12 February 2012

Rocky Raccoon 100 Race Report 2012

Rocky Raccoon 100 race report

I flew into Dallas Friday morning and was picked up at the airport by Suanne Lundsberg.  I had met and run with Suann on two other occasions and we'd become buddies. Suann was running her first 50 miler and so she offered to pick me up in Dallas and carpool down together. We drove down checked in and picked up our race packets at the friday night pre-race check in. I got to meet a lot of people in person whom I'd only known online, that was awesome! Joe Prusaitis and team gave an excellent pre race briefing. After that we went to Chilis for dinner. It looked like everyone racing had the same idea.  There aren't a lot of dining options in Huntsville, TX.  I ate dinner with Suann, Chris, and Lesley who were great company.

As we were getting ready for bed. we checked the forecast and saw we were due for a nasty storm. I had brought a lot of shoes in anticipation of this.  If you see my name on the registrants list of a race you might want to reconsider entering as there will be some severely unpleasant condition that will make your race much more difficult: blazing heat, stifling humidity, knee deep mud, waste deep ice cold water, torrential downpours.  This race was no different. My Race equipment was: 2xu compression shorts, brooks equilibrium tops, injinji socks, UD handheld, assorted hats, buffs and Altra shoes - Lone peak and Instinct.

I slept very soundly and woke at 0345 to a torrential downpour and 65F. I showered, got dressed, attached my bib and chip,  lubed very heavily( as I usually do if its raining hard). Suann and I connected with Leslie and we went down to the lobby for coffee.  We met Jeremy in the lobby ate and then we all drove to the park. I had 2 bagels, a banana, and a handful of animal crackers. There was plenty of parking at the start line. I tried my luck at the bathroom and struck out. No problem, I had two individually wrapped wet ones for later.  I had deliberated for a while about starting in a raincoat but decided against it. I have yet to find a running raincoat that doesn't make me sweat so profusely it defeats its purpose.  Maybe someone should invent a running umbrella..

I spent some time in the tent chatting with people I had met at previous races and making some new friends as well.  The rain made the footing very slippery, combined with the roots this made for very tricky footing. We started in a downpour and I had chosen to skip starting with a headlamp. This was a really bad idea. I wiped out 2x in the first 5K. I won't be doing that again!

I ran for quite a while with David Clark who is a great guy with an amazing story of recovery from obesity and addiction. His website is http://supermanproject.org/ We spent a good deal of the first 40 miles running together and leapfrogging each other. Another person I ran with and leapfrogged for quite a while was Chris Whelchel. He was one of the other 2 runners I met out there wearing Altra Lone Peaks.  I crossed paths several times with Suann, Lesley, Jeremy and many others.

At  some point I stopped at damnation to check my feet. I knew for certain I had a few minor blisters on my toes from all the sand and mud making its way into my shoes. but I also felt like something was going on with my right forefoot. I pulled off my shoe and then my sock and as soon as I did  a large flake about 3"x5" fell right off the bottom of my foot. I was thoroughly freaked out as was a volunteer who was standing nearby and asked, "what the hell was that"? I took a few deep breaths and then checked my foot.
It was such a relief to find that my foot was intact and the flake was just a big chunk of mud/sand mix. I cleaned off my feet and lubed them up with vaseline and then into fresh socks.

At around mile 45 I hit a real low and struggled for quite awhile. I was really suprised because I had thought I was running conservatively. I was watching my  exertion level carefully and I was fueling really well.  Around that time(I think) I connected with David Murphy and ran with him for the rest of the race - I think from about 50 miles on. David is an awesome guy, funny as hell, and a blast to run with. I learned a lot from David: what a skunk run is, and that when anyone stops to go to the bathroom everyone else is supposed to take off at tempo pace.  We picked up his pacer Charlie Hogue at mile 60. Charlie helped us keep running and definitely made a difference in our finish time. I switched into my Altra Instincts at this point and also noticed that somewhere on the trail I had lost my garmin.

Sometime during the last loop I finally had to go to the bathroom. Sadly I had given out my 2 wipes to strangers in need. I ended up sacrificing my buff. Hopefully someone finds it after the downpour washed it clean and ready to use :).

The last 10 miles of the run I was feeling really great. I think the boost of having David and Charlie to joke around with made the difference. I finished in 20:43 and right after David awarded me an Idiots running club shirt and bestowed upon me honey badger status.  I'm not sure if I'm happier about the buckle or the shirt.  After the race when I took off my shoes my left foot immediately became very swollen. It was simply the result of tying my laces too tight and bruising my foot a little.

