Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2016 Big's Back Yard Ultra


Saturday I ran Big Dog's Back Yard Ultra for the 3rd time. For background info on this race, see my 2014 report where I did a pretty good job of explaining the race and why I enjoy it. I will say my training wasn't that great but I did run 9 ultras and 1 marathon this year so maybe all the racing counted for something. I even ran the same 3 races (Heart of America Marathon and Barkley Classic 50K in September, and Rock Bridge Revenge 50k in October) that I ran in 2014. I guess the races were my training. I did a better job with weight lifting over the summer and let my running slide and went into this race at 160+ lbs, 8 lbs more than usual but felt good. I also scrapped my training plan for the year back in March when I was training for Kettle Morraine 100 miler. It was actually nice not having the stress of a training plan for a change.

I arrived on Friday, setting up camp at race headquarters, talking awhile with a few runners I knew, and then going out to dinner alone since I thought I would try to get to bed a little early since I hadn't slept enough during the week. When I got back, it was a little noisy, but I took a couple Benadryl and managed to get to sleep and it soon quieted down. They had the race clock counting down and I kept hearing someone reminding everyone only so many hours to the start.

Trail hours:

We started at 6:45 am to give us more daylight on the last trail loop of the day. 46 starters and the race has a limit of 50 runners but they took a few more. We started off on the first loop. To my surprise, I finished the first loop first in 48:35 which was maybe reasonable other than this year it was definitely warmer. It was in the 60s at the start and got into the 80s later. The trail loops were pretty routine, running at the same times, and walking the same hills each loop. The second loop was 47:36 and 3 through 11 were 48- 50 so all very consistent. Some good conversation on some loops and I ran others mostly alone. I remember loop 6 feeling not that great but the rest went better.

I kept up on nutrition and watched my feet since my trail shoes have been rubbing my heels with the new version of Innov8 - 295s. I alternated pairs and socks for awhile and used the lubrication on my heels. Later I noticed they felt fine so quit alternating shoes. For nutrition I had Sword, Huma gels, and some solid foods. I really wasn't feeling the gels for some reason so didn't use as many as I planned. I wasn't feeling my best on lap 10 so decided to go a bit slower on 11 and hopefully speed up on 12 when it would get dark. I finished 11 about 2 minutes slower than the previous and felt better. I think the temps cooling off helped too.

I am excited on the 12th trail loop since it is the last one until we switch to the road which I knew would be easier and temps would continue to cool off. We were told to take a light but my plan was to go faster and hopefully beat the darkness.  I start off fast on the out and back road section before we come back and get on the trail. The guy ahead of me let me go around him as I started on the trail and I knew I was the first runner. I was feeling good although still walking most hills. At some point into my loop Marc Laveson flies around me. He's an amazing athlete and I watch him climb the hills with ease. He ended up running this lap,  10 min faster than he had been running all day. It was getting dark but I never had to turn on my light. I ended up running my fastest lap in 46:42, finishing second.

Road hours:

At 6:45  pm, we started our first lap (out and back) on the road with 17 runners remaining. I was actually happy to be on the road after 12 hours on the same trail. The road is easier even after running for 12 hours on the trail. I was running with some runners I hadn't had the opportunity to run next to on the trail. She was an excellent runner that seemed to run the laps with ease with plenty of time remaining. I had heard her talking throughout the day although I hadn't run near her that much. She was very talkative and outgoing and seemed to have a lot of energy for as warm as it felt. In case anyone from the race is reading and heard anything I will just mention the conversation turned south (big misunderstanding on her part) but we have since come to an understanding that I think I can live with.

The full moon was very bright and I barley used my headlamp all night other than to check the time. I ran the first road lap in 38:08 which was way faster than I should have but the adrenaline was pumping from the conversation I had at beginning of this lap. When I finished the lap someone said I must really like the road since I finished the lap so fast. I then explained to the race timers what had happened and they confirmed I was in the right.

On the next loop, I decided to calm down a bit and kind of hung behind several runners at first. I never mentioned the incident to anyone else still in the race since I didn't feel it would be appropriate. I finally ended up running ahead and I was probably still not calm since I ran that lap in 39:58. I didn't have a firm plan going into this but felt these were too fast so I decided to try to find someone the next loop to stay behind.

For laps 15 and 16, I ran with Case Cantrell, good conversation, perfect pace for me and it really helped my mood and helped me focus on running smarter. We took walk breaks and ended up running 45s. For laps 17 - 19, I ran pretty well between 42 - 46. I was getting to the point where it was more difficult to drink the Sword and gels didn't sound good. I was able to eat some vegetable soup between laps and had a brat which I have done before and had no problems. I started feeling worse (low energy), and finished lap 20 in 48 but still not unreasonable. Before lap 21 I was feeling pretty yucky. I was eating some yogurt and before I finished it, it felt like it was going to come up so I stopped.  I was feeling a little cool so I put on my jacket for the next lap thinking it might help with my tummy issues. I forgot to grab my bottle. My jacket was too hot so I had to remove and carry it. It was just as well I didn't carry the bottle since I doubt I wasn't sure I could keep it down. I ended up walking most of the last mile although some of it was uphill so would have walked anyway. I just walked more than usual.

