Tuesday, September 02, 2014

2014 Heart of America "Marthon" Marathon

Heart of America was my first marathon so it has become a tradition to run it every year.  It is also a plus that it is local and reasonably priced at only $45.  This year was my 11th consecutive year running the race.  Last year I ran the Leadville 100 miler, 2 weeks before the race.  This year I ran the Mohican 100 miler in June so was hoping I would have some time to actually marathon train.  Training was kind of blah but managed around 50-something per week since Mohican.  I ran hill repeats and got plenty of long runs.  However, my enthusiasm for long distance training has been waning and I didn't do any tempo runs.  I have been doing  track workouts but geared for shorter distance and I have been enjoying those. Like last year and most years post the Long Run Lunatics group, my training was far from ideal, but I was still hoping for a decent race.  My weight was up about 7 - 8 lbs this year so that was probably not ideal. 

The weather forecast changed dramatically in the 10 days before the race.  At first predictions were lows in the 70s to highs in the 90s.  Then as we got closer to the race, predicting temps in the 70s - 80s with a very high chance of severe thunderstorms.  The day before the race, it did not look good.  I wasn't worried about the rain but I was more worried about lightning canceling the race.  I was actually looking forward to rain keeping us cool. 

I woke up just before 5 am and it was pouring rain with a little thunder but not much.  I figured the race was going to happen and we left about 5:40 am to get to the start line which is just a little over 2 miles from where I live.  It didn't seem like a lot of people were there but I think most were hiding out in their cars.  At 6 am, we received notice there would be a 30 minute delay and they would come around to our cars if that changed. I was about to get out of the car at 6:25 and we received notice we would be starting at 7 am.  At this point, I needed to use the bathroom again.  Hugh drove Allan (who was hanging out with us) and I to the Hearnes Center but they had already locked it so we went to Hugh's workplace.  We posted a message to the Heart of America FB page about the delay since we are administrators, used the bathroom, and headed back over about 6:45.  The rain had let up and had nearly stopped by 7 am.  I was surprised since the forecast when I woke up called for 100% chance of thunderstorms until 10 am.  The race director had consulted with a TV station meteorologist and they thought we would be fine starting at 7 am.  I expected to get wet at some point but just stayed cloudy and never rained.

The rain had cooled the temp down from earlier so we started with 66F and 100% humidity. There were 179 runners which was down about 50 from last year.  I wasn't feeling great as my throat felt a little sore and head hurt but figured it was allergies.  We were off and I was in about 12th place running with the 2 guys that finished just ahead of me last year.  When we turned to go south we were in for a big surprise.  We had a really strong headwind to deal with.  I was glad I left my hat behind since I would have likely lost it.  I heard later people were losing hats and earbuds due to the strong wind.  I figured it would calm down once we got out of town and into the tree cover but it probably took a little more out of me than I had to give for those first few miles.  I had to deal with the wind for about 4 miles and just a little at one point around 8 miles.  

I couldn't seem to get in a groove to run as fast as I wanted (sub-7s).  The 2 guys I started with went way ahead to the point I eventually lost site of both of them.  I passed a couple people back and forth but overall this was a solo race most of the way.  I couldn't keep my pace below 7 minutes.  Only mile 1 and 6 were under 7.  My average pace at the halfway point was 7:17 and my split was 1:36:07.  I thought it might be neat to finish my 11th marathon in 3:11:11 but doubted I could pull it off since I figured I would slow down.  I was in 10th place at this point.  I had 4 gels with me that I took every 5 miles but not sure I needed them.

