Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How Not To Finish A 100 Miler




Traveller 2/Lisa 1

I have to get this written down before I forget the lessons.
Over-hydration - use rock salt before vomiting
Blisters - going back to the drawing board, starting with wide sized shoes

Chris Beason, Jackie Stone, me, Kevin King

My plan was to use the same race management techniques I used at Do-Wacka-Do 50 Miler.  That day was hot, this race would be hot.  This race has shade, that one didn't.  It should work out right?  Right!

I purposefully don't use the GPS watch as it will stress me out to be checking my pace all the time and I would.  Using perceived exertion doesn't work either as the excitement is too great and I have a hard time gauging actual exertion.  I discovered a way to keep things chill when they need to be chill.  I only breath through my mouth.  As long as I can breath through my nose only I'm not going out too hard.  It worked well.  That first 16 miles went as planned and on schedule. 
I was only in the Sylvia aid station 4 minutes and out. 

Jackie Stone helping me get through the aid station quickly

Between Cross-roads and Pumpkin Patch at about mile 20 I realized I had been drinking too much water, over-hydrated, and my stomach was telling me about it.  I know that a good upchuck can lead to a good stomach reset so that is what I did.  Almost immediately things started feeling better.  
I did spend another 3 minutes at Pumpkin Patch taking an alka seltzer and getting an ice bandana ready, it was starting to get warm.

My stomach still wasn't right, but it was getting better.  It took me a full hour to go the 2 miles between Pumpkin Patch and Electronic Tower aid station!  I didn't drink any, I did rinse my mouth out every 10 minutes.  With ginger ale in my tummy and ice bandana refreshed it was off to the Rocky Gap aid station 4 and some odd miles away.  Again I just sipped and washed my mouth out instead of drinking.  
At Rocky Gap the volunteers were like the very best pit crew!  They had me in and out in 2 minutes with ice in my hat, my bandana, 3 cups of ginger ale on the rocks and an alka seltzer.  I was starting to feel better so after that first climb I was able to run and I did, every downhill as fast as I could because I knew I was behind schedule.

Lake Winona Aid Station:
35 minutes.... that is how long it took to fix my feet to get back out there.
After Do-Wacka and all those blisters after I spent the summer working out the blister problem I invested in the book Fixing Your Feet - the 6th edition by John Vonhof. 
I had spent the last month figuring things out and though I had it down, well I didn't.  Both big toes were blistered along with the inside of both heels. 
At least, thanks to the book, I knew how to fix them and I had the supplies, it did take time though.

My amazing crew sent me off with some pain killer and a warning about the miles and time I had left.  I ran every downhill, run walked the flats, run the undulations, it just wasn't enough.  I could have overcome one problem either the over-hydration or the blisters, but both together was just too much.  I got to Powerline outbound 15 minutes after the cut off.  I hugged PT as he cut my armband off. 

Finishing is winning.  What happens when you don't finish?  How can you still "win"?

Now I define a different win:
Feel true joy as I go back to the aid station and help runners achieve their dreams.
Maintain a good attitude.
Have grace for myself. The same grace I would give to any runner who didn’t achieve a goal they had worked so hard to achieve.

I did those things.  I went back to the aid station, napped, helped other runners.
I went to the finish line for Chrissy's finish.  I enjoyed and cheered other runners finishing this beast.  I did maintain a good attitude.  I noticed many non-finishers at the finish line this year, feeling true joy for those who crossed the finish line.  

I’m truly grateful for my pacers and crew, they gave their full
love and attention to me for the weekend.  I don't have the words to express my gratitude. ❤️       to 
The temperature highs on Saturday were 91 degrees.  I think that is the hottest Traveller ever.  Kevin W. Griffin put together the following chart showing temperatures and finishing rates over the past few years.

Chart by Kevin W Griffin
I'm committed to pacing Chris Beason next year so it will mean a year of not training for the Traveller.  It kind of feels unreal now to not have that as a goal for 2018.  It will be a fabulous to give back to Chris who as given me three years! 

