Friday, July 27, 2012

State #28 Vermont 100k 7/21/12

Vermont 100k
Saturday July 21, 2012

I had originally signed up for the 100 mile race as my first one but chickened out after attempting to run the 38 mile night fun run at the Kettle 100 mile race. I just felt too grumpy during the night run and made the trail running less fun than normal, and when I got home the next day I emailed the RD for Vermont to change race distances. Plus another runner at Kettle, who had completed a few 100 milers in his day, said that a person should run a 100k before a 100 miler, and I figured it was good advice. This was my first attempt at 100k, with 2 - 50 milers under my belt from 2010, White River 50 and JFK 50.

I looked for lodging a little late in the game, and ended up booking 2 nights at the Inn at Long Trail at Sherburne Pass, about a 1 hour drive from the race start which worked out quite well. 

On race morning we needed to leave at the same time breakfast would start at the inn, but we found a coffee shop that opened at 7am in nearby Killington, VT, only 5 minutes out of our way. At the start, ultrarunners are pretty humble most of the time, and so no-one wanted to line up right at the start line, essentially telling the crowd you think you will be a front runner. Pretty funny stuff. Race started at 9am to help time the 100kers going through the aid stations about the same time that the front runners of the 100 mile were going through them. This worked well as we were arriving at our first aid station, the first 100 miler was coming through.

We had a great cool breeze most of the morning with about 60% of the race route being shaded. Nearing about mile 24, the margaritaville aid station, I had started to have yucky tummy and tried tums but that did not really fix my tummy. This was also when it started to warm up for the day. Watermelon and 1/2 water 1/2 gatorade was the majority of my intake for that section. It continued to be an issue until I sat down at the aid station at mile 51, the barn, and took down 3 pepto bismal tabs, ginger ale, watermelon, and started to feel better rather quickly. My stomach felt worse after uphill climbs when my blood was shunting more into my legs, but better on the flats and downs when my bloodflow was a little more generous to my stomach.

The majority of the course is on country dirt roads linking up farms and private property. Either Vermonters don't own dogs or they were specifically asked to be kept in homes for the horses on the course, I only saw 2 dogs over a 62 mile route. I did see several horses both in the race and that were in pastures along the course.

My first pacer, a local high school 400m track runner that had been recruited by her friends dad, the pacer coordinator for the race. She had only previously ran 5 miles and would be running 7 trail miles with me. I picked her up at the aid station about mile 32 at Ten Bear and ran with her to the Spirit of ’76. When I had arrived at the half way point I was wanting to drop, getting tired of fighting through yucky tummy. But when I arrived I asked both HH and the pace coordinator John for a pep talk. They told me what I needed to hear, that it was at the hottest point of the day, there was some shade ahead, etc., and I kept moving forward and out of the aid station, and on with the race.

During this section, we got lost twice, the only times I went off course the entire day. The first one we were redirected by a local monk that then recognized the local girl pacing me. A little ways up the trail she mentioned that her and her friends are creeped out by the monk guy. The second time getting lost was 50 ft that dead ended into an area where people piled up horse poop.

When I finished that section, I got to the Spirit of ’76 aid station, about mile 40 where I was supposed to meet my second pacer Dave from Burlington, VT. When I arrived, I took a seat to assist in getting my stomach settled, changed shoes into ones that were ½ size bigger than my usual ones, and take in some ginger ale and a little food. HH was very helpful here but I found myself looking around for someone with a Dave nametag on, my pacer, but I did not see anyone that was looking like they were ready to join me. HH then told me that my pacer would be late and that he would tell him to meet me at the next crew accessible aid station in 11 miles, at mile 51. A few miles later, my pacer had caught up to me and ran with me for the next 6 hours to the finish. He was a great distraction with stories and sub-conciously pulled my pace along. It was a little intense though at the Bill's aid station where I asked to sit down for a little bit to help solve my yucky tummy. I had HH, my pacer, and the medical crew checking in with me. Difficult for a person that is moderately independent, not a fan of intense personal attention, and at a time when you don't feel so good. These last 22 miles were through beautiful country, and then once it turned dark just before Bill's, the clear sky, stars, and glow sticks were pretty neat. 

As we neared the finish line, I started to run more continuously including most of the ups, and was very pleased that they had signage for the last mile and the last half mile of the race. A significant hill climb in the last 1.5 miles was also thrown in for good measure. The finish photo was in the dark and we were all too tired to try to at least get one of me with a flash wearing my medal. But I got a great finisher's medal, ate some broth with veggies afterwards and we drove the hour back to the Inn at Long Trail.

I was weighed in 4 times, first before dinner the night before the race start, so that race officials can get a baseline weight. Then again at about mile 10, the first time at Camp 10 Bear, where I was up 1.4 pounds. I blame starting with my handheld water bottles only having water in them, instead of an electrolyte mix. The next weigh in was when I came through Camp 10 Bear again at mile 32, and I was then down 0.2 pounds. The third and final weigh in was mile 51, Bill's aid station that was in a barn, and I was down 0.4 pounds. At least to me this meant I was not dramatically dehydrated, which could be a cause of yucky tummy, but it is also the first time during a 50+ race that I have been weighed.

Lessons learned:

Don’t start with water in your handheld water bottles
When running LONG races, sign up for ones that have cooler temperatures
Pepto Bismal dissolvable works great for “yucky tummy”
Pacers are great to have, particularly if they are good story tellers
Great to change up to a 1/2 size bigger shoes at some point during the race

Off for the month of August from any races and then starting back up in September with a 6 hour race in Missouri and then the Tahoe Triple at the end of September, getting me up to 30 states!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

State #27 Run4Troops Marathon 6/30/12 Dubuque, IA

This was the smallest marathon I have ever run in! Last year they said they had about 20 runners and this year almost 80! It was a point to point, rails to trails dirt/gravel bike path that started outside of town and you ran towards town. You could park at the finish before the race and then shuttle you to the start. Only, they had 2 small party buses to transport us in, pretty funny. Turns out the other bus had a little dance party en route with the lights and everything, seemingly lead by Dave Mari, fellow Marathon Maniac.

It is warm in Iowa in June and so the race started at 6am, and the course being 60-70% shaded. Temperatures did get into the upper 80's but the race organizers did a great job of having all the water and gatorade containers filled with ice.

I had a little mis-hap about midway through the race where I put down my bag of electrolyte capsules to fill a cup with fish crackers and I just never picked them up, not realizing this until the next aid station. Luckily they had big bags of pretzels at each aid station so I got enough salt replacement. The aid stations were spaced like an ultra, about every 4-5 miles apart. Some people were running their first marathon! I was impressed as it was a hot one.

Finished in 4:40 which was pretty good considering the heat. I recovered very quickly afterwards, giving me the confidence that I had trained enough for the VT 100k coming up in July.

Finisher medals were dog tags with the race info engraved on them.

Also offered was a relay race along with the marathon.