I wasn't feeling great but was able to maintain my pace pretty well the rest of the way and was hoping for a sub 3:15 and to hold onto my 10th place.  I didn't see anyone behind me.  This is a hilly course and considered one of the toughest marathons in the US.  It scares some people away but it really isn't that bad and the organization and great volunteers makes it worth running.  It was a long lonely road to 22 miles when I could see a runner ahead for the first time in 13 miles.  I was slowly gaining on him and as I got closer I could see he was taking walk breaks.  He took one too many breaks on the hill at mile 23 so I passed him at about 23.5 miles going up a hill.  My legs were feeling heavy and I just felt achy all over.  I managed a 7:36 miles for both 24 and 25.  When I turned the corner before 25, I could see someone ahead of me but figured I would never catch him this close to the end.  It was my friend Tom and he was taking walk breaks.  He took enough breaks to allow me to pass him and I felt strong to the end.  Just knowing the end was near gave me a boost.  I ran mile 26 in 7:23 pace and the last 0.5 in 6:01 pace.  Finishing time was 3:13:44 and 8th overall.  My second half was 1:37:37 so 1.5 minutes slower than the first half.  I ended up being 1 minute ahead of Tom so my lucky day since we are back in the same age group this year and it isn't easy for me to keep up with him in any race.  He said he was having blood sugar issues and that is why he was walking.  Both of us were about 9 - 10 minutes faster last year.   Some people were breaking there course PRs this year but not all of us.

I think the delay was a good call overall.  The weather turned out nicer than normal for this race with the clud cover keeping the temp down for the runners until the last half hour.  It was humid as usual.  11 HOAs completed and this one was my 8th fastest time.  Placed 8 of 179 and first in the the 45 - 49 age group.  The closest finisher ahead of me was 3:07.  The winner ran a 2:45!  I was also the first place Master's runner thanks to Tom taking some walk breaks so get a pair of shoes from Tryathletics.  The fact that he or someone else didn't show up to run faster is probably a miracle.  Last year there were more people, I placed 9th and ran faster and the first place Master's ran a 2:49 so it is only luck and not a good performance that I won the first place Masters this year.

At the finish, they had Hot Box cookies, fruit, Gatorade G2 and soda.  I managed to eat a couple cookies and had some caffeine and felt better.  We watched quite a few runners come in and then headed over to the the pizza party and awards ceremony at Shakespeare's Pizza around noon.  It was a fun race and am looking forward to doing this marathon again next year.


Race Results


Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Mohican 100 miler

I arrived Friday afternoon at 2 pm just as it was starting to lightly rain.  My campsite was tree covered so didn’t have a problem getting the tent set up as it was pretty sheltered from the light rain.  I was located up a big hill which the race course actually went less than 100 feet from my tent.  I got see George and Kimberly, the only 2 people I knew running one of the races at the prerace meeting before heading to bed.  Set alarm for 3:45 am which actually felt like 2:45 am due to the time difference but attempted to get 6 hours sleep.  I say attempt since the rude people next to my site next to mine were loud, obnoxious, and partying well past the quiet time.  I managed to sleep a little but they kept waking me up.  I woke up again when security drove by to tell them to turn off their radio and quiet down.  One of the women then went on loudly blabbering for what seemed like an hour hoping she wasn’t keeping her neighbors awake, and just going on to be annoying to everyone in the area.  She loudly said she hope she wasn’t disturbing her neighbors.  I assume someone reported them.  I was about 20 feet from their site.  The Ambien the woman loudly announced she had taken finally kicked in and they quieted down. At that point, I fell asleep dreaming they had been kicked out of the campground and didn’t wake up until the alarm went off.  I really wanted to make a loud racket when I got up but refrained since not everyone near us was running the race.  However, I did make it a point to be slightly loud since I thought it might wake them up.

I took a shower since I felt really sticky and wanted to start fresh and fairly dry.  I ate a protein shake, banana, and Greek yogurt.  The start for the course was about a mile from my campsite so I had to start walking at 4:30 am and made it there in 20 min.  I saw George at the starting line and we were able to run together for a while. There were about 200 registered for the 100 miler and the other races started later.  I followed George for a while until we were separated and then didn’t see him again until later and we ran together some more until I ran ahead.  I ran the first loop (~27 miles) in about 5:20 and felt pretty good about it.  For the first 2 loops I was able to run with and see some of the same people but the next 2 loops I ran alone at times.