I ran 51:50 but was seriously thinking about quitting due to how I was feeling. I decided to try one more effort to save my nutrition assuming that was the problem. I had some more soup and it went down okay. I also had some Sword. I got up with the 2 minute warning sounded for lap 22. I hoped I could finish it and feel better. Unfortunately, I felt worse, walked even more and finished 55:49. I didn't like the direction things were going so waited and went up when the 1 minute warning and turned in my timing chip. Marcy timed out and the other female runner quit too so now there were just 4 guys remaining. I waited until Marcy got back and talked a bit with Case until I said I needed to go lie down. 

It took me forever to get out one of my contacts. When I finally got to sleep, it was around 5:30 am and I woke up just before 7 am as the still final 4 headed out on their first trail loop of the day. In the end the winner ended up going 29 hours after everyone else either dropped or timed out. It would have been nice to get 100 miles but I just wasn't having fun anymore after mile 22. I had said before the race I wouldn't drop unless I timed out I guess how I was feeling persuaded myself to stop.

I tied 5th for most number of miles at 91.67 and placing 6th overall with my total time of 17:30:27.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

2016 Psycho Psummer, Heart of America, and Barkley Fall Classic

Psycho Psummer 50K

I ran Psycho Psummer in July. Starting temperature was 81F and finish 91F. It didn't make to 99 as predicted but the heat index was likely higher. I finished in 5:41:38, 7th of 50. 80 or so registered and some dropped to the 20 miler. I ran the loops in 1:47, 1:55, and 1:58. It could have been worse with the heat. I felt amazing the entire run which is unusual at this distance in the heat. I drank 12 - 20 oz bottles so stayed well hydrated. It sounds like a lot but apparently was needed. Also drank pickle juice. Kaci Lickteig, 2016 Western States winner was the first female and overall race winner in 4:23 - 1:25, 1:28, 1:29. I had the second most even splits. Hugh ran 10 on the road and walked/ran 14 including walking 1 loop of the course! We had lunch at Subway and shopped at Trader Joes before heading home.

Heart of America Marathon

Finished my 13th consecutive HOA on Labor Day. Placed 5th overall and second in age group. This was pretty good with my crappy my crappy training, weight gain and lack of motivation to put in the necessary miles. I felt pretty good except for first 4 and last 2 miles. 3 hr 16 min so same time as last year. I guess I will continue to try to keep up my streak but a long way to go to break the record. Another guy still running has 17 years and the record is 25 years. Maybe I should try running at least 1 other marathon for practice earlier in the year or doing some actual marathon training might be good too.

Barkley Fall Classic 50K

I won't go into too much detail since part of the fun of this race is a venture into the unknown. If you want to know more check out the race website, Facebook group, and this brief report by a fellow runner that covers the major points of the race.

Fortunately, I survived the Barkley Fall Classic (50k, lol) at Frozen Head State Park in TN, only 12 days after HOA. The race isn't dangerous but it is extremely difficult due to the severe climbs. I ran the 2014 version of the race and decided to go back this year since last year Laz added some additional challenges and running through the old prison.

The only things pleasant about this experience were the rugged, yet beautiful and peaceful scenery, the intermittent cool breezes and the satisfaction of finishing what at times felt like the impossible. I kept moving forward and that included going nearly straight up at times, hopefully finding footing or something to pull myself up to get a few more inches. The challenges: going uphill for long stretches, severe vertical challenges, briars, going downhill for long stretches, feeling lost at times even though with people, humidity, heat, running out of fluids up Chimney Top, muscle spasms 2 different times going up, and nearly complete exhaustion with high heart rate going up the severe long climbs. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. At least I wasn’t stung multiple times by bees like some people. Also no GPS and no gel packets allowed for this race. I only fell once but it was due to my own clumsiness.

I wore my old malfunctioning Fitbit which somehow died (for good I think) 2.5 hours from the end being fully charged and ate 4 Lara bars. Sword was served on the course which I regularly use so I didn’t need to carry much of anything other than the 2 water bottles which was a challenge at times since I needed to have at least one hand free at times to pull myself up. Once I got to mile 22 where Laz punches our bib (I think the first time, I’ve left blood on my race bib), we have the option of finishing a “marathon” or continuing up the last climb, Chimney top which I think is 3 miles of climbing. I had 5.5 hours to cutoff of 13 hr 20 min to finish so plenty of time. I caught up to 2 guys on the way up, one that I knew from previous races, and the other had been at some of the same race but didn’t know him. We enjoyed each other’s company and stuck together until the end finishing in 10 hr 31 min. I placed 22nd.

