2013 H.U.R.T. 100

2013 H.U.R.T. 100

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cactus Rose 100 2014

The game plan and the pre race routine was the same this year.  Put up as good of a time that the day will allow and see where that puts me.  One thing was different this year though.  No crew/pacers.  I did away with pacers last year but still had Kelly crew me, but this year I was on my own.  Kelly has really liked trail running this past year and she was on a relay team.  I wanted her to concentrate on her race and have zero obligations to help me with mine.  if she wanted to come to some aid station to see me she was more then welcome but I had it set up to get my own stuff at the aids. 

before the start
The forecast leading up to the race didn't look good.  I knew with the heat index being mid 90's that I couldn't be too hard on myself with my splits and overall finish time.  I knew it was going to be a slower year.  we started out on loop one and everything felt good.  it was about 65 degrees and we started off at about the same pace as always flying through mile 10 nachos at about 1 1/2 hours.   I knew before the race that I had two main people to watch out for.  Lorenzo and Pompilio.  I've never met Pompilio and I don't know very much about his running.  All I knew was that he was ahead of me at mile 51 at the Mogollon Monster last month when it got cancelled.  I knew Lorenzo is a solid runner and we have very similar styles and game plans.  Lorenzo is extremely nice and I looked forward to sharing miles with him.  the rest of loop one was pretty uneventful and Lorenzo and I ran almost the entire thing together coming in at 4:11.  that was the fastest I've ever done loop one.  I've come in around 4:15 the past three years in a row.

Loop 2 started and things were the same.  to my surprise, I passed pompilio at mile 27 at the bottom of cairns.  he didn't look good.  I knew something  wasn't right.  I saw Kelly on top of Boyles bump going the opposite way and she looked good and said she was having fun.  I was so relieved to hear that especially since this was her longest run to date.  at around mile 38 (ice cream hill) Lorenzo and I were beginning to feel the heat.  Things started to slow down and my stomach went south.  I couldn't tell if I was dehydrated or off on electrolytes.  I experimented and took a salt pill.  we remained together until mile 45 aid station.  I started feeling a tad better and I left before him.  I ran a pretty solid section into the lodge and came in at 9:06 clock time.  Kelly was there and I saw Lorenzo come in not too far behind me.

Coming into mile 55

I left for my third loop not knowing that I wouldn't run with anybody again for the rest of the race.  I kept looking over my shoulder but little did know that it was pointless.  loop three was an interesting loop.  I never felt like death but I never had a high like I normally do at some points during this race.  my stomach still hurt and I was getting frustrated because I still couldn't figure out if I needed more water or less water or more salt or less salt.  I have a very simple routine with gu's and I don't stray from it. this was a very slow loop for me but my legs still felt great.  I was able to run anytime I wanted but my stomach would always cut those runs short and I would have to walk it off for a minute. once the stomach felt better I would do it all over again.  my original gameplan was to have my handheld flashlight at the lodge and pick it up at 75.  on loop 1 I made a smart decision knowing it was going to be a slower year and saved my headlamp for mile 70 incase I couldn't make it to the lodge in the daylight.  thank god I did that because on top of cairns it got dark, very dark.  it was a new moon so I had zero help from the moon.  I flipped on the headlamp for the first time ever and saw my first tarantula of the race on a rock right where I was about to put my hand to pull myself up one of the ledges.  coming into the lodge my stomach got even worse. 

I left for loop four at around 14:50.  about 30 minutes slower then last year and almost 1 1/2 hours slower then 2012.  this year the heat kicked my ass.  my stomach was so jacked up that I was on the verge of throwing up and I have never thrown up during a race.  I was yawning and my eyes were heavy.  all I could think about was how bad I wanted to sleep.  But quitting wasn't an option.  I have never quit a race even though I have felt much worse then this.  I was in first and I had a 500 mile jacket waiting for me after this final loop.  I stayed focused and turned things around after a couple miles.  I started feeling better and saw 2nd place right after that.  I knew my lead was over an hour but that means nothing in a 100.  I started feeling good enough to know that if I kept it up there would be no way he would catch me.  I laid down some good miles and it wasn't all that bad.  I was able to run all the runnable stuff really well and my energy levels were great.  at the start of loop 4 I made my new goal sub 21 and stayed focused on that.  I made new goals for each aid station.  my new handheld flashlight and head lamp were working great.  I could see markers glowing a mile away.  I came into nachos at 19 hours and which was about 5 minutes off if I wanted a sub 21.  every other year at this race, the last 10 miles sucked.  I struggled big time to run the runnable stuff and the sections felt like eternity.  this year my stomach settled down and my legs felt great.  at this point I had zero hot spots on my feet and zero chaffage.  I dread this section big time but this year it wasn't all that bad.  I ran pretty much everything that should be run and came in with a normal split.  I saw Kelly again at mile 95 for the final time.  she was happy to see I was feeling good (unlike last year) and I told her I would see her at the finish.  I've been thinking about this moment for years.  This is the fourth year in a row that I've been after a major goal at this race and/or the win.  I've come up short every year placing 3rd.  This final section was special though.  I was feeling great so running was very enjoyable and I had a 1st place trophy and a 500 mile jacket waiting on me.  I missed 21 hours and came in at 21:08 and was happy to be done. 

I've thought about this moment for so long that I couldn't believe it happened.  this year was definitely a slow year.  I never imagined that a 21 hour would win it, but the heat was a killer.  I had no clue where 2nd place was and Kelly and I hung out for 1 1/2 - 2 hours but I couldn't stay awake any longer.  it turns out I probably left right as he was coming in.  I am extremely proud of Kelly for doing so well at her race.  25 miles is a long way to go especially on such rugged terrain.  She met me at just about every aid station after mile 50 to show support.  it was such a fun weekend and the people of trail running is what keeps us coming back for more.  huge thanks to joe and the team for putting this race together once again for us to all come out and suffer.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

new year, new goals!

2013 was a big year for me.  Not for running but in life.  my fiancĂ©e and I bought a house, I got engaged, and I moved for the first time ever.  Our house needed a ton of remodeling so it was a busy year.  I did 5 races instead of my 13 in 2012.  I trained but just enough to get by so I didn't really nail anything like I did in the previous years. 

2013 in review:

January - HURT 100 while I did quite a bit better then 2012, I don't feel like I nailed it like I can.  I ran a 26:47, but I feel like closer to 24 is my true potential.

February - Cowtown 50k - I did this race spur of the moment so what can I expect? I had hopes of 3:45ish but came in around 3:58 with a poor finish.  I injured the IT band over my left hip which put me out for 3 months.

July - My hip healed just in time to get in training for Tahoe Rim Trail 100 July 20th.  I've wanted to go to Tahoe my whole life so it was a great experience.  I fell apart the last 20 more then I ever have in a race.  My 22-23 hour finish quickly turned into wanting to quit and a 26 hour finish.