I ran the second loop in about 5:40 and was at 11 hours at 54 miles which maked me wonder if could run 22-something if things continued as they were and even if I continued to slow down at the same rate.  My secondary goal was to run under 24 and was pretty sure that would happen unless things fell completely apart.  I chose to run without a shirt the entire day.  I realize a shirt is supposed to be wicking and keep cooler but I really dislike the feel of a damp shirt.  There was some light rain early in the day but nothing heavy.  The shorts I wore stayed dry and no problems chafing with them and the Body Glide. 
The sun stayed under for most of the day other than a few minutes which helped keep the temp down.  The high was forecasted at 79F but humidity was likely 80-90%.  The course was tougher than I expected but I just walked all the hills and ran where I could.  Pace seemed really slow since there was a lot of climbing, one which went straight up and had to grab hold of some intricate root ladder system and climb up like a ladder.  The course was very scenic, lush, and mostly tree covered.  Lots of ferns and still some May apples.  I think my sun screen I had applied just added to the stickiness and was probably not too necessary with all the tree cover.

Things fell apart slightly during the first half of the 3rd loop which is a shorter loop at about 23 miles.  I was feeling just a little off and my pace slowed.  The first 11 miles were tough even on the runnable sections.  I think it was a bit of a nutrition issue so I tried some things like solid food (turkey sandwich) and started to feel human again.  There were some huge climbs after the covered bridge aid/drop bag station which gave the food a chance to digest.  Once it was runnable again, I passed a guy and his pacer that passed me earlier.  I ran this shorter loop in about 5:40 and ran pretty well during the second half so made up some time I lost when not feeling well.  I managed to make it most of this loop without using my light which I picked up at mile 65. I took a fall once squishing out part of my water bottle and getting my hands pretty dirty but no damage.  I really thought I was going to be able to run out of the fall but went down anyway.

I felt strong for the last loop even though I ran it slower.  I’ve had this feeling before where after the sun goes down I feel even better.  I was able to consistently run although a slower pace.  Goal was to make it one aid station at a time and try to figure out what I needed as I made my way to the finish.  I used very few gels since they tend to make me nauseous.  The 3 Mama Chias went down very well and caused no problems.  Also, used some of the squeezable snacks which went down much better than gels being closer to real food.  At aid stations, I ate a small quantity of food – orange slices, water melon, ramen noodle broth once, small turkey sandwich a couple times, and a few chips.  I passed a lot of people on the last loop, some still doing the 50 and marathon and some various stages of the 100 miler.  It was nice to see so many people and the loop course and 3 races made this possible.  I passed a lot of people in the last few miles and at this point was running as fast as I could to get it over with.  I would have short bursts of speed and was running a little dangerously at times.  I took a second fall 2 miles from the end and hit my left calf on a blunt rock.  It was kind of like ART and had to recover a minute to make sure no damage although the spot I hit is still slightly sore to the touch. 

As I made my way to the finish, I passed a lot of people doing different races.  One guy running the 100 miler that I had passed me at the beginning of the 3rd loop was hunched over on the side of the road with less than a mile to go.  I didn’t say anything since I was assuming he was doing what he needed to do to get to the finish.  Another guy I passed about half mile was walking and said his shin hurt and he hadn’t been able to run for several miles.  I finally see the sign where I can turn to the finish and it was still a little further than expected.  I was hoping I didn’t burn myself on the torches they had set up.  I ran the last loop in about 5:52 which was actually about a mile shorter than the previous loop since we didn’t go back down the road a mile.

Finishing time is 22:32:20, 9th overall of 108 finishers (~190-something starters), and 5th in 40 – 49 age group.  I was very surprised I was 2 places ahead of the first female runner since she is an amazing runner.  My goal was to run this about as fast as Burning River 100 miler 2 years ago even though this was a more difficult course.  I felt like I was better trained this time and didn’t have a stellar day at BR100 where I did a lot of walking even on the flat sections.  My B goal was under 24 hours which I always hope I can finish but still isn’t always possible.  I’ll take the 32 min slower than BR100.  It was nice to finish in the dark before the sun came up.

