Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Umstead 100 in 2009 Lap 4: Pictures and Race Report

With my friends Frankie and Jim. I know Frankie from Rocky Raccoon in Feb, when we ran the 50 miler together at times. She is really SWEET and lots of fun! And I know Jim from my blog...apparently I may have concerned him with a previous post of my list of items I pack for 100's. In fact of all the items I brought, I probably used less than 5%. In my defense it is better to have too much then too little and have to DNF because you do not have the right shoes, clothing, meds, etc.
With my friends Nathan and Jenny from Rocky Raccoon. I believe Jenny was in the top 5 female finishers. And both of them had just run the 100 at Rocky (unlike me who just did the 50)

The trails were crowded at Umstead at points. Here you can see a dog walking family on my right and a bicyclist on my left. Everyone was very nice and friendly and offered lots of encouragement (particularly if they asked what was going on and then realized many of us on the course would be running the entire night)

Going up a sawtooth. Notice way ahead of me is Frankie, with her bright green skirt. She was very easy to see. Although she is very bubbley and outgoing so she also was very easy to hear as well:-)
With my friend Kim at AS #2. Last year Kim earned the Norwoodie for being last female and the perserverance rock for being last overall. I earned these items in 2007. But this year both Kim and I finished well ahead of the last place finishers:-)

I am excited to start Lap 4 because I am getting that much closer to the halfway point. I know that the first 50 miles is a lot different then the last 50 miles. But alas the mental knowledge that the distance left is shorter then the distance completed I find comforting. As I head out I know my friend Kim S. is about 800 meters ahead of me, my friend Kim from Kickrunners is slightly behind me and many others are relatively close. The in and out to the aid station definitely provides a good vantage point to see who’s around. As I head out with my popsicle, I head for a bathroom break. I know I am no longer making it from one facility to the next, but I would prefer to at least try. After getting out of the restroom I wash my hands with the running water, but sadly no one has thought to put some soap by the sink. Oh well, I am just happy to be able to rinse.

As I head up the hill, I see a bright green skirt and a tall gentleman with a vibrant blue shirt. It’s my friend Jimbo and Frankie! Frankie asks if I can get a picture and of course I can. I snap a picture of them (right in front of Jim’s wife who is driving in) and then snap a picture that also includes me. They are really funny and so energized. I jog with them for a bit and we chat briefly. Everyone is pumped up. Jim is doing his first 50 miler and it is clear he will be finishing the only question is: within 12 hours or more than 12 hours? They are really good company and it is great fun to run with two of my friends (I know Jim from my blog and Frankie from RR50 in Feb. It is unclear whether they know I know both of them and sadly I am remiss in my hostess duty of introducing runners—I tend to try to but sometimes I spaz out and forget!).

The out and back section continues to be my favorite because of seeing so many runners. Everyone is so positive and encouraging from the super fast elites to the folks who are just going to squeak by in the 100 or 50 milers. The energy is amazing and really makes me so happy. I wish I could bottle it, but instead I put it into my heart to reminisce during the later stages when everything might not be going as well. In fact my feet continue to be a problem. My shoes are tied too tight but I really worry about loosening my laces because when my knee really starts to bother me it can become impossible to bend. I decide to suck it up and deal for a bit longer.

As I continue on, I am passed by numerous runners a lap ahead of me as well as several runners on the same lap. My friend Pete and Frank get out of the aid station ahead of me, but I catch up to them. My friend Carolyn from Virginia Happy Trails is ahead of me but ultimately I catch up and we continue to chat. The miles are flying by. Passing by the lake I see a runner and his family on bikes. I take their picture and chat briefly. He is on the same lap as me and this is his first 100 mile. He is looking strong. He lives in the area and his family biked from their house to the park to give him some encouragement. I think one of his youngsters might be struggling with the hill but she digs deep and makes it. We chat for a while but ultimately it is clear he is faster than I.

As I run I see many family’s, lots of people walking their pets, lots of bicyclists and all sorts of activity going on. One person is walking 3 dogs. The dogs are clearly having different agenda’s and are going 3 different ways, which amuses me no end. My dog sort of does this but luckily while big, he is only one dog. Pretty soon I see the mile marker 6. At this point I see Kim S. in her vibrant purple outfit just ahead of me. Unfortunately I can no longer make it from aid station to aid station with respect to peeing, so I find a suitable bush and go for it. This costs me a few minutes because I am still heading into the woods, but soon enough I do catch up to Kim S. and we are approaching the loop de loops that signify aid station #2 is just up ahead.

