Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wild Sebastian 100

This past weekend was the Wild Sebastian 100 in Fellsmere, Florida. You had the option of registering for 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles. The course was a 25 mile loop with 7 aid stations and however many laps you completed, that was the distance result you finished with. So it made sense that 32 runners registered for the full 100. Anyone that thought they may have a shot at going for the full 100 miles found it worth it to pay a couple bucks more. Each lap after the first lap was approx $10 more. When this race popped up on the radar, I was still in the early months of training for the Viaduct 100 in PA July 8th. I figured that a 32 hour cutoff with that many aid stations, in Florida so Jill could crew and Tammie could pace made it a simple decision to go for it. I knew that conditioning was not an issue. I had been building a base and had the endurance to run 100 miles.
I had everything packed and ready to go by Thursday evening. I was able to relax, get to bed and go to school on Friday knowing the truck was packed and Jill would just be meeting me after the track meet. We met Tammie at the Walmart in Arcadia and I took a nap in the back of the truck when they drove out to Sebastian. We realized that a hotel might be a good idea and finally found the Best Western in Sebastian. We got to sleep by 12:30 and got a solid 4 hours of sleep. Getting up and over to the park was no big deal. The only issue was that the race had been delayed by 1 hour to give some of the course a chance to dry. So we had our prerace meeting at 7 and then set up our tent to get things ready to go. Everything went like clockwork. Bottles were filled, pockets packed with supplements, music set, shoes set out for changing after a lap or two and Garmin turned on to find signal. Then it was time to go.
Things settled in very nicely in the first mile or so at about a 12 minute pace and I was running w/ Bobby Nelson. I had seen Bobby a few times recently and got a chance to hear his story about diving head first into running and ultras in the past year. He really is an amazing dude. We ran near each other for a while. And then I settled in with Issie Sosa and we ran and chatted for a while. Bob the race photographer was with us and asked if I did the shorter races too, my response was "yeah, I do 50k's also." Another highlight of the first lap was chatting w/ Michelle Matys for 5 minutes at each aid station. She was all over the course taking pics and getting ready to pace Traci Phillips. The first lap was pretty smooth. The course was beautiful. It was not an easy course though. There were many sections torn up by the pigs. There was some sugar sand, and other areas that we would turn into sugar sand throughout the day. When I finished the first lap in 5:12 or so, Jill said that some people were complaining about the course. That was pretty annoying to hear. I was very adamant that it was a challenging and difficult course but the thought is dislike for the course never crossed my mind. First time Race Director Mike Beck and his wife Kristen did an amazing job putting this race together. He gave us a heads up before the race that he had more runners than expected and some of his volunteers bailed on him. I guess he was a little light in staffing at the Start/Finish line but a few people stepped up and helped out so none of the runners even realized. The Aid Stations were fully stocked and had some great people there to pick up our spirits every time we came through. The folks at AS4 went to bed in the middle of the night but they left Pizza out for us, only an idiot would complain about that. AS5, John and Laura were making grilled cheese and they were so amazing to talk to!
Ok, I am jumping ahead, back to the end of Lap 1. 5:12 was the time and I felt pretty good. Was not at all concerned about being 18 minutes in front of my plan. I changed shoes because the course was dry and I wanted to be in the bigger shoes for the rest of the run. I drank some sugar free red bull while Jill filled my bottles and Tammie got me some new GU. Jill walked w/ me as I ate a piece of my new standard turkey sub. When I finished the sub and drink, I gave her a kiss and got back to running. I honestly do not remember much from lap 2. I still felt ok but my feet started to hurt. I had been rolling my ankle a few times a mile...oh yeah, the best part about the course, every single mile was marked with a big yellow sign!!!! So I felt good, legs felt great but the feet and ankles were starting to give me some trouble. I remember Traci flying by me like I wasn't even moving after AS1. Other than that, something about mile 47 stands out as the point where I knew my ankle was trashed. Over those next 3 miles into sunset, I felt that I was done. The pain was getting worse and worse as I rolled in to finish Lap 2 at 12:01. But the one thing that I knew was that I couldn't tell Jill and Tammie that I was done. I knew they would just tell me that it was supposed to hurt and that I was doing great. So I didn't say anything. Tammie put IcyHot on both feet and Jill headed out with me to start Lap 3. We ran most of the first 3 miles and then things got tough. My ankle was in quite a bit of pain and all I could do was walk. We got to mile 60 and I was convinced that I was done. Tammie met us there and all she wanted to do was doctor my feet up again and get me going again. I was slow to get up but I just went along with it. Those next 10 miles were pure hell. I was twisting my ankle every other step and I really wasn't sure why I began that third lap, or that current 10 mile loop.
I had been doing the math for most of the day and as were were approaching 8 hours 20 miles into the lap, I could start to see the finish line slipping away. I began the third lap with 19 1/2 hours to go and if Lap 3 took 10 hours, that left 9 1/2 for Lap 4. Considering I was walking with no running I was pretty certain that I wasn't bring Lap 4 back faster. I was also terrified of breaking my ankle on Death Row along 95 and laying there between mile 21 and 22 for the vultures to come get me. This stretch was also mile 8 to 9 so I crossed it 6 times total. I did not want to cross the stretch again in the dark so I made a decision. I was going to take a nap at AS6 until the sun came up and then I would walk 5 miles back to finish Lap 3 and get my medal for running the Wild Sebastian 75.
Jill was sleeping at AS6 and I crawled in the back of the truck with her and I am sure I was out cold instantly. We got up a few hours later and took our time walking the last 5 miles. I think my finish time was about 26 hours because it was about 10am. I crossed that line and told them I was done. They gave me a medal and I quickly took a seat to get my shoes off and check out the damage. My left ankle was bright red on both sides and swollen like Hitch! The adrenaline that got me through 28 miles on that ankle was wearing off quickly and I could barely move. Long story short, I ran further than ever before and finished a race doing so. Good enough for me. I wasn't excited or glad that I had done it. I was actually kinda upset that I put myself through that kind of pain, didn't get 100 miles and wasn't sure what kind of injury it was or what recovery I was looking at.

