Sunday, May 5, 2013

Run for Kids Challenge 50K

On Tuesday last week I was wondering if I was going to complete a ultra a month for the year. I was having trouble finding a race for May. Well; while I was on I found a race over at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham AL for that weekend; the Run for kids challenge.I did really enjoy my time at Oak last year so  I signed up.
The weather forecast was rain most of Sunday. But all I wanted was an ultra and did not care for time.
I had a plan of running about the first 20 miles and then going to the normal run walk for the rest of the race.
The course:
The route the race took was on a different trail then the race I ran last year. It stayed on a 3.34 mile loop of rolling hills with no big climbs. With one aid station at the start finish; refueling would be easy.
After getting the race site around 0615. I picked up my packet and started to put my shoes on. And out of the blue Molly comes in. We started talking and I found out that she was in the 12 hour run. If I would have known that I knew someone else that was going to be out that I might have signed up for the 12 hour.
Lap 1:
The first lap was a little long to help thin the group thin out with about 1 mile of road running. It did not seems to thin anyone out but it did make me go out faster then I would have liked. Being the first look I have not seen the course at this point so I did not know what was going to be in store for the loop. I was surprised because with all the rain that was fell in the last day; that the course was draining water really well. Only a few spots were holding water. Come up with about 1/2 mile to go on the loop I rolled my ankle bad. One of those rolls that you feel up your whole leg. (At this point I told my self that I was glad I did not switch to the 12 hour.) So I started walking to see if the pain would go away and just run walk the rest of the race. But to my surprise yet again. After about 1 minute of walking I could start to put pressure on the ankle again. The ankle still hurt but I could run on it at least.
Lap 2:
With my new goal of just trying to finish the race I went out on lap 2. I stayed with some people leaving the aid station but quickly felt good enough that I wanted to run by myself. So I left the group I was with and set off down the trail. I felt good enough on the loop that there was no walking. But I looked down at my watch to see what pace I was running and I saw the watch in off mode. I knew I started the watch at the start and had GPS. But oh well I start the watch back up and finished the lap.
Lap 3:
Before I started the third loop I wanted to refill my bottle. I was not drinking that much on the first 2 laps so I dumped the water out of my bottle and filled it with HEED. I really dont like to drink HEED but I know that it has the electrolytes I need for the race. So I went out for loop number 3. I am still running so all is good.
Lap 4:
I went out on Lap 4 and the weather was starting to let up. With that also came a little warmer temperature. About half way around the look I looked at my watch again and saw black lines. The type of lines telling me my watch has given up the ghost. I think this was a little blessing. I was no longer running off of the watch I was running off of how my body was feeling and it want to run. 
Lap 5 and 6: 
These two laps are a little fuzzy  I know I look my shirt, hat and watch off and handed them to a volunteer to put near my bag. I was also still running and passing people. Passing people always makes me feel like running faster and when I pass a person I would see someone else up heard so I went into chase mode. It was lots of fun because it was no longer loops it was go to the next person. So I just spent those laps chasing down people.
Lap 7:
When I got to the aid table I asked how may laps I had because I just could not keep track any more. I found out that I was starting number 7 of a total of 9. So three to go. I want to say at this point my time was around 3 hours and 30 minutes. But thanks to the watch I am not sure until the splits get published later. I feels like I was slowing down but I could see the end was getting closer.
Lap 8:
Before I started lap 8 the guy that was counting laps told me that I was in third. I told him thanks and filled my bottle and ate some cookies and went off. About half way around the loop a guy came out behind me and we starting talking.  I asked him what race he was in and his lap. He told me he was in the 50K and he was on lap 8. I told him he was in forth and about how far up everyone was. He laughed when I told him third was 6 ft ahead of him. But it was nice to run with someone. With about 1/2 mile to the end of the loop I picked a rock in my shoe. I could not believe it I ran the better part of 28 miles and did not pick up a single rock in my shoe and with 3.3 miles to go. I picked up one.
Lap 9:
I did not want to push the last lap with a rock in my shoe so I stopped at the aid station to dump the rock out and filled my bottle up. I went out as hard as I could because I knew I was playing catch up to third place. I am not even sure he filled his bottle up for the last lap. I tried hard to catch him but with 1 mile to go I saw he was about 1/4 mile ahead and it was not going to happen but I still knew this was going to be a big day for me. 
I crossed the line in 5:05:58. When I knew I was going to have a big day I did not know it was going to be this big. That was a 25 minute PR for the 50K. Not bad for a guy who had to walk in every marathon he has ever entered. I ran the whole 50K miss the few steps after I rolled my ankle. 
Looking back I guess the few things I learn at this 50K. Inorder to run a fast 50K you need to run the whole 50K. HEED works but still taste like something awful and Molly makes great rice krispie treats.

