Sunday, February 7, 2016
Hi I am Emma Radley and I am 11 years old. On Saturday January 30th 2016 I ran my first 50k at Skydive Ultra. My dad, Justin Radley, his girlfriend, Jill Bunnell, and I drove to the race in Clewiston, Florida on Friday night. That night we hung out with our friends, The Thompsons. The 150 mile race started at 5:00 and we knew some of the people running it like Tim Schaum also called, The Llama. We camped in our tent that night and we got up the next morning and got ready for the race. The Llama gave me a blue shirt that said “I love ultra running”. The race is called Skydive because another activity available is skydiving. My dad skydived with a really nice instructor named Lead. After he skydived we started the race. Jill did the 10k with Julie Thompson, CB “Pops” Thompson, and Kaitlyn Sanders. We ran laps that were 7.2 miles long, 3 miles before an aid station and 4.2 miles after the aid station. The teenagers who were helping out with Kristen Beck were really nice and helpful. In my first lap it took me 41 minutes for the 1st half and an hour and 2 minutes in the 2nd half. The 1st half of the 2nd lap took 1 hour and 4 minutes and the 2nd half was 1 hour and 5 minutes. In the 1st half of the 3rd lap it took me 56 minutes, the 2nd half took 1 hour and 3 minutes. The 4th lap took 56 minutes in the 1st half and 1 hour and 15 minutes in the 2nd half. After that I had to do a half lap so I actually ended up doing 32 miles and that last half lap took me 48 minutes. My total time for the race was 8 hours and 53 minutes. I accomplished my goal of 8-9 hours. Once I finished the 1st half of the 3rd lap I ran ahead of my dad and ran with The Llama and Carla Simonet back to the main aid station. I asked The Llama why that is his nickname and he said that llamas are very strong and that they can carry a lot of weight and go places that people can’t go, and that sometimes it is cool to have a silly nickname like llama. When we got back to the aid station the really funny race director, Eric Friedman helped me find a pacer. For my 4th lap I ran with David Barnes and Kimberley Gates. When we were running we talked about what we liked about running and Skydive. They asked me why I had wanted to do Skydive and I told them that my dad and I had volunteered the year before and I really liked it so he signed me up to do Skydive as my 1st 50k. We talked about different food that we like at races and they offered me their very last piece of homemade pizza. David had a mini camera and he took pictures and a video. A few days later I found the video on YouTube! For my very last half lap I ran with Omer Leibovich. We talked about important running things like calories, electrolytes, and pacing yourself when you run. Once we got to the aid station I had to run a little bit farther to the timing mat and then I was done. We waited for my dad to get to the aid station, and then I took off my chip and ran to the finish with him. Jill was also there. She had drove to the aid station down a 1 mile road from the main aid station and she drove my dad, Omer, and I back to the main aid station. When I got back to the aid station Jamie Woyton made me a banana chocolate marshmallow burrito on the grill. It tasted really, really good. After that, Eric gave me my medal. Once I finished my burrito I got my hat from The Llama that said “I love ultra running”. That night I went to bed about an hour after I finished and then I woke up the next morning. We stayed until about 12:00 then we left. We got to watch some 150 milers finish but we left before everybody got to finish. Skydive Ultra was an awesome experience, we had so much fun, and I am glad that we went. I am so glad that I finished my 1st ultra race and 50k at Skydive and I plan to keep running ultra-races. Some of my next races are the Oscar Scherer 25k, Croom Long Play Half Marathon, and the Save the Daylight 12 hour race, and my goal is to run 40 miles. I plan on going back to Skydive Ultra next year. Video from David Barnes: https://youtu.be/LAbZD4SahNM
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
This past weekend Jill and I went up to Inverness to run Kip Koelsch and Endeavor Racing, LLC’s Citrus Trail Dare Greatly Team Challenge. I mailed a check about 6 months ago entering the team challenge without even having a team together. I thought I was going to be doing the 50k while Jill did either the 4M or 10M and we would fill in the other two later. It’s a good thing that our awesome friends Sean Connolly and Tracy Connolly wanted to be part of team Swinger Society because my feet have taken a beating since running 100k at Wildcat in January. I opted for the 10M and Jill was all about doing “just” 4M. She hasn’t run much but this would good training for the Fools 25k in 2 weeks. This is also my first race as a Tailwind Trailblazer so I am very excited to write this race report. I will be getting back up to running ultras in Tailwind gear before long. So the team roster was set back in December as follows: Sean-50k Tracy-Marathon Justin-10M Jill-4M Sean and Tracy are great people and great runners. We love weekend race outings with them. We headed up to St Pete on Friday after work and met up with the Connollys along with Andy Mathews and the soon to be Amy Mathews to hit up a new Mexican place, El Gallo something…I don’t need to remember the name because we won’t be going back there, the food was just ok. Andy and Amy peeled off and we hit St Pete Brewing Company and then Flying Pig for a quick drink at each before heading back to the Connollys. Saturday was the perfect relaxing day. We finally made our way to lunch at The Hangar and ate out on the balcony as they were setting up for the Grand Prix of St. Pete going on this week. Then we just lounged around the house, watched the first season of Wilfred, played a little Cards Against Humanity and mixed up our bags and bottles of Tailwind Nutrition. On a trip up to St. Pete a while back, I left the bottom of a bag of Tailwind for Sean and Tracy to try and they loved it. They quickly started ordering it for themselves and our team consisted of 4 Tailwind fanatics! Sean used his culinary expertise to whip up a baked pasta dish with breaded chicken, focaccia bread and Caesar salad. It was early to bed for our 3:45am alarm before the alleged 2 hour drive up to the race. That alarm went off quickly but I think we were all well rested and ready to run. I even had to time to check the 12 brackets that I am managing for my work March Madness pool on the games I missed. We hit the road by 4:30 and it did not take 2 hours to get there. We were the first runners to pull in the parking lot. Got our bibs and relaxed in the car for a while before Sean was to start at 7:15 and Tracy at 7:30. We got them off and then I had to get ready for my 8am start. Just had to put 2Toms on my feet and in that “other” region, my only two