I saw more wildlife on this run than usual including a raccoon, deer, mouse, and an opossum.  I was not interested at all in food after the race and had to wait until morning.  Hugh (the timer), wanted to get me something so brought me a Coke and I drank about half thinking maybe not a good idea if I wanted to get any sleep.  I was very interested in a shower as this race was very dirty and I was covered in stale sunscreen, sweat, mud, and debris. The trails drained well but there was mud in a few places and overall felt very sticky.  Even without a shirt, being sticky for over 22 hours wasn’t pleasant.  I got a few hours sleep before packing up to get my drop bags.  I had intended to sleep more but woke up to the obnoxious people next to me talking and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I had to wait around quite a while for my drop bags which is I wrote the first draft of this report.

Tough race but feel like I did very well and had very few issues.  It still makes me wonder if I should think twice before attempting another one.  It is hard to explain to anyone why I would want to run 100 miles.  Having done it 7 times now, I know what I am getting myself into but there is something about starting anew, at times giving up a little and yet pushing on, and often feeling better.  Even if not always feeling better still making it to the finish. Also, having all the time to be mostly alone and one with nature even if occasionally talking to other runners is good for me.  This may or may not have been my last 100 miler. It isn’t something I can plan for since I don’t know if the urge will strike again.  I can certainly see myself running 100Ks and 50 milers or multi-day events.

Excellent 2014 report by volunteer Colleen Theusch.

Mohican trail 100 mile elevation profile (above) at 29,062 feet elevation gain/loss compared to Leadville Trail 100 mile elevation profile (below) at 27,152 feet. Both taken with my GPS which I doubt is very accurate.  I've found vastly different results for Leadville on other sites.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

2014 Berryman 50 Miler

Race Results

Splits and Map

Race Website

I have run this 50 miler 5 times and the marathon twice.  In recent years it has been pretty warm but this year it was only 37F when we started and the high was 63F.   I drove down with Jeff  on Friday and David, Brendan, and Cody met us at the campsite which Jed and Brandy saved for us. I slept and stayed warm but woke up pretty frequently.   At first it didn't seem that cold when we got up at 5 am but then started to feel it as I was getting ready.

I had a small bowl of cereal, pineapple and a Lean Body shake for breakfast and took my Succeed Pre-Race Pack.  Only managed to use the bathroom once which was not a good sign.  The 50 miler started at 6:30 am and the marathon at 8 am.  Unlike last year, it was not warm enough to run without a shirt.  I wore a short sleeve shirt and a long sleeve pullover with the thumb holes to keep my hands warm.    We were allowed a drop bag at the start and Brazil Creek at 16 miles and 41 miles.  The plan was to drop the long sleeve pullover there as it warmed up.

I had a variety of gels (some were free samples I tried), some Peach Tea GU chews (free sample), Beechnut Fruities (smoothie), Succeed, Carb Pro, and Hammer Fizz. I started out with Hammer Fizz in my bottle and switched to Succeed at 16  miles.  Also, had a bottle mixed and ready to go at the start.

The course is two 25.7 mi loops and we headed straight into the woods.  Not quite sure where I was placed as we went in but started pretty fast and was maybe in the top 10 with David behind me and a string of people behind us.  I don't really like haven't that many people behind me since I felt like I was holding them back.  At the first aid station David said he would see me later since he wanted to slow down.  After continuing to have a pack behind me and a few passing, I finally pulled over to pee and let them go past.

At about 9 miles, I am thinking I am not going to make it to a port-a-potty so start considering my options and looking for some really good leaves.  Once I pull enough leaves I head into the woods and was pleased I only wasted about a minute.  After the first 5 miles, being 9-something pace, the next 5 were mostly 10-something.

I caught up to Paul before Brazil Creek at 16 miles.  At the aid station, I added Carb Pro to my bottle, had a smoothie, and continued onward.  At most of the aid stations I ate nothing or had a small piece of banana and and orange slice, and a couple chips once.  After Brazil Creek, we turned onto a road for a quarter mile and Paul said he was going to take it easy up the hill.  Not much happened the rest of the first loop other than passed 3 more runners.