Fast Forward 2 Days! I have been to Dr. Dean Traiger, a running friend, for xrays. No acute damage. I have also been to Dr. Donn Fuller at Dean's recommendation. He was very understanding about the ultra running. He even commented on how I can possibly be running with flat feet. Verdict is Peroneal Tendonitis, the tendon that runs behind the ankle bone. I have had soreness with this tendon before and it has progressively gotten worse. The solution is rest for about 2 weeks until I go back, PT for a few weeks, and an anti inflammatory. Also, before future races, I will be getting the ankle wrapped and will pre load my system with the anti inflammatory.

As of right now, Viaduct is still on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trying to Post More!

Ok, I am really trying to post more often. I missed a couple race reports last year and would like to find the time someday to go back and write a little something on them. The main one was Landsford Canal 50k in South Carolina in July. My good friend Stack was there to volunteer in general and run a few miles with me. With his help, I was able to "RACE" a 50k and it really deserves a write up. Until I get time to do that one, I want to focus on my training and upcoming schedule.
It has been difficult getting into a groove. I am usually getting 5 runs a week but not many are very quality runs and I am struggling to get a real long run in. I keep going out to try and get 15-20 but never seem to get past 10. I am going again this weekend with the same goal out in Alva w/ Jim Rickards. I feel real good about this one! I am glad that my next 3 races are just training runs (MTC 50k, Croom Fools 50M and Wickham Park 50M). I also have some other long runs built into there as well such as pacing Andrew Berster at Iron Horse 100k and Tammie Wonning at the Double Ironman. Just added to the plans over Spring Break is a 24 hour run on Hollywood Beach put on by the man Eric Friedman! This should be 6 ultra distance training runs to prepare me for the main goal this year-Viaduct 100M July 7th in PA. If all goes well, I really want to get back up to UROC and get that buckle that I left up there last year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Volunteering is so much fun!!!

