Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Free State Trail Runs - First 100K


Race web site

First 100K finished on Saturday and it was a LONG day. Drove with Mike and Andy to Clinton State Park in Lawrence where we met Jeff at the campground on Friday. We set up camp and went to check out the starting area where we planned to walk in the morning. Jeff built a fire, and we sat around chatting and eating until heading to bed at about 10. I slept pretty well on an air mattress in the Element. The wind picked up a bit but it barely rained and then things were calm the rest of the night.

My phone alarm woke me up at 5:30 and soon we were all awake. I felt like I rushed to eat, get things put away, and my stuff ready to go. I sort of felt unprepared, but wasn't stressing either. I wasn't sure what to put in my drop bags. I ended up packing stuff I didn't need but I guess it is good to be prepared. One trip to the bathroom and then we walked over to the start.

I had just enough time to stretch my back. I ran into Johnny from Columbia, but didn't see several people I knew until later. There were over 200 signed up for the 3 events. The race was organized by the Kansas City Trail Nerds Mizuno signs were very prominent since one of the race directors is a Mizuno rep. The shirt in our packet was a nice short sleeved Mizuno shirt.

It had been raining in Lawrence for several days before the race so the trails were wet, slippery rocks, and pits of mud. There was ankle deep mud over roughly 20% of the trail and some wet rocks that were quite slippery. The solid uneven rocks along the shoreline seemed kind of dangerous. I would describe the overall course as rolling. The mud made up for the lack of big hills.

The 100K course was 3 loops of just over 20 miles and we started the race with the 40 milers. The marathoners started an hour later. I started off conservatively and stayed behind Johnny for about the first 3 miles. Then decided to pick up the pace a little, but keep it really easy. I started off walking any hills right away and hoped this would pay off later. I felt good early in the race and was hoping I could maintain this good feeling for as long as possible. I wondered if I would just get sick of being out there so long since I expected to finish in about 12 hours. However, it was a beautiful trail and I didn't get tired of seeing it multiple times.

I carried 2 bottles of Succeed Ultra which also happened to be the drink they were serving at aid stations so I did not need to use much of my own supply. I carried a couple gels and had some granola bars in my bags just in case. In the past about the only thing I could eat during an ultra were gels and a little peanut butter sandwiches along with my Accelerade which made me feel naseous. At each aid station, I consumed either some pita wrap with Nutella, pita wrap with peanut butter, peanut butter jelly, a few Pringles, and Coke. I also had carried some S-Caps and took some at the aid stations as well. The Succeed Ultra drink and S-Caps seemed to work for me since I did not feel nauseous and was managing to get some food down and feel pretty good.

Talked to the awesome ultra-marathoner Brad B. during the first loop and passed him only to be passed back later. He really picked up the pace. At about 13 miles or so into the first loop, Andy caught up to me and we finished the first loop together (about 3:26) and ran a few miles of the second loop until he stopped to pee and also stopped at one point since I don't think he felt well. I was feeling pretty good with my plan of running and walking the hills. I never had a desire to just walk other than a few times when the mud was so bad, but found myself just running through it most of the time. Some of it was just ankle deep slop with standing water. Mentally, I must have been doing well, since the mud never really bothered me like it has in the past. I found the rocks we ran on next to the lake the most challenging since I really couldn't run on them much. I wanted to avoid falling on them so walked the technical parts.

I was done with the 40+ at the end of the second loop at 7 hr 15 min. so slowed a bit. As I was getting some things out of my drop bag before starting the 3rd loop, Andy finished his race and placed 5th overall. I remember seeing him sitting on the ground which looked pretty appealing. Right before I finished the second loop, I was trying to convince myself that I could run a third loop. I had my doubts, but once I finished the second with the crowd to cheer me on, I was ready to go.

I saw Mike at an aid station on my third loop as he was near the end of his second. I did not realize until then that the 2 trails shared an aid station. I also did not realize he was almost done! I think I was 40-something miles at this point and told him I hoped to finish before 11 ½ hours and I was 8-something hours at that point. I did not see many people in the third loop, but passed a few. The volunteers at all the aid stations were great asking me what I needed at every station.