chafing/hot spot areas. Injinjis as always and Hoka Mafate for shoes. Waterproof Band-Aids on the nips and I was ready to go, no music, no Nike Running App either. I started and stopped the app real quick and would go back later and change the time and distance for record keeping. Just me and 150 calories of Tailwind in a handheld. My goal was an even 10 minute miles, 1:40. The 10 mile course consisted of a 1 mile trail out to a large lollipop loop with a short out and back not too far into the loop and then returning to the finish on the same 1 mile return trail. Jill would have to wait until 9am to start. She later told me that she went back to the car and slept most of that hour. My race started off pretty uneventfully, nothing exciting. I worked myself into a position that seemed pretty comfortable, right behind Michael Costa and a young man, a very young man, about 8 years old and 3 feet tall. Then we hit the first hill. It was a long slow climb and I figured it was early, I should run it. That hill crested and then then there was another hill. I was already feeling the hills. By the time we got to Andy Mathews at the first Aid Station, only 1.5 miles in, I was fatigued and my lower back was not happy with me. New plan, walk the hills! As we started on the little out and back section, we got to see some of the 50k runners, teammate Sean and also Lara Costa. Michael had stopped at the Aid Station so he ended up behind me and I was always wondering when he was going to pass me back but he never did. Instead I spent the next couple of miles running behind the 8 year old. He was running so well, and when I passed him around mile 4 I really felt that I was making a poor decision to pass him. I actually felt pretty good from mile 4 to 8 or so. I was power walking up the hills and immediately going back into a run at the top. I swear there was only one downhill in the entire course. And I used it the best I could. I just seemed like we were always going up. We came into the 2nd Aid Station at Mile 6 and I topped my bottle off with water, thanked the 2 volunteers and took off. To woman I came into the Aid Station told me it was mile 6, other than that I would not have known what mile I was at. I really buckled down and was moving well, hiking the hills and cruising the flats and minor downs. Then around mile 7, while walking uphill, at what I thought was a decent pace, my poor decision came back to kick me. That little guy went zipping right by me, up the hill, like I wasn’t even moving. I kept him in sight for a while but I realized that I wasn’t going to catch him. He ran an amazing race and a lot of people were very impressed with his performance at such a young age. I noticed Lara up in front of me but she was moving better than me on the hills so I was only gaining ground on her on the flat. It took I while but I caught her and we chatting for a bit. She was running a very smart race. She looked good, not exerting too much energy, just running comfortably. Then I saw Phil Nissen up ahead and I was excited to check in with him and provide a few encouraging words as he was running the Marathon. Phil is the ultimate trail junkie, having retired down to Lehigh so that he can run trails every day of the week. I’m very jealous, but happy to have him as a friend. Then I came up to the final turn and someone came up behind me with a greeting. I told him that I thought we were on the last hill because I thought I remembered it being mostly up on this section coming out. We hit the top of that “last” hill, exchanged well wishes and I took off for the final mile, determined to gut it to the finish. I was digging deep….until I hit the actual final hill. I struggled to get up it, but I forced myself to run it. And then I could get on to the finish. There was no kick, not epic push, just cruising on into the chute. The awesome volunteers gave me a finisher’s medal and a team challenge finishers pin. Sue Edwards had been helping out at packet pickup and doing whatever was needed around the Finish Line and she was the first person I saw after finishing so I asked her what time it was…8:37am. That means I got my goal by 3 minutes, 1:37. I actually felt pretty good. I had to work pretty hard during the race but it didn’t beat me up too much. My feet weren’t too bad either so I was happy. I hung around greeting other finishers, including awesome RD Dawn Lisenby and 4M winner, and it wasn’t long before Jill came in with a 50 minute finish in the 4M. She looked great and said that she had no issues during the race. I was happy for her. We went to the car to change shoes and I had to get out of my soaking wet shirt. It was still cool but the humidity must have been 99% because I noticed how heavy my shirt was back around mile 8. I just got a Bondi Band from the awesome people at Tick Tock Ultra and that was awesome! I am usually a visor person but I wanted to this new headband out. Between the headband and my Boston Bill sunglasses, I didn’t have any issues with sweat in my eyes. But it was soaked and also crystalized in sweat. So we got into comfortable sandals, got our chairs and cooler and headed over to the finish line to become spectators of marathon and ultra-running. Sue made us some bagels and we proceeded to replenish lost calories and hops. The rest of the day consisted of cheering friends and other runners in and toasting to everyone’s accomplishment. Sean came in at 5:07 for the 50k win and Tracy was right behind him (factoring in the later start) in 5:04 for the Marathon. With our entire team done, relaxing and rehydrating, we had to wait for the team times to be calculated. There were 2 Men’s Teams and 2 Coed Teams. One of the Men’s Teams destroyed everyone else by over an hour, and that included the girl took 2nd overall in the Marathon. They weren’t a concern to us though, but the GNATS were. They beat us by 13 minutes to win the Coed Team division, giving up 2nd place. We received a 2nd place pin for our accomplishment. Overall, it was a great day. This was my first time running one of Kip’s races and I will definitely do another. I am signed up for the Best Damn Marathon Cape Coral on December and I am considering doing his Hillsborough River Marathon the day before to make it my first Double Marathon Weekend. The volunteers were awesome. There was some panic the week leading up to race, and as a Race Director, I understand his concerns but he had a quality crew of volunteers. The course was marked perfectly. All of the signs and arrows directed runners in the four different races onto the trails they were supposed to take. Of the few people that did get off course, they all said that it was their own fault, they just weren’t paying attention. Amazing event Kip, thank you for doing what you do in this awesome trail/ultra community in Florida.
Sunday, May 4, 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.