September - Rough Creek 40.  I half way trained and knew my endurance wouldn't last 40 miles so I did ok the first 20 then suffered the last 20.  I still managed to win but ran it over an hour slower then 2012.

October - Cactus Rose 100.  I got in better shape but still not ideal.  I ran a 20:38 which was about 1 1/2 hours slower then I wanted but nutrition had a lot to do with it.  One day I will actually nail this race.

2014 looking ahead:

over the winter I lacked motivation to get out and train when it was cold.  I got in miles here and there but never trained enough to make it to my planned races (bandera 100k and rocky raccoon 100m).  here's a breakdown of my goals for the upcoming year.

Feb - I'm focused now and I would like Feb to keep going good and hit at least 300 miles.

March - High milage month with some speed training.  Im planning on possum kingdom april 12th and I want to nail it so march will be an important month.  I haven't done speed training in years but I know the importance so twice a week I will substitute my regular run for some sort of interval or tempo run. I would like to average around 80 per week.

April - Nail possum kingdom 52 miler in around 7:30.  I will need to be lean and top of my game but I need a goal that will force me to stay focused.

May - stay in shape and stay lean.  May 10th the dallas to fort worth run will be fun and then 2 weeks later I plan on going to new mexico for some good mountains.

June - stay focused despite my bachelor party in new Orleans.  possibly captn karls at the end of the month? might be good motivation to stay focused.

July - getting married july 12th.  our honeymoon will be in seattle area and Canada with plenty of mountains to go hiking / running on so hopefully it will be easy to stay in shape during that period.

August - major focus month.  high milage, intense training.  no races planned.

September - most important month of the year (running wise). September 6th captn karls finale at reveille ranch. I would like to better my time of 5:45 and possible go under 5:38???  then recover good and stay very focused for Mogollon Monster 100 in Arizona September 27th.  That's my main race this year.  Its my kind of course and I want to nail it.

October - recover from MM106 and play cactus rose by ear. 

November / December - stay lean and who knows??? probably train for bandera 100k.

my main goal for 2014 is to stay motivated and not have any blow off months.  I want to nail every race I enter (or at least properly train).  I enjoy the training and trail running scene so I would like to get back into it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Cactus Rose 100 Race Report

PRE-RACE REPORT    10-23-13

This summer hasn't gone very well from a running perspective.  Last year I did two captn karls races, rough creek and my usual 45 miler leading up to cactus and they all went perfect.  This year I struggled on all my long runs and struggled through rough creek as well.  After Rough Creek I got focused and thing turned around.  I got in a couple 90 mile weeks and leaned up a tad.  since then I've had some really good runs.  Nothing as long as I would have liked, but I'll take it.  I've had to do some major mental adjustments to make sure I'm prepared for this.  Last year I finally met my time goal of 19:20 so I'm a little more relaxed this year.  Maybe that's what the problem was, I didn't take training serious enough?  This past month my runs on the trail have been very fast but not too long so I know I can at least do loop 1 fast.  This year speed isn't my concern its how long my body will hold up.  If my body can hold up then I'm optimistic about this weekend.  I would like to beat last years time and ideally go closer to 18:30, but being up front is what I'll pay more attention to this year.  Steven isn't running the 100 this year but I feel that its going to be the most competitive and even matched field ever at this race.  Lorenzo has got to be the one to go after with his back to back 2nd place finishes here.  Brandon Ostrander will be out there for his first 100.  Will he be more conservative with it being his first 100 or will he be up front?  Nathan Leehman is one to watch as well.  He's done a shit ton of 100's this year and they've all been solid.  Eric Gilbertson will also be up front.  I've never been in the same race as him and not finished back to back with him.  Im sure i'm missing somebody on the sign up sheet or maybe all those people from mexico are from the tarahumara tribe and will dominate in their sandals.  Even though I may crash and burn, I'm still going for it because those who don't take a chance don't get a chance right?



You learn a lot every race.  I compare ultra running to golf. There is no such thing as a perfect round or race and it leaves you always wanting more.  This year was no different.  I feel I am very good with nutrition and I'm able to figure out and fix it but I can't seem to have a perfect 100 nutrition wise.  One thing that I can say I am very happy with is the way my legs held up though. I'm more confident then ever that if I can nail a 100 nutrition and pacing wise then I can post a good time.


With my brother's wife being due pretty soon he had to sit this one out from crewing me.  In the years past he has always met me at each aid with my gu and bottle ready.  It is a huge time saver and helps me out big time.  My fiancĂ©, Kelly, stepped up to the plate ready to help me out.  We still camped out by the start and did everything the exact same.

Before sending me off!


Every year at this race I wake up and throw on a ton of clothes and blast the heater in the truck.  This year was far from that.  I slept on top of my sleeping bag, woke up and comfortably changed outside.  I loved the warm start but knew it was going to be a tougher day because of it.  It was nice not having to take off anything all race or put anything on though.  Usual pre race routine done and up front ready to go.  I said my final good bye to Kelly and chatted with some other runners and we were off.  Steven and some other 50 milers or relayers took off and from the start it was pretty much Eric, Nathan, Lorenzo and myself together.  We ran the first section solid in just under 42 minutes which was my goal.  Last year I was still bundled up with several layers but this year I was drenched in sweat already.  The four of us chatted and joked for the next section and it felt good.  Just before nachos Lorenzo dropped off and at about the same time Nathan put a little gap on Eric and I.  I passed through nachos at the 1:29 mark which was right on schedule but I felt like I was running a 50 milers effort instead of a 100.  I knew there was plenty of time to hurt so I backed off a tad on the next section.  Eric, Lorenzo, and myself came into equestrian somewhat together and Eric and I left together.  We ran together pretty much all the way to the lodge with eric creating a little gap.  I finished loop 1 in 4:15 which was about 12 minutes slower then what I wanted but the heat and humidity was a killer.  I feel that I was working pretty hard and anything more would have been too much.

Coming into Boyles - mile 20 @ 3:18


The entire first loop didn't feel that great but when I left for loop 2 things started to get better.  I did the boyles/cairns section faster then the first loop and I was feeling great.  Coming into boyles Kelly had my bottle and everything ready just like every other time.  I left the 30 mile mark in 3rd and at 5:07.  Toward the end of loop 2 is when I start to struggle every year.  I was paying extra close attention to it this year.  Miles 30-40 felt great just like every other year.  When I left mile 40 with Eric still I started to feel the first signs of stomach issues/fatigue.  Every 100 I drink too much and I get a little low on salt at this point.  So I popped an S cap and kept running.  At this point I was able to run perfectly fine but just not quite a fast and not quite as comfortable.  At mile 45 I ate the usual and left feeling a tad worse.  Halfway back to the lodge I popped a couple more S caps trying to fix my problem.  Coming into the lodge it got worse.  I didn't have much of an appetite and I was feeling pretty bad.  Usually as soon as I take a salt pill I feel better within 15 minutes.  Not this time. 


