This was my first attempt at 100 miles. Unfortunately all of the life changes I have had with graduating from UVU, starting grad school at the U, plus a 24 hour birth this week have made it very difficult to get a lot of training runs in. I made it 45 miles of this course, and it was really a beautiful run. I am really pretty bummed that I didn't even get half way. It seemed like quiting was the thing to do at mile 45, and it wasn't a light decision, but I woke up yesterday thinking, after 8 hours of sleep: "OK, I can finish the course now." I am really pretty bummed about having two DNFs in a row, but I also think I am slowly figuring out how to do these mountain runs, and how to get faster and conserve more energy. For one, I REALLY have to have some time to heat train. Two summers ago when I started doing these races I did a lot of runs in the Summer heat with 90+ degree temperatures. This summer it has been pretty crazy. I was first trying to finish the last two classes I had to graduate, then I finally got into grad school, and the rest of the summer was spent getting life in enough order to go to school.
If there is anything I hate, it is not accomplishing what I started, and these two courses now have a personal fight to pick with me. I will finish both of them next year! I believe the heat was what killed me in both Kat'cina Mosa and the Bear. The difference in the Bear and why I lasted until mile 45 is because I figured out the hydration balance this time. I have had a problem with over-hydrating in the past, and I ran out of water and got very dehydrated at Kat'cina Mosa. Plus, I had not been feeling well the few weeks before KM, and had a really hard time with my electrolyte balance.
This time I had a bigger hydration pack, and I was able to maintain a pretty good balance. The hydration wasn't the issue, but the heat killed me, and although I did better once it cooled off, I had a hard time fully recovering. I am not sure what that is about. In the past I have not had a problem with the heat as much as I have this year. This year I seem to overheat very easily and get sick as a result.
My next problem is this course destroyed my feet worse than they have ever been destroyed before. The Write double layer socks are the first part. I have compression socks that I wear more often, and I have decided I will stick to those from now on. I also will not put Blister Shield, or Body Glide on my feet anymore. Every time I have done that I have ended up with more blisters. My shoes I wore for the first part of the race were really to broken down to race in, I was going to switch to my trail shoes at mile 51 to have the better shoes in the second half of the race. I would have figured out how to get around my feet, however, if the heat had not wiped me out. All that said, I enjoyed the 45 miles I ran and here is my report from the first half.
Thursday afternoon I left straight from supervision at the CJC to head up to Smithfield. My supervision this week had gone way over so I was rushing to get up there in time. I dropped my bags at Leland Barker's farm, and as I got there I saw my puny bags put against these duffel bags. I started wondering if I had brought enough stuff. But I did, I am just a light packer. After dropping of my bags I went to the pre-race briefing where I saw the Geoff Roes, who just smashed the course record at Wasatch two weeks ago, was also checking in.
After the meeting I went to the IHOP in Logan and did some studying before heading to the start line to park my van and sleep. I slept pretty well in the van, and woke up at 5am feeling ready to go.
At 6 am we were off, I overheard an observer state "Look at all that crazy in one place!" We headed up to Little Baldy Pass, and quietly made our way up the single track trail. I marched in the line for about two-three miles, and then stepped aside to get to the back of the line where I didn't feel crowded, and I could get my new poles ready to use. I figured we had all day, the first part of the race on an uphill takes a while to thin out, and so I just took the first four easy. I have decided my strategy right now is to be conservative on the uphill climbs, and then make up time on the down hills. With my new poles, I am a lot more stable on the downhill trails, and I move about twice as fast. Even though I have been doing Ultras for two years, I really have just started doing technical trail runs this year. I am still trying to figure out how to be confident on rock trails without killing myself. The poles helped with that, and I only fell one time, which is probably a record for me.