Good luck Chris, get training!  LOL

P. S. 12 Oct 2017 Thursday
My brother, Rich, called me last night and we talked for a bit.  I was whining and complaining that I had so many negative thoughts and how the energy to shut them off may have been energy used to make my legs go faster.  He reminded me that that is normal.  I did have a plan and executed that plan to shut those negative thoughts off.  That is a win, not a loss!
Thank you Rich, that helps a lot!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Do-Wacka-WooWoo!

Do-Wacka-Do 50 Mile



Pre-race:
I'm saving for a major truck repair so while this isn't an expensive race it was still hard to give myself permission to participate.
All the way up to the time we were on the road I kept second guessing myself in doing this, spending the money, and all the "what-ifs", the war between our ears.
Road trips with Chrissy are always worth it.  It will be a good test of mental toughness, physical readiness and race day strategy.  

Start/finish area

Signing in


The Plan:
Manage myself and my thoughts.  This race takes us through the start finish area twice to run the 50 miler.  With that in mind I had to be there to run the 50 miler and nothing less...... But.... With forecast temperatures in the mid-80's I had to keep in mind that this was a training run not the key race thus if the heat started becoming too much I would have to take a shorter mileage finish.  So the challenge is to manage the mindset to run 50 miles but have the smarts and grace to forgive myself for less if that is where the day would lead.
Drink every 10 minutes
Eat every 20-30 minutes
Any sign of stomach distress use Gut Shot, ginger chews or other means to manage it early
Keep my skin out of the sun
Slow down as the weather heats up
Use all the ice allowed
Use ice bandana
Carry enough fuel for the first lap in case they do not have gluten-free food on the course

Chrissy & I waiting to start

Jeff & I waiting to start


First lap:  4 hours 13 minutes
I ran all the downhills and most of the flats.  
I took some pictures and really tried to have fun.
I stuck perfectly to the fueling and hydration plans.
Starting at the second aid station I started drinking a pickle juice slushy (about 2 oz each) and a Cutie Clementine Orange at each aid station.  As of yet the ice bandana wasn't needed.  I left the trekking poles at the start finish area to see what the course was like before deciding if I would use them.
The downhills were super steep and the uphill gut busters though not long.  There is rough terrain out there going into and out of gullies.  Before finishing that first lap I knew I was going to use the trekking poles for the rest of the race.

Sunrise

Runners heading out


Second aid station, right at the top of a steep gully

Aid Station Management Lap One: (start/finish/drop-bag area)
Left the little camera in the drop bag so I wouldn't be tempted to take pictures
Picked up trekking poles and ice bandana
Reloaded fuel - I have to carry my own as not enough gluten free on course (not a complaint - just knowledge)
10 minutes in aid station

typical view on course

Going off road



Second lap: 4 hours 27 minutes
This lap was all about managing mind and heat.  I slowed down some.  I drank pickle juice and ate a Cutie Clementine Orange at each aid station and refilled my ice bandana at each aid station.  I also wet the sleeves of my long sleeved sun shirt.
The trekking poles were a very wise decision it really helped climbing out of those gullies
It was HOT and the sun beat down.  Managing attitude was as important as managing heat.
Hats off to the race organization, they did not run out of water, they did not run out of ice!
I thought I would have to struggle with wanting to quite at 50K.  I did not, not once did I want to stop before 50 miles.

3rd Aid Station if I remember right

A windmill with a solar panel <shrug>

Aid Station Management Lap Two: (start/finish/drop-bag area)
9 minutes in the drop bag area, renewing ice bandana, refilling fuel/water bottles.  I wanted to change my socks but had left them in the truck and didn't want to take the time to run get them.  So out I went with a few hot spots and 16 miles to go.  I left the start/finish area with 1 minute left before the cut off.  whew!

Start/Finish and drop bag area between laps


Finally, last turn to home



Third lap: 4 hours 40 minutes:
The anticipation built for shade... on this lap the sun would get low and then set, this means RUN!
I got to the second aid station realizing I didn't drink enough so far in this third lap, this is the only time I got behind on hydration during the whole race.  So I made note to pay more attention to that as it gets late in the race.
Climbing out of those gullies became harder and harder.  At that second aid station I found out I was the last person to continue on to 50 miles.  They were going to close down the aid station as soon as I was through it.  A volunteer told me that they were going to follow me in their 4-wheeler for the rest of the course.  I begged them not to.  I told them I run 30 miles alone at night in the woods, I can do this.  If they are behind me for 9+ miles that would add stress that I didn't really need.
After they packed in the aid station they caught up to me and told me they had to follow me but they would hang way back.  I told them okay and I appreciated them hanging back.  I wasn't listening to anything on my iPod at that point but put in my earphones to listen to music so I wouldn't hear the engine of the 4-wheeler.  After a few minutes they came up beside me and told me they would go to the next aid station and wait for me.  Thank goodness!

