Wednesday, April 13, 2011

2011 Potawatomi Trail Runs 100

First of all, McNaughton Park is in Pekin, Illinois. It would be silly to think it was anywhere else -- just my opinion.

Welcome McNaughton Park Trail Run?
I was really looking forward to last weekend's Potawatomi Trail Runs at McNaughton Park. For me, a 100 mile race promises: a test of physical & mental limits; the greatest anticipation; the longest taper; the most planning; the least sleep; the most anxiety/worries; the most soreness & swelling; and the greatest feeling of well being & accomplishment.

However, there's one uncontrollable factor that profoundly affects the outcome more than any other for me & that has been the weather. Anyone who has read any of my entries on this blog is aware of my high intolerance to heat & all my whining about it. Yes, I've become very sick in a couple races where the temperature & humidity were high. My body instinctively starts to shut down when it can't rid itself of the heat -- it's just that in those couple races my mind had overridden the common sense signs & I paid for it. Well, this year at McNaughton Park my mind was in control, or should I say in reality, that mentally, I just lost it? Either way, I was just so tired of sweating so profusely all day & I couldn't handle running thru a warm & humid night. I love running at night because it's "always" cool -- I should say cool "most" of the time now. I had plenty of time to finish (17 more hours to complete the last 40) & I still had some legs, but since it was not fun to me then, I don't regret the decision to stop. Was there disappointment? yes Sorry? no. My car said the temp was 73 degrees just before midnight -- the normal high for this date is 60 and the normal low is 38. The dew point felt like 65 degrees, making for some sweltering humidity. Had it not been for my sitting in the cool creek thruout the run, I wouldn't have made it as far as I did.

Waiting in the rain prerace:
Some would say the mud did them in -- a thunderstorm just before the race started -- what would the course be without the infamous mud? Really, I think the temps & humidity played the biggest factor this day. Only 20 runners out of 48 completed the 100 -- and with much slower finish times (as a whole) than previous years.

Rich & Eric Skocaj (Race Directors) did another GREAT job this year. They did their best to motivate me (& everyone else) each & every lap. Oh yes, that was the best casserole I've ever eaten (made by Mrs. Skocaj)! Also, the volunteers were outstanding once again. Brian Kuhn was my savior at Heaven's Gate. This most enjoyable aid station is voted my favorite of the year every year. Thanks again Brian! I also have to mention that my "on the course" motivator, Jeff, did double duty this year -- helping at Heaven's Gate & also running the course. Jeff ran with Chris one lap & I had the pleasure to run with them for a while until I had a "heat flash" moment & it was over. Thanks Jeff & Chris!

My abdomen/stomach has not been a problem DURING the last couple races. I still have a CT scan & an upper GI scheduled . . . . . . .

Dave Corfman, RD of the Stone Steps 50k & Badwater veteran finishing 4th:
What's next? Well I'm neither sore nor worn out as I thought I would be after this race -- of course I didn't finish it either. So I think I'll go up & try the Tie-Dye 50k (formerly John Bryan 50k) put on by Jeff McPherson & ORRRC. It's been a good "recovery" run for me & usually it's my first confrontation with oppressive heat -- NOT this year! Maybe with McNaughton's early heat "training" I will have a step up this year . . . nah!