Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Umstead 100 miler race report
me running on Wisteria lane
before the start
Hugo and I at reg.
It is tough to be quick with this race report but I'll try. After Wurtsboro, I took essentially the whole last week off, save for two 3 mile jogs. I did not feel well, with quads still screaming despite rest and felt tired --but it is just the body settling into non-exercise mode. This was my second Umstead 100 endurance run (the 2008 was my first 100 in 24:57) and so knew what to expect with the course --the 12.5 loop, done 8 times, is entirely smooth dirt road, save for the mile section going into the cabin/aid station 1. However, it has some major hills and ups and downs!
Each long race unfolds differently for my body, but i hoped to break 24 hours. 100 miles is a long way and anything can go wrong! Just can't dwell on it. On Thursday late morning, Frank called me with the bad news that he had had fever and chills and intestinal flu and didn't think he'd be able to run or make his flight Thursday night. This call just shocked me, bu these things happen and it's only a race. In the meantime, I got my bags together - Wayne of Bates Limo, who would graciously drive the few of us on the 5:55 Jet Blue flight to the airport, then turn around and fly down to Umstead on Friday a.m.,run 100 miles, fly back Sunday and pick us up from the airport Monday --amazing!!! But that's his business --and he had airport business in between:(. Enroute to JFK to make a Thursday 5:55 flight, Frank called to say that the Dr. diagnosed him with Pneumonia...so much for running. He also had to have bed rest. It was a shock, as he thought that he had the stomach flu. he couldn't even fly:(
At the airport, I was fascinated with what Dave ate (an elite athlete, he went on to win the race in 15:08) --he had at least 3 bananas, an orange, a sandwich, his chocolate energy shake and whole wheat noodles. All this while sitting with his laptop! Off on a tangent, I was also fascinated by the 8 ziploc bags that he put together for the race --each had 5 gels, various nutrition and salt tabs, and energy drinks --he would have no solid food for the race. He would eat @ 45 gels!!! My stomach hurts just thinking about it.
We got to the hotel and I checked in to my room--Dave, at the airport, gave me some melatonin to fall asleep but I still tossed and turned -slept til 9 a.m. though. Went down to breakfast Friday and saw Hugo, Fred,Roger and Admas! Hugo agreed to drive me to the North Carolina art museum, and I hope he enjoyed wandering around as much as I did! It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat outside for awhile and walked on the grounds. Then we went to packet pickup, where I saw Tammy, Tristan and her big dog Gilligan! Later, they had a pre-race briefing which lasted an hour. When Blake, the race director, announced that the weather would be sunny and 70,with an almost full moon at night,everyone clapped. I saw Zeke and Yuen, Tom and Doug, and we all were introduced to an 80 year old man and 74 year old woman who were running -just amazing!! We then helped ourselve to pasta, salad and cake --both tammy and I had 2 slices, which apparently did give us the energy for the next day. Fun eating dinner with Roger, Adamas, Tammy, Grant and Hugo. I chatted with Fred and Joe.
Hugo drove me back to the hotel where I promptly fell asleep at 10--thank goodness -as race day dawned early at 4:15. Do I really have to g through with this???????
On race day, Hugo and I drove to the park in the dark. He was nervous as he had not done much training due to Lyme disease and the weather. One nice thing about Umstead is that runners can stop at 50 miles and get credit, so I told him that was an option. He ended up running a great 50 miler, and sat and waited for me most of the night --what a friend!! He did sleep by the fire in his sleeping bag!
At 6 a.m., the gun went off It took awhile to finally learn how to run again!!!
I was very stiff. I finally settled into my own pace, and hooked up with a silver-haired girl, Debbie D., from DC ---she was in the race with 2 other girls (wearing fabulous animal print skorts and tops!!) -she was running very strongly and we decided that we would try and stick to the rae director's lap plan for breaking 24 hours --2:20, 2:30, 4:40 and 2:45 for the first 4 12.5 mile loops. We did leap frog each other but for the most part we stuck together and chatted. She is my age and had run a 50 miler and the HAT run for training, s I was working to keep up with her.