 I left for my third loop just shy of 9 hours and feeling pretty bad.  I was really struggling mentally also.  I wasn't getting any better and I wasn't wanting to do another 45 miles like this.  Exact same thought process as last year.  I started really thinking about what the problem could be. I have a simple routine and its the same routine as every other race and 100.  I finally realized that I wasn't drinking enough and that made me happy to figure something out.  I decided that I was going to ask Kelly to throw on her shoes and pace me from mile 55 back to 65.  That would at least force me to do another 10 miles and also to try and get myself together.  While she was putting on her shoes I took those couple of minutes to re group and drink water.  I drank 3 hand helds (60 oz) at the aid station and left with two more in my hands.  We left on the run and I started to tell her what I was thinking.  We were talking and having a good time and before I knew it, I was feeling great again.  We ran that five mile stretch pretty solid and came into nachos feeling great.  I must have been way behind on fluids because I downed 100 oz that section and had no need to pee or anything.  I got back on my normal routine and was ready to rock n roll.  I felt good the rest of loop 3 and was back in game mentally.  I came into the lodge at 14:26 and still feeling great.


At this point it was just now getting dark and I left with my headlamp on.  I was about 40 minutes behind last year but I didn't care.  Miles 75-90 I felt great.  I hammered the hills and ran 100% of it except the steep climbs up each main hill.  I caught Eric after sky island and we ran together until base of mt Fuji.  I was at an all time high and moving good.  I hiked up the steepest grade of the course and ran the rest of the 3 sisters up and down.  I was now in 2nd and I didn't know if Nathan was still moving good or if he was struggling.  I knew if I didn't push as hard as I could then I would regret it.  I ran the whole climb up to the saddle before descending back into equestrian.  I did my usual and left ready to tackle ice cream hill again.  Everything was going great but after that brutal 1.3 miles stretch up and down ice cream hill I was feeling it.  I went too hard trying to catch Nathan and I was done.  I left nachos feeling pretty bad but able to keep running the runnable stuff.  Your definition of runnable changes every loop.  My mouth got really dry after leaving the aid station and I only had one bottle of roctane stuff.  It is very high in sodium so if your mouth is dry, then it doesn't quench your thirst.  I was beyond thirsty but couldn't drink it because it was too salty.  Since I was so dry I couldn't eat anything either.  This whole section was just a downward spiral.  My run became slower and also the runnable stuff because a struggle just to run period.  I've never been this thirsty.  I came into 95 and I chugged 3 handhelds of water.  With my drop in calories and the time of night I started shaking really bad from the cold water and my body temp dropping.  I almost threw up and had to stand there for a couple of minutes.  I took 2 gu's and left with a 3rd one.  As I was leaving Kelly told me that Eric was coming in.  I told her I was in bad shape and I was doing what I could.  The 2 gu's that I took at the aid station were starting to kick in and I started walking faster to try and loosen up.  I kept walking faster and faster and I was soon able to run.  I figured if I was running that he would have trouble catching me.  I ran the first 2 miles of the final section pretty solid and to my surprise I heard foot steps right behind me.  He was surprised to see me and I saw that he was moving really fast so I didn't think I would have been able to keep up.  I gave it all I had, but it wasn't enough.  There was no way in hell I was going to let another person catch me so I kept running til the base of lucky peak.  It wasn't the fastest run but It was all I had.  As I got to the top, I saw Kelly there waiting for me.  She was a bit worried about me because of the way I left mile 95, and I told her I wanted to run it in with her.  We got down lucky peak and picked our way through the final 1/2 mile of rocky terrain.  Once we turned the corner to get on the gravel road, we were on the final mile and ready to be done.  I came in 3rd once again, and finished in 20:38.  There wasn't really anybody at the lodge besides some runners in bad shape so we just sat there for a little bit and ate and drank some before heading back to the tent.  After tossing and turning and little 20 minute bursts of sleep I was ready for the sun to come up and get the hec out of there.  We were up around 7 and loaded up the car to hit the road.


With the heat and my dehydration I had more stomach issues then ever this race, but my legs held up great.  I was able to move pretty good through the technical stuff even at night on loop 4.  This gives me confidence that if I can nail it nutritionally that I can run the whole thing hard next year.  I really can't thank Kelly enough.  She crewed all 20 hours and did a perfect job.  She has no idea how much she helped me time wise and mentally.  I would also like to thank Joe, Henry, Joyce and all the other volunteers.  Cactus Rose is my favorite race and love it.  Cant wait to get that 500 mile jacket next year!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


**I've had this saved on my computer and decided to post it for the memories of my first 100 and my first time on this course.  this took me back to one of the best races / accomplishments of my life.

This being my first 100 I didn’t know what to expect. I’ve read stories about all the pain, hell, and doubt that goes on during a 100 so I was expecting the worst. In Feb of 2009 I ran my first ultra, the cowtown 50k. I did two 50k’s that year but my main goal was to break 3:10 in the marathon which I did at white rock in December of 2009. About a year before qualifying I discovered ultras and trail running. I was anxious to get started with that, but I told myself that I must break 3:10 in the marathon before moving onto the next goal. I ran my first true trail race in Jan of 2010, the Bandera 50k. It whipped my ass. I wasn’t nearly prepared enough and didn’t know what to expect. My time was slow, by body hurt like hell, but something about it left me wanting more. I quickly signed up for a 50 miler a couple months later, but with a better game plan together. Doing a 50 miler had been on my mind for about 2 years at this point and I had every intention of doing one all along. Also, that whole time a 100 miler was on my mind but I told myself I need to get some 50 mile experience before even thinking about that. I did the hells hills 50 in April, and at about the 48 mile mark was when I decided to pick out a 100 and go for it. The 50 never truly tested me, and I think that’s what I’ve been after all along. A true test when I have to pull everything last thing out of me to keep going and see just how bad I really want it. About a week after hells hills I landed on cactus rose 100 Oct 30th. It was the same course as the Bandera 50k I had done, but about 6 miles of flat sections cut out for a 25 mile loop. It scared the hell out of me picking such a difficult race for my first one, but the difficulty is what drew me to it. As training went on I felt that the more technical a course is, the better I perform. I had about 6 months of training, and knew if I really wanted it that I could make it happen. I respect the 100 mile distance and know that it is not a joke. So I took training very seriously. I hit another 50 miler, a 45 miler, about (8) 40 milers and countless 30-35 milers. Training in the heat really took a toll on me. Around the beginning of August things weren’t going too good and I started really second guessing doing the 100 at all. I took about a week off and started back fresher then ever and things really started looking better. As the weather cooled, I amazed myself with every long run I was doing by holding the same pace for 6,7, or 8 hours at a time. Still I knew that doing 100 is a totally different ballgame. I was predicting about a 28 hour finish time. I calculated a 12:20 first 50 then about a 15:40 second half. That allowed for some very low points and slower running at night.