Monday, January 21, 2013
So, because Chip broke his foot right after signing up for Long Haul 100k, he made me take his bib. I was not planning on a run this long for another couple of months. My only goal was to finish under the 18 hour cut off. I had the girls this weekend so my dad met us at the hotel to take the girls to Mt Dora and I went up after the race. I was glad to be there with Jami, Maria, John and Jim. This was Maria’s 2nd 100 and Jami’s first. They had training like crazy for this and were more than ready. Jim was gonna help them out during the day and then head down to St Pete for the half marathon the next day. I had arranged secretly for Kurti to come up and run with the girls through the night. The course was basically and out and back of 14.3 miles with 2 lollipops and coming through a central junction 4 times per loop. I had a 5 mile starter before 4 big loops. The 100M was 7 laps. John and Jim were going to take out stuff out to the spectator area for us on one of the golf carts that RD Jen Pearson had set up to run back and forth for the entire event. So all we had to do was go to the start line and get ready to run. The weather was perfect for racing and we were off, 15 minutes after the hundy group. I quickly settled in with Salt Shack and Kathleen Wheeler. My plan was to run 8 minutes and walk 2 minutes. They both liked that and hung out with me for a while. Kathleen pulled back after a few miles while Salt and I ran the first 20 miles together. We were having a great time, doing the 8/2, chatting away, and really enjoying the race. Over time, my 8 got slower and slower but I stuck to the 8/2 plan for 48 miles. I had to let Salt go ahead on the 2nd big loop. I put on my music and pretty much ran alone the rest of the way. With the out and backs I still saw everyone plenty of times, but it was just hellos and great jobs. The feet really started to hurt by the end of the 2nd lap, but I was drinking a ton and eating very well at the aid stations. The food was amazing but all I really wanted was peanut M&M’s and pizza. They even had sun screen and bug spray at the tables. The third lap was a blur until the last 3 miles when I go to run back from the south lollipop without my headlamp. The trail wasn’t technical so I wasn’t worried about the footing. I love running free in the dark. Picked up my headlamp and headed in to check in for the last lap. I was anxiously awaiting Jill’s arrival at this point. I was hoping to see her on the 3rd lap but she had trouble getting out of the house with her kids. I only saw them for a few minutes because they were in the tent sleeping shortly after I headed out for the longer out and back. I did have Jill pull off my tall compression Injinji’s and put Icy Hot on my feet. I wasn’t going to put the tall socks back on and wasn’t concerned about my calves so I put regular Injinji’s back on. I have never blistered in them and that is all I will wear if going over 10 miles or running trails. I think I was down for 10 minutes while she worked on me, but that was the only time lost during the entire race. This last lap I realized that my foot pain was the same whether I walked or ran, so I ran. I figured the quicker I got done, the sooner I could get off my feet. It was quite dark and there were a lot of noises in the woods. I wondered if I could dodge a charging pig. As I was coming back down from the north lollipop I realized that I was probably going to break 17 hours and then as I headed out on the south lollipop with only 3 miles to go, I knew sub 16:30 was gonna happen. Then it got even better, I realized that I could run fast (well, fast for 60 miles in) and that if I pushed it I could break 16:15. Jill had said she would run the .3 to the finish with me and I was cruising when I got to her. I ditched my bottles and headphones and said we gotta go. It felt like a near sprint as I filled her in on what could be happening. I ended up crossing the line in 16:13 and Jen was right there to hang a medal on my neck. She was all over the course the entire day and there to greet every finisher. I got a hug and a kiss from Jill and then Jen led me to the food. I grabbed two slices of pizza and just wanted to sit by the fire for a bit. My feet hurt and I was tired, but I felt really good considering I had just run 62 miles, 2 months ahead of schedule. This race really helped me learn some things about myself. The main thing is that I can finish a 100. I realized that I can run with the foot pain. It will slow me down a little but I can deal with it. My legs didn’t really tighten up and felt strong at the end so when I am in the shape I want to be in by the end of March, I feel very good about Ft Clinch. Well, back to training, got a couple weeks off before the next one! Loop Times: 5M Starter Loop-1:00 1st Full Loop-3:00 2nd Loop-3:18 3rd Loop-4:14 4th Loop-4:41
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
2013 is going to be my year. I am going to finish a Hundy or 3 and get my 50k back under 5 hours. I got the year started off with a nice little 6 hour race just across Alligator Alley. The Vista View 6 Hour was a race my buddy Chip Wolfe had done the year before. He had just started training together for the LOST 118 relay when Chip broke his right foot 2 miles into a morning 20 just before New Years so he wasn’t able to join me in the race he suggested. I had been doing my 20’s in 4 to 4:30 lately with a bunch of walking and stops at stores so I felt that I could take a shot at a 50k in the 6 hours. It was a Sunday race so there was no hurry to get over there until Saturday afternoon. We made plans to meet a few FUR runners out for dinner and had a great time before driving over to the park. We have been sleeping in the back of the Expedition on an airbed at races lately. Doing so many races this really saves money. Even watched a movie before bed! Alarm at 5am and the park was open. We drove thru the entrance and parked. I was able to get ready and get our tent set up right along the course before the 6am start. The loop was 1.24 miles and had 3 hills, one large one and 2 smaller hills. I made the decision to walk them all and run the rest while not stopping at the tent for more than 10-15 seconds every few laps. Jill did an amazing job of having bottles ready for me as I needed them. I carried one bottle the entire way and drank water for the first 2 hours before mixing in Gatorade every other lap. After 3 hours I started drinking coke as well. She always made sure I had a new GU in my bottle so I never had to ask for anything. I felt pretty good from the start, running all the flat and down while power walking the hills. It was going to take 25 laps to hit my 31 mile goal. I was on my 14th lap when the clock his 3 hours so I felt pretty good about hanging on for the 50k! This was a last minute race intended to be a quality training run, and my longest run of the season to date. I began doing the math around lap 17, knowing what I had to average to hit the goal. I would recalculate every lap after that. I was in the 15’s per lap at this point and needed to average only 17 the last 7 laps, then 19 over the last 3 laps, 20 over the last 2 and I had a full 24 minutes to run the last lap. I didn’t need all 24 as I came in with about 8 minutes to spare. My lap times are as follows: 1-12:57 2-13:37 3-13:47 4-13:16 5-12:25 6-12:21 7-12:45 8-13:44 9-13:41 10-13:08 11-13:10 12-13:03 13-13:13 14-13:19 15-13:43 16-14:06 17-14:15 18-14:52 19-15:31 20-15:08 21-14:59 22-15:58 23-16:02 24-16:28 25-15:55 One other note I have to point out because it relates to how amazing Jill is as my crew person, pacer and girlfriend. She joined me on lap 23 and I was in a serious funk. I felt great all day, but it was a weird feeling. I was dialed in and focused but was starting to hurt as I was digging deep to hold on for the goal. As we started lap 23 I told Jill that I couldn't talk. She said that was fine, she would just talk to me and I didn't have to respond. About a half mile into the lap I told her that I couldn't listen either. I really just wanted to be left alone to finish my last 3 laps. We finished that lap in silence and she left me alone to finish up my last 2 laps. She was even brave enough to meet me for my last 100 yards across the line. I crossed the line and was instantly back to my regular nice ultra runner self. My streak of not snapping at a volunteer is still intact! I sat down under the tent to get my shoes off and drink some coke when I saw guest runner Ultra Marathon Man Dean Karnazes walking around. I jumped up and was instantly hurting but I wanted to get a picture. Dean was so nice to chat with. I had only briefly spoken to him on the course. But as Jill took a few pics Dean complemented me on my game plan throughout the race. He had noticed that I walked the hills and stayed pretty steady for the entire 6 hours. Very cool of him! On to the next race, unplanned but running Long Haul 100k for Chip!
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
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
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
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!
Monday, June 27, 2011
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!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Well, my 2nd 50 mile race is in the books. 6 weeks after my first one up at Croom, I headed across the state to Wickham Park in Melbourne w/ Ultra Veteran Jim Rickards. Jim has 4 100's under his belt, including States and Leadville. We drove over Saturday and went to the park to check out the course. RD Matt Mahoney had chalked the course and put out used paper plates directing turns. We each filled a water bottle and just walked the course. To our dismay, most of the course looked runable. We were expecting a course that would demand walking for over a 1/3 of the time due to sugar sand. Of course, I had to hit my head on a tree branch, as I had done on the last training run at Croom. I was to pass this branch 28 times the next day so I made a note to pay attention. So we left Wickham and checked into our hotel just a few miles down the road. I think we were the only people staying at the hotel.
