Monday, July 20, 2009

7/20/09: The REAL Race Highlight

Thanks for the kind words, everybody. It was great to have everybody following along. I'll definitely try to post some pictures soon.

Two days later, I'm still feeling ok with my decision to drop. My stomach didn't really start feeling completely better until this morning. It's a bit hard in retrospect that I didn't "go the distance," but I know I tried my best made the right decision to drop.

Anyway, I nearly forgot in my last post to call out the true highlight of the race.

Brome and I charged out of the mile 50 aid station, and I was really excited to be back out there. However, the adrenaline wore off quickly, I soon remembered that my stomach wasn't in great shape, and I had run 50 tough miles already with 10K feet of climbing.

There is a big climb coming into the next aid station at 56 miles. Boy it was a grind to get up there. I finally got there and plopped down in a chair. I was pretty spent, and so were a number of others trying to finish up the 50 or the first 50 of the 100.

What did Brome do? Well, he walked straight over to the bottle of Jameson sitting on a little pedestal and promptly took a shoot. The crowd loved it! Big Scottish Brome, throwing down a shot in the middle of a run. Good stuff.

I can't say it made my stomach feel better, but I was definitely amused.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

7/19/09: TRT 100 Race Report

Thanks to the greatest crew/pacers/entertainment ever, you already know how things turned out. I pushed hard, but ended up having to drop at mile 68.

I'll skip the full blow by blow this time and just write up some of the highlights and low points.

Highlights:
  1. Ridiculously beautiful course: Words can't really describe how awesome this course was. Seeing the sun rise (and later set) over beautiful Lake Tahoe from the surrounding mountains at 8,500 feet was incredible. Much of the course provided a great view of the lake from up high, and even when you didn't have a view, it was still a beautiful forest.
  2. Danny and Dylan's entertainment: The boys made the weekend very fun. Brome sang to me a lot of the time he was pacing, which was excellent.
  3. Good 50 miles: It was one tough race, but I had a pretty solid 50 mile finish. I really fell apart at mile 44 with overheating, dehydrating, effect of altitude, etc., but I ran the first 50 in just over 10 hours, which would have been good for about 7th place if I'd been running the 50.
  4. Cuddling with Brome and watching the sunset: Brome and I sat down for a few minutes and watched the sun setting over Lake Tahoe. Very romantic.
  5. Getting back out there after 50: I felt terrible when I came into 50 miles and had been ready to quit for a long time. I decided to hang out for a bit to see if I could bring myself back to life. I started by dumping ice water on my head. Overheating: check. Then I slowly drank some sprite and water. Dehydration: check. Next I got my first solid food down in over 7 hours. No calories: check. Finally I walked around for a bit and stretched out a bit. Dead, exhausted legs: check (more or less). I gave Jen a call to talk over the decision on whether I should continue. She was very supportive (as always), and I decided to give it a shot. I yelled to Danny, "Let's go!" He started to get ready to pack up and leave, so I said "No, let's get out there! I didn't get all dressed up for nothing!" It took about 50 minutes, but I was able to bring myself back from the dead and get back out on the course. Michael Jordan didn't have a comeback like that.

Low points

  1. Altitude: Man, running 100 miles at over 8,000 feet without acclimating is tough! Probably should have expected that.
  2. Stomach: The problems this time were actually different from my usual issues. I felt good until mile 43 when I hit the high point of the course at 9,000 feet. I think my stomach problems were more altitude related this time. It felt completely different from what I usually have. I spent a long time trying to get my stomach back (over 8 hours), but I just couldn't do it. It was worse when I ran, and eventually it just got too painful to run.

So all in all I gave it my best shot, and I'm pretty happy with what I did despite not finishing. It was my first time running in the big mountains at elevation, and I managed a really strong 50 and pushed as best I could after that to keep going.

It was truly a humbling experience. I have a lot of respect for the big mountian 100s out west. While I didn't finish, I really did enjoy the amazingly beautiful course and had a lot of fun hanging out with Danny and Dylan.

I may post some more in a bit, but that's all for now! Thanks for all the support, everyone.

Breaking: Results...

