Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Umstead 100 mile 2010: Lap 1

Gilligan likes to participate in races...the only problem is that he believes 100 m races really means 100 meters with a car trip to get from point to point.

Here you see Gilligan at about mile 2, after I had gone to the airport spur turnaround.

In fact intially Gilligan was not willing to walk all the way to the airport spur T-intersection, it was only with me begging him to make it there that he grudgingly decided to step it up a notch.

Okay, I didn't have to beg, he was so excited about all the people and potential folks to pet him, he did scamper along for a bit.
At the second aid station, Gilligan beat me.

In my defense I ran the ~7 miles while Gilligan hopped a ride with Tristan.

Gilligan was happy to hang out near either of the aid stations because alot of runners (including myself) will discard food when we realize things are not going down the hatch. Or alternatively if we end up realizing we are full enough.

Gilligan scored a partially eaten egg that I ended up spitting out. He and I are really close:-)

Or else he is a dog and has absolutely no standards for his food.
Gilligan loves being pet by anyone.

Here Gilligan is getting some loving from my friend Ed.

I have run a bunch of races with Ed including Rocky Raccoon 50 miler in 2009 as well as the Self Transcendence marathon in NY in August.

Ed is very pet friendly and in fact has a Ragdoll cat (which Gilligan has 3 ragdoll cat siblings: Zaboo, Sagwa and Powderpuff). In fact, Gilligan may think he is a ragdoll cat as he was raised by our oldest ragdoll Zaboo. I am not sure Zaboo did a high quality job of raising Gilligan as Gilligan is quite lazy and can become beligerant when he doesn't want to go forward.
Here I am with my friends Loiuse, Jerry and some other runners in the Sawtooths along the back half of the course.

I have run several events with these runners including Umstead 100 miler with Jerry last year.

Jerry (yellow shirt) is from New Orleans, has run that marathon numerous times as well as many other 50 and 100 milers.

You can see from this picture that it is still a bit chilly, the weather was perfect for the race with just enough chill in the air to make running very pleasant (although that meant wearing a hat and gloves).
As I approached the start/finish line, I asked a very nice person to take my picture.

Sadly this was about the 3rd picture take (lots of fingers and the camera strap was in the others), but alas it gave me a moment to think about what I wanted from the aid station and what I needed to do.

It was starting to get sunny and warmer so I did end up going into the lodge to take off a shirt and put on my sunglasses.

Of course while I did this, some nice volunteers refilled my waterbottles and made sure I was ready for the next lap.

The first lap started in the dark. I tried to ensure I was in the proper group of runners so I could achieve my goal of 26:40. I wanted to be with runners who would jog at a moderate pace but walk the hills. I saw many friends (or should I say heard), while heading out along the jeep road. Nearing the T-intersection I heard a big dog barking and knew it was Gilligan.

Gilligan did not get to the intersection with Tristan because apparently Gilligan refused to go further. But when I stumbled on them in the middle of a Garmin crisis (my watch somehow was not charged), Gilligan was showing me up by running super fast. After alerting Tristan to this issue and asking he get my other Garmin out I continued running. Just getting onto the airport spur the top runners were heading back. They were moving.

Pretty soon I made it to the airport spur and headed back. I was excited to see Gilligan and Tristan. They are good cheerleaders (well they are when they make it places). After grabbing my back up Garmin (that has a 10-12 hour battery) a quick photo, and a hug it was time to move on.

Running along the day was a bit chilly, but I was bundled up with a bunch of layers (both shirts and pants), gloves and a headband. And by moving I was warm enough. Slowly it started to get lighter out and the mile marker signs seemed to be popping up very frequently.

The unmanned aid station soon was off on the left. I grabbed cup of Gatorade and drank, I refilled drank some more then placed my empty cup in between the coolers for later. In fact throughout the race I would do this because this aid station you see 16 times during the race. I feel bad about wasting so as best I could I tried to be green. I would say most of my cups got at least 3 or 4 uses before they disappeared (well at least I assume it was my cup-so far I have not dropped dead of some unknown disease).

The lake about mile 3.5 looked spooky but pretty with fog all over. Of course I took a picture. Little did I know that by the end of the day I would take well over 1500 pictures! Many in which I stopped completely and a few in which I (and others) posed or hammed it up for the camera.

Jogging along I was with my friends Seth and Fran. I ran a bit of the earlier miles from VT100 with Seth (which he completed well ahead of me) and Fran did her first 100 miler at Boulder in Oct. This was their first 100 miler together as a couple and they wanted to see how they got along. Not only did they get along super well, they both set 100 miler PR’s running Umstead in under 24 hours…way to go!

Seth and Fran moved ahead and I was alone just for a bit. But pretty soon I joined a bunch of friends from other races. I would chat briefly then either they would speed up or I would speed up so these conversations were not too long. I believe I chatted with Rosie from Kentucky for a bit, Ray and few others.

As we approached the aid station I was excited to see Tristan and Gilligan waiting for me. I said hello, gave a quick hug then moved to the business of “aid stationing”. At the second aid station I decided to waste some time. Well, not exactly waste time, but I sure did not move through quickly and efficiently like others. I wanted to drop off some of my layers into my drop bag. Then I ate and drank like a champion. Gatorade, banana’s, M&M’s and pretzels were item’s on my “to eat/drink” list.