As the race approached I decided to camp at the start/finish for the first time. It really worked out nice and that is what I’ll always do from here on out. The days before the race I was surprisingly calm and confident about myself. I was mostly pumped because my family was going to be there crewing for me and this was my chance to show them that I can do this stuff. They would be getting there when I was around the 40 mile mark. I had three great pacers lined up; Dalton, jen and my brother. The plan was for Jen to do 50-75 with me and mainly keep me company and keep my mind off of the pain. Then I planned for Dalton to do miles 75-95 with me because that was going to be most of the low points and with his 100 mile experience I felt comfortable with him with me during that time. The last 5 I had my brother pacing me so I could finish with a family member and give him the opportunity to see the course. The course would consist of (4) 25 mile loops with 4 drop bag areas. The course is very rocky with very little sections that you can really open up the pace. There are few 100’s that are more technical, but there are mountain races that have quite a bit more elevation change. The hills on this course aren’t the longest but they are nasty. Filled with loose rocks and poor footing, they give even the most experienced runners a challenge. You can face a challenge with fear or look it dead in the eyes and tell it to bring it. Going into it with confidence is very important, and you can never let the course beat you mentally. The race was a self supported format which I really liked. Everything was laid out and I felt I was as prepared as possible.

Loop 1- I woke up pretty calm, and ready to take on the challenge. I got a horrible night sleep but knew that I wasn’t the only one so it didn’t scare me at all. I lined up a little toward the front knowing that I wouldn’t want to be behind too many people once the course cut down to single track. Also we had to sign in at every aid station and didn’t want to get in a long line at the first one. I started off at a pretty light jog the first 5 miles only walking lucky peak (kind of forced to walk it). My game plan was to run the runnable sections and walk the hills up and down. Also my plan was to really pay attention to my legs and keep them feeling fresh for at least the first 50. I hit the first 3 sections, about 15 miles pretty solid and was already over 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Loop one went great and I did everything according to plan. I talked with fellow runners to help keep my mind off of things and took in plenty of calories. That is one thing that I believe in is taking in quite a bit of calories and keeping as much as possible from gu/chomps type stuff. Loop one was clocked at 5:15 about 40 minutes ahead of schedule.

Loop 2- I knew that being 40 minutes ahead of schedule was either really good or really bad. I felt good and was taking it easy so I was still confident. I started out on loop 2 a little more conservative knowing I still had a long long ways to go, plus the sun was heating up. It hit about 80 that day which isn’t too hot but hot enough to where electrolytes play a big role and nausea can end a race which it did for many runners that day. I had a lot to look forward to at this point, I knew that my family would be there which always lifts your spirits and also this was the last loop without a pacer. I ran with two main people the first 34 miles. At about 34, the guy I was chatting with told me to go ahead that he needed to slow down. I couldn’t tell if I should also slow down because I was going too fast or if my higher calories were doing me good. He had run about 5 other 100’s so I trusted his judgment, but I was feeling too good to slow down. I came into equestrian at mile 35 about 40 minutes ahead of schedule and knew that was going to grow because I had the easier sections in front of me. The next 10 went by pretty uneventful and was pumped to come into equestrian at 45 because I knew my family would be there. Jen was also there and everybody was ready to go. They helped me fill my bottles and get going a little quicker. I left the aid station feeling great, but that quickly changed. At about mile 47, I started feeling nauseous, sluggish, and not very good. The heat was starting to factor in and I didn’t realize that my electrolyte plan was insufficient. Endurolytes don’t have nearly the amount of sodium that I had thought. My stomach was feeling sloshy and my energy was zapped. Loop 2 took me about 5:55. I made it into 50 at 11:10 about 45 minutes ahead of schedule but knew that things were about to get slower. A doctor on site asked me some questions and we came to the conclusion that I needed some more salt. He gave me S! caps which have quite a bit more sodium and I immediately started feeling better. Without him I don’t know what I would have done.

Loop 3- Jen and I set out from the lodge at the halfway point. My stomach still wasn’t right, but we started out running and I figured I would gamble and let it settle on the run instead of walking too much. We talked the whole time and it really kept my mind occupied and that’s when things starting getting good. Between 55 and 60 we were making great time and I felt great (not a bit worse then mile 1). We hit ice cream hill at about mile 62 and when it was starting to get dark. I was feeling stronger and stronger and amazed at how good things were going. We came into mile 65 and I was pumped, probably the most energy I had all race. I let Dalton know I was feeling good since he was going to be pacing me after another 10 miles. Having my family there was awesome because I would feed off of their energy and kept me at a high nonstop. At this point it was completely dark with 35 to go. We kept a very steady pace through the next 10 miles which were the hardest sections of the course. Miles 70-75 was when I started passing people and the other runners were looking bad. I fed off of that and kept trucking hard. Running every bit of the flatter sections and power walking up the climbs. That loop was the slowest which was fine because I new that I was going to start hurting at some point so I was still being conservative. I clocked loop 3 at about a 6:35, and by this point was about 2 hours ahead of schedule. I thanked jen for what an awesome job she did then got ready for loop 4.