Will finished the Lake Tahoe 100 Race in a record 68 miles! Though he may not have technically finished the race, Will wins the bet! The full story was unavailable before press time and will be reported in tomorrow's blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Drama at 50 Miles...

Although Will entered the aid station at the 50 mile mark with the pedigree of a champion stallion, his outward strength covered his inner turmoil as he called out “I’m done” with a swing of the arms. It appeared that stomach problems had hit again as Will had been unable to take in much food or calories during the last two decamiles. His supportive yet inquisitive support team later determined that Will had thus far eaten a Cliff bar, energy shots, Cheez-Its, several salt tablets, and his soda and water. Having burned several thousand calories thus far, this was not enough.

Luckily for Will, Will knows stomach problems well. After sitting down and cooling off for about half an hour, a few PB&Js and several glasses of Sprite disappeared into Will’s now vacuous stomach where they brought renewed energy and festive cheer to a weak and vulnerable digestive system. With his new found energy, Will was able to become unsure about whether or not he would continue. An amazing feat of inner pain, motivation, and indecisiveness! “If I hadn’t already completed a 100, I’d probably want to continue,” Will joked, “and there’s a serious incentive problem now that I’ve already done the course once around.”

Then, it happened. Will asked for a cell phone to call his wonderful wife Jen, and Danny and Dylan began to plan for their newly free Saturday evening. Amazingly, Jen provided the kind of love and support that only she can (although a little disappointed to quit, Danny and Dylan were eagerly telling Will how nice the beaches here are), and convinced Will to continue on the joyous hell on which he is again currently embarked!

Will the support of Danny Brome, safety runner extraordinaire, Will is hopefully flying along the third segment of the course enjoying the vistas of Tahoe! We have not yet discovered why people do these races and I remain complacent to sit on the beach while this unique brand of crazy people continues to run. They all appear to be having an excellent time.

One Marathon Down

Will just ran a marathon! Only 74 miles to go!

By the time Will arrived at the Mt Rose aid station, he found a honed and well-rehearsed support team ready for his every desire. Fortunately for us, he only requested Nathan’s handheld water bottles, sunscreen, Cheez-Its (sponsorship possible), a Cliff-Bar, more food, and salt tablets. Will’s been enjoying the trail, running well, and seems eager for the rest of the 74 miles. After completing the first section in approximately five hours, Will’s within his goal pace range. The altitude’s impact was noticeable, but Will has not yet succumbed to pulmonary edema.

The support team is off to inspect the local beaches and looks forward to meeting up with Will in another 24 miles. The support team is still unsure why people do this to themselves. We will investigate further throughout the day.

99.99999 miles to go!

And they’re off! The race got off to a successful start this morning, as far as we could tell. After a 3:30 wake up call, we drove Will to the start where the runners eagerly walked around showing off their shirts from previous races before embarking on the “ultra distance endurance run.” The runners didn’t exactly explode out of the start and Will seemed to laugh off our suggestions to elbow other runners in order to gain position for his kick. However, we can officially confirm that the first 47 steps of Will’s race have gone well!

When asked for a quote for the blog, Will wisely replied that “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know when you’re gonna run 100 miles.” And Will cautiously commented, “I already know how to run fast, I must learn how to run slow!”

Will reportedly slept well through the night for a bit over six hours and was energetic and excited for the race. His support team, on the other hand, after only three hours of sleep, was faced with the incredibly difficult choice of determining an order to eat breakfast, sleep more, and blog. You’d be glad to know that we found informing you, the public, to be our most important task of the morning. As a result, we slept and ate first so we could blog to the best of our abilities. We hope that you enjoy it! While sleeping, Dylan continued to grow his three day old goatee in a heroic emergency effort to look like Will. Also, after witnessing the start, Danny has updated his predicted finish 21 hours and 41 minutes – a whole minute faster!

Now it’s time for the support team to look for a map so we can meet up with Will at mile 26, at the eggs and bacon aid station.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ultra Distance Endurance Blogging

It’s 9:30 Friday night and Will has gone to bed, but his Support/Safety Team is hard at work drinking beer and watching Talladega Nights. We want to update the two readers about how registration went today and we will be providing the world with an exciting Support Team view of the race tomorrow! It’s just like Will’s using Twitter, except it’s not Twitter, it’s not from Will, and it doesn’t suck like Twitter.