The aid stations and volunteers for this race were awesome and the participants all seemed to be having a great time in spite of the adverse conditions. I can't wait to come back and run this one again!

27 January 2012

Beast Of Burden 100 - Winter 2012

This race takes place on the Erie canal towpath as an out and back(4 loops) from Lockport, Ny to Middleport, NY. It is flat, crushed limestone and there were a couple of inches of snow on the ground when we started. It passes through rural farmland mostly and is very beautiful. I made this trip with my friend Mark "Doc" Ott who is an elite/near elite ultramarathoner and all around awesome guy. We passed through Canada on the way and when we told them we were ultramarathoners at the border both guards actually knew what we were talking about. One of them  grew up with the RD, lived a block from him and was a close friend. We met his wife later that night at the pre-race dinner.  The pre-race dinner took forever to prepare. Note to self, Calamari marinara on angel hair pasta is not a good pre-race meal for you. The meal tasted awesome and the company was excellent. I made some new friends at dinner and shared race experiences. I got to sit next to the legendary Valmir Nunes who holds the course record for badwater, wow! Unfortunately conversation was impossible because he doesn't speak english and I don't speak portuguese.  We stopped on the way back and I bought a gallon of water, sun chips, and pretzels. I only managed to drink about half the water before bedtime. After days of tapering and non-stop munching I felt thoroughly carb bloated and water logged, perfect. I got an awesome nights sleep. I tried to get some gi movement in the morning but no luck.  Packet pickup was the morning of the race and we got an awesome goodie bag. Not shown below is the supercool beanie that matches the gloves.  The pack totally kicks ass and the blinking reflector had 3 modes, was super bright, and came with batteries included, ready to use for the race. The flashlight also kicked ass solid steel, 9 bright LEDs and also with batteries included. The beanie was large and deep. I know this because I have a ridiculously fat head and it fit comfortably. The chapstick and eye drops were a stroke of genius for a winter run. and the hot hands were a great idea for putting inside your gloves.

The starting temperature was about 27F and rose to 30 and then dropped to 15F during the course of the race. Mark and I went out and took the lead for about a mile. Then the lead pack formed up and I stayed with them for about 6 miles til I had to make a porta-john visit. It was beautiful and sunny out and I decided I was going to let the lead pack go and run easy for awhile because my stomach was misbehaving. I ended up making 6 total stops at toilets or porta-johns and one in the woods( individually wrapped wet ones rock).  I was starting to get worried that dysentery would take me out of this race but it finally stopped, I timed it(ya I'm a psycho) and I lost about 40 minutes to shitting, bummer.  I started working my way back up from 10th to 4th and would hold that position for quite a while. Because of the out and back nature of this course I got to repeatedly see everyone racing which was a lot of fun. It's cool to be able to wave and say hi and encourage each other. Watching Valmir run was a special treat. The guy is an absolute machine. awesome form, running economy and consistency. He would smile, wave and say Hallo as he passed. Seeing Mark was always a boost too. In fact most of the runners were very cheerful and encouraging for each other, gotta love ultra runners! The volunteers at the aid stations were  awesome: quick to fill my water bottles and get me food. You definitely don't need a crew with volunteers this good!  Aid station fare was excellent: PB&J, Coke, Mountain Dew, Grilled cheese sandwiches, Pizza, M&M's pringles, nuts, bananas, snickers, Gels were plentiful and they had caffeinated versions available.

I ate like a fiend at this race.  I try my best to keep track of what I eat for future reference: 8 PB&J,  6 grilled cheese, 10 slices of pizza, approximately a full sleeve of pringles, several handfuls of M&M's and nuts. 6 cups of chicken broth, 27 gels,   220 oz of cytomax, 88oz of heed.

