Sunday, June 6, 2010

Black Mountain Monster 12/24 Ultra

Black Mountain Monster Race Course and my Number 12 all beat up and super wet racing shorts.

I knew something was up when around mile 35 folks would clap and cheer me on when I entered the main section of the 3 mile loop. Also, around mile 38 the race director came up to me while i was getting supplies at my aid station and took my picture along with my setup.

Something was up. I was the leader in the Mens Division.

Yes, it is a miracle and yes it was a tough race. My time was 11:41:00 for 52 miles. Given the last lap is not counted unless completed by 12 hours I stopped at this point. I finished first place mens division and 3rd place overall. Crazy.

The rest of the Story:
My first plan for the weekend was to run 50 miles in Morganton around the track park loop. Sure it was a race but not a real race and the only person in the race was me and my crazy mind. On Friday I stopped by FooT RX to pick up some gels when Robert the manager told me about the Black Mountain Race. I called the race director and paid my cash and entered the race only a few hours before cut off.

Plan of attack:
When I arrived i knew the weather was going to be hot maybe as hot as 90+ with 90% humidity. Not great weather to run an ultra race in no matter what kind of conditions. Given I now have a dog the mornings are taken up walking the dog. This means all of my training runs start a bit after 10:00 am and last until about 1:30 or 2Pm in the afternoon. My body was ready for the heat and dripping from every cell. I mean every cell.

The course was a 3 mile loop (100meters short) with some small elevation gain and some short down hill sections. At the back mid point was some cold water and other fluids which would end up playing an important role in my hydration needs.

I also knew the course was going to be super fast given most of the runners had shown up to run the relay part of the ultra. The first lap was fast. I ran the 3 miles in 24 minutes which is moving. The goal during the first lap was to figure out where all the walk places would be later in the race and figure out water and gel needs.

Around mile 10 I was moving at a 9min mile pace and feeling very strong however consuming super cold liquids (mid race point and main aid station). My 10 min time was around 1:30 which is very strong for frank.

At first I started to take 1 scap at the main aid station but this soon became two at the main aid station and one at the mid point station. The end result was no cramps throughout the race. I also consumed about 3 cups of liquid at the main aid station and 4 cups at the mid point aid station.

Along with the fluids and scaps I consumed Hammer gels. If my numbers are right I consumed about 18 to 20 gels throughout the race a rather high number for me. However, nothing else worked with the body. When I tried to eat anything my body rejected it asap.

Even though I drank tons of fluids my recycle of the fluids was super fast and the scaps did not generate any issues.

The weather caused my body to drain water super fast and it was not until mile 50 that i took my first pee.

The race started out super fast. Tons of people would pass me. However, as the day moved on i found the entire course to myself. Around mile 30 which was mid afternoon no one was at the mid-point aid station. No one. I had the course to myself. It turns out that the heat was eating folks alive and many who had passed me had now quit the race.

Race overall:
When i showed up and walked the field of tents I started to get a gut feeling that I was going to do very well. However, I had no idea. Some of the folks who did well in the start gave up by mid race. Near the end a couple of runners tried to put some extra energy into the race. These guys added to my motivation to run faster and stronger.

Around mile 42 I stopped by the main race desk and ask for my position. I was told it appears you are in first and 5th overall. Amazing. I never figured this could be true but it was true. This information added to my overall motivation and energy in a way I never dreamed possible. The last three miles in the dark turned out to be as fast as the first three miles.

I have trained hard for this miracle. I have no idea if other miracles might be around the corner but in the end.. all i can do is keep pushing and learning until the next race.

I have been training this year very different then last year. I put in far less miles, almost half as many and spend at least 60 miles a week on a bike. The bike riding is adding to my overall endurance while the running keeps the lungs strong and running muscles ready for action.

I have also added gels to my training with no water stops during most training runs. The lack of water stops I think helped me get through this race.

Supplies used or consumed during the race:
  • 2 Gallons of Water
  • 1 Gallon of Gatorade
  • 4 cups of ice
  • 18 Hammer gels
  • 29 scaps
  • 3 daily vitamins
  • 6 fig bars
  • 1/2 a cup of rice
  • Sock for my left foot
  • 876 New Balance Shoe, a great shoe by the way.
Post Race recovery:
I feel very strong however, the right foot hurts near stress fracture points. The pain in the right foot did not show up until today while walking the dog. The left foot has a super large blister and two of the toe nails on the right foot are falling off fast.

I expect to be in the gym on Monday and doing some minor bike riding byTuesday.

Next race, heck if i know.

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