After relaxing a bit, we decided to head out for last minute supplies and some dinner. The awesome dude at Subway agreed to cut our turkey subs into quarters and wrap them in saran wrap to eat during the race. I grabbed a bottle of Mountain Dew, some Skittles and Gatorade. The chicken parm sub at Blizzaro's was amazing. And I even had half left over for after the race! Back to the hotel to relax and get some sleep.....which didn't really happen. I could not fall asleep. I was tired, and calm, I just couldn't seem to fall asleep. I think I finally got to sleep around 2am and was out cold until 6 or so. The park opened at 7 with a 7:30 start, so we grabbed bagels at Dunkin Donuts and headed over. The park was already packed at 6:50, which gave us plenty of time to get signed in, pick up our no t-shirt and get our Aid Station set up. This race is completely self supported. The race was chip timed, if you count the potato chips that I brought. The course was a 3.75 lollipop that would bring us back to the start/finish line 13 times to look at a watch on the hood of Matt's car where we would write our time and then head out a 14th time to do a 1.25 out and back to the Finish Line. We were gathered at the start line right at 7:30 when Matt came running out of nowhere w/ a bag of flour in his hand and announced "Ready, Set, Go"! I guess that means the race has started.
I started off at what I felt to be a very comfortable 9:15 pace w/ Krystle Martinez and Brad Lombardi. Krystle settled in with some woman for about half the race while I ran 4 laps with Brad. Then he pulled away before calling it a day after 50k with some pain in his foot that he didn't want to get worse-wise move. I felt very comfortable for about 5 or 6 laps. Oh, and the thing about the course being runable...yeah, not after 2 laps. There were 78 starters and we tore up the sugar stretches pretty quick. I walked the 1 decent hill, the 4 rolling hills and the 6 mogul stretch every time after the first lap. Beginning on lap 3, I walked the sugar sand stretches. I carried 1 bottle of water for each of the first 2 laps and on the 3rd, I picked up a bottle of gatorade and that was the pattern for the rest of the day. Toni Pyle was so helpful in topping my bottles off after each lap so they were ready when I needed them again. I was carrying 40 oz of water and was drinking about 30 each lap.
On lap 3, I wanted to start popping my endurolytes but when I went into my ziplock bag in my bottle pocket, they were soaked. I couldn't save any so I threw out the bag. Then at my cooler, I forgot to take some, but on lap 4 I remember I had a couple in the new bottle I had picked up a lap ago. There were 2 in there, so I figured I should drop the 1st one in the sand walking up a hill. So I am about 13 miles in and have only taken 1 endurolyte. I think I took 2 at a time at about 6 more times that day. I didn't remember after each lap, cause I had to go into the bottle in the car for them.
After lap 4, I began drinking Red Bull and Mountain Dew at the cooler and I took GU's after lap 4 and 6. Toni gave me a few potatoes and some watermelon but that was about all I could eat. I did eat some of two of the pieces of sub that I had but from Mile 10 to the finish I really thought I was gonna start throwing up after every burp. I was not a great feeling. As I was finishing lap 7, which I was debating calling it a day with the Marathon, I ran into Sissy, Keith, Cookie and Kyle, who came out to hang for a bit. They ran me in as I completed the marathon in 4:53. The fastest marathoner on the day was 4:10. They all ran lap 8 with me, which was awesome to have 4 pacers-well, I was leading the way cause I knew the course. Kyle was trying to be funny but I wasn't feeling too hot so his humor was not working (sorry Kyle, no offense). I do remember asking Sissy "who brought the ADD kid" after he pulled out and took off in a sprint. So 8 laps in, about 30miles or so, Sissy went on lap 9 with me. She helped me to the finish at Croom and is just the most amazing pacer. She knows exactly what to do and say and how to say it. I was in a really bad funk at this point and the heat was getting to me. I even did throw up a little, but not the all out hurling that I was expecting. She kept telling me that I was in Pittsburgh or Syracuse in the winter and that it was actually cold out-I wasn't buying her line of crap, but it was nice to hear her try! I explained some of the things that I was going through and she just listened and tried to help to keep going. I remember one particular scene in my favorite movie For Love of the Game when Gus says to Billy, "Oh Chappy, today just isn't your day." I really felt that way on lap 9 but having Sissy there really helped me a lot.
We finished up lap 9 and Cookie had the perfect gift for me as I sat at the cars. A bag of ice for my neck and back. So I have 4 laps to go and no energy, but all of a sudden, I jump up and grab my bottles. Brad asked if I got a new burst of energy and I just said "I gotta go." I don't think it was a burst of energy, but more of a panic that if I sit there any longer, I won't ever get up and finish. So I was off at a horribly slow jog. The gang had to take off but I was glad they were there when they were.
I don't remember lap 10, but I think I ran most of it, but then I walked every single step of lap 11 and 12. I remember panicking after lap 10, saying that I only had 4.5 hours so do 3 laps plus the out and back. I really felt that my laps were gonna slow to 90 minutes each and that I wouldn't finish. But that feeling went away when I did lap 11 in 70 and knew I could finish. I came up on Jim near the end of lap 12 and we walked and talked for a little while. Then Eric Friedman is coming towards us and suggests a basketball shoulder bump which I think is a great idea. Not true, as soon as I jump and hit him, a seizing cramp goes flying through my left hamstring. It's all good tho! It was quite funny, but the cramping laughs are only beginning. Lap 12 brought back a visit with that tree branch. I hit my head hard again. I kept checking for blood but I guess I didn't cut my head. So I finish up lap 12, which I walk in 61 minutes, 9 minutes faster than lap 11. I think I got the powerwalking thing down on that one. I only sit about 5 minutes and head out on my last full lap. I started out w/ a guy that I had spoken to earlier in the race and his wife was walking with him. He said he was gonna try to run the 1.25 out and back so with that in the back of my head, I tried jogging on a few the flat solid stretches. I turned in a 56 minute lap while running the last 1/2 mile and only had 1.25 to go after 11 hours of running. I was just into my out and back when I come across this guy finishing his 13th lap and he says he is gonna try and catch me. To think, a sprint finish after 49 miles. I ran as hard as my body could go, which was about 11:30 pace and my stomach was violent towards me. It was painful. My legs would go just fine by my stomach ached. So I step on the paper and head for home. When I passed the guy coming after me I told him I stepped on the paper so he knew I went all the way! I popped out of the woods and kept looking back, no sign, I held him off. 11:21:11 was my finish time, an hour and half slower than at Croom. I was not complaining, cause this course was not comparable to Croom. This course was so unforgiving and difficult that any finish was a real accomplishment. One pleasure in the last 3 laps is that I was going back and forth with ultra nice ultra awesome Cheryl Lager-an official FL Ultrarunner from Virginia. We didn't talk much cause we were both struggling through our own challenges but it was nice to feed off such an amazing person.
