2013 H.U.R.T. 100

2013 H.U.R.T. 100

Monday, October 31, 2011


Remembering what its all about...

I sit here writing this on the Wednesday before the race.  I finished my last run today before the race.  For a 100, I usually take the Thursday and Friday off before the race.  For a solid 11 months now I’ve been focused on this race and all of my training has been geared toward this.  Immediately after last year I said my goal was a sub 20 for this year.  I set three main training goals that I told myself I needed to meet in order to be in the kind of shape it would take to achieve a sub 20 at cactus.  I easily met all three goals in training and feel as ready as can be.

So what does this mean for Saturday?  My pace chart that I created months ago is a 19:25 finish time.  My goal splits are 4:20, 4:35, 5:00, 5:30.   I plan on going by feel the first 50 instead of even looking at my pace chart.  So I have to hope that my comfortable pace gets through two loops in under 9 hours.  I love making tough goals for races, and if I don’t meet it I won’t be disappointed.  The only way I’ll be disappointed is if I have a bad attitude or don’t try.  No matter what my time is, a finish is still most important to me.  During a 100, its not about avoiding low points.  Its about overcoming them and digging deep til the end because low points are inevitable.  

Over the past couple weeks my pacers have kind of been up in the air but seemed to come together perfectly today.  I’ve got my friend Matt Doellman pacing me on loop three.  I ran about the first 30 miles with him last year and he’s run many 100’s himself including Leadville a couple months ago.  For loop 4 I have Matt Crownover.  He is the only person I’ve ever really trained with and his ultra resume is a mile long.  He probably understands my running better then anyone so having him for the final push is ideal.  I’m looking forward to loop 4, because in an ultra there becomes a point when there is no longer a pacing strategy.  You just run and do all you can to keep moving.  The first three loops I’ll be forced to hold back which is never fun. Last but not least is my bro.  He’s the one that’s going to make this happen.  He’s my crew and going to have my bottles and food ready at all the aids to keep me moving and my spirits high. 

Am I in over my head?  Am I getting ahead of myself trying to improve over 4 hours from last year?  We’ll see…

well it didn't quite go as planned.  My knees have never hurt during training.  I take my training runs very aggressively and even after 40 miles my knees feel perfect.  still haven't figured out what went wrong Saturday, but my left knee is the size of a grapefruit right now...

left knee is quite a bit larger then it should be

At the start i started out in a comfortable pace which happened to be up front.  I led the race for the first two miles which i didn't like.  I kept slowing down expecting somebody else to take it.  Finally after a couple miles a group of 4 guys decided to blow past me. I was relieved that i could now focus and run my own race.  besides taking a wrong turn by the bar-o camp ground (added about 1/2 a mile) loop 1 went good.  i ran a comfortable pace like i planned.  I was very pleased to see that the climbs were very easy and that my hill training had paid off.  I left for loop 2 at 4:18ish and two minutes ahead of schedule.

cactus rose 100 - coming in at mile 40 to nachos aid

the first section went good and made up a couple more minutes.  when i left boyles my left knee felt tight.  i didn't think anything of it, but was disappointed to have a pain so early in the race.  i made it into mile 35 about eight minutes ahead of my pace chart which was the most all day.  i left and felt the first signs of stomach issues.  i knew right away it was electrolytes, and took in a few extra s caps.  the remainder of loop 2 sucked because it was taking longer to get my salt back up then i thought. I was struggling to stay on pace for the first time.  I came into the 50 mile at 9:02ish only a couple minutes shy of where i wanted to be.

