Sunday, May 4, 2014

Fort Clinch 50M, April 26, 2014

So I haven't written a race report in quite some time. I really need to go back and update but for today I will put together my race report from last weekends Fort Clinch 50M. Caleb Wilson is a good friend and great race director. I haven't missed his race in any of the 3 years...but I also haven't finished one yet either. He scheduled the first year in the middle of June and the heat was bad, I got to 60 miles before the feet and heat were just too much to handle. I remember having serious body temp problems later that night even though I was wearing sweatpants and a jacket. Last year my feet blew up on the 2nd lap and I was crippled by mile 28. I didn't race again last year. 2014 is a different story. Leading up to the race I had run every single day of the year, with a minimum run of 3 miles. I am averaging about 45 miles a week with a decent number of long runs.
This year I decided to register for the 50 mile race so that I could lock in a finish on the Fort. I have run the pier 8 times and that number is not going to keep going up without a finish. Jill and I hit the road around 10am Friday and picked up Brad Lombardi in Ocala. We killed a few bowls of salad and each had a bowl of soup at Olive Garden before getting back on the road. We got up to Amelia Island around 6 and Brad helped us set up our tent (small mansion) real quick before going to get our packets. I got bib #8, no idea how he assigned bibs cause it wasn't alphabetical or based on UltraSignUp rankings. We then took Brad 2 miles down the road to where he was staying for the weekend. Chris Twiggs and his wife Diana were hosting Brad and we wanted to meet him. Chris is going for his 10th Hardrock finish this year and is the National Director for the Galloway Program. It was good to meet him after hearing his name so much. He had a full staff of pacers lined up for the 100M on Saturday, with both his sons and Diana. I think that is so cool. Ok, off to swing by the store for some last minute necessities and a bite to eat before bed. We got stuff to make a fire and I got a sub from Subway. Back at the youth camp, which was also the midway Aid Station, Jill set up the hammocks in the tent while I started a fire. The coals in the fire got going but the wood wasn't taking too well so I just kinda left it and ate my sub. The Connellys showed up, finally, after getting lost, in the Fort. We had a beer with them and then hit the hay. Alarm was set for 5:30 before a 6:30 start time. Alarm goes off and wide awake. I can get up at any hour to run, it's getting up for work that sucks. The youth camp has hot showers and I was able to run through that to freshen up before we headed over to the Start/Finish. Setup was going to be very easy for this race having been here twice before. I wanted to park to the left of the entrance in case Jill was not right there when I came through at the end of each lap. I knew I would want to take something to eat or drink out on the pier with me and would leave my bottle there for her to refill. All I really had to do was put a bunch of Kramer's Body Lube on my toes and my instep and I would be ready to go. I always wear injinjis on trail and decided after much debate to go with my Hoka Bonbi B's. They have over 1000 miles on them and are smooth as a baby's bottom but I felt there was too much road to wear my Stinson Evos. These selections worked out perfect for me as my feet gave me no issues. I did have a bubble on the outside of my right toe that I noticed after the race and did nothing about and its gone now. My left ankle on the other hand, probably needed some more support. The peronneal tendon was starting to act up on the 2nd lap and I considered sitting down to put on my ankle support but somehow forgot when I was at the car. So I just sat down and retied/tightened both shoes and that seemed to work each lap after that. It would leave me a little hobbled for a couple days after the race but I have been dealing with this tendinitis flareup after long runs for a few years now, no biggie! Ok, to the start line. I have been using Nike Running on my iphone since the beginning of April and I like the friendly competition between others that they keep track of. I have a portable charger that I will hook up to on my later trips out the pier and that should get me to the end. Fast forward to the end of lap 4, I haven't listened to my music once all day and want to unhook the headphones. Well I screwed something up and it paused for my trip out the pier and back. So I had to adjust my time and mileage rather than get all of it recorded. It recorded 48.something miles so its almost all there. Again, no biggie. At the start line Caleb goes over some prerace instructions, mainly not to poop on the trail. There are some minor changes to the course but I know the general route so I wasn't really paying too much attention. Chris Thompson from Venice came up to say hello before his first 50 miler which he said would be 20 miles of suicide before the heat and then hang on for whatever he could. Then Caleb started us, I started my watch, kissed Jill and took off in a way I normally would never start. There were only a small handful of runners in front of me and I settled in around the mid 9's when we hit the trail. I few runners came by me and I latched on to a group from Lowcountry Ultras. Awesome people, really clicking the miles off. I was more comfortable behind them but I felt it rude if I didn't do any work so I tried to set the pace out of the Youth Camp the first time. They probably thought nothing of me hanging on their tails, chatting