Will is running the self-titled “ultra distance endurance run” at Lake Tahoe. After some flight troubles, Will got in this morning and so missed the race briefing. But, he got a free travel mug, so his morning coffee will stay warm while he’s running. Perhaps we will drink this for him. Will weighed in at a whopping 152 pounds, so the caterers gave him some special attention, including extra pasta and a little flirting…though they may have just been trying to get to his support team.

We checked out a pool, practiced driving stick, then came up to the room and Will thunderdomed with E-Gel, one of his favorite electrolyte replacement gels. Being in Nevada, just before bed we placed friendly bets on the race. Danny predicts a strong finish in 21 hours and 42 minutes while Will humbly guessed 22:37. Dylan, after feeling guilty about his initial guess of DNF, is confident of a 20:48 finish. If, however, pigs do fly tomorrow and Will DNFs, Danny, Will, and Dylan guess that this will occur at miles 61, 68, and 76, respectively.

Stay tuned for our updates throughout the race tomorrow! Also, please place your own bets in the comments section.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7/12/09: Tahoe Bound

The big day is almost here!

I realized it's been a while since I last posted. Things have kind of fallen apart since the Highland Sky DNF. I was gone the next two weekends, which made it tough to fit runs in. I also got sick and had to take 6 days off running.

I finally started feeling better at 1.5 weeks before the race. I think I'm pretty much back on track now. Yesterday I drove out to the mountains for a final hard training run. I ran 22 miles on a tough course with about 5,000 feet of climbing. I felt great, ran about 9:40 pace, and finished with a lot left in the tank.

Training had a lot of ups and downs in general. I was looking back at training logs, and I was pretty darn consistent for the 6 months leading up to Vermont last year. This year I ran about the same number of miles (averaging just under 80 miles a week since January 1st), but there were definitely more peaks and valleys. Here are a few of them:

Peaks

  • Mega weekly mileage: I had four weeks where my mileage ranged from 112 to 120 miles. Last year I topped out at 100 miles, so it was great to be able to hit these levels and still feel good.
  • Elizabeth's Fat Ass 50K: This race was one of those days where everything came together. I'd run 100 miles in the prior week, but my legs were strong, and my climbing was great on this course with 6K elevation gain. Winning was fun too :)
  • Speedwork: I did almost zero speedwork before Vermont last year. I was focused exclusively on endurance training. But coming out of Vermont, I realized that speedwork could definitely be beneficial. I hit the track fairly often and basically maintained the speed I had in Philly last year. I was able to run lots of mile repeats at 5:45s and 800s and 2:45s.
  • Climbing: I did a lot more specific practice to handle the major climbs I'll face in Tahoe. I spent a lot more time running out in the mountains (at least 10 times over the 6 months). I also hit the stairmaster pretty frequently and did a lot of 2-4 mile treadmill runs at 10:00 miles and 10% grade.

Valleys

  • Stomach issues: My stomach just plain sucked this year. It really held me back on long runs, and I threw up far more than I would have liked. I still need to crack this problem. It's by far the biggest variable in Tahoe that could keep me from finishing.
  • 3 DNFs: Seneca Greenway 50K, Bel Monte 50, and Highland Sky 40. Man, I hate DNFs. It was even harder because they were all caused by the stomach issues. I think I also was a bit too ambitious in my racing schedule this year. I can't race that often if I'm going to gun for a fast time in every race.
  • Less consistency: My average mileage was the same as last year, but there were some great weeks and then more weeks than I'd like where I couldn't run much. Earlier in the year I was flirting with injury and had to take it easy. I also have the extreme taper I was forced to do with being sick. Thinking back, I also think a big part is that work got really busy a lot of times, and I also was traveling a lot (both with work and personally). It's tough to keep training at a high level when I'm taking lots of early morning and late night flights. I have less time for running and am also much more tired and can't recover as well.

So all in all training wasn't exactly what I'd hoped for, but I did push very hard and think I'm in good shape. On the whole I'd say I'm in better shape than before Vermont last year. Wish me luck in Tahoe!