Till the next time.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

North face 50 miler DC

Here is my recap of the North Face 50 Miler in DC. I am not saying this is anywhere near perfect but I wanted to get the thoughts on "paper". Enjoy. KAG

Well where do I start.
The day before the race a friend of mine Kelsey post on the Facebook that the DC area was in a tornado warning. I did not think anything of it. But when the rain started coming down my way to Neil's house, I started to think this might get a little wet.
The gun went off right at 0500.  We started out running around a golf course. At this point it looked like what I thought last night was correct; it was wet. Everyone around me was trying to keep their shoes dry.  Well thanks to my fast drying MT110s and no sock combo; I just hit the water right down the middle. Or as a friend, Shane, would say "hit the meat."
The first three aid stations went by really fast. This put me about a forth the way though the run and I was feeling great. I was sticking to my new plan of eating a chocolate #9 every half an hour and eating some food at the tables. I also found myself running more of the hills here. I would just drop to an easier gear and move up the hill. Before I knew it the three loops at the far end of the course was over with and I was on my way back to the start. This last bit was by far the worst. After having about 1000 people run out and back, the  50k and marathon ran on the same trail. After having about 1000 people run on the same mud line. It just looked a brown slip and slide. But you just have to keep moving on. Step by step I knew that this was going to end up as one my better days on the trail. 
As I got about one mile from the finish I hit a really low point. I just want to walk it in but his wonderful person in the marathon relay was running near me. As I was about to take a short walk break she looked at me and said something like, are you really going to let this girl beat you. I quickly replied yes. Well she took that as a challenge to get me running again. We she did just that. I think with her pushing me I ended up with a quickest mile of my last 15 or so. I ended up crossing the line in 9 hours and 34 minutes.
Looking back there was way to many loops on this course. The loop that started at Great Falls had  two out and back sections on it. This would not have been bad if the parks had limited trails but there were trails all over to be used. Then to top it off we had to do this loop 3 times. That must my biggest problem with the course. But, other then a lot of repetitiveness it was very well marks and the volunteers were great. 

I want to thank North Face for putting on a great race.  

Until next time.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mount Mist 50k 1/28/2012

When I first started writing this race report. I was going to include the adventures that lead up to that day but I will leave that saying thanks Vince for coming back just to have lunch with us.
For weeks leading up to this race Andy Roberts was giving me little pointers about the course. I am not sure if I remembered any of those pointers by the time the race started.
Around 0720 everyone made their way to the starting line.  During the the national anthem, as I gazed at the flag, I saw a man with a rifle. I thought to myself do not false start. As the anthem ended we moved a ever closer to start of the 18th running of this premier 50k.
As the rifle went off I slowly saw the leader drift by. I started off with Andy hoping not to go crazy and blast into the woods. This seemed to work well. About 2 miles into the run Andy told me that he needed to drop it down a little, so I did what any guy would do. I told him I would see him later and went on down the trail. This was harder then I would have liked. The trail was hard to pass on and every time I passed someone I just flew up to the next person to just hunt the next hole for passing. Everyone was moving great and looked up and saw aid station 1 on my left; then thought why am I running away from it. This thought did not last to long because we were on this jeep road. after running on the single track for the last 4 mile or so it was a nice place to open up the legs and get up to speed.
We enter the woods again and at this point I had a flash back of running high school cross county. With sharp turns that just about looped back onto itself. It was a rush that was short lived. As soon as this section was over we went threw aid station 1. I did not stop for anything here. I had my Chocolate #9 and a backpack full of water.
The start of this next section was rocks, lots of rocks. I ended up bounding from rock to rock falling down the hill. I hear some footsteps behind me and he most of been moving really fast I let him by and by the time I looked up for my next step, he was about twenty yards ahead of me. Minutes later the trail dumped us out at the power lines. I could still see the guy ahead of me so I tried to catch up to him because this parted looked more runnable. I thought I was making up ground when the trail just stop. I looked around for the markers but none were around. I was not sure where I made the wrong turn at but all I thought at the time was all these people are passing me and I have no way down but to go threw this thorn bush. By this time 2 or 3 more people were in my same spot. I made the command decision to bushwack threw the 50 feet are thorns. I made to back to the trail thinking that I left part of my leg in that bush. Looking back this next 40 minutes or so was a bad choice. I pushed really hard to catch the people that passed me when I was stuck in the bush. When the 2nd aid station came up I was ready for some more water. As one of the great volunteers was filling up by bag, someone said to me do you need any aid. I quickly replied why it was just a thorn bush. I looked for some boiled potatoes at the table but did not see any, so I ended up getting a small handful of peanut butter pretzels.
Trying not to stay to long at the tables, I left. I do not remember much about the next 50 or so minutes except the stone cuts. That was a cool bit. As I got closer to the third aid station I remember feeling a little low on sugar.
I kept taking my #9 and small handfuls of pretzels. About 20 minutes into this next leg. Andy came up on my heals. It felt good to run with him again. But my energy was fading with each step. I was able to hold on and run with Andy to the forth aid station but as I filled my pack with water; he left me to run his own race.
The section from four to five had to have been the hardest for me to run. I think it is because I did very little running during this section. I never thought the water line hill would end and when you get to the top of it; you had to climb a water fall. It was cool to do the climb but I had nothing to respond with after completing it.
Reaching the fifth aid station I regrouped and was able to quicker again (walking faster). I still do not know how the people coming up behind me we able to move as fast as they were. At this point it was hard to do any running that was not flat or down hill. The one big problem with this is most of this section goes up.  It looks odd only running two or three steps, but it works. Those steps could keep you ahead of a cut-off in these types of races or could keep you just ahead of the next person.
As I was reaching the top of the final climb the volunteers were offing beer to the runners. As nice as it would have been to stop for a ice cold beer I knew I had only about 1 and half miles left on my race. I remember looking at the map before and knew this whole section was flat. So I ran. I am not sure if it was fast even though it felt fast, but I was running. I could see man with a camera taking pictures of people crossing this little mound of dirt. Some energy was coming back so as I hit the top of this mound I jumped and kicked my heels together. And there it was the finish line. The end of a great race in a time of 5 hours 31minutes and 36 seconds.
Are there part of this race that I could have run different.  Yeah, like not getting off course would be a great start but that is why there is always next year. I would say that over all this race was one of my better races in the last year or so.
Until next time.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monday, December 12, 2011