I brought a lot of clothing but ended up moving fast enough to stay warm with a single long sleeve smart wool shirt, salomon XT softshell jacket, brooks wind briefs, and salomon mens' XA Windstopper tights, a single pair of injinji socks,  my altra instincts(love these shoes), and assorted beanies and buffs

I had brought 2 ipods: a nano and a shuffle which should have afforded me enough play time to cover the race but when the shuffle went dead I couldn't find the nano due to a foggy brain. I've gotten to where I really like music for a 100 miler. I listen to music all day while I work and that's just too long to go without. Also it helps me run faster when I'm really tired. I never really matched up pace with anyone for any appreciable length of time until the very end.  At one of the aid stations I was chatting with some volunteers who let me know I was in 4th place. they asked me a lot of questions about running and if I had changed clothes or socks and I said no. I don't like to. One of the girls working the aid station chimed in,"No these elite runners don't change clothes or stop much, they're just machines". I enjoyed that heart warming thought for about 10 seconds and then had to let her know that NO I wasn't an elite ultrarunner. Yes I was in 4th but Valmir was leading and 4 hours ahead of me!

With about 7 miles left to go Will Jorgensen caught up to me and passed. I congratulated him and then he slowed down to chat for a bit. Once he realized I was wearing down and might not make my sub 20 goal he decided to stay with me and coax me along to the finish line. Then he tried to convince me to sprint ahead and take 4th. I was shocked at his generosity but refused. I said, "no lets just cross together or you go ahead". We crossed together and there was some confusion about it but Will left to get dressed and I told the RD that yes we crossed at the same time but I wanted Will to be marked as 4th place. People like Will make the ultrarunning community family.

Here's a shot of Will and I. No one was out at the finish line when we came through so they came back out and took the pic hence the time.

I finished in 19:51 something..

Here's the buckle. definitely a favorite! 

Post race I had very little DOMS, and ran 6 miles the next day. I'm happy and grateful because I'm running Rocky Raccoon 100 only 2 weeks from the end of this race. I'm counting this as my last long run before Rocky and recovering and tapering in the same 2 weeks. they both suck so why not lump them together, right?

05 October 2011

Hallucination 100 Mile race

This race is local for me and so I was excited to be running it because that meant I'd know a lot of the runners personally. In addition there were a few locally that I knew from dailymile and get to meet some I'd only previously metthrough Facebook or Dailymile. I got to the run woodstock commune at about 1PM and picked up my race packet. I misunderstood where I could park and so I had to move a few times. After getting settled in I turned in my drop bag and wandered around to catch up with people and meet new ones. At about 320PM I changed into my running gear, body glided everywhere, pinned on my bib and headed to the start line. I was a little nervous about my shoes. This race I
was running in the Altra Instinct a road shoe with a slick bottom and no rock plate. With the forecast for possible rain I was worried about the Altras. I can't wait for their trail shoe. Other than that all my gear was typical: 2water bottles, zoot top, bottom and visor. My biggest concern going into this race was my stomach. It's failed me on my last two races. I eat a lot and when I can't keep downing a lot of fuel things derail pretty quickly for me. I always get a little intimidated standing around a start line of an ultra. Some of the people that show up at these 100 milers look like they were carved from stone, not born. Fortunately this is counter-balanced by the amazing friendliness of ultra runners. I really like
the 4PM start idea. It's very nice to run the dark portion of the race while my legs and mind are still fresh.

Loop 1 2:47 finished at 647 PM
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, pb&j, potatoes, pringles

The first loop was warm and the trail was in excellent condition with just 2 muddy spots that I remember. I ran and chatted with several runners. The lead pack broke off early and I let them go. I ran this loop a little faster than I had wanted to but it felt so effortless I figured it was probably alright. Every aid station I rolled into was manned by familiar faces which was awesome.

Loop 2 3:10 finished it at about 10PM.
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, pb&j, potatoes, pringles, coffee, chicken noodle soup

Just a few hundred yards into the second loop Dale noticed I hadn't grabbed my headlamp from my drop bag and reminded me. So i had to go back and got a lot of funny looks from people who had just cheered for me heading the other direction. I ran into another runner Eric that Dale saved in the same way a mile down the trail and that poor guy had to go all the way back. The rain started during the 2nd loop as I recall but the traction remained good through most of this loop. I ran it with Dustin Smith for the most part(I think).

Loop 3 in 3:50 finished at about 2am.
Fuel: 7 gus, turkey & cheese, pb&j, potatoes, pringles, chocolate cake, coffee, chicken noodle soup

During the 3rd loop the rain really started to come down hard. puddles and mud started forming and the trails turned to creeks. This was the first time I used an ipod during a race and it was kind of nice because with the downpour I couldn't see anything and the rain dominated all the other sounds as well. There were a lot of people experiencing headlamp failures and I think it was non-waterproof headlamps. This was also the time when I starting lapping a lot of runners. I ran into Sandi Stiner on this loop which was awesome because I've known her on FB for awhile but hadn't met her. I also ran into Peter and Jeff and they both looked great, stopped for a brief chat with them. I also cross paths with N'gai and he was running strong. I think this was the loop when I passed Mark and Tony and it was really nice to see them.