From Laz: 550 runners were accepted for entry to the BFC.  226 of those either withdrew, or never showed up at all. Of the 324 who answered the starting cigarette; 73 dropped out 132 either chose, or were relegated to the marathon... and 119 took home a croix de barque. 37% of the starters.

If you want the ultimate challenge and a race that will create doubt in your mind that you can finish, then this is the event for you. Runners can even opt for the "marathon" if they don't reach the 22 mile point by 9.5 hours or they can also choose to do they marathon if they've had enough. There's no reason to be scared of this race if you do your best to prepare. Also, with over 300 starters, you probably won't ever be alone. Another fun feature is that there were 7 checkpoints where we had to get our bibs punched. The punches spelled "I escaped" (the P was free).

I'm on the left.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

2016 Kettle Moraine 100 miler

I drove up on Friday, the day before the race. Due to road construction, the drive was much longer than expected. I waited until Rockford, IL to stop for lunch at 3 pm since they have a Roly Poly. I was pretty hungry and didn't pay close enough attention to where I parked so took a few minutes to find the car when I was ready to leave. Packet pickup was from 3 - 6 pm and I made it by 5:10. The Crossroads Motel where I stayed was only a 10 minute drive. The wifi was slow and I wanted to check email so I decided to go to Culver's. I wasn't really hungry for dinner so just had a concrete. Then went back to the room, got things ready, and went to bed so I could get at least 6 hours sleep.

I woked up a few minutes early at 3:45 am and was ready to leave by 5:10. Temperature was around 64F I think and humid. I still got a good parking spot and had to pick up my timing chip. The race started promptly at 6 am with all the runners from the 100K, 100 mi, and 100 mi relay. There was also a 50K and 38 mi run that started later in the day. Everything felt good and pain free at the start. I didn't follow an official training plan for very long. I didn't sign up for the race until April and ran 2-50Ks, 2-100Ks, and a 50 miler 2 weeks ago. I had some good mileage from the beginning of the year and with the races it seems like it would be a good buildup to a 100 miler. If I wanted to run a 100 miler this year, June was the time to do it. My mileage in May was over 100 less than April so I guess that was my taper. I was probably the least stressed about this 100 miler as any I have run. Also, I thought this might be a good time for my last 100 miler since it was also my first.

I did set some goals for estimated time to run to my drop bags the day before I left. I needed to do this to plan what to have in each of them.  I planned to be at 14 mi at 9 am, 31 mi at 12 pm, 47 mi at 3 pm, 62 mi at 6:30 pm, 77 mi at 9:30 pm, 86 mi at 11:30 pm, and hopefully done by 3 - 3:30 am. I had Huma Gels, Chia squeezes, and Sword in my drop bags. I also had my light, extra batteries, GPS charger, Body Glide, another shirt, hat, and 1 pair socks. I packed pretty light. Two of the drop bags would be accessed 2 times and the rest once.

I started off at a very reasonable 10 min pace for the first section which is pretty easy running in the grass. I walked all of the hills. Before the first drop bag at Emma Carlin the guy I ran with 4 years ago from Columbia recognized me. He was running the relay then and had run the 100 mile last year and was attempting again. We ended up running together all the way to the 50K and a little after. I arrived at the 14 mile drop bag at 8:30 am so 30 min ahead of schedule. I picked up my hat since we were heading into the open meadow and it was getting warmer.

Later the sky became cloudy and shortly after 11 am it began to rain which was perfect since we were running in the open with rarely any tree cover during this section. I made to the Scuppernong 50K turnaround at 11:32 am with several other runners so 28 min early. I was doing pretty good other than my shoes were rubbing my heels but just a minor annoyance at this point. Also, since it was raining I decided to get rid of my shirt and hat since I especially don't like running with a wet shirt. Also, I had to make a quick stop to the bathroom. I eventually caught back up to Josh and another guy I had been running with earlier.

I arrived back at Emma Carlin 47 miles at 2:42 pm, still ahead of schedule but feeling a bit dehydrated. At some point I had run ahead of Josh and didn't see him again until later when I was going back out from the first 100K. The next 8 mile section to the Bluff Rd station at 55 mi was tougher and my pace slowed some. Thankfully, the last section back to Nordic 100K and where we started is easier so I was able to pull myself together and go a little faster. It did cross my mind that it would be nice to be done if I wanted to stop. Since I was still running and things were going pretty well, I knew I would need to continue. I arrived at Nordic at 5:58 pm so 32 min ahead of schedule and 44 minutes earlier than 6 years ago.

I picked up my light and decided to remove my shoes since they were squishing. I put Body Glide on my feet and new socks which helped make the shoes less squishy. Also, my heels felt better. They were red but not blistered. I did have a small blister on my left little toe which popped at some point and didn't cause any issues. I'm not really remembering how I felt from Nordic out to Bluff in the next 7.5 miles but must not have been so great since my pace was 14:23/mi for this section. I may have been a little dehydrated since I remember drinking some extra water at this aid station which I had done several times as needed. Drinking to thirst as some suggest just doesn't work for me during a 100 miler. I drink extra and still get a little dehydrated sometimes. If I wasn't peeing I would drink more until I did and then evaluate if I needed to drink even more based on color.

