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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Full posting re: Howl At The Moon

So, I did the Howl At The Moon 8-Hour Ultra as my first ultramarathon, and it went (for the most part) great. J came down from Chicago to crew/poke me with a sharp stick when I lagged.

We drove out to Kennekuk Cove County Park Saturday morning for a 7am start, picked up my race packet, and started getting ready.

The race started promptly at 7am, and unsurprisingly for me, I started off way too fast. My goal was to get a total of 35 miles in, which required maintaining about a 13:40/mile pace, including all breaks. My plan was for a 10 minute break every two hours, swapping out fuel bottles, swapping shoes if needed, and sitting for a couple minutes. That meant that I needed to maintain a 12:51 pace while moving. The course was a 3.29 mile loop, and I did the first loop in about 30 minutes. I tried to slow down on the successive loops, but was not having much luck with that - while I'm just about the furthest thing from a super-fast runner, I have a rfeally hard time getting myself to run slow.

Bandaging one of my tiny running injuries (as of Tuesday morning (race was on Saturday), my only injuries from the race are one small blister on each of my big toes, and one other small blister on each of my feet). I used a Spenco 2nd Skin blister kit on the blisters for the first time, and I'll use it again if required - worked great.

My plan for fueling was to use primarily Perpetuem, plus a little bit of solid food if I started going stir-crazy on all liquids (I brought some Lara Bars and Clif Nectar bars, and figured I'd pick up some boiled potatoes at the aid stations if needed) and a little Hammer Gel if needed. I mixed up the Perpetuem the night before, figuring that I'd use one small flask every hour, swapping fuel bottles at roughly two hour intervals. Unfortunately, I'd somehow managed to miscalculate the number of flasks of Perpetuem that I needed, and only mixed 6 bottles, rather than 8. I discovered this about 5 hours in. The ironic thing is that I bonked at about 4 hours in, long before running low on Perpetuem. At that point (about 19-20 miles in), I bonked like never before (actually, "like never before" is a little bit of an exaggeration, since it was my first experience bonking). I was moving along fine, still a little faster that what I wanted my pace to be, but was feeling strong, and seemed to be in a groove. All of a sudden, about a third of the way into the loop, the energy left my body, and it took every ounce of willpower that I had to keep myself from sitting by the side of the trail and sobbing hysterically. I managed to keep going, get some gel in, and pick up some fruit at the next rest stop. after that, I was able to pick up the pace a bit for the rest of that loop, but could tell when I started the next loop that I was in trouble. The need for hysterically sobbing faded pretty quickly, but my legs quickly got more and more tired/dead, and I'd soon slowed down to a walk. Most of the rest of my loops were done at a walk, and I ended up finishing 9 loops by a little past 2pm. At that point, I didn't think I'd be able to get another full loop in before the clock stopped at 3pm, so I took a break until they opened up the 1/2mile out and back course for runners at 2:30.

I started off walking the out and backs (as were most of the people), at what seemed like a slow death march pace, but managed to get a second wind (ok, probably about a 12th wind at that point) and ran most of my last two out and backs, finishing with a total of 31.61 miles. (That's a little more than 50k for those of you on the metric system)

Much enjoying both sitting down, and a post-run beer.

Thanks much to KRR and all the race volunteers for a great event, J for crewing and running with me, and Tracy for providing me with Endurolytes at the last minute (I realized late Friday afternoon that I was short on Endurolytes, and my next shipment wouldn't arrive until probably this Friday).

This was one of my favorite events, and at this point, I'm very seriously considering Howl again next year instead of Pikes Peak Ascent...I'll have to see.


Full Metal Lunchbox said...

Instead of the mohawk next time, you should carve something into your hair (such as Kathleen's name, the lyrics from Banquet, etc.)

9:53 AM  

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