Loop 4 in 3:48 finished at about 6am
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, potatoes, pringles, chocolate brownies, coffee, vegetable noodle soup

The downpour continued for this loop except for one break which offered a brief glimpse of the moon. On this loop I started pushing the pace because I was getting cold and trying to strike a balance between fast enough to keep warm and not falling and breaking my neck. I ran headfirst into a clearly marked tree branch that I had easily avoided on the first 3 loops and ended up flat on my back in the mud. Fortunately it hit me square in the head which is very thick. I laid there for awhile laughing at myself and looking at spots and then got up and continued on. I didn't mention it to anyone at the aid stations because I was worried they might want to check me for a concussion or pull or delay me. I really should carry a spare headlamp. if I'd broken mine at this point I would have had to walk this entire loop. My next mistake on this loop was a wrong turn which had me running against traffic in an area where I knew I should not be seeing other runners coming from the other direction, including my friend Dale. I backtracked and corrected my turn but it cost me 3 miles and ate my increased effort on this loop :(

Loop 5 in 3:30 finished at about 830am
Fuel: 6 gus, turkey & cheese, potatoes, pringles, vegetable noodle soup

I think this is about the time the 50 milers started passing me. It was both awesome and a little discouraging to see the lead pack come by so fast. Ben was the only one I knew from this group and It was nice to see him running strong. The next 50 miler I recognized was Melissa running her first 50 and looking strong. At one point Jon and Heather yelled at me and I chatted with them for awhile. They were both running really strong and soon left me in their dust. I also saw Fritz and Jessica on this loop and on my last loop as well.

Loop 6 in 3:30 finished at about 12.
Fuel: 7 gus, turkey & cheese, potatoes, vegetable noodle soup

This was a hard loop for me. I ran into Jessy on this loop and it was pretty awesome to see her and she ran with me for a couple of miles. I had to firmly encourage her to go run her race. I didn't want her sacrificing it for me. I think this is also the loop when I ran into Delilah and met her for the first time. about 6 miles from the finish Laura Waldo came on really strong and went flying by me. She offered me some S-caps when she saw me stretching out my hamstrings which was super nice. Ultra runners are exceptionally friendly and polite compared to other endurance athletes but this was over the top! Stopping to offer help to the person standing between you and 3rd place? Exemplary sportsmanship. When I merged with traffic from concurrent marathon and half marathon racers I started to pick up the pace motivated by them.

Non-loop specific things
Playlist artists: Violent Femmes,Fugazi, Breaking
Benjamin, Linkin Park, Disturbed, Beastie Boys, Insane Clown Possie, Cake,
Weezer, Offspring, Raconteurs, REM, Sublime, Social Distortion, Gorillaz,
Gnarls Barkley, Iz, Agent Orange, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Loudon Wainwright III,
Paul Van Dyk, Tiesto, The Pogues

frogs ... It seemed like there were frogs and/or toads everywhere. after nearly breaking my back doing contortions to avoid stepping on one I gave up on that. Apologies to all the orphaned tadpoles out there.
When I finished it was nice to see so many familiar faces. It took some convincing to get my buckle from the people at the finish line. I'm not sure what that was about! Jessy was awesome and helped me with getting the mud washed off my legs and helping me get to the shower and then she had to get going because she was taking her daughter to a waterpark. After she left I walked down to the start area where they were serving food. I was talking to my friend Dawn when I nearly passed out, she noticed I looked very pale and got me help. Andrea, Rick, Bill, and Rachelle grabbed me, got me in a chair and
started me drinking and eating and taking S-caps. They stayed with me the whole time and made sure I was OK. I felt really weak. After about 2 hours I recovered and was fine. I missed some people finishing because they wouldn't let me out of my chair but it was for the best. I had planned to drive home but everyone I talked to seemed certain that was a really bad idea and so I stayed and slept in my car. Joe and Becca took me to get something to eat in Pinckney which was awesome. Thanks guys! The rest of the night I spent just hanging out with friends and listening to their race experiences. This was an awesome event and the only 100 mile race in Michigan. I'll definitely run it again. I'm sure I missed people and event details which will come to me later, I apologize. Thanks for reading!