The other guy came in 2 minutes after me and I introduced myself. His name is Chris Reesh and he had finished his first 50! I told him I was running like I could hear banjo's, which got a laugh. I had nothing in me but just kept going. Then I go hang out w/ the crew of Toni, Krystle-who blew by me on lap 11 or so and lowered the women's CR to 10:17, and Brad. This is where the fun starts. Every move I made would start a cramp in some muscle, calf, hammy, thigh, back, toes even. I just wanted to get off my feet for a few minutes and when I sat down, cramps would seize thru my body, propelling me up, jumping around screaming in pain while also laughing at how funny I knew I looked. Brad was getting a real kick out of my pain because he has been there before. After a while I was able to settle down and relax. The awesome John Pyle came in shortly after me with a very solid paced run. Jim also came in right after me, having done 11 laps for 41 miles. A great day for him, good miles on a tough tough course.
Got back to the hotel around 8:30, showered, ate the other half of my sub and watched the newest Indiana Jones movie. I jumped out of bed in pain a few times from cramps in my calves and toes. I was able to get some sleep though. The only damage I took was to 3 of my toes. I was certain that I would lose all 3 nails, but maybe not. I drained them from under the nail and they seem to be ok. Time will tell.
Well, I think that's all I have to say about that. On to the next one, Ft. Clinch Endurance Run 100M on June 25th-26th on Amelia Island in Fernandina Beach. I will be ready to finish my first 100!!!
Oh, and results with splits can be found here: http://mattmahoney.net/wickham/11wpmar.txt Out of the 78 starters, 57 completed the Marathon with 13 finishing 50 miles. I ended up 5th, sandwiched right between some very respectable ultra runners!! Joe Ninke went on to finish 200 miles over 4 days for the 3rd year in a row-Amazing!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Yesterday was my 2nd attempt at becoming an "official" ultrarunner. Many people have told me that I already am one because I completed 66 miles in a 100 mile race and I have done (3) 50 mile training runs as well as many other 30s. But I felt that to include myself in that category, I had to complete a race longer than a 26.2 mile marathon.
I went into the Croom Fools 50 Miler knowing without a doubt that I would finish, I just wasn't sure how well I would run. I had set some soft goals for myself of 8:20 (10 min pace) and top 10. So here is how the story unfolds:
I headed up to Brooksville with Shanna early Friday afternoon. We went to packet pickup to save time in the morning. I am so glad I did because I was already trying to get all my aid station stuff ready in the morning to have one more thing to worry about. Then we went and checked into the hotel where they had a nice little happy hour for us. Then the friends started to show up. I got to finally meet Kellie Smirnoff who came down from Jax to win the 50k just three weeks after a solid 100k in New Zealand! Brad and Will then Krystal, John and Toni arrived and we hung out for bit before Shanna, Kellie and I headed up to eat the pasta that we had brought with us. It was just easier to eat in the hotel room and relax. Then we made up some bottles and rearranged the cooler for the morning and off to bed for a solid 6 hours of sleep! Man, 4:30 came awfully fast! But it was up and outta there.
We got to the start line around 5:30 and got the most perfect parking spot. I had just enough time to make sure all of my GUs and bottles were ready. I have myself believing that I wasn't nervous about the race but making sure that I had all my ducks in a row. Who knows if that was true, as I headed to the start line with my shirt on. Ummm....it was 70 degrees at the start, so I ran back to the car to ditch the shirt. I met up with John, Brad and Will at the start and Andy Matthews introduced himself as a co race director and that we were almost ready to start. He asked if anyone needed a lamp to which one poor soul said he did. Andy made no promises as to how long it would last; that got a laugh from the field. And then we were off. About 6 or 8 of us started down the road at a very comfortable 8 min pace. The course would go .7 of a mile down the road and make a left on a fireroad. The first loop was 5 miles followed by 3 loops of 15 miles each. I felt great on this 5 mile loop which was primarily flat with the exception of the climb up Tucker Hill back to the start line (main aid station). I also had my only fall of the day around mile 4. I got my foot caught on a root and went down on one knee and caught myself with one hand bottle. I popped up instantly and never missed a beat. As I came up to the car to grab my 2nd bottle, a GU and headphones, all of the runners in the 50k and 16M races were starting to gather as they were starting 1 hour after us.
Marc St. Angelo was there now too and assured me I could ditch my headlamp. He ran run a solid 9 hours last year so I trusted his advice and ditched it. Boy am I glad I did that, I would have hated carrying it for a lap or having to leave it at the next aid station and not pick it back up after the race. My only problem as I started the first big loop was that my headphones were tangled and with two bottles and not enough light, I wasn't about to slow down to get that situation straightened out. So I just shoved the headphones in my shorts and kept crusin! There was just enough light to really embrace the darkness of the trails up there. Next stop, Beaver Gulch. This gulch drops down fast with many roots and downed trees. This is also the place that just three weeks ago, I bashed my head on a low tree that goes across the trail. I was paying enough attention this time and was able to duck under it, as I was the next two times on the day! Climbing out of Beaver Gulch is easier than getting into it and then it was on to Camp Donkey, where Mark Jackson and his awesome family have an incredible aid station. He asks what I need and I reach into my shorts to ask if he can untangle my headphones. Tae is also there and refills my water as his waits for his father, the amazing Jim Schroeder to come through.
Full bottles and music playing, next stop, 5 miles to the road crossing station. I ran most of this way with Will Glover. Will is a pretty awesome dude that I met the night before with Brad Lombardi. Will was a little undertrained with a business to run as well as familial obligations but he was giving the 50 his best shot. He looked very strong at this point. We swapped back and forth for about 20 miles and it was great talking to him each time. I got to see Andrea Risi and Bill Slow Twin at the road crossing.
Full bottles and a GU down and I was off again. Three more miles to the Bundy's Pit AS. Quick in and out of there and it was 4 miles of hills back to the top of Tucker Hill. I walked most of the uphills because it was the smart thing to do. I felt great on the downs and flats so I just kept crusing at an 8:30ish pace, I think. Mile 16 was the last time I looked at my watch. It was at this point that I started to question how good or bad I felt. I had no problems getting back to the car but I wasn't sure that I felt great. All of the runners were out on their first loop by now so I just swapped out my bottles, left my trash and grabbed some new GUs.
