"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two Thoughts on the Superior Sawtooth 100

1) The traditional thinking about Sawtooth is that, if you want to win, you need to get to Crosby (62 miles) by sunset. Only a few have ever done that, but all but one of them has gone on to finish well. The rationale is that the terrain is so rugged that you want to do as much as possible during daylight.

I got to thinking about the F.A.N.S. 24 hour, where Paul Hasse told me the race starts in the second 12 hours. The person leading at sunset rarely leads at sunrise. The idea is to run comfortably for the first half and then race, or at least slow down less than others, for the second half.

Adam Schwartz-Lowe's run at Sawtooth this year has me thinking that Sawtooth is also a night race; he missed the win by a few minutes, by starting conservatively and running well at night. The best way to run it probably is to run comfortably until sundown and then try to push at night. For those going for the win, that would be hitting Finland (50.5 miles) at sundown. Intentionally planning to run the Sonju root fields in the dark seems odd, but the energy saved might make the Crosby/Manitou gorges easier (not "easy", just easier).

2) I kinda want to run it again.


Colin said...

I think #2 goes without saying, especially after your in-depth analysis of #1. :)

Hope you're able to get out there again!

Edward said...

2011, #1 was definitely the way to go because of the heat. In years with rain, running when it's dry is going to give you an advantage. In years where it's cooler and dry, running during the day might still the best idea. Adam really ran a great race, but I think he might have pushed a little harder during the day if it wasn't so darn hot. Even he didn't expect to run as fast as he did at night, and I know he went into it hoping for sub-24. The heat was the big thing that slowed him down.

Regarding #2, I can't wait to run it with you next year!

SteveQ said...

@Edward: Heat's also the reason that FANS is slow at the start (mid June, sometimes 90 degrees); Horns was on record pace for a long time, so the heat couldn't have been TOO bad.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Steve! You'll make it if you listen to your coach!

John K.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

1. People who run races that are so long that they have to plan both day running strategy and night running strategy are insane.

2. You are insane.

3. (Bonus) This kind of race puts one in peril of developing a deadly twhigma, which is my word verification word. (Two of them are called twhigmata.)

Anonymous said...

Glavin stole my thunder:

This is crazy talk!

Running with MTP said...

I would agree it is really an effort level not a pace that one should maintain during the 1st 50-75% of the race.

We hope that we can maintain a pace at an certain effort level, but if we focus on the pace we lose contact with effort.

My montra at FANS is "I will run easy during the day and make a big move at night" By the time night time comes I am just lucky if I maintain pace or have just a slight drop.

But by maintaining pace you can make a "Big Move"

It is a few years before I can do Sawtooth 100 - I sure I am still running in a few year.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Yeah, now the Phils are essentially on an equal footing with the Twins: Their (the Phillies', that is) season was exactly 5 games longer than the Twins', and their record? 2 and 3. Or .400. Wasn't that the Twins winning percentage? That is all that matters.

So we're in the same place right now, waiting 5 months and thinking "We'll get 'em next year."

Assuming the Phils have Howard next year because that injury, if it's a torn Achilles tendon, could sideline him for the season.

So it was a truly GREAT post-season for Phillies fans ...

Go TIGERS! (<-- Gotta have SOMEONE to root for.)

Brian said...

Hey Steve...I've never done FANS, but seems like a hard comparison between running on pavement and running on the SHT. There's only one way to find out though!

Somewhat unrelated...I keep hearing from people that Horns was on course record pace. Only problem there is that it leads one to believe he went out way too fast and fell apart. I was on his crew and he was actually incredibly smart and steady the whole time...we had him projected on 24:00 - 24:30 pace at every aid station. Horns was only on CR pace to the extent he could run the last 20 miles the same pace as the first 20 ...which we all know is not really possible (at least not something to plan for) for a front-runner at any 100, especially at Superior given the 2nd half is much harder.

All in all, those guys just ran really different races...Adam had more highs and lows and an incredible night, and John just had a real steady race.

SteveQ said...

@Brian: Yeah, I was going off what I'd been hearing about Horns. Looking at his 50 mile split, he was running more of a 24 hour race than 21. The first half of Sawtooth is the harder; you're in the minority thinking otherwise.

Adam said...

I think I'd agree with almost everything Brian said. John would have been on a CR pace if he could have held up through the night, which no one does. I too think that the second half is harder. The footing isn't really any different, and there are nastier climbs that are much longer and steeper than anything found in the first half. Not to mention everyone who makes it to the second half is feeling some hurt, which doesn't get any better.