Cactus Rose 100 - coming in at mile 50 at about 9:02

i knew that having a pacer now that i could get back on schedule.  my electrolytes were getting back on track and i was feeling normal again.  by this point my knee pain was coming and going but progressively getting worse.  every aid station it would tighten up and i would feel it when i would try to start going again.  everything was going smooth on this loop until about mile 63 when we were heading back to equestrian from ice cream hill and realized we were on the wrong trail.  we were talking and having a good time so i still don't know where the mistake happened.  i know this course extremely well, so i looked up and let out some cuss words and told matt we were on trail 6 headed toward the saddle instead of the easy jeep road back to equestrian.  we had to back track a little to get back on the right trail which added 5-10 minutes i would guess.  i had to shrug it off and not worry about it, because thats part of trail running. especially since this course is marked so well i had no excuse. Besides my knee getting worse loop 3 went good for the most part and i came in with about a 5:09 loop which isn't too far off my goal of 5 hours.

cactus rose 100 - matt doellman and i coming in at mile 65 feeling good
I left for loop 4 with a ton of energy with Matt Crownover.  Hes an awesome runner himself and really knows what he's doing and the best pacer one could be.  I left and my knee was very tight.  it was always tight after an aid so i figured it would loosen up as i got moving again.  i had intentions of attacking loop 4 big time and really laying down the hammer. my plan all summer was to run my own race the first 2 or 3 loops then attack loop 4.  I was right where i wanted to be. we tried to start running and my knee wouldn't bend. so we walked some more.  once up cairne's climb we tried again to run but it was very painful.  we kept trying but my knee just wouldn't bend.  i had a very fast power hike and it wasn't causing any pain so i just kept doing that.  we talked about everything and had a good time.  i felt bad that matt had come all the way and we weren't "running" loop 4.  i had to accept that fact that nothing goes as planned and remember what its all about. 

I was disappointed in the fact that my legs still felt great and ready to fire for loop 4 but i never got the chance to dig deep and push myself in that way.  in this race i had to push myself mentally to keep a good attitude because for a minute i was forgetting my number one rule of always have fun and have good attitude. i think without matt there to keep me company i would have had a bad attitude and it would have been hard to keep going.  an eight hour walking loop in the dark is pretty boring and not what i had in mind.  Lorenzo Sanchez and Rhonda claridge both passed me on loop 4 to put me in 4th place.  Lorenzo had an awesome run and I was happy to see him do well. my final finish time was 22:21ish (results aren't up yet).  an hour and a half faster then last year even though i did loop 4 over 2 hours slower this year haha. 

cactus rose 100 - my brother and i afterwards with my metal rose and buckle. time for a beer!

i've had a tough time accepting the fact that it didn't go as planned, but you learn a lot every race. nutrition was spot on and i never got sick and i looked forward to that gu everytime. i keep telling myself that i should be proud of myself for staying focused on training and for not quitting when things went south.  It was still a fun day and im very happy for everybody that was out there.  its always awesome to see people finish and achieve something.   it was such a positive environment to be in and i left with a ton of inspiration.  til next year...

last but not least there are five people i need to thank.  first is my brother. he did a perfect job crewing for me and he has no idea how greatful i am.  the next two are the two matts. they were the best pacers one could ask for.  this race would have been hell without them, and they kept my attitude positive and kept it fun.  next is joe. he puts on awesome races everytime.  cactus rose is a special race and i don't think i'll ever pass up the opportunity to run it.  a self supported race with peaceful aid stations is ideal.  i hate other races coming into an aid station that i don't have a drop bag at.  well done once again joe!  and last is the volunteers. they are the heart of the race and go unappreciated sometimes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taper Time!

This is a time that i look forward to, but at the same time can't stand.  I look forward to it during my high milage training because it is a break.  During my high milage weeks (about 8 weeks in a row of 70-110 miles per week) i struggled with energy levels throughout the day.  I would have times when i just felt really worn out, but my runs never suffered bad enough to back off.

Their are several things i hate about the taper though. First with lower milage I can't eat as much and i'm hungry all the freakin time.  Its a real struggle to not eat so damn much.  I know if i overeat, i can't do a long run and burn it off, and I know its stuck on me for the race.  Also, when i get home from work, if i don't have a run or something to do i get bored easily.  I don't watch tv period.  when you've got extra time, thats when the anxiety of the race really sets in.  I've only been tapering for a couple days but feel like im ready to go!  These next ten days better hurry!