Twenty miles down, 30 to go. I felt solid leaving, with Beaver Gulch and Camp Donkey only 3 miles away. Got there no problem but wanted Mountain Dew and/or Coke. Mark had Coke and he asked if I had been taking electrolytes. I had not but I had my baggie and grabbed two right then and at every AS after that too. I also had a potassium tab and an orange slice. I felt the need to sit a minute so I asked if I could sit. Mark told me I could but not for long. I sat for about 2 minutes and asked about the Labatt Blue that he had advertised on FB. He said he would have a cup for me on the next lap, that I had to earn it. So I got up and said I would be right back!
My run/walk "strategy" from here to the finish is pretty much a blur but I will try to chronical it to the best of my ability. From here, I ran when I felt I could run and I walked when I felt that I needed to walk but I took on the motto of ABM-Always Be Moving. There were many times over the next lap and a half that I really wanted to just bend over and put my hands on my knees, especially at the top of hills, but I resisted all of those urges. The only time I ever stopped was at an AS. So, on to the Road AS for the 2nd time. This was just a quick refill, orange slice, Endurolytes and a GU (which I think I only ate half and left it on the top of the water jug). Andrea also noticed that I was shaking pretty bad. I am not sure what that was about. Maybe cause I didn't take enough endurolytes early on, maybe the heat, who knows. My deal with the heat was not the same as anyone else in the race. I heard runners complaining left and right about the heat. I never once thought that it was "too hot." I knew that there wasn't really any humidity and a breeze most of the time so I had no reason to hate the heat. I put sunscreen on twice too and didn't even burn!
So from here it was run/walk through AS #3 and up and down all of the hills. There was a lot of run/walk in here and my feet were in some serious pain. I was wearing the Saucony Peregrines and I love them but my feet just don't want to cooperate with this kind of mileage. Oh well, up Tucker Hill to have a seat at the car. Shanna swapped out my bottles and asked what I wanted. I was in 1 word answer mode right then. I said "Red Bull" and then "Skittles." Looking back, I felt like Dorothy at the end of Wizard of Oz, I am looking at these people and saying "You were there" and "you were there too." My Dad walked over and said hi. I was pretty sapped of emotion as I responded hello back to him. I also threw a half eaten GU and said "I can't GU anymore, I'm F'd" and Sissy thought I said I can't GO anymore and was about to kick me back out. I could not take in any more GU and Chomps didn't taste good either. I was gonna have to rely on AS food and my bottles. I was always carrying one water and one gatorade.
Last lap, the bell lap, haha! I left out of there running and I think I made it a mile, maybe two, still running before the walking hit me again. Anytime I sat or walked for a longer period of time, I was able to follow up with longer stretches of running. Walk/Run seemed to be the plan this lap. I made it to Camp Donkey for the last time and there was no way I was asking Mark for the Labatt Blue. I just refilled bottles, ate a little bit and stumbled out of there. I ran/walked with Andy Barrett for a while in here, which is always amazing to do. He is the man and has helped me out a lot early in this career.
On my way to the Road AS for the last time, Stephanie Miller blew by me like I was barely moving. I just said "Great job, way to defend your title." Which she did in Rockstar fashion. She was still at the Road AS when I got there but she left quickly and I never saw her again. Wendy and Sally were there. Wendy helped me get some stuff together, bottles, food, endurolytes, introduced me to her boyfriend. I looked up, said hi and crashed back to my hands on knees (remember, I was allowed to do that at aid stations).
I left out of there for the last time and I think I was running 30 seconds to 60 seconds of walking the rest of the way. Somehow I made it the next three miles to AS#3. They were pretty cool people, I sat and had some coke, topped off bottles then get on my way again. By now, my theory was that the quicker I got to the finish the sooner the pain would stop. I just kept plugging away, running downhill and some of the flats and walking up the hills.
I was probably less than 1 mile from the finish when I turned a corner to walk and Sissy was coming towards me with a gatorade and tons of support. That gatorade was so good. We ran a little and then I had to walk some. We laughed about the cat sign, which is an inside joke, sorry folks! Then we hit that camp w/ picnic table and it was time to climb Tucker Hill and cross that finish line. I was able to run the top of Tucker Hill and out the trailhead straight into the finish. They handed me my finishers mug and I just sat down, completely spent. I just sat with my face in my hands, nearly crying, not really sure what was going on. Thinking back, I was laughing and joking with Sissy just 2 minutes before and then I had nothing in me. People came over to congratulate me but I can't completely remember who all was there. Shanna sat next to me and wanted to know what I needed. I had no answer for her. I had no idea what I wanted. Kellie did come over with a piece of cake on a plate so I did eat that. And my face wore some of it. Other than that, I could not function.
After a while, I was able to move over to the gathering area where the Speedsters had been hanging out for the hours they had been done running! Sissy and Keith dominated the 16M Fun Run in their first Croom race and the will be back again for sure! Patsy, Jami, Bob, Angela and Jim all ran the 50k. We toasted with champagne and I sat around like dead weight. Shortly after I finished, my mentor in the sport of Ultra Running, John Pyle, came through looking stronger than ever. I somehow was able to stand up and made my way over to share congratulations and get a picture with my hero.
It wasn't long before we decided to start heading home. Nothing sounded better than a hot shower and a comfortable bed. I got in the pool for a quasi ice bath, then got that hot shower. Then dinner and crashed on the couch to watch a movie. Not really sure how I stayed awake for it, but then that comfortable bed was calling my name and I was out cold until about 8:30am Sunday. Woke up and legs felt quite a lot better. Still sore but not crippling. Looking forward to Wickham Park Memorial Day Weekend! I want to thank all of the people that worked the aid stations and supported me. I also want to thank Andy Matthews and Jim Hartnett for putting on such an amazing race. Also need thank my Dad for coming to support me. He saw me run a 5 mile race about 2 1/2 years ago when I started running but this was a whole different story.
Lastly, Dear Shanna, your support is unreal!
Finish Time: 8:49
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Well I have had a few days to let the race digest. The Ancient Oaks 100 in Titusville, Florida on Saturday December 18, 2010 was the race. The decision to drop after 19 of 29 laps was a very difficult one and I have had numerous moments of regret in the hours and days following that decision. I am going to try and give the best run down I can of how the race unfolded. I am going to speak in terms of laps, just multiply by 3.46 to figure out the mileage.
