Friday, April 8, 2011
After the finish --5 a.m.!
Noonie and Tammy before start of race
Out on the course with Noonie
Since some friends have asked for details of my race, I decided to come out of blog-hibernation once again and to write up a hopefully short race report...
Background-- this winter was really tough to train for a 100 miler or even for any length race!! Last March, I signed up for the NJ Ultrafest which was on the thirds weekend of March. It sounded like a great event, and was near my parents' house so I could stay with them. I signed up for the 100 miler but wasn't sure which distance would do -plus, the weather can be very unpredictable!!!
So, in Sept., to hedge my bets I also signed up for Umstead 100 miler -this would be my 4th time in Umstead and it is one of my favorite destination events. However, I had finished that 100 successfully and really could have quit while i was ahead--but had a desire to try again a few times and maybe make the Umstead 500 mile club for a t-shirt;-) Now that would be a big achievement. If you ask me whether I want to go thru the training and mental anquish again...might say NO:-(
My training started out with a jan 8 fat ass 50K (on 6 inches of snow), followed by the 14 degree Manhattan 1/2 (where did 21 miles total for day); Run around manhattan (32 miles), Albany marathon (16 degrees with real-feel of zero); the Boston build up series and caumsett park 50K (torrential rain)--it was too much pounding on concrete as my third metatarsal on left foot, where had injured it before, weakened and i got discomfort and swelling. I did back off before Caumsett but it was held in the pouring rain and the shoes that i was wearing created bad foot pain in the last 2 loops...Frank did most of my training races with me, so if you read his blog you can see how bad caumsett weather was:0( so I rested for 2 weeks til the NJ ultras, and decided to drop down to 100K. Actually, the weather turned out to be great, if cold.
I ended up running the full 100K (well, actually 65 miles) in 13:44 w/my friend Noonie--it was inspiring and motivating to see Betsy, John M., Joe G.,and other finish the 100 miler!!! The afternoon got very cold and windy and Noonie decided to stop, and my foot was still bothering me from Caumsett so i was happy to stop at 65 miles --plus, we started at 4 a.m.!!! BUT what would this do to my Umstead performance? Did I ruin everything????
The next couple weeks i rested, running 13 miles easy of the Wurtsboro course, while Frank, Kate and neil raced it!. Strange-this was one of the first winters where I didn't do any speedwork or shorter races-I really felt that i had lost it!!! I started work coaching track and the weather was cold and miserable, but at least i was doing a few intervals:-) Horray for shorter races.
I flew down Thursday night with cherie and Mat, and Cherie's mom, from JFK. Raleigh was cold and rainy , and Mat and I took a shuttle to our hotel. I was very happy to be in my warm hotel room, and since i had had GUM surgery on Tues (another story -was told by dentist not to run), the hotel's frozefruit bars saved me -they tasted so good and so i had 2 of those in my room and went to bed. Last day of antibiotics, and tooth felt achy..On Friday, I slept in (the reason why i flew down on thurs) and mat and I walked over to the outdoor shopping mall next to the hotel, and had lunch at a great noodle place. We then went over to the Umstead park to get our bibs and shirts, and since Mat had never seen the course, i showed him the famous headquarters spur and the start/finish area...i also saw tammy! Then we went back to hotel and rested, and at 5:30 came over for the pasta dinner, which wasn't that great -but Admas and Roger gave us a ride to Target and the hotel, which was fun, along with Bob, a new friend doing the 100 (staying at our hotel)...I went back and organized my stuff and since Noonie had also entered both races, I was to meet her in the lobby at 5 a.m. -she was driving up from a swim meet in charlotte...
so 5 a.m. rolled around and we were ready to go -I was nervous and didn't sleep well as usual. We found a great parking spot, and went into the start/finish cabin area, and talked with friends.I briefly saw Tony, but would see his wife Ginette cheering on the headquarters spur all day!!!