Sunset

Steep downhill into a gully


I did see those volunteers along with the volunteer from the next aid station and thanked them for not following me.  By now it was sunset time.  I had been running the downhills and most of the flats for about 90 minutes.  I did take a moment to take a picture of the sunset.  I had been out here all day and I had managed it.  I wasn't doing a death march.  I wasn't crashing, I wasn't thinking I would never run again and I wanted to burn my shoes! - Yes, my feet did hurt!

I saw someone up ahead.  I started to think I could pass them, I wasn't going to finish DFL.  So I ran, and ran, and ran.  I caught up to a friend having a miserable day and a friend who was walking in with her.  She encouraged me to go, go, go!  It was exciting.

I did use my headlamp.  I did get in after dark.  I did have the biggest smile on my face!  It was a thrill to finish smart! to have run a smart race!  to have a challenging course/heat and to have managed it well.  This was by far the best managed race in my short running life.

Jeff welcoming me in at the finish 13 hours 39 minutes

I found my reason why, and I have a bit more confidence going into AT100.

Thank you Chrissy for inviting me to go with you, it was worth it, I learned so much, you make the best company!


Finishing award

My Garmin died mid-lap







Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Wins and a few oopses

 Mt Nebo

27 Aug 2017 Race 2 in the UTS series


Team RWB Central Arkansas
This race is one of those buggers that you swear you will never do again and find yourself out there again drudging up that 18% grade mountain near the end of the race.  UGH.  Will I ever learn?  Probably not.  The win is to be able to make my way up mountain a bit faster than the year before.


One makes a lap on the pavement around the top, two laps on the trail than down the road and back up again to the start/finish line.

1726 ft of climb


Take your llama for a walk anyone!
You never know what you might see on the trail.  This couple when camping.  Llama as pack animals.  Too cute!  

Some of the views


Wins..... best time ever for this race in 3:08:26
Didn't have to come to a complete stop on the uphill


 HOT hot Training Run

3 Sep 2017
The day started in the 70 degree range, ended near 90 degrees.  Most of us handled it well though we did move slower as the day went on.  26.64 miles.

Paul Noble, Me, Eddy Light, Charles Redditt, Wes Leach
Eddy and Wes along with some others ran 30 miles the day before so it was a 56 mile weekend for them.  They did amazing.  They are ready!  I'm excited for their race.  I have a war going on between my ears for my race.  I have to remember what was taught in an article in Ultrarunning Magazine by Travis Macy, "Don't Think, Just Run"

Eddy on the back end of the AT100 course

Wes doing a bit of hills on the AT100 course

Wes put out water and a cooler.
Charles put out some water and left his van at Powerline for an aid station.  He then rode his bike to meet up with Wes at the location of the Turn-Around Aid Station.  We left Wes's truck at that location to use as a shuttle.  We all rode with Eddy to Lake Winona Aid Station location to start our run.  
It takes a very long time to set up but it was such a great way to do that kind of run.  




Wins:  Managed hydration spot on
No blisters! 


The Oopses....


Thinking too much
Doing my weekly 1/4 mile walking lunges after Mt Nebo's downhill run tweaking a knee



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Mid-Summer Funk

Oh how I hate the mid-summer funk..... 

I can't entertain the thoughts of goofing off, not hitting my miles and all that jazz.  It has to be spot on.  No options if I want to cross the finish line in under 30 hours.  My will is to cross the finish line in under 30 hours.



Its not the woods that are dreary, it is the drive.  2 - 3 hours to get to whatever part of the course is exhausting for the 14th time.  I am focusing on the negatives.  Focusing on negatives will get more negative.  Its time to refocus on the goal.


The eclipse on the 21st of August, 2017, Monday was a nice distraction.  