I actually got a solid 6+ hours of sleep the night before at good friend Marc St. Angelo's house. He was kind enough to take me in the night before, which I greatly appreciated! I got to the Enchanted Forest park around 5:30 and spent some time getting my food and gear ready. We took a few pictures and headed to the start line. Everything was very casual, plenty of pictures being taken and getting to know some of the runners. 7am hit on the clock and we strolled off on our journey. I settled in with the famous Ray K and we ran chatting during the first lap. He dropped a few poems based on the songs I was listening to, very entertaining! He pulled off to pee at the end of lap 1 and I hooked up with another legend, Matt Mahoney. We ran lap 2 together and had a good laugh as we climbed the Florida famous Mt. Mahoney to an elevation of 14 feet! I really am not sure where Matt went but I noticed I was right behind Joe Ninke on lap 3 and somehow passed him as he was trying to fix his iPod. It was amazing to be announced as the New Leader when I came through the checkpoint. I knew it was early and didn't mean anything but I was soaking up the glory. I really want to be honest in that I in no way felt that I was going too fast. I may have been, but there was nothing I could do to slow down, I just felt so good. So I was announced as the leader each time I crossed over the next few laps and loved every moment of it.
I think my marathon time was somewhere around 4:30 and my 50 mile time was roughly 9:30. I was eating GU gels and Chomps for the first 20 miles and putting NUUN in my water every other lap or so. But then my stomach couldn't handle the GU anymore, which always happens after 20 miles. I carried a bag of Chomps for an entire lap and couldn't make myself open it. Toni started making me Turkey and Cheese sandwiches. I remember her asking if I wanted Swiss Cheese and I said "sure, it's holy, kinda like praying"! The very talented Krystal Martinez was very helpful all day as well. I guess I upset her by being to happy and never snapping at her. I gotta work harder on that next time! I also got into the potato chips and Christmas cookies that Marc's wife Kim and the kids made for us! I ate really good during the entire race. I was drinking a little Red Bull and Gatorade each time at the aid station.
I felt really good after lap 15 cause I knew I was over halfway in less than 10 hours. Lap 16 still felt ok but lap 17 was getting very painful. I am not exactly sure what happened but my feet just started to fall off. My upper legs were great and my calves were tight but manageable. My feet felt like they had been bashed with a hammer and then put in cement. I sat for about 20 min after lap 17. When I finally made myself get up, I walked the entire lap 18. I sat again for about 30 min and when I got up for lap 19, I knew I had to run a little more on that lap. I was able to jog as slow as my walk for about 30% of that lap. The rest was spent walking. When I got back to the tent, I pretty much knew that I was done. I felt that I could have tried to keep walking but I really did not want to do that for 34 more miles. My opinion back at mile 59 was that I was physically done and I wasn't sure how much the mental could take. I was running laps earlier in the race at 34 minutes each and my last two laps took over 3 hours total.
After lap 19, I changed into warm clothes and new socks and put my feet up. I ate and drank and got on the phone/texted a bunch. There were so many people pulling for me and I appreciate every single bit of encouragement that was sent my way. I was feeling pretty devastated when I texted the words "I can't do it" to a good friend. It hurt so much to have to do that knowing how much support they had given me throughout the day. Many people kept telling me to get back up and keep going but I just couldn't make my self go out there and Death March for 34 more miles.
I finished lap 19 around 10pm and I sat there and tried to get a nap in the van until around 2am. Nothing felt any better and that is when I hobbled my chip over to the timing tent to turn in my DNF and shake Mike Melton's hand, thanking him for the invitation. There were 45 starters with 23 finishers and I was 3 back among the non-finishers. I really hope I did enough to warrant an invitation to come back next year. There is no doubt in my mind that I will finish next year.
So up next is a very busy, action packed Spring! Ragnar Keys on Jan 9th will bring me 37 miles over 3 legs. The following weekend is the Croom Zoom 50k when I will aim to break 5 hours at the FU Mecca! Then on March 5th is the Manatee Track Club 50k at Oscar Scherer State Park. I volunteered there last year due to the broken foot and I had a blast. I will shoot for 4:30 that day. Mid-April is the Croom Fools 50M, going sub-9 there is very doable I believe. And then Memorial Day weekend is the Wickham Park 50M. I will only be doing the 50M because I have to get back for school on Tuesday. This should lay a very solid foundation so that, if everything falls into place, I can head up to Vermont in July for my 2nd attempt at the 100 Mile Finish! This all sounds like a pretty good plan that is gonna work out perfectly. I am already feeling fully recovered and can get some pretty good running done in the next few weeks!
Well, there you have it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Sunday, November 21, 2010
First the Positive things about today's race:
1. I had a PR in the trail marathon
2. Got to hang out w/ some awesome friends
3. Brought home some cool hardware
Now for the how to guide to blowing up at the Alafia Trail Marathon:
First off, you need to get to the start line 3 minutes after the race has started. We were not late to packet pickup or running late. I just thought I had time to go fill up my water bottle and then get to the start line.
Next, you need to make up the lost time within the first 4 miles. I ran up through the field at under an 8 minute pace, saying hello to all my friends and telling them that I screwed up. I felt pretty good doing this though. A spent the most time with AB and Patrick, talking a little and Patrick threw some tips my way about keeping my chin and shoulders back so I breath easier. I really focused on that for the next 10 miles but then it got hard to keep at it.
Also, you must keep running an 8:04 pace through 14 miles when you original goal was around 3:50. I was on pace to run 3:32 at that rate.
Other things that need to go wrong are to have major stomach issues. I could not do GU or eat anything. I also only drank about half my water bottle in 14 miles, not good.
At mile 14, where Toni, Kyle and Kati were, I forced myself to open the GU, have some Peanut M&M's and some Heed! I began downing my water between stations and eating Pretzels at every one. Well, my stomach issues from the first half showed me why it didn't want to take anything in. I had to navigate my way into the "woods bathroom." While trying to get through the prickers, my right hammy seized up completely. I thought I was going to drop and never been seen again. Well, after losing 10 or more minutes, I got back on the trail and tried to keep moving forward. The thought of walking out of the woods really crossed my mind. Then I realized that I wanted to Thermos and Dog Tag Medal....oh, and I'm not a quitter.
Another task in making the blow up possible is to get plenty of leg cramps, and to get cramps on those cramps. My hammy was shot, my quads were blown up all the way into my hips and my calves were starting to go. This pretty much sucked. I ran when I could, I walked when I needed to but I never stopped, except at aid stations. Oh, and my feet were not having fun anymore.