When I ran this in 2010, I didn't get to see any of the next section in the light since it was already dark. It was light almost all the way to Hwy 12 so I got to see a lot of it and there were beautiful lakes I didn't get to see before. Also, the sunset was very pretty and I could see it while running this section. My pace improved to 13:40 for the section to Hwy 12. I had to turn on my light on the way there when I was on the single track sections in the woods. I was still seeing runners, some from the relay, 38 mile fun run, and eventually some of the first 100 milers coming back. I had started out in 42 place eventually working my way up to 9th when I arrived at Hwy 12 at 9:23 pm but only 7 min ahead of my estimated time.

I was and I wasn't looking forward to the next section to Rice Lake turnaround. It is the toughest section (technical and hills), 4.5 miles out and then 4.5 miles back to Hwy 12. My pace was 15:48 out and 15:07 back. I was back by 11:42 and now 12 min behind my estimated time. Understandably slow for this section at this point in the race. I knew I could hopefully pick up the pace once I got back to Bluff but I was pretty worn down by this section. It was difficult to tell sometimes what runners were running which race. I knew I had passed a few 100 milers and been passed by 1.

Some other runners came in behind me at Bluff. I had 7.5 miles to go to the finish. I thought I was keeping a pretty good pace and then at some point going down one of the hills, they blow right past me and run part way up the next hill. One of them was breathing really hard. I'm thinking this is crazy and let them go. A few miles later, I see them again and catch them. I have no problem passing them and get so far ahead I can no longer see them. I really don't like getting passed so close to the end so I was pleased I was able to pass them. Maybe I'm a little competitive and I thought at least a top 10 finish would be a good goal for me. I didn't think I would be able to pass them since they looked so strong when they passed me earlier. Around 2.5 miles from the end, I am a little confused as to which way to go since I didn't see the arrow or any glow sticks. I look behind me and I don't see anyone to wait and ask. I ended up running less than a quarter mile before thinking it didn't seem right so turned around. Then I saw the arrow was there (right next to the ground in the grass so hard to see) but no glow sticks. I caught up to the two 100 miler runners and a pacer again and confidently passed them to the point they were out of sight again. I'm thinking maybe a sub-21 finish is still possible.

I kept thinking I had to be close to the end and seemed like a long 2 miles but eventually I could see the timing clock and finished in 20 hr 56 min and 59 sec.  The runners behind me arrived 7 min later.
I placed 8th overall - 225 starters and 133 finishers. 4th in my age group 40 - 49.  In 2010 there were 155 starters and only 51 finishers and I placed 4th. The growth was good since I was often running near others but it was never too crowded. I felt it went very well and they had me at 12:29 overall pace. Pace during the last section with my error was 12:14 so not a bad pace to finish.

I wasn't able to eat anything at the end. I tried a little ginger ale but had to dump the rest. I stayed around for about 15 minutes and left to go back to my room to shower.  I managed to get down a protein shake and part of an Ice. I had hoped to sleep to 10:30 am but woke up at 8:30 so got ready and headed back over to retrieve the last drop bag and hopefully eat breakfast. The breakfast was catered and they had pancakes, 2 kinds of eggs, sausage, bacon, cinnamon rolls, orange juice, and coffee. I had everything except coffee. I made it home safely without feeling tired. I nearly drove straight through without stopping until about 45 min from home to fill up with gas and go to the bathroom. Appetite still wasn't normal so I skipped lunch.

Kettle is a great 100 miler, well-organized, excellent aid stations, volunteers, and good crowd support. It is not as difficult as some but still has plenty of challenges with only a 59% finishing rate this year and some years lower. The option to drop to the 100K is good too. The temperature in June can be a challenge but could have been much worse on this course in the open if it hadn't rained for awhile. I'm guessing it stayed under 80F. Accuweather says it was 77F. I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle the 100 mile again here (or anywhere - ask me in 6-12 months) but I would be willing to run the 100K.




Monday, May 23, 2016

2016 Berryman Trail 50 miler

I ran the Berryman 50+ miler Saturday. There was a large group of us from Columbia that went this year and many of us camped together. Some were running the marathon and several the 50. Temperature at the start was 53F and humid and got up to 75F. The 50 miler started at 6:30 am. I took off near the front and was in 4/5th place the entire first loop since I ran with another runner. He wasn't wearing a GPS and it was his first 50 miler. I think this is the longest I have run with the same person in an ultra.Most of the time he ran right behind me.

I didn't spend much time at aid stations so often started out ahead of him but he would shortly catch me and not want to pass. We had a drop bag at the 16 mile point on the loop. He even changed his shoes after we had crossed the creek and still caught me. I was a little worried I might be running too fast but hoped to finish the first loop in 4:20 as I have done many times (might be time for a new approach). As we finished the first loop, the time on my GPS just hit 4:20. It seemed a little more difficult than some years which might be since I ran all the hills. I have run all the hills in this race before but it has been a few years. One of the 50 milers had dropped at the first loop so we were now in 3/4th place. The first loop went by quickly and I am thankful I had someone that I enjoyed running with to pass the time.

