Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sierra Nevada 50 Mile UltraMarathon

there and back again – a runner’s tale.........


I picked this race as I looked at the rather large gap between Ironman Texas (May) and Houston Marathon (January) thinking I needed something to fill this void. I’d knocked the Ironman off my bucket list why not progress towards another. Western States 100 is a race that goes from Squaw Valley to Auburn in June and is difficult to get into but it’s on my bucket list too. To get in requires some skill but mostly a lot of luck. For the skill part of it I needed a sub11 hr 50 miler to get a Western States Qualifier (WSQ) to enter the lottery – for the luck part I must win a lottery that majorly disadvantages the newbie held each December for the following year’s race. Last year’s race the lottery chances for a newbie entry was about 10% (218 wins out of 2,113 names) - and those odds only get worse each year as an ever growing number of 2x or 3x or more “losers” trying to get into the race get extra entries into the hat increased odds by the number of consecutive times they’ve tried to get into the race. I think that maybe within 4-5 years I might have around even odds of getting in if they don’t change the entry system again. I’m kinda hoping a way is figured out to increase the field size of this race to increase the odds of getting in sooner.

Other than to get the WSQ – I picked this race also because it gives a good opportunity to go to California and visit with my Dad and Step-Mom who live in Auburn. Auburn also has the finishline to the Western States race and this course happens to have a few of the final miles of that race within it. I’d run this small portion of the trail one time visiting my Dad and I’d spent many days boating around on the lake adjacent to the trail growing up in Sacramento so it all just had that home like draw to it. The end of September timing worked well with my training as before was mostly low-medium base-building mileage through the summer with the real training for my goal race (Houston Marathon on 1/15) starting in October so this seemed early enough to recover from and still train OK.

We (Susan and I) flew out Friday Morning and my Dad drove us around to see a few of the spots around the course. Two variables that caused me some anxt was the major overgrowth of thistles everywhere as I imagined socks and shoes full of them poking into my feet after a few miles – and the dust level which tends to send me into asthmatic misery – I found myself wheezing a little just from the driving around to a few of the trail heads so I got a little worried how I’d be after many hours out on the trails. My daughter flew out as well and we all drove out to get her from the airport in the evening. I put her in charge of tracking me through the race on her iPhone and giving everyone updates of where I was which she seemed to enjoy doing and she did quite well. I carried my cellphone on the run and had an app on it that would send her a google maps link with my gps coordinates every 30 minutes so she could compare with a course map and see my progress. As I mentioned a portion of the course is at the end of the Western States run and we happened across this sign along the way:


Although I'd never taken a step beyond 26.2 miles ever and I've never run hilly trails of any significance - Sub11 hours did not seem much of a challenge so I didn’t do much special to prepare for this race. Through the heat of Houston summer I ran mostly on the treadmill at no grade since the Ironman in May. Around the beginning of September the temperatures were sometimes not so bad so I switched most of my running to outside. For the last couple weeks I tried to avoid the pavement as much as possible and opted for trails near the house as much as possible. Flat easy non-technical trails are about all I’ve got without a lot of effort and that’s pretty much all I did. Mileage averaged about 65 mpw for the last few months with a few weeks in the 80s while I was on the treadmill in August. Mostly what I’d consider basebuilding type speeds – relatively slow and relaxed – which is my view of an ultramarathon so I figured that worked OK. My goal race is the Houston Marathon in January – this race is more or less a tune-up race after the basebuilding phase on the road to Houston. I practiced fueling strategies up to about 3 hours of running or cycling. I got a fueling strategy from an accomplished ultrarunner and tried to copy it – seemed to work OK on my training runs.