I think this pretty much sums up all of the things that you need to do if you want to blow up at the Alafia Trail Marathon. All that being said, I did Trail-PR with a time of 4:21 (1:46 1st half, 2:35 2nd half). It was awesome!!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
I finished up August by running 180 miles in 21 days out of 31. Some highlights include getting out to Caloosahatchee twice (once w/ Keith and once on a 21 miler w/ Janette), as well as a 22 minute Beer Mile in a Fundraiser for the Ragnar Relay Keys Race on January 7-8, 2011. I had an 18 mile run with Coach Smith and I had my first double long weekend. Janette and I did 21.5 on Saturday and I did 15.33 with the Speedsters on Sunday. I really need to focus on getting that 2nd day down. I am really looking forward to September as I have a friendly bet with Patsy and Jason to see who will run more miles. I am going to a 49th Birthday party and a couple Doubles planned so I think I may have this one in the bag! Ultra training is really starting to heat up, hopefully the weather starts to cool down sometime! That's all for now folks!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
I missed a day running this week but I still got the miles in.
Wednesday late PM: 9 miles, 10:04 pace
Thursday PM: 10 miles, 9:33 pace
Saturday AM: 20 miles, 11:23 pace
Sunday AM: 10 miles, 10:25 pace
Total miles: 49
Not a very fast week but still logged the miles and got a double set on the weekend. Really looking forward to those 6 hour doubles in a few months!!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The first week of training went very well. Runs were as follows:
Tuesday PM: 3 miles to Fun Run: approx 9:30 pace, very hot
2 miles Fun Run: 7:48 pac
3 miles home: approx 8:30 pace, head wind felt great!
8 miles total
Wednesday AM: 8 Miles at Caloosahatchee Regional Park w/ Keith Carlton and Nathan Schwan. Hilly and very fun.
Thursday PM: 3 mile warm-up: 9:30 pace
3 mile tempo: 8:15 pace
1 mile cool-down: 9:36
7 miles total with the Speedsters
Saturday 8:30 AM: 11 miles in the very hot humidity, not fun at all: 10:20 pace
Sunday 4:30 PM: 10 miles in overcast cool breeze, much more fun: 9:05 pace
43 miles total for the week
This week went very well. I kinda messed up the long runs. I thought they were supposed to be 90 minutes and 2 hours. It was supposed to be 3 hours for the 2nd one. I am fixing that next weekend by doing 20 miles and 10 miles. Off to a good start!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Well today marks the first official day of training for the Winter racing schedule....we have to race distance in the winter down here in Florida! I have always thought it was hilarious that the first day of most Training Plans calls for "Rest". You haven't really started if you aren't doing anything on the first day are you? Well, I did rest today, but that we because I put in four solid days leading up to today. They were the following:
Thursday-6 Miles, 8:34 pace
Friday-5 easy miles, 9:10 pace
Saturday-6.5 trail miles, 11:50 pace
Sunday-10 Miles, 9:09 pace
Feet felt great every day. I am ready to rock. I have 21 weeks planned right now. That will lead me up to the Ancient Oaks 100 Miler. I emailed the Race Director tonight asking for my invitation to the race. They usually keep a few spots for sacrificial virgins. One of them should be me. Other race plans this season include:
Oscar Scherer 50K-March
and possibly Keys 50M in May
It's about to get exciting, stay tuned for weekly training updates!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Running has been going very slow for me lately. I had a very exciting Key West experience in April and May but neglected to write about it. I spent 26 miles of the 50 mile course with Carl Grooms in April over 2 days training on the Keys 50 course. The fueling/hydrating lesson was worth more than I can explain. The race itself was a good experience while at the same time heartbreaking. Carl ran great for the first 11 miles but the heat was too much to overcome. We gave every effort to regulate his HR for the next 3 miles but I think we both knew a comeback was slipping out of our grasp. I really respect Carl for run/walking the next 12 miles with nothing in the tank. He just wanted to get to the 26 mile checkpoint to sign in.
After the Keys, I really haven't run that much. I have been running 2-3 times a week and just feel like I am in a funk. I really want to get motivated and get going. In an effort to do so, I have been trying to set my race calendar for the winter. I have 2 races that I think I want to get to. Ancient Oaks 100M on December 11th falls right within my budget (it's free). I would also like to go to Ironhorse 100K February 19th. So now I have to get focused and get my mileage back up. I have retained the services of my good friend Andrew Swistak to keep me accountable. The first step is to get the mileage up to the 40-50 range. After that I will need to focus on the long runs and back to back long run weekends. I am really looking forward to a 15/20 Weekend followed by a 30-40 Saturday the following weekend. That's the plan for now. I think I have said this before, but I plan to update more often.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Saturday was supposed to be my first 50M at Croom. Since the broken foot set me back a bit, I had to settle for the 15M race. Marc St. Angelo and his great family invited us over to their hotel for an amazing pasta dinner. Great carbo loading with new friends is awesome! Ashlee and I shared a hotel room with John , Toni, Michele and Jim and would have gotten a better nights rest if the smoke detector didn't have a low battery. John finally got up and ripped the thing off the wall. We were still up at 4am to get over to the park. The 50 Milers started an hour before us and many of them had finished their 5 mile loop and were on the big 15 mile trail when we started. We headed out and I found myself in a small group of 6 or so people just behind a pack of about 8 guys. I thought it was pretty cool to be up front. I had to check my pace to see if I went out too fast but I was certain that I was fine. Our group thinned out and I was probably in 10th or so as we began passing the 50M runners. They were all very friendly and encouraging. I felt like I was cruising along just fine, drinking my NUUN and taking in some GU Pineapple and Hammer Montana Huckleberry-new flavor which is awesome!! I only filled up my bottle at the aid stations and took off again. I came through the road crossing at 1:16 and felt that I had a legit shot at my goal of 2:20. I am not really sure where that goal came from, I just thought it was doable. The 2nd half of the course was where the hills all came in. They all had names and were all walk-ups. I really dug deep to storm up them and went right back into a run at the top. I tired a bit up some of the hills but thought I found a 2nd wind with about 4 to go. That only lasted a mile or two before I hit another lull. I knew I was getting close so I just tucked in behind a very strong 50 miler. We got to the base of Tucker's Hill together and the photographer told us only 1/4 of a mile to go. Tucker's Hill is more like a staircase of roots and rocks. Once we hit the top, I wished the other runner good luck and peeled off to cross the finish line, in 2:18:36. They gave me a mug for being a top finisher, which is cool! I ended up 15th overall and 2nd in my age group. I helped out a little at the main aid station as many friends came thru. Marc had discussed his ironclad gut for ultra running the night before so I had a fresh cheeseburger waiting there for him after his 2nd long loop! To my dismay he only wanted 1/3 of the burger. But he ate that down, refueled, rested up, put lotion on for the hot sun and then went out there and killed it on his last loop for his first 50 Miler!! After some rest and food, I went back out to the road and met up w/ John Pyle to finish the last 7 of his 50 miler with him. He's got guts thats for sure! Michele also rocked the course, finishing 2nd female overall in 8:31 in her first 50 mile race! More big things to come.