Game plan for Cactus-
I believe that few people "carb load" correctly.  maybe their ways work for them but not for me.  I believe in eating a moderately larger meal Thursday evening and Friday for lunch.  Friday for dinner I believe in eating a carb dense meal but not too much of it.  I like going to bed a tad hungry.  I do this for two main reasons.  One it allows your body to pass more of it and have a good dump before the start, and hopefully none or minimal dumps during the event.  And second if i start the race just a bit hungry (not empty by any means) it makes me crave those gus that most people dread.  That way i look forward to eating during the race and it minimizes my chances of getting nausous.

The Salomon XT Wings S Lab 4's with the regular XT Wings behind
 I plan on wearing these bad boys the whole time (the salomon XT Wing S Lab 4's).  Its the racing version of the xt wings behind them (retail $170).  They are 11oz compared to 14oz and have a seamless inside to minimize blisters.  Killian Jornet wears them so you know they're good!  i've always worn the xt wings and think they're perfect for trails like bandera.  Gary, my pacer, works at a shoe store and gave them to me.  I was beyond pumped!

liquid calories during the race - hand helds with one water and one clip2.  Clip2 is a succeed product designed for races like the 100 miler.  it has a bit of protien / amino acids and tryglycerides.  its still mainly carbs of course though.  another thing i like about it is that out of the 35g of carbs only 2g are from simple sugars.  During a 100 i try to avoid sugar highs especially early on.  toward the end i will have some red bull or mountain dew at the aids to mix it up and give me some instant sugar.

food calories - the first 50 im sticking to mainly gu's about every 2.5 miles.  Depending on feel, i'll have some gu chomps, powerbar gel blast, or shot blocks at the aids with a gu in middle of the section.  I plan on pretty much all of my calories coming from gels or that type of stuff.  If my stomach starts craving something else i'll have a couple different back ups like snickers or pringles, but hopefully won't tough that.

salt - i will attach a bag to my shorts with 19 S! caps in it.  i plan on taking on right before each aid station and see how that goes.  i may pop a couple extras in the heat of the day if its a hot one.

crew- This is what im doing differently this year.  My brother is going down with me.  He's always been supportive of my running and im very glad to have him down there.  Not only to crew, but to make the weekend fun.  I'm having him have my spare set of handhelds ready and a box of food open for when i come through an aid.  my goal is average less then 20 seconds at each aid station throughout the race.  i'm puting drop bags out but just for my peace of mind, and i hope to never have to tough them.  at least the first 50, some aids i just plan on grabbing the new handhelds on the go and never breaking stride.  i've got my goal splits on paper and he's going to let me know where i stand at each aid station.

This is my first 100 to race.  Its only my 2nd ever but my first i went out for completion and took my time.  You take big gambles when trying to race a 100.  I believe in a 50 if you go out a little too fast you can still finish without too much suffering.  But in a 100 if you go out too fast you can really crash and burn and either quit (which i won't do) or have a miserable night out there.  I once heard "those who don't take a chance, don't get a chance"  That goes through my head during every race and while im making my goals before a race.  If I don't go into the race looking for a fast time then a good time won't happen.  Thats the gamble im taking this time.  Racing 100's requires a lot of experience so i know i'll learn a lot during this one.  Hopefully i can use that knowledge at hurt 100 in january.

pacers- right now i've got gary and matt.  gary is doing loop 3 with me and my main goal is to BS and keep my mind off of things.  Matt is doing loop 4 with me.  He has one of the longest ultra resumes out there and has paced in nearly every race you can think of, including some tough courses and top runners.  He is pretty much the only person i've ever trained with (99% of the time i train solo, and hard).  He has a ton of 100 knowledge and i know he can push me that final loop and make sure my splits happen.

In two weeks i'll have my race report up with my usual "pre race report" on my expectations / goals for the race.  I like doing that because i'm not afraid of failure, and to be honest, most races i don't meet my goals.  I don't mind posting my goals and im not worried about looking dumb if i miss it by a long shot.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Every Ultrarunner has their story...