I lined up with Noonie and we ran into the dark, when the race promptly started at 6 a.m. Since Noonie had never seen the park or the loop, I enjoyed 'showing' it to her--amazingly, we run pretty much the same pace, so we decided to stick together (12.5 mile loops x 4 for 50 miles)-the weather was perfect, actually, if a touch chilly. We were consistent, finishing each loop in about 2:30. On loop 4, I changed out of my trail shoes and into my Nike dual fisions (lighter and more flexible)--oh oh!! The top of my foot immediately started aching --it was tough with every step, and i thought -this is it, am going to have to drop at 50. Noonie pushed me thru, saying 'let's be productive' to 50 miles, and so that became my goal--we crossed the 50 mile finish line in 10:15 !!! 5 minutes before NJ, only 2 weeks earlier --I had been eating and drinking all day, and my jaw did not hurt!! I felt good except my aching foot..Noonie decided to stop, and get into her warm car and drive to her daughter's swim meet/hotel. As she left, she offered me a ride back to the hotel!! But I was determined to go one, because i knew i had a lot left in my body, and had trained so hard and spent so much $$ to come to this event;-)!! I changed back into my trail shoes, got my iPod, took some Advil (had taken so many drugs -ugh), and started walking --walk/ran for awhile, and slowly the foot felt better -must have been the shoes and the hills!! I listened to music, and finished the next 2 loops in 6 hours. I then decided, as I was coming up the headquarters spur (and of course was grateful to see Ginette!!! and Doug vaughan's wife), that i need a pacer. Well, God was looking down on me, as an older man stepped up and asked me if i wanted someone for 25 miles and i said YES!! and he turned out to be the perfect pacer for me. he immediately got me some food (i was nauseaus at this point from the s-caps, drugs, and junk food) and drink, and off we went, and he had an extra strong flashlight to shine on the ground, too, which i needed. My pacer's name was geoff Scott, and he had moved from Ct to Chapel hill! I found out that he had finished 19 100 milers and 13 iron tris...he was also an awesome power walker so essentially walked while i jogged -my running muscles are much stronger than my walking muscles so i would jog along as he walked..somehow we made it thru the next loop in 3 hours, walking and running. It was getting really cold, and i saw Mat come up the headquarters spur shivering, with a blanket on--I wondered if he would be able to go back out.
Earlier, Noonie and I had come upon Marge, who tore her achilles --she had to sadly stop but she was cheering on Susan Grant, who was a bot behind me...anyway, my pacer made me get warmer clothing on and get some expresso gels and food--we then rejoiced that this was our last loop (the victory loop, as they call it) --I was never sleepy, but just dead tired and feet of course hurt--i was able to run and so tried to scamper along as much as possible-my pacer said that i was keeping up the finest pace he'd seen (trying to be nice) and he regaled me with stories from his 100 milers (didn't know that runners got swept away in the hardrock river),,,slowly we were closing in on the finish. We made it to mile 95, and hooked up with catra Corbett and some others who my pacer knew --we were all ready for this to be over with, as it had ceased being fun! I just needed to put it on cruise control for a couple miles, so as not to pull anything or get injured...finally we got to mile 98 --with rolling uphills --I started to run, and i ran the last few hills, with my pacer beside me-- he head his flashlight as we went down and up the last .5 mile to the finish!! I could not believe that it was over. We cross the finish line in 22:39..I thanked him and sent him home a he needed to leave the park at the 5 a.m. gate opening --I then saw Cherie and her pacer-they had finished only 4 min ahead of me. We all went inside, where Mat was leaving for his last loop -I knew; I hoped; that he would get the job done..after changing clothes, i started to feel the fatigue and thankfully Cherie's pacer drove me back to the hotel. I was able to take a shower, a short nap, and then left for airport w/mat and his wife.
During the race, i said i would never do Umstead again...but my memory will fade, and I may very well sign up for the very last time...