TUDC 2011

Well, where do I begin. As normal I was up before all (04:30) to eat and make sure my bag was packed. With all the normal morning routine done I woke Marie up with a cup of coffee at 05:00. With the car packed and ready to go we left a little after 05:30. By the time we arrived at Wakulla Springs around 06:10, the place was already a buzz with people. I quickly set up my aid station at my car and put on my shoes. With my aid station ready it was time to talk to some friend before the race. After talking to some friend and a wonderful prayer by Gary; we were off to the starting line.
Lap 1:
There was no shotgun or fancy cannon like some races I have been to this year. Just Gary with a cell phone saying, "Gang be quiet because you are not going to have that much warning of the start...Go." And with that we started the race in the jungle, as some call it. This lap felt like it was over before it started. I reached the first aid station feeling really good running with Jeff for a little while before he drifted away ahead of me. Settling into my pace I started to talk to people as I came up by them.  Talking seems to help some of the time go away. And I had some time to talk. Near the end of this lap I saw my lap counter David Yon. He looked me in the eyes and said something on the line of do well or I will miss a lap.
Lap 2:
I picked up my first pacer of the day, Sean Hudson. We made small talk of and one.  I just keep saying keep me on 8:30 unless I am taking one of my walk breaks. (I wanted to take 2 walk breaks a lap just to change my stride a little) Again the lap went by fast, but was well on pace.
Lap 3:
Right off the start of this lap more people were joining my fight to finish. Mike Peymann joined up and we started talking about he party last night. He was saying that it was a blast. I was still keeping really good pace and had high hopes of a big PR.
Lap 4: 
Sean ended his turn pulling me around at the start of this lap. I remember people telling me that I looked great. I was feeling good as well.  At this point when we started up the little hill on the long out and back, I started to feel my left hamstring start to get a little tight.  I did not think anything of it because it went away within a few steps.  I should have taken this a sign that I was not doing something right but I did not. I just asked for some Advil and kept moving. Near the end of the lap I picked up Tim and Olivia Yinger.
Lap 5:
Mike M. set me off running in good hands with Tim and Olivia. I was as still moving good but I did have to had a few more walk breaks in. That hamstring pain was coming back and was staying longer.  It was only on the heading to the aid station.  But leaving that station I felt good and was still rolling.  I think my pace dropped to 9 minute. But over all still in good shape. Near the end of the loop I saw Mike Martinez. He came up and said I thought I was going to have some time to walk around but I got in about 3 minutes ago. I smiled at him.
Lap 6:
With 50K in the books; this race was going fast. I rolled my hamstrings at my car and continued on. I still was moving really good until I was about to the second turn around.  I started to get light headed and my heart rate was getting high. I have had this happen before and I needed sugars and fast. The only problem was I had about 1 mile to the aid station. I felt like I was swaying back and forth. But Mike kept telling me to run if I fell over he would catch me. So I would run about 400 meters and walk some. Mike kept pushing me. It was what I told him to do the day before. We had quick talk on Friday about the race. I said Mike you have to make me run when I do not want to. I just need you to keep pushing. It is in my head, not my legs. I finished that lap, my slowest of the day.
Lap 7:
Before Tim and Olivia left they gave me a paper towel full of food. All food that contained salt; stuff my body needed. I went from that station to my car and rolled my legs and took in some more fluids. But this time I took my bottle. By the time we got to the main road I was already feeling better. Running more and faster then the lap before. But by the time the next aid station arrived my bottle was empty. I filled it back up with more water and took a shot of Gatorade. Back on the road I, Mike pushing me along. Before I know it I was getting close the end of the lap.
Lap 8:
The plan Move Forward. That is all I had to do. A few salty chips and some more water in my bottle and off we went. Mike and I, it was like a good Wednesday run only not 0500. That was all I had to do. But really all I wanted to do was stop and walk. Every time I tried to walk Mike would look at me and say not yet you have to get to that sign. Then we would get to that sign and he would again say well you dont want that person to see you walk so just a few more steps. He knew the more I ran the fast the ground would be covered. He shorten my walk breaks to 30 seconds just so I would walk less. Somehow Mike convinced me that the best thing to do was try to run faster. So there we are about 1/2 mile to go until the finish and you have me trying to sprint. I use the words try because it was not any faster then what I was going. And just 7 hours and 50 minutes after I started I was done. That is a about a 13 minute PR over last years time.
Lessons Learned
I should have eaten more at the beginning of the race. I was taking in a Boost drink every lap but I think my body could have used more salt then just that. I should have slowed down earlier in the race, but I was feeling really good.

