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?