I was thinking once I make it to the 10 mile of the loop aid station, I will be fine and can make it. My goal was to try to finish the last loop in around 4 hrs and at least finish under 11:30 overall. This kept me running as much as possible and I still felt like running as long as it wasn't up a hill which was the strategy the entire time. I started to feel really good with 5 miles to go. I am thinking in my head if I have any time to spare to get under my goal. I am guessing about 4 min so keep moving. I skipped the last aid station and told them I was going to head to the finish.

I come up behind a guy less than a mile from the finish that is walking. I feel like I am making all kinds of noise and I guess I forget that some people might be out of it at this point. As I went around him and said something, I really scared him. I felt a little bad about it, but pushed on to the finish. Last loop was about 4:10 and finished in 11:25! I was very happy with my time and felt good. Had my picture take with Ben, one of the race directors. Ben & Sophia and the KC Trail Nerds put on first class events. I highly suggest to anyone to run one. You won't be disappointed!

I felt like I could have done another loop although would have been much slower! I was hungry so started to eat a veggie burger which was quite good, but after I ate half I was stuffed and couldn't eat another bite or it was going to come back up. I guess my stomach wasn't ready. We headed back to the campground to get ready to leave since the sky was getting dark. I took a shower and then we were off on the drive home. I couldn't get to my bed soon enough, but first I had to eat some of the German chocolate cake Hugh had made for me.

1st Loop – 3:26:45 – 9:59 pace
2nd Loop – 3:49:59 – 11:07 pace
3rd Loop- 4:08:32 – 12:01 pace

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2010 Go! St. Louis Marathon

We drove to St. Louis on Saturday and went to the expo to pick up our packets.. We spent some time there and then headed to the hotel. Hugh discovered they had given him a small shirt instead of the medium he had requested. On the way to dinner we went back and exchanged the shirt. We had dinner at Incredible's Pizza buffet and it was awesome as usual. Only catch was we had to eat in 45 min since they were closing for a private party at 7 pm. Back to the room, got our stuff ready, and to sleep about 10 pm. I was awake around 3 and then fell back asleep and rudely awakened from a deep sleep by the alarm at 4:50.

I followed my usual pre-race routine with shake, shower, and we left around 6 am to head to the start. By the time we got there, we needed a bathroom and the lines were too long so we looked around for other options. We found a hotel and headed inside. The men's room had the shortest line and they pushed us to the front since the line was for stalls. We had about 15 minutes to get back to the corrals. I had to jump the fence to get in as they were playing the anthem. I found Katie, Ryan, Tom and Angie and we were all running the marathon. We were right behind the start line. Tony R. was behind us running the half.

Angie was attempting a 6:45 pace which is about the pace I was hoping for myself so when we took off I attempted to stay with Angie and Tom. Dan E. soon surprised me and then Andy S. was also running beside us. We kept Angie and Tom in our sights but it seemed like they were going to run a little faster than I felt like running. Andy S. eventually went ahead of all of us and looked really strong. I ran with Dan and lost him once after a water station and then he was back. A priest sprinkled holy water on us at one point and around mile 7 I heard someone yell "Go Andy" around mile 7 and told Dan probably for another Andy and Sunny told me that she yelled when she was at mile 2 since we were passing in opposite directions at that point.  Around 10 miles we lost each other again and he told me later he couldn't keep the pace. Normally, he could since he was pulling me on training runs but he has been dealing with some injury issues and hasn't been able to train as much in the past several weeks. But he was doing great just to be running today.

I was pretty close to my pace for the first 10 miles (all sub 7) but mile 11 which is after I lost Dan, I ran 7:05. This is all a coincidence since I was not feeling great was wondering how much longer I was going to be able to keep up the pace we were running. I felt like my breathing was harder than it should be and just didn't feel well. I had that tight feeling I got during St. Pat's just below my chest. I was taking water at every station and getting my gels. I felt a little better after each gel.