To close I would like to thank Gary and Peg Griffin for putting on a great race. I will be back next year. Everyone that kept me company during this adventure: Sean, Mike P, Tim, Olivia, and Mike M. I could not have done this without you guys. I feel so happy to have great friends. To Marie thanks for seating in the cold to watch me run in circles, I owe you lots of coffee.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Boston Mini Marathon

At 0600 Chris, Joel, Elizabeth, and I received our delicious bagels and coffee at Bruegger's. We soon we off to the best little half marathon around.  With just one small missed turn setting us back a whole 30 seconds. We made it to Boston GA around 0700.  This give the lazy runners, myself included, lots of time to fill out the entry form.  With all the forms filled out and money handed in; it was time to find out where we were going to get the BBQ sandwich. Last year a few of us made the mistake of getting BBQ from the first truck we saw.  Turns out some people will sell you canned pork on a bun. Not cool.  We found a few places that looked like they would do the trick.
So this race time. Shortly after 0800 the race started and we were off to see the cows. I was not looking for much out of the race because of the 50 miler a few weeks ago but I had to try something. Joel and I started out together at the first mile, ~6:32. But after that Joel was moving along really good.  I settled into a nice 6:45 pace. If I could hold that the rest of the day I would be in for a great treat.  As the miles clicked off I was still feeling great but I wanted to wait until the turn around before I tried to do anything, but people were coming back to me.
The turn around came fast.  By the time I got there I had a few people in front of me so I could race back to the finish.  Another great thing about this course is that you get to cheer on all the great runners behind you for the next few miles.  This also is a great motivator to try to stay moving fast.
Around the 5k mark I started to feel my right hamstring become tight. I just thought it was not being 100% and still recovering, so I pushed on.  But as each mile moved by the hamstring became tighter and tighter. I knew I was close. I just kept telling my self just make this one mile and then think about it.  Well that worked.  I was able to hold that monster off until the finish.
I came in 17th with a time 1:28:33. Not my fastest 1/2 marathon but I will take it.  I felt great most of the course and feel like the recover is working.  I hope this means some good things in the future.
So after all of us finished we went on the hunt of BBQ. The few spot we wanted to eat at were not for the people.  They were there for a BBQ contest at 1600.  Well this was 1000 and we wanted food now. So we walked around looking at the different vendors. Well I picked the first one.  Well the place smelled like they were smoking there meat so I thought it was a good sign.  So I ordered a sandwich. I was fooled yet again. This thing was a mess.  The meat had no flavor to it and the sauce was just some store bought junk.  I told the rest of them to go somewhere else.  The second place on the other hand a long smoker.  I asked him if he would let me see his BBQ and he said sure.  And this looked right.  I wish I took a picture of it but the sandwich did not last that long.  But it had everything that your BBQ sandwich needed; a nice crust on the meat, a good sauce that did not take away from the meat, and a nice bun.  I hope I remember this for next year.

Until next time keep moving forward.