01 August 2011

Burning River 100 Miler 2011

I rode down to the Burning River 100 race with a group of friends: Matt  Antoniou, Paula Antoniou, and Mark McCaslin. We stayed at the Sheraton in  Cuyahoga Falls, OH. The front door of the hotel is about 200 yards from the  finish line which makes it an excellent place to stay if you are running this  race. After checking in to the hotel we headed over to the pre-race dinner and  race check-in. There were a lot of familiar faces at the race and we met some  new people too. Race bling was a really awesome black hoodie! The Pre-race  dinner was pasta and salad. I don't think the meatballs sat well with me.
The morning of the race I woke at 0212. I ate a banana, fig newtons, 2 cake donuts, and 24 oz of coffee. We walked to the finish line where the bus picked  us up at 0315 and took us to the start line. I milled around, talked to more friends and waited for the race to start.
I started the race carrying 2 handhelds and wearing my nathan "pocket vest". It's  a vest with no hydration bladder. I went out a little too fast trying to keep up with Matt and Mark but decided pretty quickly I didn't feel good about their pace so I let them go and backed off.
Through the first 3 aid stations things were quiet and uneventful. I ran with and  talked with several runners. There was a lot of gravel and paved road in the first part  of the race.
I entered the shadowlake aid station at 18.6 miles. I had a drop bag there but didn't need anything from it. I decided to drop my vest, one of my water  bottles and my shirt there. It wasn't all that warm yet but it was very humid and I felt like I was sweating a lot.
Between Shadow Lake and Station Road Bridge it really started warming up and my  appetite started to fade. Station Road Bridge was my first taste of what a Burning River aid station could be like. All the previous ones were great but I hadn't really utilized them. Someone came out to meet me and get my water bottle  and fill it with heed. Another person asked if I wanted my drop bag. I said yes and he went and got it and brought it too me. I wanted to change socks because my feet were drenched from sweating. By the time I had my socks out of my bag another volunteer had brought me a chair to sit in, while another asked me what I'd like to eat brought it to me. 
My shoes had started to blow out on the sides and I had ignored it. Unfortunately this led to a shift in pressure from the widest point of my foot to my pinkie toes which would become an issue later. Another issue I had with the shoes was that the inflexibility of the rock plate was bugging me on the road sections of the course, and there are a lot of road sections on this course!
By the time I got to mile Boston Store aid station(49.1 miles) the heat(92F) and humidity had started to kill my appetite and I was behind on fueling. I  should have been at 20 gus and I'd only gotten down 12 at this point. My feet were also killing me. I took my shoes off and my friends helped me do some repair work and I used some duct tape to wrap the blown out section of my shoes.
The section from 49.1 to 53.5 miles was exposed and hot. My pacer Keith joined me at Boston Store after this section. It was great to have company and along the way we talked about my feet. Keith suggested I cut off the section of the shoe that was putting pressure on my foot. So at the pinelane aid station  that's exactly what we did. then I used more duct tape to cover the holes and keep  rocks out. It was a huge mental boost to have the pressure relief for my feet.
I ate some ginger candy and tums which became a ritual at aid stations from there on out. Every time I refueled after this my stomach would fight with me. For the  most part discomfort was minor: heat, blisters, fighting to not throwup much needed fuel.
Keith and I alternated chatting and periods of quiet. I felt really low on the inside but Keith seemed to think I was doing well. At Covered Bridge aid station I stopped and did more duct tape repair work on my shoes and then we ran a loop which returned us to covered bridge. This was my lowest point during the race. I hallucinated briefly about the woods being filled with RVs and crowds of people watching us. The crowd was what I imagine you might see at a nascar race. Potbellied beer drinking men sitting in front of their RVs in folding chairs watching us run through the woods. I remember thinking it was bizarre that they would want to watch people run through the woods at 2 in the morning but in that moment it felt very real. When we got back to Covered Bridge aid station I had some soup and felt much better. Ramen noodles are awesome in the late stages of an ultra. After this I started feeling much better and did quite a bit of running but I was very quiet. After saying nothing for quite awhile I informed Keith,"My legs are tired". This drew a chuckle from Keith and then we both broke into laughter over my statement of the obvious.  The last portion of the race went quickly as I was feeling much better. I still couldn't eat much and that slowed me down but I was able to keep hydrating and taking electrolytes fortunately. I crossed the finish line in 23:40ish and all my friends were there waiting for me. 
This was a wonderful race for me aside from the fueling struggle. The Burning River race organization, aid stations, and volunteers are the best I've experienced anywhere! If you're looking for a first 100 miler I highly recommend this one. The aid stations are extremely well stocked and the course is very scenic.

