: Finding FLOW

July 24, 2014 | By | 11 Replies More

Finding “Flow” (or whatever that means)

 

The Start. Photo Credit to: Paul Nelson, https://www.facebook.com/paulmichaelnelsonphoto

The Start. Photo Credit to: Paul Nelson, https://www.facebook.com/paulmichaelnelsonphoto

In the past I’ve been skeptical of “Flow.” From what I’ve heard it’s a term used more often by mountain bikers, but also something that has been mentioned by fellow mountain-ultra-trail runners. I wondered perhaps if it was something about connecting with the land and dancing down mountains in a Kilian-esque style while managing not to stub your feet on a patch of gnarly rocks? This was a phenomenon that I had yet to experience, as usually it felt like I was awkwardly stumbling down such descents like a Gumby on pogo sticks (or shall I say “Pokey” sticks?) with a timid trepidation. I hadn’t found or felt this magical Flow thing.

 

Looking back for 1:02 half marathoner Pat Smyth (who led the first 3 miles). Photo by: Paul Nelson https://www.facebook.com/paulmichaelnelsonphoto

Looking back for 1:02 half marathoner Pat Smyth (who led the first 3 miles) on the first big climb to Hidden Peak. Photo by: Paul Nelson https://www.facebook.com/paulmichaelnelsonphoto

Enter Speedgoat 2014:

During a Mountain-Ultra-Trail Race I usually end up with a single word (or single sentence) mantra that reverberates in my head for hours on end: “Just don’t walk” and “Don’t blow a gasket” are common ones. However, about 15 miles into the Speedgoat 50km, while bombing down a road filled with head-sized rocks I just had one word on repeat: “Flow.”

And then I felt It. Suddenly things were coming together in an integrated way that allowed me to dial-in to the clumps of rocks flying at me. I looked down at my HOKA Huakas as they seemingly bulldozed over rocks as I leaned forward into a 5:38 mile split. The wave of fatigue and pain that inevitably starts to hit me just after the first climb and descent in the race had even diminished slightly. So was this The “Flow” that had alluded me for so long, I wondered? I figured it must be! There’s always a first-time for everything…

The rest of the race was a blur of some painful powerhiking (note: Strava.com has the segment up Mt. Baldy around mile 20 as an average grade of 40% for 0.3 of a mile….off trail!), some eating of fruits, some encouraging cheering from the wonderful volunteers, and some very efficient aid-station stops thanks to the support of Sandi, her sister, and my parents.

Powerhike Pain (that is a grimace and not a grin!). Photo Credit to:  Jason Eichhorst: jasoneichhorst.squarespace.com

Powerhike Pain (that is a grimace and not a grin!). Photo Credit to: Jason Eichhorst: jasoneichhorst.squarespace.com

 

Still tried my best to enjoy the views (despite being hunched over like a Hobbit!). Photo Credit: Jason Eichhorst. jasoneichhorst.squarespace.com

Still tried my best to enjoy the views (despite being hunched over like a Hobbit!). Photo Credit: Jason Eichhorst. jasoneichhorst.squarespace.com

 

Ridge line. Around mile 22. Photo by Paul Nelson:  https://www.facebook.com/paulmichaelnelsonphoto?ref=br_tf

Ridge line. Around mile 22.
Photo by Paul Nelson: https://www.facebook.com/paulmichaelnelsonphoto?ref=br_tf

 

RD “Speedgoat” Karl put on a great event and the HOKA crew was out in full force as well to greet me at the finish line. Nice! After taking into account that this year’s course was about 1 mile longer (nearly all off-trail stuff too!), had 400’ more climbing, and warmer temps, I’m rating this year’s performance as significantly better than last year’s race. After starting 2014 with many so-so races, I’m feeling good about how my fitness has finally taken a leap forward and things are really starting to pay off. The name of the game is consistent progression….even if it happens in little bits at a time!

Men's Podium. Congrats to Paul Hamilton and Alex Nichols!

Men’s Podium. Congrats to Paul Hamilton and Alex Nichols!

What’s up next? Well, I’m making a big push to finish the MUT Runner film project. As far as racing goes, I’ll be competing for Team USA at the Pikes Peak Ascent and then likely be squaring off against Kilian Jornet again at The RUT 50km in Montana for the SkyRunning Ultra World Series Final. High altitude mountain racing is the theme of this summer!

