Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Merrill's Mile 2012 24 Hour Race Report

Well I suppose it is time to write about my Dumass Events Merrill's Mile Race, which was my first attempt at 100 miles.

Prior to this race I had not run anything further than 31 miles, thus making 100 miles a very ambitious goal. With the layout of the course and superb aid support, I thought this would make a great race to attempt. I was nervous, but knew what I was getting myself into. I was going to have to stay awake for most of 24 hours and keep moving. I typically am clocking out around 10 PM, so staying up that late would be a challenge in itself.

This race started pretty anticlimactic. As you can see from the video below, we are not exactly speed demons. Or maybe we just know that we are in it for the long haul and nobody wanted to make an ass out of themselves.

Within the first ten miles I was in an eating habit. I would pop a Hammer Huckleberry gel on the even miles and eat a banana slice and pretzels on the odd. I made up this strategy during the race to keep track of my miles and my food. "What's that taste in my mouth? Huckleberry? Must be on mile 8." This worked out for about 15 miles, then I got bored of it, so I kept eating frequently.

Miles 15 through 25 started to get hot. I tried to keep eating warm gels and keep my nutrition up. I also would put ice in my hat almost every mile and splash water on my face. My stupid hand-held water bottle did not have a large enough hole to put ice in, so my water was not the coldest by the end of the one mile lap. Luckily, the aid stations were passing out larger water bottles that held the icy water very well. I was grateful for this since it kept my hands cold. With these proactive measures against the heat I did not get a headache like I have been getting. I am happy that I found what was causing these so I can further improve on these measures. 

I believe during this time my dad spotted a barefoot runner who was alternating between barefoot and Merrells.

25 through 30 really dragged. I was getting really hot no matter what I did and I was having trouble convincing myself to eat. I stopped at our tent and grabbed an Ensure. I had never had one, but knew it was high in calories and could be just what I needed! I drank it down and kept moving. About ¾ of a mile later I was on the side of the loop puking. After two good pukes I felt a million times better. My dad saw me puking and walked me to a nearby river to cool off. I had no idea that the river was there, but I was previously wondering why people were going back there.

After cooling off I finished 30 miles and decided it was time to take a nap. Dave, Sue, and Matthew came and visited me during this time. It was nice seeing some people from the outside world. :)
Apparently some believe there was a person watching down over us. See the face?
My nap didn't go as planned. I basically just laid there. I thought that I just wasted time and a mile, but found that I was able to run much better after taking a little break.

Continuing on I just kept running and walking when needed. I threw in another nap and had a grilled cheese sandwich and a very peculiar choice of other foods. I was just glad I got a big meal in me and took another nap around mile 45. 

I run with a women named Mary. She keeps me company, talks to me about government jobs, tells me about her. She is super nice and friendly. To be honest, I didn't absorb 80% of what she said. When I run I tend to do that. I do appreciate her company and would love to run with her again.
Mile 49 I felt a strong soreness in my Achilles of my left foot. I walked for a second, tried to run, it hurt, so I walked, tried to run, still hurt, dammit.

I explained to my dad what was going on and he reminded me that there was an a sports chiropractor at the aid station who was doing massages. I made it a few more laps when my lovely Whitney showed up, along with her two closest friends. During this time Dave, Sue, and Matthew came back.

Approaching 9PM, I figured I needed a break anyway, ate some food, and talked to them. You know, nothing makes you feel better than having the people around you that are true, authentic, friends. With high spirits I told Whitney to meet me over at the massage table.

While waiting for a massage I overheard my Whitney's friends mentioning my hairiness. I was running without a shirt and didn't even think about it. I don't think they cared. I sure as hell didn't(at least not at this time) and found it quite amusing.

The sports chiropractor started working on me. She used something that looked like a butter knife and rubbed the muscles and tendons. She said it was supposed to flush out the bad. At this point I was willing to do anything to keep running. I remember her telling me what she was doing and all that stuff. Honestly, I didn't really care. She was the professional. She can do anything she wants as long as she thinks it is best for me!

After seeing Dave, Sue, Matthew, Whitney, and her friends, as well as getting a massage, I was feeling awesome! The people at the aid stations were impressed that I was running and actually keeping a decent pace. I am sure this was due to the new runners out there as well.

During this time the second round of runners started running with me. I talked with one guy and he seemed really friendly. If you know who you are let me know. We can talk on Facebook or something.