Pre-Race Strategy:

Fueling/Hydrating/Electrolytes Plan:
- Target 24 oz/hr and ~250 cal/hr and 375 mg/hr Sodium.
- Carry one 24 oz bottle and powdered mix for refills. Each fill had a heaping scoop of HEED and Sustain (Hammer Products) (~250 cal) and I also broke open and mixed in 1 SaltStick tablet into the powder so I wouldn’t have to carry the tablets separate. I also carried a few Caffinated Gels I planned to take with water at aid stations.
- Estimating about 3:45 in each direction I planned for 3 bottles (1 at the start, 1.5 I carried mix and 1 given to me by my crew about 3 miles from the turnaround which I’d drink ½ each way to the turnaround and ½ way back) and two Gels in each direction.
- My watch was set at 15 minute intervals to give a vibration alarm and I’d empty a ¼ of the bottle at each alarm.

Pacing Plan:
- Try to keep the HR below 150 (I average about 160 for a Marathon and 170 for a half marathon so I'm figuring each doubling of distance I should knock down 10) which I figured would probably give me 7:30-8:00 pace. I was kinda figuring to stay in the low 140s would be 8-8:30 pace. Although these paces seemed not so hard relative to my training I was certainly aware the course record is only 8:00 pace so these are certainly not fast trails. I wasn’t going to try to stick with the leaders or anything – run my own race - but I was expecting to not be far from them.
- Try to keep the effort even – fully OK to walk up the hills if the HR goes high jogging up them.
- Don’t burn myself out unless there’s something to be gained (like a win or something) – stay relative comfortable, get the WS Qualifier and keep the legs able to recover for good 4th quarter training/racing.
- First half weather would likely be dry-60s (heaven compared to the humid weather I’d been training in in Houston) but the 2nd half would be into the 80s and maybe 90s for a good portion so I figured I’d be running a slower 2nd half if just for that factor alone.

Gear Plan:
I’m not at all used to running with stuff so I tried to go as minimal as I could. What I brought with me:
- 24oz Gatorade bottle with ¼ turn sports top I’d carry in one hand.
- Garmin 310XT + HRM with display only showing HR and distance and an alarm set every 15 minutes for fueling. AutoLap every mile. Vibration alerts only so I wasn’t beeping – I really like that feature as in prior racing with the 305 I had way too much watch beeping going on – kinda annoying to me and to others.
- Injinji socks (toe socks) with a coating of hydropel all over the foot before I put them on to prevent blisters.
- DeSoto Skin Cooler top with ice pockets down the spine for cooling down when it got hot.
- I used a bib belt for clipping stuff to around my waist. Attached to the belt I had 2 pouches and a cellphone holder. In one pouch I had 2 ziplocks of powder – 1 for a full bottle and 1 for ½ a bottle – that filled up the pouch. I planned to try to get the powder into the bottle before the aid station without stopping by biting off a corner of the bag and stuffing it into the bottle – I hadn’t actually tried that in training but thought I’d give it a try anyway rather than stopping for several minutes pouring powder into the bottle. In the other pouch I had 3 GU. I could put the pouches on either hip and found in test runs it didn’t bounce much. I decided last minute to add an old cellphone holder to carry my cellphone (in a plastic bag) vs what I’d planned and tested of putting the phone in the bottom shirt ice pocket because it ends up bouncing around a lot back there – I thought it might be better on the belt.
- iPod Shuffle clipped to the bib belt and earphones – although I don’t race with music typically I figured for such a long race somewhere within the many hours a little motivational music might be nice as a little pick me up.
- My normal training shoes – Brooks Adrenaline with ~200 miles on them.
With my crew at mile 21/28 I had spare shoes (~350 miles on them)/socks a first aid kit and refills to all my pouches – ziplocks of mixed powders, gels and I had them mix up a new cold bottle for each direction I passed them. I also had my Dad bring an albuterol inhaler in case I get asthma from the dust. Also for the finishline my wife had instructions to get a beer in my hand as quickly as possible :).