20 June 2011

Mohican 100 Mile Race Report - 2011

This was my first 100 mile race. I chose it because because it is 95% technical single track and hilly. It has had a 50% DNF rate over the 22 years it has been in existence and this year it had a 66% DNF rate, with numbers like that you know it's a quality event :). The race director, volunteers, participants, and aid station  fare were all top shelf. I'll be back to do this race over and over again!
cw-x compression shorts
white brooks equilibrium short sleeve shirt
white brooks hat
white buff
Double Layer Wright Socks
Injinji Socks
New Balance MT101 shoes
Dirty Girl Gaiters
36 gels: gu and hammer
Bananas, PB&J, Oranges, Watermelon, Potato Soup, Ramen Noodles, Pretzels
I didn't realize the start of this race would hit single track so fast and bottleneck when it did. If I'd known that I would have gone out fast to avoid being stuck behind people. The starting temperature was around 60F and it was extremely humid/foggy. I ran with Keith for awhile but let him go because I wanted to run conservatively and he was running a pace for a 50 mile race. The first loop went flying by. I met and chatted with a lot of great people. A couple of guys I met and ran with for about 20 miles,Jeff and Eric, had run the copper canyon ultramarathon with the Tarahumara last year and went to high school with Todd Crandell. I met another guy who was using the 100 mile race as a training run for the Hard Rock 100 who could have probably been a professional comedian - he had a one liner for everything and just kept rolling a steady stream of jokes and conversation. The Park Road 51 aid station was being operated by a friend of mine Stu Allen and he was doing a great job! They served heed,water, defizzed pop, hammer gels, bananas, oranges, watermelon, gummi bears, m&ms, potato chips, twizzlers, and more. The exit from this aid station was a steep downhill followed by some hard climbing and then onto some very beautiful rolling single track. In this section we passed several large boulders that made me wish I'd brought a crash pad and chalk bag. I gave them a quick feel and they were a nice strong pocketed sandstone.
After that the next aid station was the MTB parking aid station. It was packedwith lots of people who were crewing for their 100 milers so there was lots of cheering when you came out of the woods at this one. I suspect they were having a cheer loudest for the dorkiest looking runner contest in order to pass the time. I had them refill my hydration pack with heed while I ate half a PB&J and a banana and then took off.
The next part of the course was my favorite because it was very technical and beautiful containing both Lyon Falls and the Root Ladder ravine - some pics of the area here http://bit.ly/mlpE3Z. The next aid station was the covered bridge aid station which was excellent. They had more food than all the other aid stations. They knew how to refill hydration packs wicked fast. After leaving Covered Bridge aid station there was a redonkulous quad burning hill to climb to the Hickory Ridge Aid Station. This was another excellent aid station.
The last leg of the loop back to the start was rather evil. It ran past an area where you could see the starting area and into a small loop with the steepest hills on the course. This was a new section of the course and the reason they added 2 hours to the cutoff. It was brutal but I hope they keep it, it was a nice challenge.
Back at the starting point/aid station 1 I took off my shoes and socks and checked my feet: No blisters, no hot spots. I wanted to get an actual visual on my feet even though I felt no discomfort because a lot of the time I don't notice a blister when I get one and from what I've read and conversations I've had with other runners blistering can get bad enough to take you out of an ultra. I continued to do this every time I hit aid station 1 throughout the race.
The next noteworthy event was getting lost and picking up a bonus mile on the second loop. It was totally my fault. I followed 2 runners down a trail and didn't read the sign. then I realized we were heading north too soon into the second loop and told the guys we had to turn around. sure enough when we got back to the intersection it was clearly marked and our mistake. This loop simply repeated the first loop so I'll switch to some highlights of the second loop now.
When I got back to the area near Lyon Falls I crossed paths with a family on a short hike. The temperatures were in the mid 80's and the children looked about 4 and 6. they were crying and fussing and complaining about being hungry. I stopped and offered them 2 clif bars which they accepted. we chatted briefly about the race while the kids ate clif bars and within 2 minutes they transformed from meltdown posessed freakshows to happy little hikers. As I was leaving I heard the 4 yr old girl mention that they should carry a pack full of candy and run races - never to early to start recruiting :)
I ran alone for quite awhile after that. the next thing I remember was meeting a young guy named Ethan who was cramping. I explained to him what S caps were and why he should be eating lots of them and I gave him some. He was very grateful for the advice and the S caps. I hope it was enough to help him finish.
My next encounter was a lady running the marathon version of the race. she was on the verge of tears and/or had been crying and was exhausted and sure she was lost. she had turned around and was going the wrong way because she thought she had missed a turn. I got her oriented and back on track and walked with her until she seemed ok.
At mile 53 I picked up my pacer, Andrew Harding. Andrew has been a great source of inspiration as I've learned about ultra running. It was great to have Andrew along. I don't know if I could have done this without him. On the third and 4th loops they altered the course to remove Lyon Falls and the Root Ladder from the course and add some less dangerous terrain. The whole 3rd loop went really well I thought. At Covered Bridge aid station they had ramen noodles and they tasted ridiculously awesome. I was starting to feel a little low coming into the aid station and those noodles were a huge boost! I felt like I was running strong until a few miles into the 4th and last loop and then I got tired, dizzy and had to stop and sit/sleep for 5 minutes. That helped a little and then I was able to continue on to the 1st aid station. Once I got there I drank about 24 oz of mountain dew, ate some soup, and then sat in a chair and slept for 10 minutes. What a difference! once I got up I was able to run again and felt much better. As we ran sometimes Andrew and I chatted but a lot of the time I was silent. We got a little lost on the 4th loop but only added a 1/2 mile. we back tracked and got back on course.  When we popped out at the fire station aid station another racer was pestering us because he thought we had just shorted a section of the course when in fact we had scored some bonus mileage. I wasn't think clearly and Andrew and Dave( a friend we met on the trail) talked to him and sorted it out fortunately, because in my state of diminished mental capacity I was trying to figure out if punching him or silently ignoring him would make him go away sooner.
I know Andrew said I looked strong the whole time but I sure didn't feel that way. I think I've found my second running super power,the first being stupidity, the ability to look strong right up until I collapse. It helped a lot towards the end when the sun came out. The last section of the course had the crazy climbs and one intense quad burning descent again. It isn't perfect and I know I'm missing stuff but I need to get this out there. The finish was awesome and the buckle is a really nice one. I think i'm really hooked on the 100s. In the last 4 miles I was already thinking about when I should do my next 100.
I'd like to thank Andrew for pacing me and Keith and Pete for crewing for me during and after finishing the race and helping me get my gear and drop bags after the race and packing up my tent and just being awesomely supportive the whole time.