Then the pain came back. Mile 57 I felt like junk! My Achilles and hip flexors flared up and I couldn't make myself run another step. I started walking.

During this time I noticed that Angela had been in the tent for a while now. I feared her alarm didn't go off, but wanted to leave her alone for a few more minutes so she could at least get some rest if she wanted.

After hobbling around 60 miles I decided to take a real nap soon. Luckily Angela had started moving again. She got out of the tent and immediately started making fun of me, “Oh Tyler, I just had the best nap! I feel great! But you , you look like shit!” …. “Tyler, you are walking funny! Hahahahaha”

Bleh, I went to the tent and set my alarm for 30 minutes. Feeling like this I knew there was no way I could complete 100 miles. In a few minutes I was asleep.

Beep! Beep! Beep! *Reset alarm for 30 more minutes* Beep! Beep! Beep!

Okay, I'm up! It's not going to get any better than this I thought to myself. I got myself situated and started moving again. I got another lap or two in when I started to notice a soreness on the top of my foot.

The VivoBarefoot Breatho model is an excellent shoe, but it does have a tight spot on my foot that eventually bruises. I tried re-lacing them so they wouldn't have this sore spot, but it was clear I had to switch shoes.

Whitney had mentioned that she brought her Nike running shoes. I start looking for them. I spent about 10 minutes looking for them when Willy came up. He probably thought I was disoriented and asked me what I was up to. I explained. He helped me look for them and after about 2 minutes he came up empty handed as well. This is when I noticed my SanukSidewalk Surfers. “These will work!” Willy laughed at my choice, but I knew they would be comfortable enough to at least walk in.

During this time I found myself making excuses. "If I just ate this, I can move further." "If I go poop I will feel much better." "If I visit the chiropractor again I will be good..." So of course I did all these things. Looking back, these were probably all necessary and helpful, but I knew I was making excuses. With high trust in the chiropractor I asked him to adjust me. He was super cool and hooked me up with an alignment. I melted when he popped my upper back. Keep in mind, this is the only other person that has adjusted me that Dr. Toby Hopkins. Thankful for the series of overall successful events, I told myself that that was enough distractions! I must move!

So I walked and walked... Mile 65 Dave shows up. It is 5ish in the morning and I am so happy to see him! He walks and talks with me. I tell him about Angela teasing me. He assures me that this is just the way that I speed-walk and that I look good. Phew!

Mile 69 rolls around and it is 7AM. I tell Dave that I want to get to 70 miles. Well, I cross the finish line and start on lap 70. I start running. If I am going to finish now I am going to go out with a bang!

I start running and I hear Willy yell, “He's alive!” That lap felt so good. Michael Arnstein mentioned a very emotional feeling during ultra running. I felt that. I was very happy and felt weightless.

Walking with the mama, who ran 40 miles the previous day!
After finishing that lap around 11 min/miles Dave throws me a curve ball and says, “Well, you have to walk it out after running like that!” We walk another lap. After this I chill out at the aid station and eat/drink Ramen Noodles(Glorious BTW). The sports chiropractor works on me for a 3rd time, then I just sit and relax. My parents show up around 7:30 and walk with me for my last 5 miles. I walk half of the 75th mile, then run it in. The rain starts and it feels good. A part of me enjoys it, the other part wants to be out of the rain.
Willy notifies me that I have 28 minutes left. I tell him he can have it and go back to the tent before getting more drenched. Angela's husband, Lee, is there and he offers me a seat. What a great race!
One thing that worried me during this run was that I peed only a handful of times throughout the race. The hot temps dried me out and I kept hydrated. Will have to experiment/do research about this.
Meanwhile a woman is cutting it close, but wants the buckle. She continues her run/walk around the track, finishing with 12 minutes left. This is the beauty of ultra running. EVERY SINGLE PERSON there wanted her to accomplish her goal. When she did she got a round of applause. Friendship outweighs competition.  

Overall Merrill's Mile was an excellent race especially for the first time it had been put on. Willy did an excellent job putting it together. This is most likely because he is an ultra runner and knows what the people want. He also genuinely cares.

I am stoked that I hit 75 miles. That is more than double my previous distance! 100, here I come! :)

Thanks to everyone that helped me along the way and during the race. I couldn't have done it without you. I met some great people during this race whom I hope to run with in the future.
Post-Race with Ultra Mom(40 Miles) and Ultra Dad(39 Miles).
And the results!