The Course:
- An out and back run along trails that parallel the Folsom lake and on up to the North Fork/American River ending in Auburn with the turnaround at No Hands Bridge – one of the aid stations for the Western States run.
- First and last 18-19 miles is a single track trail regularly used for horses and some joggers –continual rolling <100’ kinda hills. Much of the trail is pretty technical with rocky sections to climb or jump down pretty regular along.
- One big hill to climb ~1000 ft into Auburn starting around 18 that takes about a mile at 16% grade then decent back down to the river at the turnaround at a somewhat gentler 8-10% grade then turnaround and do them both the other way.
- At the top of the hill and for couple miles each way get a flat trail along a little few foot wide canal.

- Taper plan was same as I’d done with marathons recently. 3 day out run in sweats which normally drops my HR a few beats on raceday for the same pace, 3 day carbload, lots of hydrating and salty foods day before.
- Morning pre-load with a bottle of UltraFuel 3 hrs pre-race and another 2 hrs pre-race.
- Usually I’d also take a couple of electrolyte pills and 12 oz of Gatorade just before the race but I didn’t this race as I was going to be taking lots in the race.
- A new variable that I’m now wonder its impact was I was about 1 week into a 10 day prescription of antibiotics (Sulfameth) as a precaution against infection my Doctor gave me for a boil. I see diarrhea as a side effect and I’m now wondering if it played a role in my getting dehydrated during the race.
- 6:30 am start and my Dad, wife and daughter all joined me to the start leaving the house about 5:15.
- I tried to take in my first UltraMarathon and looked at those around the start and all the different gear they had. It sure made my stuff loop pretty skimpy – people really carry a lot on these races and they have pretty efficient ways to carry it too. Also some fancy bandana kinda things over the shoes I imagine keeps the rocks out. The calf compression socks I thought would be pretty cool to not get scratched from the thistles.
- ½ mile walk out to the startline with everyone – it was really great to have my send-off party there at the start. I start my phone app to send signals to Kaylee and head over to the front for the race start.

The Race:

The Garmin Data: LINK

- Easy jog it out – I forcing myself to keep it cool and not take the lead – I end up running 2nd for most of the first part. We are instructed to follow the pink ribbons that are hung along the trail and at every twist and turn so we know we are on the right trail. At one point we are all confused which way to go and we stop to decide whether right or left – after 5-6 guys stack up someone sees the pink ribbon and we are off again.

- A couple of early gear issues – the cellphone holder on the bib-belt turned to have way too much bounce to it so I moved the cellphone to the shirt’s icepocket – it bounced a little but it was secure and I got used to it. The iPod Headphones proved to not be secured and kept coming out and dangling down past my knees – I kept trying to wind them around things on my belt while I was running but they kept bouncing free and I’d wind them again.

- First miles click away and I’m running around 8s and feeling pretty relaxed but I’m a bit concerned my HR is running so high – mid150 and sometimes even more – I was expecting for this pace to be low 140s – maybe even lower with the good heat run I’d done a few days before. Something screwy was going on because the HR was just running way too high. I decided not to pace adjust for it – breathing seemed OK and the pace felt pretty effortless so I’ll just monitor the HR and hope it starts to fall off after a few miles.

- The HR does fall off but it took a full 10 miles before it got within what I was hoping would be my max for the race of around 150. A little worried about it I’m tending toward slowing a little and let a few go by.

- At the aid stations I’m re-filling my bottle as needed. I’m somehow able to get the powder into the bottle without slowing down so just a brief stop for the volunteer to fill the bottle and I’m off again. I’m pretty much on plan with everything fueling/hydrating.

- I’m taking the ups slow – walked a couple steeper ones – and I’m having fun kind doing a two step jump down the more technical rocky hills (pick a spot – jump down to it, pick next spot and jump down to it) moving pretty good. I’m thinking I’m a pretty good downhill runner although I don’t practice much – the words from the DipSea movie On the Edge about running downhill by faith give me some confidence to just put my foot out there quickly and have faith I can figure out how to make it land OK and move on.

- My Dad and Step Mom mentioned as they go for hours long walks on beautiful trails around the country how they kinda pitty the trail runners who can only focus on the dirt ahead while they are walking and can look up and appreciate the beauty around. I think of this as a beautiful sunrise over Folsom Lake comes up to my right – but I cannot dare look at or I’d twist my ankle on a rock. But it was all still nice in the peripheral view anyway :).