occasionally, and I guess that is a bigger deal with the elites. I spent many miles throughout the day running with Masumi Herota. Great guy, he interviewed Salt Shack at Delerium earlier this year, much of our conversation about what great people Salt and Stephanie are, the best for our sport. Masumi spent some sitting each lap at his crew in the Youth Camp but would always catch up. I probably spent the most time running with him and didn't really chat with too many other people for any extended periods of time. Masumi was starting to have some kidney issues and wasn't planning on hurting himself so I think he bagged it around mile 60. I didn't listen to music and didn't talk to many people, very odd for me but it felt really peaceful. So the first lap was pretty fast, around 1:38. There probably weren't 10 people in front of me. I tossed my bottles and grabbed my 3rd bottle from Jill for my first trip out the pier. We decided on all Tailwind as I love the stuff. I usually do 1 bottle of water and one of Tailwind but we scrapped the water. I came back in, ditched the spare and grabbed my bottles from Jill. I did have 1 GU at mile 5 and she replaced it. I didn't eat another GU the rest of the day. I went down to the check in tent and grabbed a mini pancake. It looked good, and it tasted amazing, for about 1/2 a second. My mouth was so dry that this awesome morsel instantly turned into chalk. It would be 30 miles before I would have anything solid. It was Tailwind all day from there!! Lap 2 was 2:03 and I just ran chatting with the occasional runner here and there. This trip out the pier I took a bottle of coke and drank half of it. Check in and gone again. Lap 3 was right around 2:15 because my time was 6:01 for just over 50k. The laps were longer than 10 miles leaving us with a short last lap. Lap 3 may have been when I met up with Ashley Walsh I told her I knew her and remembered her from the first year, when she ended up in the hospital after passing out. We laughed and joked about our journeys back to the Fort since that first race. I am not sure what happened but I didn't see Ashley in the final results, I hope she is ok. The end of lap 3 involved an 8oz Red Bull for my trip out the pier. Lap 4 was not fun at all. I knew I was slowing a lot and I could barely run anything that resembled the slightest incline. I was still running the flats no problem, just slower. That lap took my 2:53 and Jill was starting to get worried that something had gone wrong. My feet were starting to get into some serious pain. I was prepared to hobble the last lap and just take whatever finish I could. I think it was after lap 3 I told Jill that people were passing me more often and I didn't care. So I guess I knew lap 4 was gonna be tough. I took the rest of the coke bottle on the 4 pier trip and it was flat but cold. I also grabbed 2 pickles, which really hit the spot. I finished the coke by the time I got to the end of the pier. I came back in knowing that my 10 hour ultimate goal was out the window. My secondary goal was to break 12 hours but then I remembered that a C qualifier for JFK is 11 hours. I knew that if I kept my same pace as lap 4 that I would not break 11. Somehow there was a 2nd (or 8th) wind as I started the final lap, which was only about 8 miles. We would leave the Young Camp and come straight back instead of going out around the Fort. I was able to run pretty solid all the way back to the trail and found that I was running more on the trails than the lap before. It wasn't long before I caught 3 of Chris Twiggs' Jax guys. They were doing a 4/1 run/walk and were running faster than I was. I would reel them back in as they walked then they would take off again. We popped out onto the Youth Camp Road together and they were walking. I had always run that road as it was smooth runable trail. I told them that I had to run because I wanted to break 11, that it was a JFK qualifying time. So I took off, hit the A/S and asked for a gas n go, topping both bottles and refilling my handkerchief, which I had been filling up twice a lap since mile 20. I think I asked what time it was, I can't remember what they said but I knew I had 11 in the bag and just wanted to get done so I was out of there. It was all smooth, with only a couple small ups so I ran as hard as I could. I came into the parking lot and Jill tried telling me I had some amount of time to break 10:30 and I could do it. I said I didn't care, I only wanted to break 11. But I was running so I didn't slow down. I actually ran the pier, and somehow my feet didn't hurt. I hit the end, turned and raced back to the finish. I did break 11 and even broke 10:30. My finish time was an even 10:20!! I actually felt pretty good, mostly because I was done. It was time to get my shoes off and put an Intuition Ale John Boat in my glass! A couple pics with Jill and Caleb and it was time to find a chair at the parking lot entrance to cheer on the rest of the runners.
All of the volunteers were amazing, including Caleb's sister and mother, his buddy that worked the timing and all of the gang out at Youth Camp. They were all amazing. They filled my bottles with Tailwind and put ice in my handcerchief every time through. Most of all, I couldn't do this stuff without Jill's help. She is so amazing and supportive! 5 weeks away she will be my traveling crew for Lake 2 Ocean 100k from Lake O to Hobe Sound running through some of Florida's finest trail systems.
My total intake was: 1 small pancake 2 small dill pickles 20oz Coke 8oz Red Bull A ton of Tailwind 150oz maybe (just a guess) Run stats: 50 miles 10:20 12:24 avg mile Results: