Tuesday, June 2, 2009

2009 Run Under the Stars

Well, my venture into the unknown at Run Under the Stars turned out to be enjoyable. This was a totally new experience running on a flat horse track for 10 hours at night. I had opted to run this instead of the SweetH2O 50k and I believe I made the right choice. I wanted to get a good long run in and that's what I got.

Steve Durbin -- RD & really nice fellow:

When I arrived at the start, I ran into several people I knew -- Steve, John, Mike, Cassie & Ellen -- all of which I would see all night in this multi-lap event and would encourage me every step of the way (THANKS!!!!). Seeing people at night was in itself different from any ultra I've run before -- I would not be running all by myself, even though most every runner was in the process of passing/lapping me! I probably chatted more during this race than any other -- many times with runners I didn't know. One person I talked to, Gary Cantrell (Laz, of Barkley fame) walked most of the night & always had something to say. He even SMOKED about a half pack of cigarettes!!!! Carol Westerman, at age 71, who I've seen at numerous events, looked so strong & I had to commend her (she did 37 miles!). I also got in a few words to the many others who lapped me so many times it made my head spin!

The one & only aid station:

As for my race: With the flat, fast track, I took off at what I thought was a comfortable pace. After lap 1, I was soaked with sweat & I would continue to sweat a great deal all night. Looking back, I did go out too fast as I ended up walking some as early as 15 miles, with much more walking as the night wore on. Although 10-11 minute miles are not fast, apparently I was not in the shape I thought I was in. With the half mile loops, it was easy to stop at my drop bag to drink up -- which I did even though I didn't get thirsty. I was concerned that I was not drinking enough as I didn't have to pee. Finally, at about mile 21, I had a small urge to do so and I kept with this continual drinking pattern till morning. After 88 laps, I had about 3 minutes to get in another half mile lap -- nope! I'm happy with 44 miles, even though I thought if I had paced myself differently at the start & it had been about 10 (preferably 40) degrees cooler (as forecast), I had a chance to push 50 miles.

As for my "issues" this race, I had a couple and they were totally of my own doing:

My first issue was my lack of proper running gear! I had hoped to use my trail shoes as I thought I would need traction on the loose track. After arriving at Carson Downs though, I quickly realized after I walked on the track that road shoes were needed! The base material was what I call "manufactured sand" -- small limestone fragments that tend to deteriorate/weather after time -- along with dirt. The size of the fragments was much, much smaller than I expected. The dirt & limestone was a bit loose at first & had been mechanically raked. There were some divots made by horses, but not too many. When everything got packed down by all the runners after a few miles, the track was like a hard dirt trail. It was a bit uneven surface with the rake lines & divots showing thru, but nothing you could trip on. I did bring my only useable road shoes (about 7 years old) that I had used in road races up to 10 miles, but had never run in them more than that at one time. They were rather loose fitting so I knew blisters would be a problem & they were after about 30 miles. I used some extra lube, an extra pair of socks & tightened the laces the best I could without cutting off circulation. The shoes were so worn though that my feet were still loose within the shoes, but I was able to finish with the extra measures I took.

My 2nd issue was all in my head! The forecasters led me to believe that it would go down to the low 60's with winds from the north after midnight -- why do I keep listening to them? I (foolishly) had expectations that it would cool down as forecast & I waited & waited & it never happened. It felt like it stayed in the 70's all night with dew points in the 60's (humid for me). With a non-existent wind after the 1st few hours, I sweat up a storm all night. I brought 2 gallons of water & gatorade & I went thru every bit of it -- I never expected to use it all. I peed all of 3 ounces back out. It was tough mentally to block out the cool weather thoughts/hopes during the run, but this should have never been an issue if I had any sense.


WINNER: Congrats Ellen!

With this experience with the "minor heat" in this race, it really makes me question my desire to return to Mohican this year. Had it not been for a cooling thunderstorm late afternoon last year, my run at Mohican would have ended 20 miles earlier. I'm going to continue to prepare for the 100 miler anyway and hope I get lucky with the weather. I sure hate to make a decision on whether to run or not based on unreliable forecasts though, but a decision will have to be made!


Jeffro said...

44 miles in just under 10 hours, at night, excellent! Sounds like you are ready for Mohican.

ed said...

Thanks Jeffro.

It did not feel like night to me running "under the lights". It was a good change of pace run. Nice job at AD50k!