- The big 1000’ hill at mile 20 was as expected – a walk. A girl with pink ribbons in her hands who has been marking the trail gives some caution that the markings aren’t perfect – but just keep going up – if there’s an option to cut across or go up – go up.

- I get to the top of the hill and there’s a canal that crosses the trail with an option to go across the canal and keep going up a little more hill – or run along the trail with the canal – with not pick ribbons in sight and the lady’s instruction in my head I march on up – and in the distance I see a couple others up there so must be right.

- So a ½ mile or so of no pink ribbons and I’m starting to think I’m not on the right trail. I decide to pull out my phone and pull up a GoogleMap of where I’m at and see what I find. After a couple minutes I determine the trail I’m on is going generally the right direction so I stick with it hoping things will somehow workout. I get to a street and happen to see a pink ribbon on a trailhead down the road so I jog over there and find the RIGHT trail which happens to be going along the canal.

- Another mile or so and I get to the Auburn Dam Overlook – recently renamed the American River Canyon Overlook – apparently after decades have gone by since it was planned to build this dam – and construction never began – they finally gave up on the name. Although there was no Dam to overlook – this being the highest point of the race that I had to climb nearly 1000’ in either direction – in my mind grinding away up the hill it became the goal to get to that Dam - or actually DAMN Overlook :).

- As I run through the aid station at mile 21 at the Dam Overlook my crew spots me coming in and I get lots of cheers and encouragement and a new cold bottle of fuel and I’m told I’m in 5th place overall. It turns out 2 of those are running the marathon so actually I’m in 3rd place for the 50M. I’m feeling perfect – big grins and waves and looking forward to a good long decent down to the river before the turnaround to come back. My pre-race optimistic pacing plan had me through this aid station at 9:30 and 10:30 and I was coming through the first time at 9:38 – things are clicking pretty good.

- Down the hill go for a bit and find a big uphill too steep to jog so I’m walking up the hill. Top of the hill turns out to be Robie Point – mile 99 of the Western States 100. Over the point and now I’m on the course going down to no-hands bridge. This particular couple mile section of the course was a key part of the women’s race to the finish in 2011 because a Momma Bear and her cub blocked the 2nd place woman for a good 10+ minutes making catching 1st place impossible.

- The bouncing down the hill is going OK but by the second 15 minute alarm to drink more of my bottle – the thought of it just grosses me out completely. I get to the bottom at the turnaround and instead opt to drink some flat coke.

- I’ve passed two runners on the way down coming back the other way and find out a 3rd runner who had been 1st place decided to switch to the Marathon and finish up after taking a wrong turn and loosing the lead (I think he was the guy I followed the wrong way back at the canal). First place was within a mile ahead I think.

- I start back up the hill – jog the flatter parts and walk the up hills but after a mile so the nausea starts to catch up and as seems to be my calling card on these long races – first the Ironman – now the UltraMarathon – yeah you know how it goes:

- I walk a little farther feeling weak then I decide to sit for a minute on the side and let this nausea feeling pass a little.

- Along comes Eric – A very kind experienced UltraRunner who has probably seen this a thousand times before and knows exactly what to do. He tells me to get up walk and he walks with me up the hill asking my symptoms. His plane water in his bottles looks so good I ask him for a little and take a swig. He quickly concludes I’m low on electrolytes and dehydrated. We continue to walk our way up the hill. He tries feeding me a cracker but before it even hits the stomach I was losing all the water I drank. I recall a podcast saying when helping another runner in an ultrarace – always stand to the side – and I could see he was the professional knowing where NOT to be :).