17 May 2010

Gnaw Bone 50 Mile Race Report 2010

This race is in Brown County State Park and is named for the nearby town of gnaw bone.  It's organized by runningfit.com. who also happens to organize the running group I joined sometime in February. This was my first 50 miler and so my primary goal was to finish. My secondary (unspoken) goal was to place in my age group(40-44). I've been racking up miles approaching the race and doing back to back 20 milers. a 30 miler followed the next day by a 20. basically tons of miles and lots of 100 mile weeks.  I considered running a 40 or 45 in preparation for the race but decided against it based on advice from friends. I really don't like tapering so the week before I brought my mileage down to 40 miles in the 7 days before the race and didn't run the day before the race.

Race Gear ...
Nathan Sports Proton Pack: 3L Bladder.
CW-X compression shorts.
Wright Double Layer Socks
Body Glide
New Balance MT100 shoes
Cytomax electrolyte drink powder

What I carried in my hydration pack ...
3L of Cytomax Electrolyte Drink1 Extra pair of socks
2 Packs of cytomax powder
Blister protection Band-aids
8 Endurolyte caps
2 Packs of clif blocks
4 GU Packs.

The week before the race it was pouring rain and there were even flood warnings for the area.  This set the stage for an extremely muddy race.  It was about 53 degrees at the start of the race which kicked off at 615 am. I only had about 15 minutes to chat with friends and size up the competition. There were a lot of young strong looking runners so I moved to the mid/rear of the pack feeling pretty outgunned and not wanting to get in their way. I was just here to survive my first 50 miler.