I took off for the second loop while he was changing his shoes but of course he soon caught me. I asked again if he wanted to go around. I had a feeling that might have the ability to pick it up since I never heard him breathing hard behind me. After about a half mile, he said he was going to try to run the downhills faster. I wasn't able to keep him in sight for long since he did pick up the pace. He obviously had the ability to run faster but was smart to hold back on the first loop. I was able to keep my pace in the 10s (about same as first loop) for 5 more miles but at mile 31, I slowed to 12 min.I kept running other than uphills and managed 11-12 something pace all except 1 mile at 14 min where I spent a little extra time at the aid station catching up on hydration. No miles in the 13s!

I passed a few slower marathoners but didn't see anyone else. I wasn't too worried about any 50 milers passing me even though I had slowed since the temperature had warmed up. I didn't feel great the last 20 miles but felt good enough to run most of the time so pace didn't completely go downhill. I probably made the mistake of running the entire first loop and didn't walk any hills.

I ended up finishing 4th overall, 2 places higher than last year and 14 min slower. The guy I ran the first loop moved up to 2nd. He ran the second loop only 8 min slower. I ran it 38 min slower in 4:58 so my overall time was 9 hr 18 min.  I ended up breaking my streak of 4 Master's wins since another 47 year old finished 22 min ahead of me. Fine with me since I really didn't need another plaque and even if I had run the first loop slower, I don't think I had an 8:54 in me. I did run an 8:52 in 2014 but it was much cooler. 

This race was the 7th time I ran the 50 miler here plus 2 marathons. Most likely I will plan to go back for another 50 miler next year. It seems to be a tradition to have a group from Columbia and it is always a fun time. The winning time for the 50 miler was 8 hr 18 min which was much slower than usual. Typically, there are runners in the 7s and the record is 6:30. There was a guy trying to break the course record and didn't even come close. Times seemed slower than usual for whatever reason. The course was wet in a few places and it was a little warm so probably didn't help. 

Crossing Brazil Creek

Friday, May 13, 2016

2016 Flat Rock 101K

I ran Flatrock 101K (aka Storm Rock this year) on April 30. I rode with 2 friends on Friday to the race. We encountered a storm on the way that we were driving right into. Fortunately, we were on the edge of it and only got really heavy rain. As we were nearing race headquarters we noticed piles of hail along the roads. Race headquarters had been hit with hail and high winds so they were putting everything back together. The race shirts were a little wet. The pre-race dinner was delayed about an hour. It was included in the race fee but with the weather I assume some of the locals stayed home.

The race started at 6:30 am and the weather was 58F, sunny and humid. The course is 2 out and backs. We could have drop bags at 2 locations in addition to the start but I had one at start and 1 location so had access about every 10 miles. The trail is very rocky but no major hills. The challenge at this race is getting through and over the rocks and we were literally climbing through and up some of the rocks. My favorite race photographers (90 Mile Photography) were there yet again. They've been at all my races so far this year.

I had a pretty good first half but very slow going since this is a very rocky course. About 10 miles into the course, a half mile looked like a war zone with downed trees. It was very difficult to find the trail and took some extra time to get through. I was in 5th place right behind a guy as I went through this mess. Huge trees had been uprooted, blown down and it was a tangled mess. The rest of the course was okay other than just a lot of leaves on the trail to cover up rocks. After the turnaround I was in 4th place and then headed back.

We had to run about 3/4 mile on the road on each out and back. Before I got there first place was going back out and around 4 miles ahead of me. As I was heading back on the road, I could see 2nd and 3rd place not too far ahead. I quickly took care of what I needed to do and was back on the road so now am in second place and 6 hr 28 min. 

On my way back from the turnaround I was hoping for at least 2 miles as a good cushion for whoever was behind me. It turned out to be 3.5 miles or I figured maybe 45 - 50 min but they were moving slower and I was building a cushion even though I had slowed down. It was a little warm and humid which slowed everyone down. They had flagged the area with all the trees down to take us around it a little but was still tough to get through since some of the flags were placed on the downed trees since there was no way around.

I slowly made my way back and felt great the entire time. I finished just before running out of daylight in 13:37:57, 2nd overall and 31 min behind 1st. They fed us our choice of breakfast foods after we finished. I ate biscuits and gravy (something I rarely eat) and sausage. Overall a very well organized low-key event. I highly recommend running this race if you want a technical challenge, beautiful course, and nice race amenities (included in overall fee) like pre and post race meals, buckle, great aid stations, and professional quality photos.