- Eric is so cool he walks me the rest of the way over Robie Point, down the other side and much of the way back to the Damn aid station at to top of the hill. In the process he shares all the rest of his water in both bottles and tells me what I need to do to recover and continue on including – get in the canal - no more sweets as the stomach is shutdone to them – get electrolyte pills at the aid stations – water only to drink – and eat bland foods from the aid stations. What a cool guy to sacrifice time in the race to help me out. He told me a little about running Western States last year and it was pretty clear he knew what he was doing.

- I get to the aid station at the Damn Overlook – mouth completely dry as I’d finished off all the water maybe ½ mile down the trail. My wife and daughter are there and try to hand me another bottle of my mixed stuff (which at the thought of that just grossed me out) and I have her get some bottles filled with water only. Eric had jogged ahead and warned the aid station workers I was coming and might need some help and one of the guys notices I’ve stopped sweating – a sure sign of dehydration. I get a few electrolyte pills a the aid station and have the couple bottles filled with water and the aid volunteer takes me over to the canal where I take my shoes off and climb in and submerge myself in the cool water. My Dad and Momma Sue come over to make sure I’m OK and I give them a fatigued smile – “are you planning to stop” – “no, no – I just need to recover a bit then I’ll be on my way” – The look back from Momma Sue was priceless – now completely convinced of my insanity:).

- After ~15 minutes changing shoes and socks, dealing with a blister on my right big toe (draining, bandaging then duct taping the big toe) and emptying more than a bottle of water – I’m feeling much better. I head back to the aid table and eat a couple bland things – potatoe dipped in salt was pretty good. Watermelon too.

- I’m off – two 24 oz water bottles in hand – I recalculate my estimate finish time figuring I’ll take maybe 4 hours to cover what I covered in 3 hour trip to get to the Damn Overlook before – I tell Susie/Kaylee I’d probably want my beer around 4:30 ish at the finish.

- I think the dip in the canal screwed up the HR Monitor because the data was all screwy after that but I wasn’t using that anymore anyway.

- Lots of time to get back and still get my WSQ – I’m pretty sure I could even walk the whole way and still get it but I start jogging out of there and back onto the trail by the canal.

- I stop a couple times and dip my hat into the canal and pour water on my head as it's really starting to warm up. With the delay it looks like I’m doing this back half in the heat of the day.

- I don’t think I’m moving all that fast but for whatever reason there’s no one passing me and I’m actually catching up to the next runner. In hindsight I think I actually made it back to the Damn Overlook around 5th place and lost another 6 places while I was messing around in the canal recovering so I guess I was around 11th.

- The other runner stops to jump in the creek and cool off so I pass by her and make the turn to descend the 1000’ or so down to the lake. It’s pretty steep so gotta go pretty slow.

- Get to the bottom and another aid station – more watermelon – more electrolyte pills – fill both my hand bottles with water – and ice as I could but the Gatorade bottle lid was hard to get the ice into so limited success here - and had the volenteer add ice to all the pockets in my shirt and fill my hat too so it will keep me cool as it melts off over several miles. This became my routine at each aid station and I’d leave each aid station with a slosh slosh noise as the ice would bounce up and down in my shirt pockets. This really worked well to keep me cool.

- After 10 miles or so I felt the need to pee so I stopped and pee’d the darkest yellow I’ve ever seen – but this is a very good sign the dehydration levels are dropping a lot – I keep my focus on downing more and more water.

- All the uphills of any significance were walks – I tried to jog along the flats and downs as I could and did for most of them. I few more runners came back to me as I was going along and we’d chat for a while as we worked our way down the trail. Lots of yo-yo’ing as I’d catch up to someone – stick with them for a bit then feel like walking and they’d move ahead etc so I’d see the same person for miles at times. We were all pretty well spaced out and at the aid stations where we all stopped for a few minutes to re-fill stuff there would usually be 2-3 of us.

- Pretty much it’s all grinding out the miles all about the same with the occasional frozen back and head as I’d pick up more ice – such a wonderful feeling.

