Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Free State Trail Runs - First 100K

Pictures

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

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