Sunday, April 17, 2016

2016 Free State 100K

I ran the Free State 100K yesterday in Lawrence, KS.  I had to get up at 3 am to leave around 3:30 since I decided to drive in the morning of the race. I ran this race previously in 2010 and 2012 and the 100K distance both times. They offer a half marathon, marathon, and 40 miler as well. Most people run the half marathon. This time only 20 were signed up for the 100K and I'm guessing even fewer started.

I ran the Ozark Foothills 50K last week and had already signed up for the Flatrock 101K in 2 weeks. I wasn't planning to do Free State but read in Ultrarunning Magazine that the race series for the year was for races through April 24. I had signed up for Flatrock in December thinking it counted for the race series. The only distance I was missing was a 100K. I already had a 50K, 50 mile, and 100 mile. It turned out the races on the calendar after April 24 on the race series website were listed in error. The series actually was intended to go through April 24 and races after count for the next race series year. I'm hoping that running Free State improved my standing in my age group in the Midwest Region.

The temperature at the start was 56F but it eventually warmed up to 76. The 40 mile and 100K runners started at 6 am. The 100K is 3 loops. I started off at a conservative pace. The trails were dry and in excellent condition. A guy I was behind fell in the first half mile which was a reminder of how soon and how many times I fell the last time I ran this race. I remembered the course being a lot of little up and down and not very bad hills but a lot of them. I had forgotten there were a lot of rocks and roots so it required a lot of concentration to avoid tripping and falling. I'm only fell once the entire race and in the first loop. My water bottle took the impact and lost quite a bit but it saved me from injury.

I felt decent the first loop but it quickly warmed up. Fortunately, there was cloud cover for much of the race or it could have been worse.  I passed one 100K runner in the first loop and that would be the only one I passed during the entire race. I finished the first loop in 3:32:09, not as fast as I hoped but considering the 20 degree warmer temps than when I ran it 4 years ago, not too bad.

During the first and second loop I had noticed my achilles feeling a little tightness and also the inside of my left knee. It was just a minor annoyance. Fortunately, it didn't get worse and completely disappeared after a little muscle massage and more running. I stayed on a program of about 1 gel per hour plus a bottle of Sword every 10 miles. In between, I filled up with just water. I ate a few small things at aid stations such as banana, peanut butter/jelly wrap, Nutella wraps, Coke and watermelon. Definitely more than I consume at a 50K but I tried eating less at a 50 miler once and that didn't work out too well. I train with no nutrition and race with some which seems to work for me. I didn't have any issues keeping food down as it warmed up and energy level felt good. My drink and gels still tasted good. My pace definitely slowed from the heat. I ran the second loop in 4:11:13. I was ready to be done after the second loop since I knew the 3rd loop could take even longer. It wasn't that I couldn't do it but I had hoped not to be out longer than 11.5 hours. Temperature warmed up to 76 so realized I had to take into consideration and was thinking 12 hours and then 12.5 hours started to sound more reasonable. I somehow managed to keep my shirt on for the first most of the first 2 loops. I felt much cooler when I took it off. I had intended to take off after the first loop but forgot.

The third loop was pretty lonely. In previous loops besides the great volunteers at the aid stations that put ice in my bottle, there were runners in the other distances on the course. I didn't see any other runners until 0.75 mile from the end when I passed a 40 miler finisher. The third loop went better than expected. Since the 1st loop I had been running everything but the hills. I was just slower running as the temperatures increased but I never felt crappy. I felt strong, but slow. I was able to enjoy the course. I saw deer on several occasions. I could have done without the turkey buzzard eating the dead rotting something in the middle of the trail. I heard what I assume were snakes rustling in the leaves and grass as I ran by them. The course is near a lake so got to enjoy the view and breeze off the water as I ran along at several points. There is a challenging rocky section along the lake and I managed to run much of it and didn't fall. I completed the third loop in 4:29:02 so only slowed down 18 minutes which was an improvement over the 39 minutes I slowed down between the first and second.

I finished in 12:12:25. The overall winner Jeff Browning, a high ranking ultrarunner, finished in 8:30! Overall, I placed 5th out of 12 which is pretty close to midpack and one of the smallest group of ultra finishers in a race that I've run. At first I wondered if there was anyone else left on the course since I only noticed a couple cars in the parking lot when I finished but it is possible they could have walked from the nearby campground. Also, as I was driving out I noticed a 100K runner on the short section of road we had to run. I hoped to finish a little earlier just so I could get home earlier but I was happy to finish before it got dark. I accomplished my mission of adding a 100K to my race series finish so will see how I do once all their calculations are done in a couple weeks.

Lots of cool race swag!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2016 Ozark Foothills 50K

I ran the Ozark Foothills 50K on April 9. This year was the second year for the race and my first time running it. It is in the St. Louis area and only 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Columbia. Temperature was 30 at start and 48 by the time I finished.