Loop 4- this is it. As Dalton and I set off, I immediately started doing calculations in my head. I was feeling great so I had no plans of backing down. I knew that a 26 hour finish was very feasible and was pumped knowing that I was going to make a great time. I calculated out what a 25 hour finish would be and knew that if things went good that a 25 hour finish was possible. I did the math for a sub 24 time and quickly erased that thought. I would have to run a 6:10 final loop. That was 25 minutes faster then loop 3, and I felt like a held a pretty good pace on the third loop. I also realized that my brother would have to do the last section with me in the dark. He had never run trails in the dark and especially nothing like lucky peak. I was skeptical and I knew he would be too. Dalton and I hit the section at a pretty good pace. Marching up the climbs with tremendous intensity and running the rest of it with a good pace and my legs still felt like new. I was expecting things to get very ugly by this point and was thought that the final loop was going to be closer to an eight hour loop. We came into mile 80 as fast as I had done that section all day. He is really competitive and immediately looked at the pad to see how far behind I was from the next guy. He made sure no time was wasted and we were on our way in no time. Miles 80-85 was the hardest section. This section was taking me about an hour and a half the first three times. We stuck to the game plan and ran everything that was runable and power walked up sky island at a pretty good pace. Coming down it is very technical and tough in the dark. The #4 trail that winds through the backside to the sisters is also very technical with lots of smaller steep hills that annoy you because you seem to forget about them every time. There is about a quarter mile stretch of pretty smooth trail leading up to the sisters which gives you a bit of a rest and allows you to pick up the pace a little. By the time I got on top of the sisters I was feeling great knowing that most of the hills were completely done for the day. I walked up fuji, the backside of the first one (the steepest climb of the entire course), then actually ran the climbs and descents of the next two. That astonished me because I walked those all day and finally 82 miles into it I decided to run them. I was passing people going the opposite way on their third loop and they all looked like they were in a ton of pain, but of course I fed off of that and kept trucking. At about mile 84, Dalton and I did some calculations and realized that a sub 24 finish was possible. I couldn’t believe it and we quickly got a game plan together to tackle it. We said that our goal was to be out of equestrian at 20:30 which would give us 3:30 to do the final 15. That was averaging 1:10 per section which was the same pace I was doing all day. When we pulled into the station he mentioned to my sister that I was on the verge of a sub 24 and that it might be a good idea if he continued to pace me instead of my brother. We set out at 20:30 on the dot, and I was determined to get it done. I was feeling great and we set out running at about an 8-9 minute pace. That all stopped when we hit the ice cream hill section for the last time. Before reaching the hill you go through about three smaller dry rivers that are very steep descents and climbs. At about this time my big toe started screaming in pain on the descents. I felt it all day but by this time it was too late to mess with it. The section leading up to the hill seemed to take forever and it all made sense when we realized that some how we went in a circle. I quickly shrugged it off knowing that we did the first two miles of that section extremely fast. But at that time I was not in the mood to spend any more time on ice cream then I had to. It’s not the steepest hill but I feel that it’s the nastiest. Coming off of the hill was when the higher pace started taking a toll on me. We came into nachos at mile 90 right on schedule which was good because the next two sections were fairly easy. As I came in, the 4th place guy was sitting down. We told them that I was feeling good and he jumped out of his seat and I never saw him again. Before the race I knew I would run the first half pretty conservative so I told my brother that whatever place I was in at mile 50, I was going to pass half of those people the second half. I’ve always been a pretty strong finisher. We grabbed some food, I refilled my bottles and we were off. We had 2:20 to tackle the last 10 miles. At this point running was becoming a struggle for the first time all day. I was taking walking breaks on runnable sections for the first time. Dalton would not let me get off pace and we kept on. That section went pretty much the same throughout, a slow painful jog with walking breaks, but we stayed on pace. We came into equestrian at mile 95 and it was as dead and empty as it gets. It was about 3:40 in the morning and I was 3 ½ hours ahead of schedule. My family was sound asleep because they were not expecting me so quickly. I woke them up knowing that if I let them sleep they would have missed the finish and sat there expecting me for quite some time. Brenna and jenny jumped out of the tent and I told them I was fine and that im very close to breaking 24 hours. I told them that I didn’t need anything and that I would see them in a little bit down at the lodge. My biggest mistake happened at this point. I am very disciplined about sticking to a game plan and staying consistent on calories. My adrenaline was very high at this point and I thought that I could skip eating at the aid station to save time. I had some food in my pockets which I knew was enough to get me through the last 5 miles. We started out at a very brisk pace. I had 1:17 to make it to the lodge. I felt pretty confident about that since that section took me between 1 hour and 1:10 all day. About a mile into the section no words had been spoken yet and Dalton said “man you’re not leaving this to chance are you?” I said nope and kept trucking at about a 9 minute pace. I was focused and thought that I had it in the bag. After running for 23 hours your body is on the verge of shutting down and dropping calories for a split second can send the body into extreme fatigue. About a mile and a half into the section we hit a pretty technical part at which I stopped running and started walking up it. I tried to start running again and my body shut down. Skipping food at equestrian caught up to me. Even my walk slowed way down. My stomach got nauseous and my speech got slurred. Dalton told me that we had better pick up the pace because this wasn’t going to cut it. This was by far the hardest wall I had ever hit during anything in my life. My eyes started to close and I would try to talk but nothing would come out. If I didn’t look straight at the ground I felt like I would fall over. I tried to power walk but it wouldn’t work. I tried to start running again but I was practically running in place. At that point I wasn’t sure about breaking 24 and I honestly didn’t care. I was so exhausted that I just wanted to walk it in and be happy with my time knowing that I still completed 100 miles. Dalton kept pushing me to get going, and kept doing calculation on how long we had to go but I didn’t care. I was on the verge of snapping and telling him to let me be. But deep down inside I knew that I did want it. And I also knew that this is what I’ve been wanting all along: a true challenge. I wrote motivational quotes on all my gu’s to remind of me things while I was out there. All those quotes started coming to mind with two in particular. One of them said “you’ve always wanted a true test, well here it is” and the other said “there is a point in every ultra when you are faced with a decision-a decision to give up or search deep with yourself and preserve it til the end”. I thought to myself well here it is I’m about to find out what type of person I truly am. I’ve got 3 miles left and im faced with a decision. I could have easily decided to walk it in and be satisfied, or as another quote said “I’ve never regretted pushing myself when things get tough but I’ve regretted quitting every time”. I then decided I would give it all I’ve got knowing I could come off that course without any regrets. I made a smart move to reach in my pocket and eat some chomps. As soon as I was done I popped a couple gin gins in my mouth (they take away nausea and work wonders). About a minute later I was at mile 98 staring at the base of lucky’s peak. The sugars started kicking in and I started climbing up it. The power walk that I had going on all the other climbs was gone, but lucky isn’t too long so I knew all I had to do was just get up it. Once I got to the top I knew with my big toe that the descent was going to hurt like hell. On the way down I really had to try and mask the pain, but knowing it was my last descent of the race kept me going. Once we got to the bottom Dalton told me I need to jog it in, no more walking. I had about a mile and half left and it was still way too far to know that a sub 24 was going to happen. Running was very painful but I knew that I didn’t want to leave anything on the course. For the next half mile I was ready to be done. I painfully jogged it and was looking for that turn that took me to the jeep road. It was the longest half mile of my life. We were discussing that the turn would be exactly one mile left when it popped up out of nowhere. That was a huge sigh of relief and we looked at our watches and saw that I had 17 minutes left. That was the first time that I knew I would break 24 no matter what. We picked up the pace a little bit and my spirits were back up to where they started. We talked about what a day it had been and I thanked him for the push. As we took a right turn out of the woods I could see the lodge for the first time. Every bit of pain was gone and I took off. I never thought that breaking 24 was possible on this course. Not for a first timer, especially with my short ultra experience. I could see my family standing there and what a feeling it was. The months leading up to it, you just don’t know if a finish is even going to happen. I think that’s what drew me into the 100. I love the challenge of something that you’re not sure if you can do or not. Crossing that finish line was one of the most surreal moments of my life. I could type ten more pages trying to describe the feeling but couldn’t come close. I ran the last mile in under 10 minutes and my official time was 23:53. It was simply a perfect race. Everything seemed to fall into place perfectly. I completed the final loop in 6:05, 30 minutes faster then loop 3 or over a minute per mile faster. Knowing that I didn’t just complete a 100 but I executed it so well was the best feeling of all. I felt that I had finally proven myself to my family and most of all to myself. There is a lot of self doubt that goes on during a 100 but that was all gone. I wasn’t sure if I would ever do another 100 because I knew it would be hard for it to go that smooth. They gave me my buckle and joyce gave me a hug but I think it was more to make sure I stayed standing. I was in shock and could not believe that it was over. We stayed for a couple minutes got my bag and headed to the car. Once we got to the car it was time to take off my shoes and get into something comfortable. When I saw my toe I could not believe how big the blister was under my nail. I got into some sweats and pretty much fell asleep as soon as I sat down in my truck. That was the first time I sat down in over 24 hours and it was painful because my legs were cramping with every position I tried to put them in. my family got my bags from boyles and nachos while I sat in the truck. I slept for about an hour or so then woke up with some major hunger pains. I immediately said ihop and phoned ahead to my brothers vehicle. We arrived at one in about 10 minutes and I was ready to tear it up. I felt pretty good and was surprisingly alert. Besides in the car, I did not take a nap that day and had sushi for lunch with my bro and went trick or treating that night with my nephew. I got to bed that night at about 9:30 and woke up at 10:00 the next day. It was a solid sleep and got me caught up for the most part. I lied there for a second scared to move not knowing what to expect. I was surprised to see that my muscles weren’t really sore and I had absolutely no joint pain. I was ready to get back at it except for my toe. My blister had gotten so big that it dislodged my toe nail. Days went by and it didn’t get any better. It started to get infected and swollen and very painful. Finally a week later I called the doctor and scheduled to have it removed. Within two days of the removal I was back running with my application turned in for western states. Right now I’m trying to find that next 100 or next challenge. I learned so much from my first one that I think I can go out competitively and harder. We’ll see how that plays out!