We hit 50 miles in 10:15 (oh, and we were in and out of the aid stations in 2 minutes!!! a far cry from last year)and I was tired, my quads started to get stiff and achy (if I ever decide to do Wurtsboro before a 100 miler, restrain me). I also had nausea ,so took 2 pepsid ac pills. Every hour --each aid station-I took an S-cap for sodium. I ate gels, pb and j, saltines, cookies, muffins and bananas (none of which I care to eat for awhile:))and drank pepsi, gatorade and water in my and helds...so I was holding up at 50 miles and Debbie was kind of fading so I pushed ahead. Meanwhile, dave was flying around!!! No one was even close. On almost every lap I saw Joe (ultradad), Wayne, Fred, Doug and Tom --no Grant. I ran the 5th loop by myself in about 3 hours as it was sill hot (65 miles down), and grabbed my iPod and headlamp and headed out. As I was walking I ate a half a hamburger, grilled cheese, and s-cap and antacids! then I put on my ipod. By mile 70, it was dark, and I listened to U2 and Little feat...the moon was out and it was glorious! Who should catch up to me but Grant! Come on Emmy, he said, we have business to take care of!!! I took off my iPod, put it in my fanny pack and stayed with him --he had all the splits down for a 2:40 loop, and told me I could break 23 if I stayed with him!! We jogged comfortably and walked the hills. He was so happy to find me in the dark of the night:) Grant is very good at pacing himself and had researched the loop times for a 22 hour finish. We caught up Wayne and his pacer, and ran with them for the next 3 miles to the mile 75 aid station and leap-frogged them til mile 87 --Grant kept asking me if I had enough to eat and drink, and it was hard to force anything down because I felt so nauseous.
I am a night person and was not too tired --i felt pretty good,but my mind was going!
I asked Grant if I should get a a pacer for the last loop as he was clearly stronger and was pulling ahead. he said yes, and actually pulled into the aid station ahead of me and told the pacer table that someone was needed!! When I pulled up, Karen was waiting. My friend Jenny was in a chair eating hot soup-she had just finished in 19:03--awesome. So... I needed someone, as could not have made that last 12.5 miles alone. Karen was wonderful. We walked for awhile, and then started to jog. She told me that she was a vet! and that she had done a marathon last weekend. Since we were moving so slowly, this was a recovery run for her:) Karen gave me an expresso gel and some mint gum for my nausea, and filled my water bottles. On the airport spur out and back our time was 30 minutes for 2 miles-ugh. We started moving really well, and she did the math -if we ran a sub 3 hour loop we would break 22:30. I started to get excited but at mile 90 every mile seems like forever and you can't think about the finish as anything can happen. I knew just to focus on the mile markers and on not pulling a muscle! or throwing up, or falling into a ditch while peeing. ...we were moving well and finally were at the mile 95 aid station -oh, and going down the hill we saw Tammy with her pacer, a friend of Karen's from vet school! Grant was ahead somewhere. 5 miles to go! It seemed like an eternity as we were on the sawtooth section, which has several significant climbs, and ups and downs. Each little hill seemed like a mountain but i was picking up my numb legs and Karen said we were running 11 minute miles! Finally we were at mile 98 and I picked it up with Karen ahead --we walked ran the hills, which seemed so long --you could see headlamps up at the top!. We passed a girl, who saw i was finishing in front of her and she picked it up to pass me!
We had a fight to the finish, which was down a rocky path and up a rocky path to the cabin and to the finish line --finally there it was. I ran up the hill and finished with Karen in 22:18 (apparently a new womens' 50s record -was 11:35 --didn't really think about it beforehand but Grant looked the records up!)). It was 4:20 in the morning! They ave me a finisher's necklace that said 'Umstead 100'-one day'. I already had a necklace from last year, but this one was special --I will give the other to my mother. I went in the cabin,which looked like a mash unit...Dave was asleep in the corner having finished at 9 p.m.) and Grant hd just finished --his sister and brother were there to take him home. Hugo got my bags and we took photos. The minute i stopped I was chilled and my quads were in great pain--but i didn't care -it was over!! I crawled into a sleeping bag for a half-hour til the gates opened and Hugo drove me back to the hotel. Derek and Bob finished a few hours later, Their last loop, because of blisters (Bob)and tendonitis, took 5 hours and 40 minutes!! I would have quit -incredible.
The volunteers at this race were just phenomenal and they worked all night long. The R.D. even biked the course all night, checking on the runners and aid stations.
It felt like it was one big family. Congrats to everyone who ran and helped. Hope Frank does run it, if only to get the feeling of going through the Umstead finish line.