Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2007 Umstead 100 miler race report

Okay, so this is for last year. I had wanted to run the 2008 Umstead, but it filled up very quickly. I will try again in 2009. Here is my race report from 2007.

The Umstead 100 miler is my first crack at the 100 mile distance. I've had IT band problems all winter, which hurt my training and almost prevented me from running this event.


Anyway, I got about an hour of sleep the night before the race. Yikes!.I don't remember what I had for breakfast, but I do remember thinking it would be about 35 degrees. It wasn't. At 6:00 am the 259 runners clumped together at the start, and trotted off into the dark. The course consists of eight 12.5 mile loops, with a subtle 8,000 ft of total gain over 100 miles. The elites were way out in front from the start. I fought off temptation to run faster, and run with others also going too fast. I decide to play it smart. The first 25 miles were smooth and easy. There are about six miles on each loop that are surprisingly hilly. Later in the race, I would hate these hills.

Halfway point

The day got quite warm. Temperatures would creep into the mid 70's, which feels like 80 when you're running. I slowed things down, and decided I would pick up the pace when it got cooler. My goal was to break 24 hours, so I ran with some folks who were also on that pace. I didn't know what a 24 hour pace felt like. I soon ran ahead of these runners and wondered if I was making a mistake. I was joined by my pacer Dave Snipes at 50 miles. I clocked into the halfway point in 9:43. Blisters were starting to show up on the balls of my feet. It felt like my skin was sliding off the bone. At the 100k mark, I had my blisters wrapped, changed shoes, and changed socks. My feet looked pretty crummy.

The Night Time

The 259 starters were now down to about 220. The afternoon heat caused a number of 100 mile runners to drop to 50 miles. A couple elite runners fell victim as well. The night time offered some coolness. The full moon meant we could run without headlamps in some areas. Runners were getting more spread out, much less chatty, and you could tell fatigue was setting in. I felt strong though. As I crossed 70 miles, I knew I was in uncharted territory for distance. I was still on a good pace to break 24 hours. My blisters were really feeling raw, and some little aches and pains from earlier were becoming much more present.

Early AM

87.5 miles-I was getting tired, but it was more a sleepy feeling. I hadn't been up this late in a long time. My laps were getting pretty slow, but I never felt out of it. I still looked pretty strong. I pulled into the aid station, and knew that I had just 1 more loop to go. 24 hours was in the bag! This was a victory lap, although not a fast one.

The Finish!

About 1 mile from the finish my pacer left me. He wanted me to run to the finish on my own. Run I did. I would have never thought I'd still be running after 99 miles. Adrenaline was on full blast. No pain. I sprinted to the finish in 22 hours and 47 minutes. I announced to the crowd that it was my first 100 miler. A big moment came a few minutes later when I was presented with my "100 Miles, 1 day" silver buckle. It was surreal. It was a pretty big goal of mine to earn a coveted silver buckle for running 100 miles in a day. I had done it in my first try with the help of a great pacer/friend(Dave Snipes), and wonderful volunteers. Immediately afer finishing my legs felt great, but I knew the post race pain would be coming soon. After a short nap by the a warm fireplace, I awoke to find my legs would barely move, and my blisters were throbbing. Food was not sitting well, and I had the chills. A quick glance back at mile silver buckle reminded that it was all worth it. After all, how many humans can say they have run 100 miles in a day?

The Future

I was back to jogging about five days after the race. My right leg had swollen up, but was back to normal in a week. After two weeks, I was back to full strength. I will definitely run other 100 mile events. 50k's and 50 milers are great, but there is something special about a 100 mile event. You have to train for it, and you must commit to every inch of the race. There's no getting lucky, and no easy way to finish. Aka the quote" there is no such thing as an easy 100 miler". The distance makes it tough.