Trailer #2 of MUT Runner (As seen on my YouTube channel):

YouTube Preview Image

Thanks for reading and I wish you the best in your training and racing!

Cheers,

Sage

PS Here’s video recap of the race  (as filmed by my crew):

YouTube Preview Image

Gear used/Shameless Sponsor Plugs:

Shoes: HOKA One One Huaka

Socks: Drymax max protection

Calf Sleeves: Compressport Enter code “SAGE14″ for a 10% discount!

Shades: Smith Optics Pivlock V2

Energy: Mostly Vfuel gels during race (Peach flavor)

Nuun tablets in water,

Redbull, Coke (cola), Bananas, Orange slices, Lay’s potato chips

Post-race: 3 Avery IPAs and Ugo Bars

Pre-Race: Flora Health 7 Sources and /or Udo’s Oil everyday!

Hydration Gear: Ultimate Direction handheld and Jurek Essential belt (swapped 2). Filled the pockets with UD gel flasks ful of Vfuel.

 

 

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About the Author ()

2-time Olympic Trials Qualifier, Mountain runner, Author of "Running For The Hansons," trail runner, videos for Vo2max Productioins, LLC.

Comments (11)

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  1. Roby says:

    Hi Sage,

    Thank you so much for report and for always fill them with humor, facts and tips! Something that, as an avid reader, I appreciate.

    That moment you mentioned, where you discovered your flow, is like the Satori for the martial artist: is that point of time, while training, where you understand completely the reasons behind every position, every movement, every breathing; not only in training or fighting but in nature and life as well. In martial arts, is the moment where you can actually “predict” your opponents movements and move before they do, you are not tired anymore, not affraid, not even worried because you are fully aware of your true power.

    Now translating all my BJJ AND MMA gibberish into ultra running, perhaps and correct me if I’m wrong, is that moment where your technique and concentration is such that you will not longer perceive exhaustion, you will do more with less effort, that you will “feel” the lines, up or down, instead of “read” them from the ground… Or maybe you had your sugar levels below normal and it was just your body saying: HEY! Some Vfuel please! (just kidding)

    Thank you again for the report and wish you the best in your upcoming races coach!

    Pura vida!

    Rob

    • SageCanaday says:

      Hey Rob,
      Thanks so much for all the support! Yeah, I like your description of FLOW a lot better! The pain is always there, but at times I get a little break to enjoy the effort and appreciate what the human body can handle. That is fun.

      Keep up the great work!

  2. Chris says:

    We need to get that prize money bumped up to $1,000 per km. Congrats!

  3. Isaac Gallegos says:

    Sage,

    Truly amazing job and win at SG 50K! I was able to bring my wife and kids down to watch the finish. We are avid trail runners and big fans. My 8 yr old son said “dad I hope I can be as cool as him.” I think he is ready to start trail running.

    thanks,
    IG

  4. Mike B. says:

    Hi Sage, big congrats on Speedgoat and thanks for all the informative videos! Question: If I’m training to run a 3:15 marathon(7:25 pace?) when doing 2 mile repeats on the track should I shoot for around 6:55 per repeat? Also in between I think your video said 5-6 min. recovery so
    does jogging a slow 1/2 mile around the track in between repeats for about 5-5.5 min. sound right? Thanks as always.

    • SageCanaday says:

      Hey Mike,
      Yeah, I’d say that’s about right. Your current fitness and goal fitness are always moving targets so give yourself a pace range. Shoot for an 80 to 85% overall effort for a workout like that and be sure you have energy to negative split the 2-miles if you have to. The fact that you are just running a bit faster than goal marathon pace is good for the legs and of course finding that edge where your lactate acid levels start to almost burn is also important! Keep the rest short in the 5 to 6min range and don’t worry about the pace as much.

  5. Ryan says:

    Hey Sage, congrats on your win! It was great to see you get the win and have the race you were hoping for. Good luck in the next couple months, sounds like you have a busy schedule. Don’t over do it!

    P.S. – You should come run an East Coast mountain ultra, like Promised Land, or Mountain Masochist 50 Miler. (I think Sandi has had some good results in the past at these races)

    • SageCanaday says:

      Hey Ryan,
      Thanks! Yeah, I’d like to do Mountain Masochist (Sandi likes it as well and we tend to like the uphills!). I actually really enjoyed UROC when it was out in Virginia too!

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