Being cooler I thought my first loop might be a little faster than last year but ended up being 4:20:07 something which was only a few seconds faster than last year and didn't spend much time at my drop bag.  I grabbed my bottle, another smoothie and headed out.  I passed the only female ahead of me within a mile or so and another guy shortly after.  Then I didn't see other 50 mile runners until mile 35 I caught another guy.  I left my shirt at Brazil Creek.

My overall average pace slowed 7 - 14 seconds which fluctuated around 7 seconds for quite awhile.   The last part of the course is more difficult and that is where it slowed even more.  After mile 41, I started calculating in my head every mile my finish time if I could maintain an 11 minute pace.  I figured I could finish in 8:57.  This helped pass the time and I wasn't sure if I was going to see any other runners.  Finally, just before the last aid station I catch another runner that says good, you don't look 50.  He said he was 50 so we were not in the same age group.  He wishes me well.  I skip over the last aid station since I had enough fluids and even dumped some.  My estimated finish time had dropped and I was hoping I wouldn't see any more runners but just over a mile from the end I passed another guy that was walking at times. He was not in my age group.

Ended up finishing in 8:52:29, 6th overall and a race PR.  In 2008, I finished 8:53:56 and the course was 1.4 miles less.  The course is now 51.4 miles and next year it will be even longer due to trail changes and will call it a double marathon.  I did win the 1st place Master's award so was lucky to pull off again for the 3rd consecutive year.

Although cold at the start overall the weather couldn't have been better.  I tripped on a few things but never fell.  I did drop my water bottle once when I tripped while trying to keep my balance and it hit my knee.  I felt like a had something left at the end so hopefully this bodes well for my upcoming 100 miler.  Also, unusual is that I felt like eating immediately after the race.  I had a brat, a few chips, and potato salad and then had a recovery shake and some yogurt.  Usually, I have to wait longer to eat.  Ankles are not sore and I am walking pretty well.

2014 - 8:52:29 (6th)
2013 - 9:01:13 (3rd)
2012 - 9:39:44 (4th)
2011 - 3:56:46 (5th) (marathon/course changes)
2010 - paced Jeff the second half of his 50
2009 - 9:15:33 (12th)
2008 - 8:53:56 (6th)
2007 - 3:37:39 (4th)

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 Three Days of Syllamo

Day 1 - 50K:

This was my 4th time running the Syllamo 3 day stage race.  Previously, ran in 2008, 2009 and 2012 with my friend Jeff and he went with me again.  As I have mentioned before this race is worth repeating.  The course is very challenging and scenic and requires paying careful attention to trail markers and any flagging since it is not marked excessively.

We drove on Thursday to pick up our race packets and had a good dinner and Pizza Inn buffet.  The race on Friday started at 9 am and was about 45F and temps warmed up to upper 60s and cloudy all day.  I made the right decision to wear a short sleeve and leave the jacket behind since I was warm within 5 minutes.  I didn't really have a plan other than to experiment a bit with nutrition since I just do this race for fun and to finish.  It is good to run conservatively the first day since we still have a 50 mile and 20K facing us the next 2 days.  In 2008, I ran a sub 5 hour 50K and had a miserable 50 miler which was also my first ever 50 miler.  Each year I have run since has been a slower 50K except 2009 when we ran a different course on mostly forest roads due to a storm.

The 50K was pretty uneventful.  I started off very modestly and took about 8 miles to actually feel warmed up but pace pretty much remained about the same the rest of the race other than varies a great deal with the terrain.  Even with the same pace, I passed quite a few people.

I carried one bottle and used Hammer Fizz which is a zero calorie electrolyte and gives my water a nice flavor (lemon-lime, grape, and mango).  I also carried a gel and had a few items in the drop bag at 15 miles.  For the entire race I had 4 orange slices, 1 apple sauce, and 1 gel so figure I had about 250 calories.  I train without nutrition so I was hoping I could race fairly well and run off of burning fat.  It seemed to work since I felt fine the entire race and did not get very hungry.