The 50K and 50 Mile racers started together and shared the first portion of the course.  The trail was extremely muddy with sections which were also clearly heavily used by horses. within the first mile everyones shoes were soaked and full of mud. some people lost shoes sucked off their feet by the mud and had to stop and dig them out.  Some sections of the course weren't even trail at all just bushwacking from one marker to the next. I'm not sure how many times I crossed streams, at least 10.  My feet and everyone else's were soaked the entire 50 miles. The MT100 shoes drained fast and the wright socks did a great job of wicking water. I didn't get a single blister or hot spot.  I went out planning to hold my pace between 10 and 11 minutes per mile for the first 30
miles. this was tricky because the course varied between deep mud, stream, dirt road, single track, and sections where I really wished I had a machete and crampons. I varied my pace between 7 minute miles bombing down good trail sections and 20 minute miles thrashing through rough patches and up steep hills. I ate about 2 GUs per hour on the run and fig newtons and PB&J every time I hit an aid station. I drank 3 liters of cytomax in the first 25 miles and then refilled my hydration pack at an aid station and added more powdered
cytomax. I was also drinking water at the aid stations the whole time so I know I drank at least 6 liters of cytomax and maybe another liter of water.  This part of the run I just enjoy myself and chatted with other runners I met along the way.  There is something very beautiful about running through the woods with a group of people who love it as much as you do and it energizes me to run with people who i know love it as much as I do even if we're not talking. I'm not really sure I said that well, but oh well there it is.

I managed to hit mile 30 at about a 10:40 pace. Somewhere around that time  a girl at an aid station told me I was in 5th place! and that the leader was 30 minutes in front of me. I was shocked. I knew I had been passing quite a few people but wasn't really counting or looking closely at them because I was just focusing on footing, the beautiful scenery, and conversations. I then realized I could place in the top 5 in my age group or maybe even win my age group! This news inspired me to run harder. but in reality I was unable to negative split as planned. I poured way more effort the last 20 but my final average pace was 10:52. I caught up to and ran with a
friend I met running a few weeks ago. we ran for maybe 5 miles but then he had to stop and slow down because of GI issues.  There were now only 3 in front of me. I caught the next runner a guy in his 30's he had the 1000 mile stare thing going on. I said good job and asked if he was ok but he didn't respond. he was running at a
9:00 pace so I figured he must be and I passed and moved on. I caught the next runner about 12 miles out from the finish. He looked to be in his 20's and fit enough for the cover of runner's world.  This guy looked like a runner! but he must have gone out to fast or made a fueling or hydration error because he had slowed to the point where I could catch him. My presence seemed to rally him and he picked it up and ran with me. Looking at
him I knew if we got to the final mile he would outkick me for sure but I didn't care at this point I was starting to feel some discomfort in my quads and just wanted to finish.   we had a moments hesitation together when we
weren't sure about the trail marking and then we ran together for an indeterminate length of time. I led and talked and I thought we were having a conversation but then he was gone and in retrospect I'm not sure when he
dropped off or how long I talked to no one.  I caught the leader at about 8 miles out I think. I really should have paid more attention to my numbers but I think it was 8. this guy was also in his 20s. I said good job as I passed and asked who was in front of us. He said, "No one, it's all you". I said thanks and kicked harder. the next 8 miles I passed a lot of people who were straggling in from the 50K or the relay races and just kept going as hard as I could. There was one last massive hill with no trail at all! all bushwacking! I had to pee really bad and knew I couldn't make it the last 1.5 miles so I ran over behind some bushes and went. I looked backup the hill and  when I did I saw the 2nd place 50 miler flying down the hill.  I took off and just hammered as hard as I could. I ran a mile at about 6:40 pace in terrible pain on wasted legs. my lungs and legs were on fire and I was cursing myself for being so stupid. I hadn't come to win this race but to lose it in the last 1.5 miles would be such a shame.  When he pulled up alongside me I felt totally crushed. I knew I couldn't hold off a young runner like that for a quarter of a mile. I looked over and gasped out a "good job" and then a wave of relief washed over me!!! this wasn't a 50 miler this guy was running the relay( a different race) who I had mistaken for my competitor! I let him go and washed in a creek about an eighth of a mile from the finish so I wouldn't look so muddy
when I crossed the finish line(pretty silly in retrospect). I ran across the finish line in a daze  After I finished I had a good laugh with the relayer over my mistake and chatted with some other really nice people.

I won a really cool bag from runningfit.com and had a great time. The volunteers
and runningfit did an awesome job putting on the race. there was always plenty
of food,water and gu.  aid stations were plentiful. I'll definitely be back
to run this race again! The results are here