By mile 13.1, I was around 1:30 so had fallen off pace. I am kind of fuzzy on some details today, somewhere around here I was running with a guy that asked if I had a running blog. He had checked it out and said he found it inspiring. The mile I ran with him felt better but then I just could not keep it up. Miles 11 – 14 were all under sub 7:30. I realized back at mile 10 that today would not be a PR and maybe a better goal would be just to beat my Boston Qualifying time of 3:20. I felt like I could probably keep an 8 min pace. Although any slight hill quickly put on the brakes for my pace. I would get back on pace though on flats and downhills.

At times, I honestly felt like walking. The thought of quitting crossed my mind, but knew I could finish and decided I didn't care my time. My gels started to almost come back up at points. I kind of just felt like I was coming down with something. May have been deficient in electrolytes since it was getting warm. I am not sure the temp but felt like it was in the 70s. I used all the water stations. I was passed somewhere around mile 20 I think by Dane, the guy getting signatures for his book at the expo.

Pace the rest of the way was around 8 min, some a little less and some more. About 2+miles to the end a guy starts running with me. I don't know if he was looking for some encouragement or what but we seemed to make a pact to get each other to the end. We were both off our normal pace and feeling bad. There was a small hill and that about stopped us, but we got to going a bit faster on the downhill. There were half marathoners walking on one side of the road and we could see a flag up ahead. However, that was not the finish. It was around another corner. We were running downhill and he didn't know if he could keep it up, but I said I wasn't going to run any faster. I was spent too and just no energy. Legs didn't hurt at all though. Just that feeling that I really don't want to do this anymore. We made it to the end. I really appreciated the support the last couple miles.

I saw Ryan still in the finish area and he was looking for Katie. I went to sit in the grass outside the fence and forced myself to eat some of the finish line food. Eventually Katie come through and then Dan who joined me in the grass for a few minutes. He seemed to be doing great and was glad he ran it. I continued to wait for Hugh and figured he would be later than expected too. He finished in 4:25 and walked a lot of the last 3 miles. He even had shut off his Garmin at mile 23 and decided he was done. Then started a new run for the last 3 miles.

We walked back to the hotel. On the way back a gang of kids asked us something about our numbers and we said we had run a marathon. One asked something about what was in our bag and I said food. Hugh had made a bag out of the mylar blanket to carry the food. We kept walking and they asked if we had change for a $50. Sorry, no we don't and then we were pummeled with a clod of dirt and then fresh pineapple. Hugh says we were victims of a walk-by fruiting. I guess we were lucky they were just a bunch of bored kids and didn't try anything more. I think I could have outrun them, but Hugh was having problems finding the energy to walk.

Lunch was at Cheesecake Factory at the Galleria and we had cheesecake for dessert. Service was excellent and at least ended the part in St. Louis on a positive note. Then we drove back to Columbia and I have never been so happy to be home. The temp got up to 82 today. I suppose the heat was a factor, and everyone deals with it differently. I don't think it was my only problem today. I am not sure why I ran about 20 min slower than planned but I am happy to have finished marathon 22. Overall, I am now at 32 including ultras. No more marathons until HOA and 2 weeks until my first 100K.

Overall time was 3:16:16 (gun time 3:16:17), place 10 of 201 in my age group, and 87 out of 2078. Average pace for 26.2 is 7:30.

M1 – 6:43
M2 – 6:49
M3 – 6:47
M4 – 6:28
M5 – 6:40
M6 – 6:48
M7 – 6:50
M8 – 6:50
M9 – 6:48
M10 – 6:57
M11 – 7:05
M12 – 7:26
M13 – 7:19
M14 – 7:17
M15 – 7:45
M16- 7:55
M17 – 8:06
M18 – 8:02
M19 – 8:14
M20 – 7:57
M21 – 7:58
M22 – 8:09
M23 – 8:29
M24 – 8:20
M25 – 8:17
M26 – 7:49
0.36 – 7:31