The 25K started at 7:30 am and the 50K at 7:40 am. The course is 2 loops and for the first loop I had no idea if I was passing 25K or 50K runners but most likely 25K runners. The first 2 miles were all downhill so a very fast start. I've posted a link to my running log below with the course map/elevation. There definitely were some hills and the most memorable one occurred at mile 6 in the loop. Due to the hills my pace varied widely from 8:48 - 13:01. I was pleased with the number of 9-something pace miles I managed to run this course. Even with some hills, much of it was downhill and flat and not as technical as some 50Ks I have run.

I ran the first loop in 2:37 and had another 50K runner finish about the time I took off for the second loop. I only spent about 1 minute getting a new bottle and some banana. Also, I shed my zip pullover and went with just short sleeve shirt I had on underneath even though it wasn't very warm. This ended up being a good decision. There were 2 aid stations on each loop. One at 5 miles and one at 12 miles. Then at 15.5 miles at the beginning where we also were allowed to drop a bag. My GPS measured the loop at 15.4 so pretty close but others got slightly over 31 for the 2 loops. It seems like I'm always a little short no matter what kind of GPS I wear or the settings.

I eventually passed 4 guys in the 2nd loop. The last guy I passed really started to speed up once I passed him at mile 24 or so. The pressure was on me to keep up the pace which was easy enough for awhile but he sped up and kept up with me. I didn't offer to let him pass me at this point since he just let me pass him and he was moving slower up until that point. I thought he dropped back at the 27 mile aid station but he came back so I guess I motivated him to speed up. At about mile 29 I asked him if he wanted to pass since it was apparent he had more legs left than me. My breathing was great but legs were starting to tire a little. He declined to pass at this point and said it was his first ultra and he didn't really know if he paced the first loop right. I think he paced it well for a first ultra. Definitely better to go out a little slow and have a stronger finish. At mile 30, he says he will go around. I was slowing just a bit and was happy to see him go so I relaxed just a little. He sped up significantly and I couldn't see him.

I ended up finishing about 1:25 behind in 5:11:17 so maybe I could have kept up a little but I was happy to finish a little relaxed rather than racing the last mile. I had a 3 minute negative split which I am sure I can give him the credit for pushing me once I passed him. I had one of my slowest miles in the second loop but the really fast miles with him more than made up for it. I placed 6th overall so some tough competition. After the race they had pulled turkey, pork, cole slaw, beans, organic tortillas chips, and cookies. That's the basics since nothing eventful happened which I guess makes for a boring race report but I truly enjoyed this race and will most likely run it again. I was back home by 3:30 so I could enjoy the rest of the day relaxing.




Tuesday, April 12, 2016

2016 Psycho Wyco Run Toto Run 50K

Here's a very brief but late report on the Psycho Wyco 50K that I ran in February. I hadn't run the winter version of this race in a few years but temperatures were predicted to be in the 70s so I signed up since I enjoy warm temps.

Hugh ran and walked 18 on the roads while I was out in the woods. I felt good all 3 loops 1:34:57, 1:43:24, 1:49:46 - not my best pacing but got warm. Really no mud other than a few isolated places. 5:08:08 and 10th overall. 101 finished 50k and around 500 showed up for the 3 events.

Pictured is the race swag except didn't get a sweatshirt since I signed up late. Okay since I really don't need another one and knew I probably wouldn't get one. Also, lots of great photos by Mile 90 Photography (included in race fee).

Friday, January 22, 2016

2015 Running and Racing Review

As far as goals go, once again I failed in some areas. I think I might try not setting goals for a year and just do what I need to do. Running mileage was almost the same as last year and I don't set a mileage goal since I seem to run enough. I did attend a lot of track and step workouts without setting a goal so I must enjoy those.

Goals accomplished (or not accomplished) for 2015:
I set a goal to do 75 weight workouts, 25 less than my goal last year when I failed to complete 100. I completed 24, 3 less than my big fail of 27 last year. I had to move my equipment in November 2014 but still not a good excuse for this fail. The year was stressful but I need to learn to cope better, get more workouts, and make better use of my time which I think I went overboard in December in this area.  Finally, my equipment is back in its place so hopefully I will do better in the future once I am done painting.

I set a goal to take 2 - 3 short breaks with 3 - 4 consecutive days of no running.  I managed 10 breaks this year and took 3 in December (a very stressful month).  I had 5 in 2014.

I had a goal to clean up back yard and plant stuff and this was completed although I cleaned most of it up and hired a company to do the rest. Just need to reseed grass this spring.

I didn't get the house decluttering done which I had planned to do after basement construction project. That is now almost complete after 14 months so will work on this year.

I had hoped to use 6 weeks vacation to get balance down to around 240 hours before end of the year but ended up with over 330 hours at the end of the year. I had planned to take off time to paint the basement but since they were working during the day I ended up spending late nights and weekends painting myself to exhaustion in the month of December.