At around 15 miles point DA caught up and flew by me since she had gone off course for about an hour.  About 2 miles from the end I caught up to SJ and another person and we all finished together in 6 hr 4 min.  I felt good about my warm up race for the 50 miler the next day.  I didn't soak in the creek this year but when back to the cabin to get our plates for the dinner and took a shower before heading back.  Jeff had already finished when I returned.  My left ankle was a little sore but it felt fine by the next morning.  I only took my usual supplements plus an extra turmeric each day.

Map and Elevation

Day 2 - 50 mile:

Saturday's race started at 6 am.  Temperature was a bit cooler at 6 am and was down to 41F at the start so I decided to start off with my jacket. I had 2 drop bags on the course which is about and back  there was one at 9.5/40.5 and 18.4/31.6.  We had to start off with a light so dropped off with my jacket at 9.5 miles and was plenty warm.

The first mile goes up so just stayed behind a line of people and took it slow and took 15 minutes for the first mile.  After 4 miles, I began to pass some people but still very slow going since this is a tough course.  I knew I would need to eat more to do the 50 miler after the 50K but still planned to wait awhile since I had a good breakfast before the race.

After dropping off the light at 9.5 miles, we encountered snow that had hardened and at a slope on what was supposed to be the trail.  Below, you have a ravine that goes down to a river.  We had to get around it but it wasn't easy since there was all kinds of dead trees and brush and stuff washed up from the river to climb through.  We made it through but I got a little scratched in the process and that mile took 18 minutes.

I managed to stay close to several runners until mile 18.5.  I had noticed a little before I was lagging behind and feeling extremely hungry.  I decided to wait until the aid station to get some real food.  I ended up spending some time eating peanut butter and crackers, probably an entire orange, cookies and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich they gave to me when they noticed I was eating so much.  One of the workers just wanted me to grab some food and leave so I didn't waste time.  I told him I was way ahead of cutoff so not a problem.  I grabbed some supplies from my drop bag, took some more food and was on my way.  I estimate I consumed about 1200 calories.  I was no longer hungry but had little energy.

I struggled for the next 14 miles.  One of the guys in the group I had been running with beat me to the turnaround by 17 minutes.  The turnaround came a lot quicker than I expected so that was good.  I turned around at 5:57 so had 8 hours to return before the cutoff.  I saw many people on the way back including Jeff.  At least 10 people passed me.  I estimated I would be lucky to finish in 12.5 - 13 hrs at the pace I was moving.  I had a bad case of I don't care or whatever you want to call it.  Questioned why I was running this race and why I signed up for more ultras this year.  I planned to pick up my light at 40 miles so I could make it back in case it was dark.

I had finally figured out I was pretty dehydrated miles back and had drank a PowerAid Zero at my drop bag at the 31.6 miles drop bag which was actually less. I also picked up a packet of Succeed from my bag and added to my drink.  I think the fluid loss was my main problem for my sluggishness and it had warmed up to around 70F.  Around mile 32 over on another ridge I see Jeff so he couldn't have been too far behind.  I tried to pick up  the pace a little and things continued to improve dramatically.  It became cloudy and the temperature dropped which also helped to bring me back to life.  I believe I ended up  passing every runner that had passed me earlier and 1 or 2 more.  I wasn't moving any faster than a 13 min pace.  I began to have hope that I could now finish in under 12 hours and have a negative split.

Before arriving at the 40.5 mile station, I had to go through the area earlier with the snow.  I think it had melted some so I stayed on top the ridge and hung onto the rocks or anything I could grab and made it across much more quickly than on the way out.  When I made it to the 40.5 mile aid station, I was pretty sure I was going to finish under 12 hours and in the light so did not take the headlamp.  I grabbed something small to eat and headed on my way passing 2 runners before the end.  Finished in 11 hr, 49 min so a negative split by 5 minutes.