Kim S. came in last place last year, but is looking really strong. At the aid station we resupply. I get my water bottle refilled, drink lots of Gatorade, Ginger Ale, Mountain Dew and Coke. I am starting to drink caffeinated beverages because I want to be hopped up on caffeine throughout the night. I also continue to eat my usual salty potatoes, cheese its, bananas, M&M’s and other assorted treats. Tristan is at the aid station so I can take off my first Garmin and put on my next Garmin (I am currently the proud owner of two 305’s which I like and one 405 which I have given to Tristan—luckily with the heart rate monitor last year I was able to purchase several with my Health Flexi-Spending Account using money I would have lost because I thought I would have more medical costs in 2008—but I was healthier then I expected:-)

After a few minute chat with Tristan, he suggests he wants to pace me from 50-62.5. I do not argue but am a little surprised because he has had a nagging knee injury. Since his trip is a bit longer and not as quick as ~10 miles should be, he heads off pretty quickly. Soon after getting out of the aid station I am able to catch up to Kim S and we start chatting. She is having a good race and looks really strong. We talk about Umstead, which she has done many years and I have done the last two years. What a change in weather from last year (in a good way). We also talk briefly about Rocky Raccoon (RR) which we both were at a few months ago. She DNF’d the 100 miler but still made it well past mile 60. Sadly RR100 does not give a “consolation” 50 miler if you complete more than 50 milers (unlike Umstead). I only ran RR 50 mile and was really pleased with my performance but am not sure I could have done 100 miles because the current Rocky Raccoon course is very tough with lots of roots throughout the course. My understanding is that previously the course was a bit easier with more jeep trail and less single track (and roots!). After a bit our paces diverge and I move along.

In this section I see a really beautiful horse, what appears to be a Clydesdale. It is huge but friendly. The owner says we can pet it so I do. It licks me a bit which is fine with me. I feel a bit salty/sticky so I consider this a bath. I continue to be close to my friend Pete and occasionally we run together. Sadly increasingly frequent bathroom breaks (Gatorade/water/coke in means pee pee out) and occasionally having to set up pictures makes running too long with any one person difficult. At one point I take a picture of the beautiful wisteria. Pete comments that he likes running with and behind me because I take the time to really appreciate the journey. He is right. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to be running this event and I am having a great time. The wisteria were not as spectacular as in 2007 or 2008, but they really are beautiful and fragrant. And there are cute little blossoms that make me happy.

After the grueling climb up Mt Everest (which is getting higher and higher after each pass) I stop in briefly at the small aid station for some Gatorade and pretzels. I chat with other runners who are all friendly then must get back onto the course to my favorite section, out and back. I see lots of friends and meet lots of new ones. I keep running into one lady who I met briefly at the pre-race dinner and the bathroom immediately prior the race who seemed to know Susan D (Rob A’s girlfriend). To occupy a few moments, I ask what her name is. It is Ann. She is very nice and encouraging each time out paths cross. I now can cheer her using her name, not “Number 267”. I am getting excited as I finish this lap because I am starting to have goals/treats at the end of each lap.

After the completion of this lap I get to take out my contacts. My contacts are definitely lighter than my glasses, but I cannot see as well and because they are so thick (stupid astigmatism for the second time in this write up!) my contacts really irritate my eyes. So I was excited about jettisoning them. Going into headquarters the crowds continued to cheer for the runners very enthusiastically. This is somewhat because some of the runners (50 milers) are finishing their event so the crowds want to support them. As I ran up the hill I was excited to see Cindy, my sister and Tristan. I ran to give Cindy a hug but she deflected because I may have been sweaty and stunk. I then give my water bottle to a nice volunteer asking for just water and I head inside to take out my contacts…wahoo!! As I go inside Cindy and some volunteers ask if I want anything. I suggest a chicken sandwich. Cindy brings it in within just a few moments.

After taking out my contacts, I know I am having some underarm chaffing issues. So I put on some glide. Also, as per Cindy’s reaction at the top of the hill perhaps I stink, so I put on some deodorant. Not sure if it helps but perhaps there are other runners talking about me mentioning “she reeked of flowers and horrible BO!” Oh well, you do what you can.

Cindy walks outside with me ready to pace me. But I continue to be hungry so I munch on a bunch of stuff. I eat more potatoes with salt, I get another chicken breast sandwich but keep having problems keeping the breast tenders from falling out. Ultimately I just grab them out of the sandwich. I give Cindy part because she says she is a bit hungry. Pacers are allowed to eat so I readily share. I sure don’t want to have to help her if she becomes weakened! I drink lots more Gatorade and some coke and Mountain Dew. I am now powering down the caffeine/sugared drinks like a champ. But I am continuing to feel good so I am happy. All too soon I realize I cannot stall any longer. So Cindy and I head out of the aid station. For some reason Tristan heads back to the car to get something but promises to catch up with us along the course.


A Plain Observer said...

it almost looks like fun...

Jimbo said...

You definitely did scare me with your list - I only read it the night before when it was too late to do anything about it. I ended up Ok though, and found myself not missing anything.

Awesome photos. 700 though? Wow.
Just saw your picture in UR magazine, and if I am not mistaken, there is somone wearing a lime green skirt behind you. Wonder who that could have been :)

Also looks like the News and Observer in Raleigh photographed you too. Not sure if it ended up in the paper though (there is a link to the pictures on the Umstead website.)

Runner Tammy said...

Hi Myriam,

It doesn't just look like fun, it is fun...well okay fun may be too strong a word. It is a blast! I would say while the lows are really low, the highs cannot be compared to. And of course no one can take away this accomplishment.


Sorry about freaking you out with my list. My list was my 100 mile list, my 50 mile list while way too long is not quite as extensive. And of course I pretty much use 3 things making my crew (my sister or husband) get really angry at me. But Tristan my husband channels his anger by messing with me during my 100 by bringing the wrong stuff, taking my essential clothing or just causing me trouble. But I love him so I'll keep him:-)