As I was eating I saw my friend Ed C from Rocky Raccoon 50 and the self transcendence marathon last year. He was looking strong and was moving quickly. While in the aid station I decided I needed breakfast so took an egg and lots of pretzels for the road. Walking out of the aid station I chatted with Tristan. I was feeling really good and very strong. So far I was on target for my 26:40 finish.

As I ate my breakfast, Tristan mocked me for my large handful of pretzels and egg. Apparently I looked like a glutton. But I did not care. As I munched on my egg, I decided I could not swallow the final bite without having a “reversal of fortune” (puking), so I ended up spitting it out on the side of the course. As per Tristan as he and Gilligan headed back to the car, Gilligan got my ABC egg (already been chewed). Oh well at least it was fresh and he knew where it came from.

As we approached the mile 7 marker, my friend Ed caught up to me. I took a few pictures of us then soon enough Tristan realized he would have to get Gilligan back to the car (which apparently was not as big a struggle as he expected probably because of the ABC egg Gilligan had his eye on).

For many miles here, I ran with my friend Ed. He was planning to run his first 100 miler and seemed to be doing well. He was concerned he was going too fast but seemed to have a strong rhythm going on. We talked about how running was going. In my case I had run so many marathons and ultra’s during the winter, while Ed did a bunch of training runs near his house in NJ. I was very impressed by this because I really struggled in the winter because of all the snow. For a few weeks there just really weren’t places to run and I REALLY hate treadmill running. Luckily a few of my marathons were destination events in warmer area’s where I could get some good running in.

We also talked about our respective pets. Ed has a ragdoll (Tristan/Gilligan and I have 3), so we chatted about their health. I told Ed about Gilligan’s bout with cancer and how Gilligan is now cancer free for 8+ months! Ed’s cat sadly is having some urinary issues. It sounds like the cat is at the end of an ultra and spends a lot of time peeing. It has had some bloodwork. I suggested because of having personal experience that it could be diabetes. My cat Pepsi had diabetes and simply needed an IV saline drip. My mom’s cat also had diabetes and needed insulin. The insulin was easy to administer and relatively speaking was not too expensive (a 2-3 month supply of insulin was less than $60 and the syringes were about $5 for a 30 pack). The biggest challenge was that about every 10 administrations I would give myself some insulin.

As we ran along, Ed would insist I should run ahead because he did not want to slow me down. I was a bit puzzled by this because I was running a very comfortable pace. I would rather run a bit slow and conservatively during the first few laps rather than run to fast and crash and burn. So we kept on chatting. At the unmanned water stop at the top of one of the numerous hills in the “sawtooths” we parted ways since I had plenty of water and he needed a fill up.

Moving along with purpose I was feeling really good. I had no pain, was feeling refreshed and energized and was just having a great time! The rest of this lap went by super fast. I chatted with so many runners, watched the sun slowly rise and just appreciated running on such a gorgeous day. I know I am incredible lucky to be able to do what I love and the icing on the cake is that this race is my favorite.

Pretty soon I was jog/walking up the big hill approaching the small aid station at the hill. My Gatorade cup was still there so I filled it up and drank down a few cups of Gatorade. No need to get hyponeutremia or dehydration! I also grabbed a few pretzels for the road then headed back onto the course.

Near the start finish of the race, there are several miles of out and back sections. This means you get to see runners that are well ahead of you (before the jeep road turnoff to the main aid station) and runners within about 600 meters of you (at the jeep road or along the airport spur). I really like this section because you can cheer on runners and many will cheer on you. There is lots of energy and encouragement all around. I also like this section because you know you are getting close to the main aid station which means food, beverages, crew, spectators and lots of activity and excitement.

After passing the small aid station, there are three moderate sized hills until you get to the right hand turn onto the Jeep Road. I was feeling good so even ran a bit of these hills. There were so many runners heading towards us and it was so great to see everyone doing so well. I was able to see so many of my friends who are considerable faster than I and was excited to see everyone moving so quickly. It was going to be a day with many PR’s and course records broken!

Turning right onto the Jeep road I was excited but a bit anxious. This is the most challenging section of the course because it is a bit rickety, has some roots and rocks and the final climb to the start/finish area even has some railroad ties for good measure. But I made it through this section easily. The crowds were just amazing and the cheering nearly deafening. Everyone was so encouraging and enthusiastic and made running seem effortless. Unfortunately as I approached the main aid station I needed an intermission. There is a bathroom about 300 meters prior to the start/finish and I wanted to use it. Then I would have more stomach space for Gatorade and treats.

After my brief break it was time to resume running and finish off lap 1. As I crested the hill I asked a spectator to take my picture, then I headed into the lodge to my drop bag. Time to lose some layers, grab my sunglasses and then finally to eat, drink and be merry!

After my visit with my drop bag I came outside to the aid station and got down to the main business of the day: eating and drinking. Nice volunteers refilled my waterbottle. Others asked what I might need. Sadly I had tried to come up with a list of tasks I needed to do,food I must eat and beverages I must drink, but it ended up that I loitered drinking a few cups of Gatorade, followed by some coke. And of course I had my pretzels, banana’s, M&M’s, some cheese and some cookies. Then it was time to split this popcorn joint. A brief “THANKS” to all the volunteers and I was off.

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