Leaf patterns from the eclipse paint with light on Hero's (the horse) coat.

Last week was suppose to be a 70 mile week, I got 47 miles.  For the most part, since starting to run in May I have nailed my miles.  I have worked harder, more push-ups, more cross-training, more drills, everything than ever before.  Missing the mileage of one week isn't going to deny me the finish line.  My attitude sure could.  Its time to stay on track.  I've got this.
Next year will be an off year for the AT100.  It is of vital importance that the dream and goal are achieved this year.



Sunday, July 30, 2017

Full Moon 50K - 2017 Redemption At Last






Tools to get me through this hateful race! Seriously the race isn't hateful but I sure have had a love/hate relationship with it more like a hate/hate relationship with it but a love for the people involved both organizing and running in the race.

2011 - Last Place Finisher suffer fest with Andi Stracner in 8:51.24
2016 - Last Place Finisher in the most awful 9:16.54
2010 & 2015 DNF
This year best finish of this race with Eddy Light in 8:47.44

This year was different because we had a good plan and executed it as close to perfect as we could.




To simply line up on the starting line was hard for me because of the difficulty of this run for me.  It is known as a fast, fun, easier 25K - 50K because it is not on a trail, it is not technical surface it is forest service roads.  The challenge for me is the heat, humidity and the hills.

The plan was to go out at a walk, to walk as fast as we could maintaining an aerobic heart rate then run what we could, the downhills and flats on the way back.  We both have been known to go out too fast then say at the next starting line that we wouldn't go out too fast as we go out too fast yet again.  So this time we did not go out too fast.

My plan was to have a drink of water at least every 10 minutes and eat every 20 minutes.  For the most part that worked out as planned.  I was drinking 20 oz of water between each aid station.

We walked out with George Peterka.  He has run many 100's and has much knowledge to share and he did!  We peppered him with questions and listened.  He walked the whole 31 miles and as we went out together we soon couldn't keep up and keep our heart rate down.  That man can walk!

Lisa Gunnoe, George Peterka, Eddy Light - Photo Credit Arkansas Outside

Photo Credit Arkansas Outside - Thank you Joe

The first aid station is run by Jeff Beason and friends.  Jeff is a great friend, he and his wife Chris Beason were a very important part of my 100 mile finish in 2015.  He is an ultra-runner and he knows what we need.  He took very good care of us!  Thank you Jeff.

1st Aid Station  Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos

 1st Aid Station Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos
The 25K Turn Around Aid Station is the second aid station on the course.  Elaine Gimblet and friends runs this one year after year.  This is the way Elaine celebrates her birthday!  By giving her heart and soul to this race for this night.  Elaine was a pacer for my AT100 finish in 2015.  She too was a very big part of that finish.
25K Turnaround Aid Station - Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos

25K Turnaround Aid Station - Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos
Out in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night if you come upon a table with a cooler of ice and water jugs it may mean that some crazies are running around in the woods all night long.
This is about half way between the second and the third aid station.  Its nice to know that its there if we need it.  We did use the ice!

Un-manned water stop, it was dark when we got there.  Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos 
The 50K turn around aid station was also in the dark when we got there at about 11:25 or something like that.  This crazy crew of awesome sure took care of us.  I didn't have to do anything but point and grunt.  They re-iced everything, filled my ice bandanna, refilled my water bottles and helped me remember to throw away my wrappers.  We would run 31 miles without help, but what makes it a beautiful thing is the people who give such a large part of themselves to help others achieve a goal.
Thank you #EnjoyIt Gang!

 50K Turn Around Aid Station Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos
Ultra Running is a progressive dinner in the woods where you get to the next course by running there.

 50K Turn Around Aid Station Photo Credit Ronnie Daniel #Enjoyit Running Photos
By the time we see this little oasis in the hellish heat we know with guts we can make the finish line.  Every step from here on in is cutting into that last half and its easy to wrap the mind around that even with the upcoming monster hills.

My view of the 50K Turn Around Aid Station
Running a 50K is hard work and it shows on the body by the time one gets to that finish line.  Hot, humid, wet, chafed, hungry, tired, groggy, sore feet, and knowing we will do it again.

A hot 50K Finish!  Eddy Light & Lisa Gunnoe