Loop 1 - 5:15

Loop 2 - 5:55

Loop 3 - 6:38

Loop 4 - 6:05

First 50 - 11:10

Second 50 - 12:43

Took in about 200 calories every aid sation, ate about an additional 100-150 in middle of each section, and took in about 100 fluid calories each section.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rough Creek 40m Race Report

This was a race that went pretty well for me last year.  I had good weather, good competition, and a good day.  My splits were even and I came just shy of 6 hours.  Missing a sub 6 by 2 minutes left me wanting more.  This year that was a problem.  This year hasn't gone very well from a running perspective.  I haven't gotten in very many/good long runs, and I don't feel as acclimated to the heat.  the forecast was looking a bit warm for the race but I wasn't sure what to think.  im typically a runner who prays for warm weather to give myself an advantage.  but this year I wasn't sure. 

the gun went off (or dave yelled go 4 seconds late) and we were off.  I started comfortably which was up front with some marathoners.  we ran together for the first 3 miles to the crown.  I planned on attacking it just like last year.  I ran up the first climb hard and it felt ok but I was pretty out of breath.  last year within 5 seconds I would catch my breath and be fine but this year I was having trouble.  it was a mix of being not in as good of shape and the humidity.  I bombed down the first descent as fast as a could and was now alone.  I ran the rest of the crown solo and toward the bowl.  on the way to the bowl the other guys caught me and we ran together once again.  matt and tim? I think pulled away from me but we all came out of the aid together after the mix up.  the aid station people didn't know we were supposed to turn around and we all ran through it. we leap frogged some more and came in loop one together in 1:56.  it felt ok and it was a sub 2 so I figured why not go for that sub  6?  last year I was in a lot better shape so whatever I did on the first loop I knew that was going to be my pace for the rest of the race, but not this year.  the first 11 miles of loop 2 felt good and out of no where on my way back from the crown my legs seized up and I nearly went to the ground. they locked up so bad I would stand there for 20 seconds or so then walk for another 20 seconds then I was good to go again.  it was happening quite often so I started getting worried if 40 miles was going to happen.  by this time the heat was cranking and I was hurting.  I came in from loop 2 at 4:11 I think. 

I left for loop 3 knowing it was going to be a slow one.  the next 3 miles were filled with more crazy cramps and me yelling in pain.  my whole running career I've never experienced cramps. ever. I saw 2nd place and saw I had about 3 miles on him.  at this time I had no idea what my legs were going to do and if I could even finish the damn loop.  I lowered the pace and it seemed to keep it all under control.  I started feeling better after the first section of the crown and kept running most of the flats.  I knew if I could do that he would deserve it if he caught me.  loop 3 was extremely slow and I came in at 7:09 and I was glad to be done. 

The course had some minor tweaks this year and it was awesome.  it was all evenly dispersed and there was no longer 13 straight miles of nothing. it still is a strategic course but I love it.  my fiance ran the half and she did awesome.  finding out that she did good and more importantly had fun was also nice when I got done.  this was my first local race all year and it was nice to see familiar faces once again.  we all hung out and had a few beers.  I brought Rahr gravel road because I figured it was fitting for a course that was mostly on gravel roads.  6 weeks til cactus rose and I've got a long ways to go and a short time to get there.  can't wait til sep 13th 2014! the sub 6 will happen!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tahoe Rim Trial 100    - 7/20/13

Originally this was supposed to be a focus race for 2013 but my hip had other ideas.  When May rolled around I still wasn't able to start training. I've wanted to go to Tahoe for quite some time now so I was doing all I could to make this race happen.  At the end of May I told myself that I was going to start training and I would either train and go run the race or my hip would still hurt and I would cancel it.  My hip held up pretty good so I never looked back.  I didn't have time to ramp up and get in any high milage training or a whole lot of super long runs either.  I got in about 5 weeks of good training which was "good enough" if you're a "good enough" type person.  My confidence wasn't very high except for a couple shorter trail runs during my taper that were very fast paced which helped me mentally. 

Race weekend rolled around and I knew I better get my gameface on because a 100 is no joke.  I've been so busy with the house remodeling and work that I haven't prepared very much for this race.  The alarm sounded at 3 a.m. and it was the usual business. I felt good and we got ready and made the 30 minute drive out of the desert like valley into the mountains.  the start of race was very mild temps which was nice since I was dreading the  cold start.  It was time to line up before I knew it and we were off in no time. 

the first half mile is down a dirt road to the trail head.  It was easy paced and felt ok.  Then you get to the single track and it climbs about 1,500 ft toward the first aid station.  the climb wasn't steep at all but I was having a tough time and it scared me.  Everybody around me was chatting and running up it but I was pretty out of breath.  Was it the altitude?  Was it my body just needing to settle into a rhythm?  I was hoping it was that.  I power hiked quite a bit with burst of running to keep my spot in the line.  it was now only 6 in the morning but I was already sweating.  For a race that's known for cool starts and frigid nights, this was not a good sign.  As we approached the first aid station I still had all my gu's and a full bottle of water so a stop wasn't necessary.  I ran around the tent and kept going.  about 50 yards past it I realized I probably should of at least checked in or asked if you're supposed to check in.  Only six miles into the race I broke a major rule of trail running. 

