Sunday, March 28, 2010

Umstead no more

During the first 12.5 mile loop at Umstead, I drafted what was going to be a victory report on my 100 mile finish.

That's not the story I'm now allowed to tell.

I dropped from the race and took an "official" 50 mile "finish" just shy of 12 hours. Things didn't go well and there was no way I could have completed the course without incurring injuries so serious I put myself out of work. I made a promise to myself that wouldn't happen and I made the right decision. But the sting of walking off the course remains.

Thought I'd demonstrate how math works in the mind of an ultrarunner:

Took it rather easy during the first lap with some walking breaks and completed the loop in 2:30. Ultra math says that's 10 hours to half and a 20 hour projected finish. Unrealistic but a baseline.

Second lap was 2:45. I stopped at the 6.5 mile aid station to take a rock out of my shoe so calculated a 10 minute loss of pace.

The aggregate time for laps 1, 2 and 3 put me in one hour off my first lap pace, around 8:30. I was starting to come apart and walking was more frequent.

Lap four turned into a death march. Almost 3.5 hours to make it around. So beat up and defeated, I pulled the pin. My right foot was blistered and I had radiated pain in my left hip and leg.

This morning at church, I wasn't listening to the sermon, instead running the numbers again and again. Wondered if I could have stumbled through 4 hour loops for the final four circuits...that would have given me a 28 hour finish. Could have, should have, would's all in the past now.

Congrats to my Brooks running teammate John Ehntholt from NY, who was a lead runner at Umstead. Noted some of his comments on the Brooks team site and John was putting in 120 to 140 miles running a week prepping for the race.

There you have it...put in the work and reap the rewards. I need to regroup and determine what sort of racing I'm capable of. But one thing will never change: 100 mile runs are epic and the ultimate experience. I may never complete another one, but the attraction remains.

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