Maps and Elevation

Day 3 - 20K+:

Two years ago when we ran the 20K it rained and this year was not looking good either.  It had been raining through the night and was still raining in the morning.  The temperature was 54F, the warmest starting temp of the races so didn't seem quite as bad but I knew I was going to get wet.  I couldn't find the rain jacket I had taken to the race so ended up wearing another jacket. It had been in my drop bag the day before but was now gone and still has not turned up.  I wore a different jacket and a short sleeve shirt underneath.   I was soon soaked but warm enough.  The trails had turned into tiny rivers with water running down them.

After the first 2 miles, I was able to pick up the pace a little and start passing the line I was running behind.  Details are a little fuzzy for the rest of this race.  I remember the wind really picking up while we were on a ridge.  This made me cold which made me want to run faster to stay warm.  Eventually got out of the wind, but it was apparent the temperature was dropping.  The rain did let up some.  I was running alone for most of the time but occasionally would see a few people and catch up to them and pass.

Then I didn't see anyone for awhile.  I was starting to question if I was on course, but there were still the yellow markers.  I had run this course before so not sure why I had so much doubt other than I was cold and now running for survival.  I kept checking myself to make sure I was really okay and figured if I could keep moving I would be okay.  I caught up to a couple runners at some point and then they somehow got way ahead of me very quickly.  At one point I crossed a road and the race director was driving around and asked if I was warm enough.  I lied and said yes and continued into the woods on the next portion of trail.  I only had 4 miles to go so hoped I could make it.  He said to be careful crossing the river.  I kept running but not very hopeful.  I tried to avoid running in the water if I could since it was making me feel even colder.

By the time I reached mile 12+ turned down a trail with yellow flags, but saw a green marker which really confused me since all flags and markers were supposed to be yellow.  I was about to turn around and recognized the area and then 2 runners came behind me.  I had to walk down some "step rocks" that turned.  I told the I was feeling pretty shaky and to go ahead but I would try to stay with them.  At this point, I was shivering and running at the same time.  The river was rushing but not too wide where we crossed and we hung onto some branches.  Somehow this mile took me 18 minutes.  I guess between climbing down the steps, climbing through some trees and the river added a little to the time.  I followed them to the end and the road to the finish came sooner than I expected.  I've never been so happy to see the finish line in a race.

I was quickly pushed into a tent with a heater and a cup of hot chocolate that I was shaking so much I could barely keep from spilling it.  DA was in there and told us we needed to get out of our wet clothes.  I stayed a little longer and then realized she was right so ran to my car, drove less than a quarter mile to dry off in the beach house and put on dry clothes.  Then went back to the heated tent, shivered some more, got out and back in about 3 times before I stopped shivering.  In between all of this I missed Jeff finishing but was thankful to see he had finished.

My finish time was 3 hrs, 1 min.  I ate nothing during the race and had drank less than 1/3 of my bottle in those 3 hours.

As soon as I got to the car, we took off and were ready to get out of there.  I had 2 jackets and the heat set pretty high for the drive home.  Getting home was an adventure.  It was still raining and the temperature kept dropping as we headed north.  Before we were out of Arkansas it had changed to ice but the road was still warm enough it wasn't bad yet.  Then it changed to snow and we were reduced to speeds of 43 mph for quite awhile until we got to a point in Missouri where the plows had cleared and treated the roads.  At this point, we stopped for lunch at 3-something.  By the time we were less than 30 miles from home, there were not signs it had snowed but it was still cold.

Maps and Elevation

Day 1 - 12:27/mi - 6:04:10 - 22 of 58
Day 2 - 14:51/mi - 11:48:56 - 11 of 38
Day 3 - 13:21/mi - 3:01:39 - 28 of 63

Overall - 13:51/mi - 20:54:45 - 12 of 31.  This is based on my GPS distance of 90.6 miles for the 3 races. There were 48 signed up for all 3 races but not sure how many started the first day.  Slowest time ever for the 1st and 3rd day and second slowest for the 2nd day.