Monday, June 27, 2011

Ft. Clinch Endurance Run

This weekend I went up to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach to run the Fort Clinch Endurance Run 100 mile race. This was my first trip to this part of the state. I went up Friday night and stayed at Kellie Smirnoff's place in Jacksonville-Thanks a ton Kellie!! That made things so much easier to get a full 6 hours of sleep and only be an hour away from the race site that starts at 6:24 am-RD Caleb Wilson's plan to start at official sunrise. Caleb did an amazing job putting this race together over the past few months. When he first mentioned it to me, it sounded like he would provide some basic aid and we would just run around the 10 mile loop primarily self supported. As time went along, more and more sponsors jumped on board. FitFul provided all of the aid station food and drink. MoeBen gave us arm sleeves which I am still not sure when I will use. They protect from sun and cold so I am sure I will use them eventually!
The course was a 10 mile loop that alternated directions each lap. We started by going out a pier and back in then heading out on the loop. The loop consisted of some road to the trail, rolling hills on all of the trails and a journey around the Fort overlooking the water and Cumberland State Park in Georgia. I would say 6-7 miles were trail, 2-3 miles we paved road and that last mile was the glorious concrete pier!
Light was breaking as we began getting ready to run and the mood was very casual as we gathered. The events being held were the 50M, 100M and 24 hour run. I started off as planned, very easy, around 11 minute pace and the first couple laps were very smooth. I was taking a GU at the 5M aid stations, manned by Caleb's mother and sister. Their aid station was set up around a .75 loop around a gator viewing area. I would drop a bottle so that I could take my GU on the loop, then top off both bottles and be on my way. At the main aid station I would take on solid foods such as Turkey subs and Goldfish and I was also drinking Perpetuem.
Everything was flowing so smoothly into the 4th lap where I started to notice a little fatigue in the legs, no pain, no cramping, just getting tired from the constant rolling hills. I had been walking the steeper ups from the beginning anyway. Lap 5 is where the wheels started to come off. I walked nearly the entire lap w/ Kellie but she was finishing the 50 that lap. I heard later that she said I talked her ear off, but I'm pretty sure she talked mine off without a problem also!! I tried to score to Caribbean Jerk Chicken at the Gator AS from Caleb's mother Chaundra. It looked and smelled so good. She was always keeping us smiling and laughing as we came thru. I am sure we kept her laughing too. She did promise that the chicken will be a staple at the AS next year! So lap 5 done and my feet are completely destroyed. There is pain in both feet and also my left ankle that make me wonder if some real damage was done. A handful of people had already dropped out due to the 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. I pretty much committed to one more lap and I would be done. I tried to start off the lap running but the pavement hurt too bad. So I walked to the trail and tried running again, that lasted about 2 miles and I was done. I would walk the final 7 miles without ever considering a jog. It was starting to rain and thunder when I got to the Gator AS. I was sitting on a bench fixing my iPod to protect from rain when I saw Caleb's sister Kristen getting in a car. I told her that I knew where she was going, the same place I was just alot quicker and easier on the feet. She kinda offered a ride but I knew I was gonna finish the lap to run 60 official miles. She told me that I better get going because of the lightning. I remember saying that at that point I didn't really care if I got struck by lightning. But I got up and kept walking and about an hour and a half later, I was done. 60 miles in something less than 15 hours and my feet were in a world of hurt. I wish I knew what was the problem with my feet.
I know this race report has been kinda brief. But really, every thing about the race was amazing. The RD, the support, the aid stations, the course, the competitors, my fueling, hydration, pace, cooling. Everything was aces, except for the feet. One day I will overcome the foot pain and finish a 100, no doubt about that!