After getting to the first aid at Logan Peak in a slow but steady time, around 9:30, I picked up the speed and made it to Leathem Hollow aid station in good time. It was a very pretty stretch, and the fall colors were vibrant! I did the next section to Cowley Canyon pretty conservatively. I probably could have picked it up a little bit, but I still made it within 30 minutes of the goal split time I had been aiming for. I had hoped to get there around 2:30, I got there at 3. The problem is, by this time the heat was really starting to get to me and I was feeling pretty dizzy and weak. I sat down for about 23 minutes in the shade, and tried to take care of some small blisters that were forming. It was this point that Mark Colman and I started leapfrogging a bit. I got there a few minutes before him, but we left around the same time. The next 3 miles were hell. It was on a dirt road, in the heat, and uphill. My lower back started cramping up on this hill, making it hard to go very fast, but I still made decent time. After reaching the trail to Right Fork, I started to feel a little better, but I was feeling weak, and it took me an hour to get to the aid station because I had to stop a couple of times and regain some energy. I had really good luck with the first part of the race drinking a can of Ensure at every aid station. I have decided that is the best thing for me in a race. When I can't stand to look at anything else I can drink it, and it has about the right balance of carbs and protein to give me the right kind of energy. I had not put a drop bad at Right Fork, and I should have. I felt weak leaving Right Fork, and didn't want to go on at that aid station. It took me forever to get to Mudflat summit, but I eventually gained a bit more strength, and started feeling a little better, I ran most of the way down the 4.4 mile stretch to Temple Fork, and got there in the dark around 8:45 pm. I had expected to get there no latter then 7pm. Mark got there at 8:30, and finished the race in about 34:17, so there is a chance I could have recovered and made it. But I was pretty week, and still having some dizzy and lightheaded. I was pretty drained, and my feet were wreaked. I sat there for 20 minutes trying to decide what to do, and finally decided it wasn't going to work this time.
Jeff and I went back to the van and tried to sleep because it was so late, and I was to tired to drive. He had driven up in his car, so I had to drive back on my own. I woke up a couple of hours later in more pain then I have ever been in after a race. I tried to get up and was dizzy, and nauseated, and the pressure from the huge blisters on my feet was unbearable. I had done well at hydrating until the last stretch from Right Fork to Temple Fork, and then I think I let it slide. It wasn't a problem until later, because I would have been fine but I also didn't rehydrate after I was done running, and had only had a half a can of Ensure and a few crackers at the end of my race. I think I experienced a combination of dehydration and low blood sugar in the middle of the night. I was in so much confusion and pain I think Jeff was ready to take me to the hospital because I asked him to put some thread through the blisters to relieve the pressure and bandage my feet. I stepped out of the car and couldn't handle being upright at all feeling like I was going to pass out. I sat there and sipped Gatorade and water and eventually started to feel my head clear, my legs stopped cramping, and I could tolerate my feet. It was a strange experience, but short lived. We decided to leave my van there, and drive to East Canyon to my parents house to sleep. Don't know why we didn't think of that in the first place. After sleeping until noon, we got up, and decided to go to the end of the race.
I have had a little more soreness on this race then normal, but it is starting to go away, and I think I will be in good shape for the St. George Marathon this upcoming weekend, provided I can get my feet normal enough to run. Since I only did 45 miles this weekend, I am hoping to do a PR at St. George. I was given this spot by TIFIE to run St. George. In general, I am starting to lose interest in running marathons because most of them are on pavement, and the crowds are much larger. The challenge of the trail courses is a lot more exciting to me. Having to pay attention to every little rock on the trail makes the run more fun. But every once in a while, a normal marathon is probably a good speed test. I can go a lot faster on the road without having to climb mountains, and go down rocky trails, or climb around fallen trees. Of all the road marathons in Utah, St. George is one of the more scenic, even being on pavement. So watch for my report next week. This will be a test on how fast I actually recover from an ultra, running a marathon back to back weekends. I know there are guys that do it all the time, but I am relatively new to distance running, so this is the next step up. I feel like my recovery time from 50 milers has gotten pretty short after two years.
St. George is the last race I have planned for this year. I am also fighting in 3 weeks at the Smoker Bouts at Throwdown.