Every ultrarunner has their own story on how or why they got into the sport.  Its not typically a sport that people take on for no reason or just fall into.  I think we all have it engraved in our dna from day one,  whether we knew it or not.  It takes a drive deep down to want to compete in these type of grueling events.  They are not the "fun run" feel good the whole time stroller pushin type races that are easy for people to see why others do them.  Most of the time there is quite a bit of pain and some pretty low points throughout the race that makes outsiders think that we're all f*#%in nuts.  In a way, they're probably right, and during most races we think ourselves are nuts for doing it.  Ultrarunners must have the worst memories because no matter how many times during a race we say we'll never do it again, at the finish all we talk about is the next one.

I grew up in a sport playing family so working out and sports were always around.  I grew up overweight and many many times would try and lose weight.  At age 11 my sister started teaching classes and training at her future husbands gym in mansfield.  I joined there in 5th grade ready to get in shape.  From the beginning I started doing cardio and had many random goals especially for a 5th grader.  One goal was to do the EFX for an hour straight (at the time i thought 15 minutes was all i could handle).  Another goal was to run a 5k without stopping.  When i was 13 i finally ran that first 5k and didn't stop to walk but it took over 30 minutes.  I was proud of myself, but knew that there were bigger goals to be made.  About a year later my sister and brother-n-law were getting a group together to go out to san diego to run their rock n roll marathon.  One I couldn't miss out on the fun, plus I knew that if they could do it why couldn't I?  I had over a year to train so it was definately feasable.  I trained off and on but didn't take it nearly as serious as i should.  I never lost weight, in fact that was the heaviest time of my life.  I was puting in very little milage just enough to get by.  The race rolled around and i was about 225 lbs and nearly died that day. it took me over 6 hours but i finished.

During training my mother was diagnosed with cancer.  I believe she was proud of my goals so there was no way in hell i was going to quit and let her down.  Every race I run I believe she would have been proud and that right there has got me through some low points.  I wear a cross neclace during every race.  When i was five she gave it to me one year for christmas.  I wear it as a way of saying "hey look im still running and hopefully you would be proud of me"  Not to get weird but i feel like a different person during an ultra and i feel just a little closer to her.  Running ultras is my way of living so someday if im diagnosed and laying there i can hopfully tell myself that I lived my life to its fullest.  I've run in some pretty awesome places including the San Juan mountains of Colorado which i'll always remember the rest of my life.  That is something that nobody else will ever understand so when people call me crazy for running so much it doens't fase me at all because there is quite a bit of meaning behind it.

 About a year went by and my weight was still an issue and at one point even hit 240.  I decided to do the Arizona rock n roll marathon in January and knew i had to drop some pounds in order to do it.  I got down to about 210 but that was still pretty darn heavy.  i took training a bit more seriously but still ran about a 5:20 marathon.  The next year i decided to take it up a notch, lose weight, and try to run a sub 4.  thats quite a bit faster, but me being the person i am, i knew if i put in the training it would happen.  I got down to about 190 and had a pretty solid training and ran a 3:54 at whiterock.  The next year did the same, but some switch inside my head was turned on and i viewed running in a totally different aspect from their on out.

After Whiterock '07 (3:50) i decided my next goal was to qualify for Boston.  People thought i was nuts since i would have to run a sub 3:10.  I knew i had to do two things, drop some weight (still 190 at the time) and incorporate speed work.  I dropped down below 175 fairly quickly and was doing tons of speed work.  I upped my milage so fast that i got injured and it put me out for about 5-6 months.  That summer i was newly 21 and drinking and having a good time.  I got back up to 200 and was miserable.  I decided that i needed to make a lifestyle change and that i missed the running and training.  I still had the goal of qualifying and was ready to do whatever it took to get it done.  I cut out the booze, took on a healthy diet and got on a pretty solid training plan.  Training went good and i made my first attemp at whiterock '08.  the weather was horrible and bonked out at mile 20 and missed it big time.  My whole demenor was shot and i felt like a big time failure.  I looked at my training and finally convinced myself that i was still capable and gave it another shot the next month in Arizona.  I ran a 3:20 and basically just hit a low point miles 22-24 which put me off pace.  I decided to try again december whiterock '09.