Total Miles:
2015 - 2588
2014 - 2683 (yes, the exact same as 2012)
2013 - 2405
2012 - 2683
2011 - 2460
2010 - 2839
2009 - 2675
2008 – 3014
2007 – 2572
2006 – 1937
2005 – 2090
2004 - ~1000

Marathons (31 total):
2015 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2014 - (1) Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2013 - (2) Heart of America Marathon (BQ), Kansas City Marathon (BQ)
2012 - (2) Post Oak Trail Marathon, Heart of America Marathon
2011 - (2) Berryman Trail Marathon, Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2010 - (2) Go! St Louis Marathon (BQ), Heart of America Marathon (BQ)
2009 - (5) Disney Marathon (BQ and Sub-3 hr), 3 Days of Syllamo (Trail), Boston Marathon (BQ and Sub-3 hr), Heart of America Marathon (BQ and Course PR), Louis & Clark Marathon (BQ and Sub-3 hr)
2008 - (4) Boston Marathon (BQ and PR), Laughing Out Loud Marathon, Heart of America Marathon (BQ), Twin Cities Marathon (BQ)
2007 - (5) Laughing Out Load, Berryman (First Trail Marathon - placed
4th), Heart of America (BQ), Baltimore Marathon (BQ), Bass Pro
2006 - (3) Flying Pig (BQ), Heart of America (BQ, Chicago (BQ)
2005 - (3) Mad City, Heart of America (BQ), Portland (BQ)
2004 - (1) Heart of America

Ultramarathons (48 total):
2015 - (8) 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Mark Twain 50 mi, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Defiance 50K, Ozark Trail 100
2014 - (7) 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Mohican 100 mi, Barkley Fall Classic 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Big's Backyard Ultra 104 mi
2013 - (4) Land Between the Lakes 50 mi, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Leadville Trail 100 mi
2012 - (9) Post Oak 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Free State Trail 100K, Berryman Trail 50 mi, Kettle Moraine 100K (PR), Psycho Psummer 50K, Burning River 100 mi, Big Dog's Backyard Ultra 104 mi
2011 - (5) Psycho Wyco 50K, Grand Canyon 47 mi, Psycho Psummer 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Pumpkin Holler 100 mi (PR)
2010 - (6) Psycho Wyco 50K, Free State Trail 100K (PR), Kettle Moraine 100 mi (PR), Flatrock 50K, Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Ozark Trail 100 mi
2009 - (4) 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Psycho Wyco 50K, Berryman 50 mi, Q50 Ultramarathon 50K (PR)
2008 – (4) 3 Days of Syllamo 50K, 3 Days of Syllamo 50 mi, Berryman 50 mi, Rock Creek Trail 50K
2007 - (1) Hocking Hills Indian Run 60K

Number of each type of races for 2015:
100 mi - 1
50 mi - 3
50K - 4
Marathon – 1
Half Marathon - 1
20K - 1
10 mi - 1
10K - 5
4 mi - 3
5K - 11
1 mi - 1

10 are Thursday night trail races - 14 total free races.

Total running miles run in 32 races: 519 miles (2014 - 31 races – 555 mi)

States I ran marathons and ultras in 2015 (4): AR, MO, WA (new)
All states I have run marathons and ultras (18): AR, AZ, CO, FL, IL, LA, KS, KY, MA,MD, MN, MO, OH, OK, OR, TN, WA, WI

2015 PR in 4 mi
2014 PR in 4 mi
2013 PR in 50 mi
2012 PRs in 25K, 100K
2011 PRs in 4 mi, 10K, 100 mi
2010 PRs in 1 mi, 4 mi, 10 mi, half marathon, 3/4 marathon, 100K, 100 mi
2009 PRs in 5K, 25K, half marathon, and 50K
2008 PRs in 5K, 5 mi, 10K, 10 mi, marathon, 50K, 50 mi
2007 PRs in 5K, 4 mi, 8K, 5 mi, 10K, 10 mi
2006 PRs in 20K, half Marathon, and marathon

Goals for 2016 (scared to make any but here goes):
1.  Continue weight lifting and try to get at least 50 workouts for the year (deadline Dec 31)

2. Take 2 - 3 short breaks from running during the year with at least 3 - 4 consecutive days of no running. (deadline Dec 31)

3.  Declutter house including basement and garage

4.  Use about 7 weeks vacation to get balance down to around 240 hours before end of 2016 (deadline Dec 31)

5. Have more fun. Not sure what I have in mind but I am going to try.

Races planned for 2016:
January - Runner's Choice 10K
February - Nut Race 5K
March - Super Scout 5K, St Patrick's Day 5K, Sedalia Half Marathon
April - Ozark Foothills 50K, Mustang Stampede 5K?, Flat Rock 100K
May - Berryman Trail 50 miler
June - Jeff Shikles 8K?, maybe a 100 miler somewhere either in June or August
July - Parley Pratt 4 mi, Show-Me Games 10K
August - Great Sandbagger 10K
September - Heart of America Marathon, Barkley Classic 50K
October – Rock Bridge Revenge 50K, Backyard Ultra
November - Thanksgiving Day Pie Run 10K
December - Cheese and  Sauerkraut 10 miler, Columbia Eve Fest 5K