For the 2nd year in a row, I went up to Brooksville to volunteer for the Croom Zoom 100k. The good part is that I am not injured this year. I just decided to volunteer rather than race. It also allowed me to pace if I wanted to. This trip could not have been scripted any better. Jill and I left out of Fort Myers w/ Jim Rickards towards our first stop at Olive Garden in Sarasota for lunch w/ Kyle Durr and John and Toni Pyle. Jim is a badass veteran ultra runner going for the 100k. Jim has 4 100 milers to his credit, and it's not a shabby list: Superior Lakes, Hardrock, Leadville and Western States. No DNF's either! So after a great lunch w/ some of the FUR finest idiots, we head up to Brooksville to check into the hotel and meet up w/ the other Ft. Myers crew: Shannon Carlino in her 1st trail run away from Alva in the 25k and Jami Maxwell and Maria Andrews going for the 100k. We head out to Tucker Hill for them to check in and to hang out w/ the RD's Andy Matthews and Jim Hartnett, as well as Andy Barrett. These guys are FUR legends with huge race schedules this year. Andy B explains the trail very clearly to us because he has 1000's of miles on these trails. Then we are off to Papa Joe's for Carb Loading! A nice dinner w/ good friends and then back to the hotel to relax....well, Jim relaxed while Jill and I found the Cork & Tap downstairs in the hotel. We figured we would just hang out there until 2 so he could get some sleep!
Alarm at 4:30, wide awake and headed out to the race start. Set up is very easy and the 100k is off at 6am. Andy Matthews (A1) and I take a table and water out to the the starter out and back for the 25k. I drop Andy back off at Tucker Hill and head back to the hotel to grab Jill, who is actually up and ready! We get to the water table a few minutes before the 25k runners get there. A few took water, some exchanged high fives and they were headed back to get on the 10 mile loop! We pack up and head back to Tucker Hill to man the Main Aid Station for the rest of the day. The 100k runners were just starting to come through at this point. They will have 6 laps to complete while the 50k runners have 3. The 25k runners will be finishing the next time that we see them.
Many runners are just taking water/Heed and getting on their way as it is still quite cold! We also have Mountain Dew and Pepsi to drink as well as peanuts, M&M's, Animal Crackers, Oranges, Bananas and Pretzels for Jodi. Dave and Sharon were also at the table to help out all day. I'm gonna say it was probably a toss up between our AS and Sara Jackson/Toni Pyle's down at the road crossing for the best Station on the course! I am just gonna say that we had so much fun refilling bottles and handing out cups of water/Heed. A couple hours into the race Jill and I started making PB&J sandwiches. We had a great system. I made them and she cut them w/ this sweet knife that A1 stole from Patrick Bene's RV! This thing could barely cut warm butter but it did the job.
So the day went on, refilling bottles, chatting with runners, encouraging all of them, then cheering on the finishers of the 25k and then the 50k. Patrick hammered out the 50k in 4:23 and then provided the laughs well into the dark of night. His best line was a chant of "One more lap" to one woman finishing the 100k. I kept missing Tammie Wonning as she came thru on the 1st and 2nd laps of her 50k. Just a training run for her as her Double Ironman is in 6 weeks! This, in addition to her 30:30 at Ancient Oaks last month!! I finally got to meet Shannon McGinn. She was down on vacation and wanted to get out and have fun w/ the FUR before traveling the state and running the Keys Half next weekend! Shannon and John ran a lap together then she picked up her 4 legged pacer Enzo for her last lap. John asked if I wanted to join him. I said sure, changed into running shorts, filled a bottle and we were off....in the wrong direction. He wanted to run the loop backwards so that we could see other runners and cheer them on. We had a blast talking with other runners as we came up to them. Many were on lap 4 and some were experiencing some pain. We did the best of provide encouraging support as we chatted for a minute or two with most. Then we saw Tammie and I told her to stick around after the finish! She did, her and Jill were chatting away when John and I got back. So I got to hang w/ her for a little bit before she headed home.
Once John and I were back, I took up my position at the Aid Station table. There were a handful of 100k runners still out there with 2 laps to go. Patrick noticed the 100k winner coming in and started a chant. Wayne Gaudet from Canada came down to run Croom because the course was similar to a race he has back home on a similar course later this year. When A1 took the trophy over and said "Here's your trophy" Wayne said "For what?" A1 said "For winning and Wayne's response was "Oh, no shit." He had no idea that he was out front all day. We didn't really know either, we just noticed he was moving thru camp pretty quick each time. Around mile 48, David House passed Krystle Martinez to move into 2nd place and cruise on to a runner up finish. David is just warming up for his Grand Slam this summer. 4 100 mile races in 12 weeks, including Western States! Krystle finished a solid 3rd place for the Women's title. Over the next 3+ hours the rest of the field would come in to huge cheers of support for their efforts. It was so amazing to watch my friends come in to finish this great race. Smitty and Bacon got a free pass to head out on their last lap just 3 minutes over the alleged cutoff. They gave it their best but came back about an hour later to get their bacon cheeseburgers, minus bacon for Eric and Veggieburger for Smitty.
Jami and Maria looked great all day. They worked together for 62 miles and then hooked up with Long Haul 100 RD Jen Pearson for the last 9 miles. They came in at 14:08 looking like they were ready for another lap. Jen and Jami outsprinted Maria, giving Maria the honor of DFL. DFL may not seem cool, but it is great for 2 reasons. Maria got to experience the race longer than anyone else, thus officially getting her money's worth and DFL is better than DNF any day! Another highlight was Heather Davenports Lululemon Cartwheel across the finish line. Jill got it on video, we just have to figure out how to get it into the internet world! Jill was also hooked on the Lululemon skirts and got really excited when I told her there was a store in Naples. Yeah, we headed down there yesterday and she picked up a bunch of stuff! She has even talked about maybe doing the Fools Fun Run in April!!! That really excites me!
Jim got a solid 42 mile run in and today he told me that he thinks he will go for 50 in April. Jim continues to amaze me. His accomplishments speak for themselves but those were 15 years ago and he still continues to train for and run ultras at 64. I hope I am still able to get out there and mix it up in 30 years! This was my 3rd race traveling to with Jim and I am already looking forward to the next one! When I packed to truck to head home, I cleared out the left side and put the seat down and made a bed for Jim. I also put the passengers seat down for Jill and they were both out cold before we got off Croom Rital Rd. We dropped Jim off and were home, showered and in bed by 12:30. Then we slept until 10am! Amazing weekend overall! We are just sad to see Andrea Risi leaving us for the Rocky Mountains! I told her that all of the FUR's are coming out on the same weekend but she wasn't sure her place was big enough for all of us!