This is when the Ultra world opened up to me.  I took training very serious and bought a couple booked online.  One was dean karnazes 50/50/50 and the other was "running through the wall".  A book called running through the wall sounds like a marathon book right?  I bought them both wanting to read about marathons and figure out ways to get faster.  I opened up that book and realized that it was all ultramarathon stories from different people sent in.  I was in shock that there was a whole nother sport and distances beyond the marathon.  Races that lasted days through the mountains sounded freakin crazy to me.  but the more i kept reading, something inside of me was inspired and knew i had to try these out for myself.  i still focused on a sub 3:10 marathon because that was my original goal and told myself i had to break that before i did a trail run.  That december i ran a 3:08 at whiterock so i was off teh hook as far as marathons and had no obligation to ever run one again.

I was signed up for the Bandera 50k in January of 2010.  In 2009 i ran two road 50k's.  At cowtown i ran a 4:07 that february.  Every night i was looking at 100 mile races on the internet and researching just how people actually did that stuff.  I told myself i needed to complete a couple 50k's first then a couple 50 milers before even thinking about a 100.  That january rolled around and i was on my way down to Bandera.  It was about 9 dagrees at the start but trail runners are a different breed and everybody was loving it!  The race went horrible for me, but it was ton of fun.  I liked the low key atmosphere non cowbell sideline people and i didn't miss the dumb signs people have at road races.  That race trashed me.  I wasn't ready for the rocks, the hills or the time.  It took me 6 1/2 hours compared to my 4 hour cowtown 50k.  Before bandera i had never actually done a single training run on a trail in my life.  So to get to bandera and start up cairne's climb was a real eye opener for me.  Even though it kicked my ass i was signed up for Hells Hills that April.  That was to be my first 50 attempt.  I did much more hill training and got in about 5 30 milers and a 35 miler.  Hells Hills went great and I loved it.  In fact it went so good that at mile 48 i was chatting with a guy and i told him i wanted to do a 100.  to my suprise he told me to go for it and i was in better shape then i thought.  With an experiences runner telling me that (he was training for hardrock), i believed in myself and when i got home i started looking for taht first 100.  my plan was to do one next summer to give myself 15 months to train.  I landed on Cactus Rose only 6 months away.  Once again i knew it could be done and i was beyond determined.  The training was so time consuming that i felt like i had to tell my family that it was the only 100 I would ever do.  At the time i told myself i only had to do one (even though i looked at badwater stuff every night and purposely trained in middle of the day).  Race day rolled around and it was more fun then i had imagined.  the race went great and i ran it pretty solid. no real low points and never ever considered quitting.  Even though i said that was my only one, a week later my application was in for western states.  My body held up pretty well and my pacer told me he would be disappointed if i never did another ultra. 

About two weeks after Cactus last year, I had my whole 2011 planned out.  I had about (4) 50 milers planned out but most of all i had my whole training schedule for the next cactus written out on paper.  Im looking at it right now because this weekend was one of my intermediate goals in training.  I have stuck to the training big time and have met every goal and stayed on track for 11 months now.  I ran Cactus in 23:53 in 2010.  Just two weeks later I said my goal was a sub 20 for 2011.  It sounded like a crazy goal, but i knew if i could meet those goals throughout the year that i was on track.  A goal no matter how farfetched, is never ever possible unless you believe in yourself.  I wrote down what needed to be done and told myself if I stick to it, there is no reason why I can't.  I started a vigorous hill workout and took my long runs serious and went for time on every one of them.  I practiced nutrition and quick exchanges at aid stations to get ready.  The race is 4 weeks away and i'm ready to go for it!  I once heard "those who don't take a chance, don't get a chance"