as we left the aid station you summit Marlette peak which was our first incredible view of the day.  sometimes I question why I run these races but its times like this that I understand completely.  the rest of the section into tunnel creek mile 11 was pretty much the same.  not feeling too good, feeling heavy and not running very fast.  as we left tunnel creek we headed toward the valley to do the red house loop. its a 6 1/2 mile loop that hits the low spot of the race at 6,800 ft. its hot, not very many views and one super quad busting descent down into it.  its a steep and painful descent that isn't too bad at mile 12 but at mile 62 its a bitch.  you have a pretty steep climb coming out of it but its not too bad.  from here (mile 17) to mile 30 it was pretty much the same.  a lot of slow running and not feeling very good.  I had a headache, my stomach was bloated, and I didn't have a ton of power in my stride.  I was really hoping I would snap out of it because if not, it was going to be a long day (and night) out there. 

the anticipation of the diamond peak climb was killing me.  everybody kept talking it up and saying how hard it is.  before the race I didn't take them serious but since I didn't feel too good I was starting to dread it.  I left mile 30 still feeling so so but ready to tackle it.  at first its not too steep, but then you turn a corner and the true climb is revealed.  when I turned the corner, all I saw was about 10 runners scattered up it all standing still.  literally everybody was just standing there trying to catch their breath.  a couple steps then once again they would catch their breath.  It went pretty good for me and but it was tough.  what made it tough was the kitty litter type sand.  it was steep but if you had rocks or roots to step on at least they don't move.  this was truly an ass whip. 

leaving mile 40 I  was starting to feel better.  40-43 is a climb up to snow valley peak which is the highest point of the race (9,2XX) about half was up I started to feel good.  really good.  so good that I started to run the climb and started passing people like crazy.  on the way down I chatted with some people and stayed with them but at about mile 45 I felt too good and took off.  I didn't plan on seeing any of them again. I ran it hard into the mile 50 aid station which was also the end of the first loop and you knew what you had ahead of you for the rest of the race.  it took me 10:50 to do the first 50.  That's over 2 hours longer then Cactus Rose and an hour and twenty minutes longer then what I wanted it to take.  I felt so good that my goal was to make up all the time that was lost.  miles 50-61 I felt pretty good. not great but good. I ran it pretty solid but then at tunnel creek I loaded up on nutrition and left feeling awesome.  I flew down the quad busting descent which was painful and into red house aid station.  when I left this was probably my highest point of the race.  I felt so fresh and solid that I didn't want to walk anything. not the climbs or the flats.  at this point in the race I didn't care about pacing myself. I ran cause I felt like running and I would only stop if my body told me to.  I ran it all solid until the steep part coming out of the loop.  I power hiked it hard and saw all the people that I was with at mile 45 but they were on their way down so I had a 5-6 mile lead on them now.  I loaded up once again at tunnel creek and left feeling great again.  I ran it all solid and at this point the sun was starting to go down. The section into bull wheel (mile 71) isn't too hard, just a flat section then some switchback that are runnable then over the west side of mountain for the final mile.  I made it into the aid station in the dark but without having to use my headlamp.  i left, flipped it on, and immediately had to change the batteries in my headlamp because that's what i get for not testing them and for using the same ones for multiple races in a row.  i was on the 9 mile stretch down into diamond peak aid station.  the first 4 miles are rolling then the last 5 are all downhill that will destroy your quads if they aren't already destroyed.  it all felt great and by this point i had pretty much gotten myself back onto my goal pace.  miles 0-50 i got myself an hour and twenty behind schedule and from 50-80 i had made up all but 10 of those minutes.  my original goal was 22 hours. it only took me 10 extra minutes to do 50-80 then it did 0-30.  i planned on slowing down much more so at this point i was very optimistic. 

i came into mile 80 feeling great and they said they only had 8 runners on the list that had come through.  i felt great while i was there but some reason when i left i let out a big yawn.  it wasn't the type that felt good.  I've been in this situation before and i kenw it wasn't good.  i was hoping to get up the climb and get back to tunnel creek in one piece so i could get my nutrition.  at this point this was one of the hardest walls I've ever hit.  only two other times come to mind.  one was my first 100 at the 2010 cactus rose when at mile 98 i fell apart. but i was only two miles out so i stuck it through.  and also at the 2012 hurt 100.  coming into mile 80 i just wanted to sleep.  luckily i had a pacer and crew that did my thinking for me and got some good shit in me and got my ass back out there.  this time i was alone.  no pacer. no crew. just me.  was i too cocky thinking i didn't need any "help" running this?  at hurt this year in January I was able to get in a zone and run better when I was by myself so i wanted to do this solo.  i had nobody to tell me to stop being an idiot and do something about it. take some salt, eat some calories, drink some fluid, take some caffine.  i just kept slowly putting one foot in front of the other.  as the climb got steep i got weak.  i would take a few steps then stop and yawn.  when i would yawn i would close my eyes.  when i would close my eyes, i would get dizzy so i had to reach forward and touch the ground.  after a couple seconds i would wake up and do it all over again.  10 steps then sleep and repeat.  it took me over an hour to go less then two miles up this mountain.  i was really hoping to recover once i got up it but nope.  how could i expect to recover when i still wasn't taking in any nutrition?  i stood at bull wheel for five minutes just completely out of it and not sure what to do.  i decided i better get moving and i  started slowly making my way to tunnel creek three miles away.  i got passed by a guy and i over heard his pacer tell him "see you're moving great you just made up 21 minutes on that guy".  that put my head even lower. my race was over.  i knew it was because i told myself it was.  at that point it shouldn't have been over but i chose for it to be.  i stumbled three more miles into tunnel creek ready to throw in the towel.

i got there and asked how long til the next shuttle.  i said give me some time i need to do some thinking. i told them that i wanted to quit but i wasn't sure.  i sat down and just wanted to go to sleep. i didn't care about eating or taking care of myself, i just wanted to sit in a car and ride down the mountain.  about five minutes after being there the aid station captain came up to me ready to light a fire in my ass but i wanted no part of it.  he said whats wrong?  i didn't feel like talking so i just looked at him with a blank look then finally mumbled "im just tired".  wrong answer. he thought i was at mile 61 and ten minutes ahead of the cutoff. he told me i still had plenty of time.  another guy whispered into his ear and i knew what they told him.  at this point he was practically yelling.  he said " you've gotta be f'ing kidding me! you're at mile 85, 9 hours ahead of cutoff and on the verge of top 10 and you're thinking about quitting cause you're tired??"  i wanted to laugh cause it was a funny way of putting it but that would show him that i had energy.  at this point i did have alittle more energy and i knew i would get back out there.  i told him to give me 5 more minutes and i would eat and drink and get out back out there.  he saw straight through my bullshit and that's what i needed.  was i seriously going to quit cause i was tired?  i left the aid station and knew my running was probably over.  i knew if i just kept moving forward i would make it eventually.  my stomach was still too torn up to crave anything.  instead of forcing stuff down and feeling better i just accepted the fact that i was going to walk and i ate and drank nothing. 