- Somewhere maybe 10 miles to go I lost concentration for a second and wobbled up the slope into thistles – caught myself that overcompensated and almost wobbled off the trail down the hill – but caught myself again and ran straight – not sure what I did in that wobbling – I think I kicked a rock – but my other left big toe now hurt from whatever I hit. Not a lot but there was something there. I could still put pressure on it so I didn’t worry about it much. At the end I found the whole big toe toenail blistered from that so I’ll be losing that toenail – never lost that one before.

- That last aid station before the finish had a long gap before it – 6.3 miles didn’t seem too far the other direction but in the heat and going 13 mpm instead of 8 mpm – that’s a long distance apart – all my ice had melted off and both my bottles were nearly empty by the time I finally got to it. I got there with two other runners – guy and a gal – I didn’t really car if the gal beat me – I don’t race the gals – but I didn’t want the guy to beat me. I quickly finish up at the aid station – I get ice, refill the bottles – only 2.7 miles to go and I’m first to leave the aid station.

- Walking the uphills still – the gal catches up and passes me – we chat a bit – she’s 2nd lady and trying to hold off 3rd who I saw a while back but has been struggling with nausea much of the race. But she’s keeping a steady pace while I’m walking/jogging/walking – I end up kind bungy cording her for a while – she’d go on ahead then I’d jog and catch up then walk and she’d go on ahead etc.

- Then the guy catch up and starts to pass so I match his speed an chitchat with him a while. His first every UltraMarathon too – has only done one Marathon even – pretty impressive – we confirm we are in different age groups so I’m kinda happy I don’t have to race him for that. He’s jogging the uphills and moving away but then I roll down the downhills and more than make-up for it – after a while and knowing the finish isn’t much more than a mile to go I kinda let one of the downhills get me going fast and I just try to hold it – I still walked a little uphill gain but then sped back up and ran it into the finish opening up a couple minutes on the guy and giving me a nice fast feeling again to the finish.

- Susan and Kaylee are cheering big as I come running around the corner to the finishline ---- and not more than a few steps later ---- my beer is in hand – it took a little more time to find the bottle cap opener but a beer never tasted so good.

- As the race is called the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run – the beer had to be a Sierra Nevada beer.

- Before I made it to the bottom of the first beer I was handed the 3rd place Age Group Award for the race and I got my WSQ with a time of 9 hours 46 minutes.

- Good shower/massage and company around the finishline. Had another beer.

- Found Eric (actually he found me) and thanked him profusely for his help out there and shared stories with him for a little while. He was a bit surprised I made it to the finish after how bad I looked but I told him I followed his advice to the letter and it got me home. He assures me what he did is pretty darn business as normal in an ultra race – people just take care of each other out there – which is pretty darn cool! He ended up making the race a fun run on the back half stopping at aid stations for long times chewing the fat with aid workers etc. He still finished ahead of me but maybe not by much – would have been kinda cool to catch up with him on the trail and hang for some miles. As it turns out he appears to have done me another favor too – I’m guessing to keep good finishing time statistics he apparently didn’t cross the finishline as he doesn’t show up in the results – only on the registered runners list – since he’s in my age group too he also apparently gave me his 3rd AG award too – I certainly owe Eric a lot from this race!

What went well:
- AutoText Messages to Kaylee and Kaylee keeping everyone informed – worked like a charm.
- DeSoto shirt and hat for stashing ice to stay cool.
- Crew at the Damn Overlook – perfect placement for help and encouragement.
- Pacing for the first half seemed OK – think I ran the hilly trails with a good balance of caution and aggression.
- Steady effort 1st half slowing and speeding up with the grade.
- Recoverying from a bad patch – adjusting the plan (to the great advice of Eric) and finding something that worked to finish up. Having bad patches I’m told are fully expected in such long races – and especially on up to farther distances. How you bounce back from them and adapt on the fly says more than whether or not you have them and I think I bounced back and adapted pretty well with the help of others.
- Eric giving me some water to make it to the Damn Overlook – I may have made it up there anyway but without the water my dehydration level may have made this day a DNF.
- Got to experience a little of the WS100 Trail – and with the bad patch I had just so happening to lineup with what would be about mile 97-99 of that race – I feel like I kinda got to experience is as I would feel after that many miles.
- Thistles only lightly brushed past the legs on a couple overgrown narrow trails - otherwise no issue.
- No asthma.
- Stomach was great after the race. 2 Beers and 4 slices of Pizza before I left then a big Prime Rib Dinner a couple hours later – no way I’ve ever been in a condition to do that after a marathon.
- Ice Bath and Massage – DOMS pretty much gone within a couple days – although going down steps was wobbly for a while - I was able to run 5 on Monday and 10 on Tuesday (along the beautiful beaches in La Jolla) without much problem.

