2015 Speedgoat 50km Race Report: Chasing Splits
I’m not going to lie, the course record was on my mind.
At every aid station during the race I had referenced split times from my 2014 Speedgoat 50km race and course record and found myself within 1-2 minutes of each split along the way. I had considered my 2014 Speedgoat 50km run to be the best ultra-race of my life so it was an encouraging sign of my fitness!
The night before the race I set my alarm for 3:30AM and surprisingly passed out fairly quickly at 11pm when I actually tried to go to bed. After my usual pre-race breakfast of some sourdough bread with almond butter, 2 cups of coffee and a Ugo Bar I was ready to roll!
When RD Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer started us off at 6:30AM I quickly shot to the front and didn’t look back.
For the first mile I could hear Alex Nichols (who has had an amazing year winning Moab Red Hot 55km over Rob Krar in February, leading team USA at the IAU World Ultra Trail Championships in France in May ahead of teammate Alex Varner and others, as well as winning the Mount Blanc 80km ultra just last month!) still breathing behind me. A couple miles later I was all alone though, and I realized two things:
- Alex was probably a bit tired from all his incredible racing success over the past few months.
- My mountain legs were back!
The rest of the race was a blur of really tall wild flowers, some techy off-trail sections at high altitude and some gnarly gravel/rocky mountain roads.
The sun’s hot rays even at 11,000’ made me a bit thirsty and in addition to the Vfuel gels I was taking about every 20-30 minutes I also grabbed some bananas at the “Larry’s Hole” aid station around miles 12 and 21 respectively.
By the time I got to the “Tunnel” aid station around mile 24 I knew I had built up at least a 15-20 minute lead and was able to relax a bit more.
With over 11,000’ of climbing at mostly high altitude and some off-trail sections the Speedgoat course (at least in the last 2 editions where the course has become harder!) is never easy. In the end I’m always reduced to a powerhike for much of the final climb up to the final aid station at Hidden Peak.
On the final descent down to the Finish I took my time, already thinking about the pain I’m going to experience at UTMB100. With a few miles to go I realized I might be very close to my course record of 5:12 from last year. However, not wanting to risk injury or a full pain-cave effort I didn’t quite throttle to 100%. On the final switchback, within sight of the finish line, I saw my time from last year flash on my watch. This year would be 32 seconds slower, but overall it was a much more controlled effort. I didn’t experience any real energy lows or have any doubts on being able to finish strong. I’ll take that as a confidence builder to apply to my build-up for the main focus of the summer: my first 100-miler attempt at the Ultra-Trail-du-Mont-Blanc!
Subscribe to my YouTube channel “Vo2max Productions” for some race video footage in the future.
Big thanks to Sandi for filming and crewing, my parents and my aunt and uncle who traveled out from Oregon to watch and help support at the race! Also, thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors and of course RD “Speedgoat” Karl Meltzer himself for another fun event!
Final Summer MUT Running Racing and Training Thoughts:
After a pretty rough go at the 12-mile Kendall Mtn. Run a week before Speedgoat this year, I was a bit anxious to see if my “mountain legs” were back. At Kendall my legs were fairly unresponsive and dead on the climbs and I realized that perhaps I was on the brink of overtraining (much like I did before the 2013 UROC 100km which was the worst ultra race of my life). There is something horrible and beautiful about training at 100+ miles per week and going over 25,000’ of climbing. I think in the past I’ve tended to climb way too hard on most of my mountain runs and that it lead to muscle-fiber exhaustion. Usually my cardiovascular system is in pretty high gear most of the year thanks to road marathon training…it’s the skeletal muscular system that often fails me first in mountain-ultra-trail running. Racing Kendall gave me the insight to actually take a very easy and flat week and put in a taper for Speedgoat instead of keeping my mileage and vertical at near all-time highs. In retrospect I think this was for sure the right choice (I might change my mind after UTMB though!). There’s a fine line between optimal, peak training and overtraining and sometimes it comes down to a few little details.
Transitioning between road marathons like LA and Boston to an ultra like Comrades required some gear-shifting ability with my legs (the 5 weeks between Boston and Comrades wasn’t ample enough for that as I suffered a bit at Comrades). Making the transition now to ultra-mountain races requires more than just “shifting gears” though…it’s requiring a new transmission system.
If you’re read our new eBook: “The Sage Running Secret: A Guide to Speedy Ultras.” You can find out more about my car and running analogies and how variable Running Economy is the name of the game.
Thanks for all the support and hope your training is going well!
@SageCanaday (Twitter and Instagram)
Shameless Sponsor Plugs:
Hoka One One Huakas
Ultimate Direction “Groove System” Mono belt
Compressport R2 Calf Sleeves (use code: SAGE15 at checkout for 15% off your order!)
Drymax Max Protection Socks
Julbo Stony Shades
Flora Health 7 Sources Oil, teas, honey and Gogi berries (taken as part of my regular diet).
Ugo Bars (pre and post-race)
Vfuel gels ( taken once every 20-30 minutes while racing)
Trail Butter (post-race recovery!)
Avery Brewing Joe’s Pilsner (opened within 1 minute of finishing) and an IPA of course!
Strava.com (see my mile splits and all my training etc.)