"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kettle Moraine Race Report

Kettle Elevation chart
Training-wise I would say I was prepared for the distance. Managing 300+ miles a month for all of 2011 was a new experience for me. Even before in the fall of 2010 I had run two fifties and ended up taking November mostly off due to a bad IT band issue. This was probably a good thing as good solid rest always does an ultrarunner good.  Otherwise I ran through what I suspect was a metatarsal stress fracture that occurred following one day of really hammering on the treadmill (stupid and will never do again.  Treadmills are for incline work only).

Besides base mileage I had several runs that I considered "key". This included a 36 mile slog through deep snow that took 7 hours but built some character. The Mississippi 50 race, a 37/34 friday night/saturday morning run, a back/back trail marathon sat/sun, and the ice age 50 mile with a 28 mile trail run the next weekend after which i began taper.  Im not a person to do 20 mile road runs every Saturday, but instead aim for 1-2 long runs every 10-14 days.
I made Jason nervous with all my nervous comments

I was just about as anxious for the race as Ive ever been. got super sick with a sore throat that made me not want to talk or swallow about three days before the race. While I felt a little better by race day i was still a nasty mess. Luckily running in the winter has helped me master the snot rocket. Anyways.

Race started off and a lot of people took off passing me and my friend. This was both of our first 100s so we were going to feed off each other and force slowness during the early part of the race. We were accused of sandbagging by other…  less fit looking individuals… who were running with us for the first 10-15 miles. Our strategy was to run 7 walk 3 minutes and attempt to stay on sub 24 pace.  I am curious what peoples pacing strategies are for 100 mile races.  Men in particular always seem to go out too hard.  I see this in 50 mile races as well.  What are people thinking…  Its 100 miles, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason to tire yourself out in the first hour.  Anyways…

And we're off

It was hot.  Midwest humid hot, 80 degrees at 6am and apparently over 90 during the day. I think this made a huge difference in the overall standings. Last year when it was cooler they had 90 of 110 people finish. This year they had 46 of 120...

Despite what felt like copious amounts of walking that my friend and I were doing, we were slowly reeling people in all morning.  We both have 5 hour 50k speed so we just maintained a casual pace during our run sections.  After hitting the Emma Carlin aid we hit the moraines:  16 miles of exposed rolling meadows, we went through this section at 9am and again at 2pm. The only way I survived this was by putting tons of ice down my back to be trapped by my nathan hydration pack. I even put ice in my hat. Probably wont have this problem at any November 100’s.  At some point I notified Jason our short walk break was over and it was time to run again.  He didn’t seem too happy about the idea.  We got moving again, but as we rolled into a major aid station Jason decided he needed to cool down in the shade and I was urged to push on. We had agreed if this was to happen we would separate and run our own races. Its almost inevitable in a 100 mile. Just too many variables. 
Maybe shouldve had some more solid food early on

In past the 50 mile point I was still feeling pretty good but starting to get sick of gels, I had also developed a blister on one of my pickey toes. Nothing serious tho. Miles 55-62 were really tough. Nasty super steep short inclines and declines that my quads did not like. Maybe it was heat, maybe it was a mental error but up to this point (mile 47) I had been only eating gels and my stomach was getting a little finicky.  Running on an all gel diet for this long made me really sick of them before 60+ miles when I needed fast energy. On an impulse I had put ensure drinks into drop bags and these were very helpful getting through the mid 50-80 miles. I wish I had brought 12 with me instead of 6. I had never used clif blocks or gummys before the race but brought some on impulse. These were awesome when I was sick of slurping down gels. Again I wish I had brought more. I only had three packs of them, next time I would like 10. I probably brought 80 gels with me to the race and put them in various drop bags and etc. This was overkill. Should mix up my nutrition between gels, blocks, and bars a little better next time. I averaged an Scap every 40-50 minutes during the day.

At mile 62 you have the option to stop at 100k or go back out for more miles. The thought crossed my mind. I had some excuses, hey im sick, hey it’s a super hot day.  However, my pride got the best of me and I told myself to shut up and get moving. My friends wife was waiting and helped me change shoes socks and get my headlamp on. I changed out my Mt101s for the Salomon Speedcross 2 a more cushioned protective shoe.
At this point the race director asked if I was going back out – I assume a lot of people had said no, so he looked slightly surprised when I smiled and said “of course.”   Time to get moving again, grabbed my headlamp, another Ensure and decided to put on a long sleeve shirt (I thought it might get cold – it did not).  I made some  deals with myself. Run till it gets dark then take a walk break, run until the next aid station, run till you catch those people.  I had given up on 7/3 and was just running as much as I could take before needing to walk. This and a big cup of ramen soup at an aid station got me all the way to mile 77. 
Mr. Salty shorts - leaving mile 77 aid station

Having run  this next section at the ice age 50 mile and knew it was technical with lots of climbing (relatively speaking) plus I was exhausted and it was dark. I was going to take it real slow and just get it done. Somewhere along the first climb I found a huge burst of energy and really flew through this part, one of my faster splits all day. At the turn around I got some more soup (soup rocks, nothing tasted so good) and some chips and decided to take a walk break. It’s a good thing I was walking because my headlamp was getting progressively dimmer, even with new batteries. I still don’t know why, but I had stashed an extra headlamp in my next aid station bag. It breathed new life back into me, and along with some more soup + mashed potatoes I was off again. As I approached the aid station I expected to be mile 88 it turned out to be mile 91! 9 more miles, I realized I would finish. Hung tough with some older dude (Steve Crane) for a while and even ran up a big climb with him. He was more experienced and told me to keep eating till the very end no matter what.  Great advice. I stopped at the mile 93 aid to get more soup and he kept going. It was ok id let him go. The last 7 miles were back through the quad crushing up and down. It was the longest 7 miles of my life. Not that I was “hurting” just that I knew it was so close but I had to go down all these short steep slopes combined with the darkness was just defeating. At mile 96 I sucked down 3 gels and decided to just run. I did this and passed two more people. I ate another gel at mile 99. I finished just as the sun was coming up.

In the end it was a great adventure. There were some not so fun parts, but overall im super excited and now feeling super strong in my running. The idea of pain in legs has changed a little bit. If anything I was overprepared. Not overtrained, just super adequately prepared. A lot of the battle is in the stomach, and the head. Legs can keep going. Im glad I practiced night running 2 long times, but with a good lamp its not that hard. Running smart races seems to be my strength since I don’t have blazing speed. It was interesting to see Zach Gingerich ran a 19:30 this year compared to his 15:17 in 2009, I wonder what I would have managed had it been a cooler day. I managed to hold sub 20 pace until about mile 62. But I guess that’s the way it works. First 50 miles is 40% of your time, second 50 miles is 60% of your time.  Mad props to everyone who finished despite such a hot day.  Also the race directors rocked!  I cant believe how perfect everything was organized, including food, drop bags, ice and water.  This is a great race and I suspect I will be back some day to give it another go.  Many thanks to Jason and Arden Robertson for physical and mental support, and a huge congrats to Jason who pulled it together and was running about 30 minutes behind me for the rest of the race.  It’s a good thing I didn’t know this, because I may have just slowed down and waited in order to get some company. It gets lonely out there.  I can finally see the reason people like to use pacers later in the hundo.

No comments:

Post a Comment