What didn’t go well:
- Getting dehydrated – clearly I need more electrolytes for the conditions but I’m still a bit surprised after only 4 hours I got so dehydrated. Longer training runs would have helped me understand my limits here better and mitigate the risks of dehydration. I still wonder if the antibiotics somehow played a role in this – don’t know. If not I’m wondering if my limit on these longer races is how well I can stay hydrated. It could be I an aerobically handle going faster but I sweat too fast and can’t replace enough of it at these speeds and I just need to slow down to maintain the water balance. Again – can only figure this out bit experimenting in training and I didn’t have those kinda training runs.
- iPod – useless and headphones in the way – leave it at home next time. I tried the music once just before Eric came along to try to motivate – waste of time.
- More than 2 things on the BibBelt no work – I can keep a pouch on either side from bouncing around but as soon as I add a 3rd in the middle – too much bouncing.
- 24 oz Gatorade bottles – hand gets tired holding a bottle – need a hand wrap – also need a wider opening so aid workers can get ice into the bottle – use regular water bottles next time.
- Blister – I think the Injinji socks and hydropel did OK – but the blister formed under a callus on the big toe and I think if I had filed it down before the race I wouldn’t have got the blister. All the rocks and things hitting the toebox in different angles I think just had too much go push on with the callus – a smoothed hydropel’d surface I think would have been fine.
- ToeNail – I’ve heard dehydration makes you more prone to lost toenails and blisters so that may have been a factor but mostly I think I just need to keep my eye on the trail – probably will come from running more trails. To only have this once minor incident along such a long technical trail off no training on similar is pretty good I think. But I would need to get many of these type of trail runs in to be able to focus better.
- Didn’t get a good picture of my crew --- Thanks Dad, Momma Sue, Kaylee and especially my Darling Wife Susan!!! Also thanks to Pam and John for trying to come see me at the Damn overlook on the way back – sorry I was so late getting there I missed you but glad we caught up for dinner.

Next up – Houston Marathon is the goal race – a few tune-up races along the way including a 10 miler on October 8th if the legs are up for it.

Some more miscellaneous pictures:

Who could argue with this:

Before it all – you can kinda see my gear set-up. I brought a light just in case it was too dark at 6:30 am but it was just light enough I didn’t need it:

Mile 19 first time through the Damn Overlook:

Second time through the Damn Overlook – I’m not feeling quite so energetic:

The magic of Duct Tape – amazing all the uses for it.

Apparently I almost had to crawl under the finishline but they got the airpump restarted before I got there a few minutes later.

There I am “flying” my way to the finish:

Now finally achieving that out of body experience us UltraRunners (I can call myself one now) are striving for:

Me and Eric’s – I mean my Age Group award. It’s a really cool coffee mug too.

With this written on it:

These shoes have seen enough miles – into the trash – I kept the first pair which looked about the same until I cleaned them off in the ocean.

No UltraMarathon Race Report is complete without an addition to the black toenail hall of fame:

Now that’s a way to finish off a report!


Anonymous said...

What a story!

Nice work, Kayry!!

I see that I have to work on improving my race reports now! Ha ha.

kayry said...

The time to read should be some fraction of the time to run right :). A long race gets a long report.

Mostly I just wanted to capture it all to look back on whenever I get around to the next one of these. Lots to learn.