of course that's not the smartest game plan so coming into mile 90 i hit another low point.  once again i plopped down and threw myself a pitty party.  i was just tired and tired of being out there.  they said they no longer had shuttles which was good cause i had no choice but to go on.  they had plenty of beer and the guys there were drinking plenty.  i was not in mood for some drunk guy to tell me get up.  looking back it was hilarious.  he kept telling me i need to get up because just around that corner was my mother fuckin buckle. but as he said it, about a gallon of spit came out of his mouth and every work ran together.  it was true though.  i just had to stumble 10 more miles and i got my buckle.  i need to wrap this up so basically i just walked the final 10 miles and felt like shit.  running wasn't an option. i tried to run many times but my right shin was so tight and it just wasn't worth it.  the final 20 miles took me almost 9 hours and it was hands down my worst finish ever.  i went from being at mile 75 thinking wow im going to fnish between 22-23 hours and feel great.  I thought i was going to run it in, but little did i know what lie ahead.  it was tough mentally to watch one by one pass me to put me in 22nd place instead of that top 10 that i thought was in the bag 20 miles earlier. 

i crossed the fnish line at 26:12 and it wasn't very cool.  nobody was there and i was just so bummed.  my drop bag was up the hill and my phone was in it.  i was worrying the last 20 miles about my family.  they all probably thought that i quit.  when the updates stopped coming, they could only assume the worst.   i sat down and called my brother, sister and girlfriend.  they all were supportive and didn't have anything negative to say.  i expected them to answer and be like what the hell happened? are you ok? but they just said good job.

i hitched a ride by to my hotel and ate some breakfast and took a nap.  i got up at one o'clock to go across the street and meet up with some friends for a beer then to go to the award ceremony.  it was cool to get my buckle and i was glad i stuck it through.  another 100 and another sufferfest.  its amazing how the brain's selective memory works! til next time...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cowtown 50k


Cowtown 50k

Its been 4 years since i've ventured off the trail and back onto the road. i've been craving a road race this past year for who knows what reason. i wanted to be a better "runner" then just seeing how fast i can run up and down hills or through rock littered trails. up until '09 i was a straight road runner. never touched a trail in my life. in January '10 i did the bandera 50k and i sucked at it since i had never run off road before.  i guess i didn't learn my lesson and i signed up for hells hills 50 miler 3 months later and still only trained on roads. since that race in April 2010 i haven't done a long run or race on roads since. i've been wondering if i've lost my speed on roads or not. not that i was ever that fast on roads. (3:08 marathoner and never really raced a half or 10k on road) i figured i had lost some speed since i usually run a comfortable pace on roads and nothing more. ever. but i wondered if my endurance and fitness would allow me to run a faster marathon time.

this wasn't the best test in the world since i didn't really specifically train for it. no im not making excuses that i didn't train, but i was wanting to at least focus a little bit on it and do some sort of long run on the roads or some speed training of some sort. i ran hurt 100 5 weeks ago and i haven't really done much since. just relaxing and some running here and there.

about 3 or 4 days before the race i got motivated again and was feeling good. i decided it may be fun to give it a go but i changed my mind about 300 times since i didn't really want to drop 140 bucks on a race that i was pretty sure would turn into a suffer fest. and that it did.

the day before i asked some fb friends if they were running it and since i opened my mouth i guess there was no turning back. i signed up at the expo got my road shoes ready. (same road shoes as my 08-09 road races) my original goal was a sub 3:45 (7:15 pace). since i didn't feel like i was in shape to go for that i upped it to 3:53 (7:30 pace). i figured i would start out at about a 7:25 pace and see what happened.

i stuffed 4 gu's inside the pouch of my bottle and 4 gu's inside my shorts and was ready to go. i figured stopping once or twice to refill a bottle was a hell of a lot more convenient then trying to grab those little ass cups from the sidelines.  my girlfriend and i walked from her apartment over to the start and got ready to go. she was doing the half and aiming for 2 hours so she lined up next to the 4 hour marathon pace group. i wiggled my way through the people and got next to the 3:10 pace group. i figured everybody up here must be running a 7 minute pace so this should start out smooth right? no. i guess some people don't understand the reason behind corals. one thing that kills me is all the people trying to be "elitist" by showing up wearing their gay ass boston jackets. nobody cares if you've run boston or qualified for it. let your actions do the talking.

within a mile it was spread out enough to where we were all going the same pace. with all the chaos, i didn't really look down at my watch at all the first mile. i just ran what was comfortable. it turned out to be a 7:15 mile which felt perfect. i decided to roll with it until it felt uncomfortable. through the first 5k, 10k, and half marathon my miles were all between 7:15 and 7:20. it felt perfect so i didn't question it at all. what i did question the week before the race was that my body isn't used to the 4 hour high intensity stuff right now so i did question my endurance big time. i didn't really care because i knew that no matter how bad things got, i've been through it all by now.  4 years ago, this was my first ultra. i struggled the last 5 miles but i question how bad it really was. this year at about mile 15 my 7:20 miles became a struggle. i managed 7:25-7:35 pace from 15-20 but i was no longer fun. i got passed by a couple of people but i wasn't in the most competitive mood on this day. by the time i hit the marathon mark i gave up on my pace and just ran. i knew an 8 minute pace was my "natural" pace and i knew with that, that i would still come in under 4 hours. i hit the marathon mark at 3:17 and was on the ultra out n back at this point.

one thing i noticed was it felt like a totally different race at this point. one, i was running through the grass instead of the concrete. two, people all of a sudden became more friendly. it felt a tad more like an ultra. people waved to each other. people actually said words of encouragement to each other. and three i started recognizing people from other races.  up to this point i was taking the gu's that i was carrying, and sipping from the bottle in my hand. i never broke stride to pee, to poop, to refill, to eat, nothing. i basically treated this race and one big self sufficient section. probably not the smartest thing only drinking 20 oz, but i figured i wasn't going to die so i didn't care. i would have plenty of time to rehydrate at the food truck park or at the gingerman after the race.

i struggled the last 5-10 miles and watched my time slip from 3:53 to making sure i was sub 4. i turned back onto the regular course at the 29.5 mile mark for the final mile and a half to the finish. i watched 3 other ultra runners cross the finish line about 20-30 yards ahead of me. i didn't really have a competitive edge or maybe that's just an excuse cause i was all tapped out. i either meet my goal or i don't. since i missed my original goal i just didn't care.

did i enjoy it? i guess so. it was fun but i think i should have sat this one out. i wasn't in shape for it and i need to take it more serious. the worst part is getting done and knowing you have a road race on schedule for 4 weeks later. my main motivation to do this was to train for a 50 miler on march 23rd. i would like to average about an eight minute pace at that. i'll be a little more serious for the next 4 weeks for that one.