Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sweaty Butt 50k is calling . . .

Oh boy!

4th of July! America's birthday! But there is a problem . . . who would plan the 4th holiday when it's hot! Certainly not a runner! Runners like coool . . . cool temperatures and loooow humidities! July 4th . . . . usually not!

Ultra runs should happen between October and May . . . never the summer.

But Mike Day is well known for not caring what makes sense! Mike is all about a challenge! And the Sweaty Butt is definitely a challenge. Not quite like the Hot Times 100 or the Barkley 100, but this is definitely not an easy 50k.

But Mike does make it a little easy . . . you run three 10+ mile loops, so you can opt to bail at 10 or 20. Last year I had decided to bail at 20, but this fool Jeff DuFour shamed me into doing the last loop. Damn that Jeff! But we did have fun! And we finished! All 50K!

This year the humidity is expected to be way less then last year. And the temperatures should be about the same. Overall, easier than the last two years. But my motivation is not very high at all. I'm actually going there thinking 20 miles . . . not the full 50k. But maybe . . .

The cool thing is Ron Fleming is doing the Sweaty Butt as his first ultra!!! No one can accuse him to trying the easy way! He is one tough guy to even try this!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Boogie Afterthoughts

Have I ever spent a bunch of time going over in my mind my poor performance at Boogie last weekend (see previous post!)

Here are my conclusions:
  1. My biggest problem was the combination of the Boogie hills with the heat and the humidity. Really not much I can do about the last two, but the first one is something I can work on.
  2. Boogie kicked my ass both physically and mentally. I can work on both of those.
  3. I love the challenge of Boogie. This is a special race. I want to do better.
  4. I didn't quit.
Running Boogie was an accident for me this year. I thought the race was out of the question since I missed the registration cut-off, so I filled my running time with other races that really didn't matter much to me . . . especially God's Country Marathon. I only did that because I didn't get in Boogie.

But when Doug Dawkins called me the Sunday after Sarturday's God's Country and just before Boogie and said there had been a cancellation and I could come, I was so happy I agreed. Forget that the day before I had just finished a hard marathon. I'm not saying I was tired when I ran Boogie, but I certainly wasn't rested. I just need to sign up early and build my schedule around this race if I want to do my best.

Okay . . . I was sick Thursday and Friday before Saturday's race. But I honestly don't believe that had arny impact at all. I wasn't that sick. Maybe increased my time 3-5 minutes TOPS!

One of the really cool aspects of Boogie is the challenge of it all. This race is not easy. God's Country was easy in comparison. Flying Pig was really easy. Myrtle Beach is a "cake walk" compared to Boogie. Boogie gives you a chance to bite off as much as you want: a marathon or a 50-miler. The marathon is as hard as any marathon I know of . . . . the 50-miles is just brutal. I'll have to think about this . . . a real challenge would be the 50.

Bottomline: I'm going to beat Boogie! Or at least have a good enough race next year to call it a drawl. I can't let the bastard just kick my ass and laugh. I'll do races in preparation, but I will be focusing on this race so that I can do my best next year. Then, if my ass gets kicked again . . . well . . . the Boogie wins fair and square. But I'm betting on me!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Boogie Marathon - 2009 . . . this Race "kicked back!"

What an afternoon and evening . . . and morning!

Last week, Elaine Weisner asked me what had been my hardest race. And I couldn't come up with a good, single race that was the hardest race for me. Oh what a difference a week makes! Now I have a single answer . . . Boogie 2009 is the hardest race I've erer had . . .

. . . by far! None of my other races thru the years have even been close! Not Capon Valley 50k. Not Sweaty Butt 50k. Not God's Country Marathon (by a long shot!). Not Ridge Runner Marathon. Not my 50 miler. This race - the 2009 Boogie marathon - for me was the race from hell and my hardest finish by far! Not even close!

I have to say that the Boogie Races (Marathon and 50 mile) are the coolest races ever. Super hard for a road race even with the best of conditions. But at Boogie its never the "best of conditions" . . . EVER. First, the race is run in mid June in southeastern North Carolina. No matter what, you're talking hot and humid! Plus, there is the thing about hills. Not mountains, but many, many hills . . . steep hills! I really don't know how race director Doug "Boogieman" Dawkins has developed a course that starts and finishes at the same place and is 80% uphill! Only in Ellerbe, NC!

As I drove to Ellerbe Saturday afternoon it was hot. As I passed the bank the sign said the temperate was 94*. Great! Just what I needed! Picked up my race number and had a chance to "catch up" with a number of my Mangum Track Club friends. Several were running and a bunch were volunteering.

As the clock neared 6 PM, Doug Dawkins gave his usual pre-race briefing. Among other things he warned everyone every single person who has DNFed these races has said they went out too fast at first. His advice was to go super slow the first loop at least. Doug also warns everyone about snakes . . . especially rattle snakes! But no snakes for me in two years. By the way, the thermometer at the start of the race said 92*. Great!

The Boogie has a crazy start! A black powder rifle starts the race. The 50 milers head one direction and the marathoners head the other! Marathoners go .1 mile, turn around and then chase the 50 milers.

The first section is a six mile loop . . . up and down and up and down and . . . well you get the picture! About 3/4 of the way my fluid belt / camera carrier broke! That's not something you have a spare for! So I carried it and dropped it off in my car as I finished the loop and picked up a plastic Gatorade bottle to carry the rest of the race. Ugh! I tried to go easy following Doug's suggestion and thought I had, but as I passed race headquarters I noticed my Garmin said I had averaged a 11:00 minute pace. Way too fast for me on that course in this heat and humidity. I would pay for that mistake.

The next section is a 1 1/2 mile run down Bethel hill, continue another 1/2 mile, turn around and climb the hill back to the race headquarters. No houses, no interesting anything on this section, but it is very neat at the bottom . . . the first six miles had 5 homes, but all this section had was a boat ramp! Sun was still out and there was little shade.

When I passed race headquarters I knew I was in real trouble. I felt then like I normally feel after 20-22 miles! And I had 16 miles to go! (Do the six mile loop again, the down and back section and then finish with the six mile loop one more time.)

On the 6 mile loop my second equipment failure occurred! My I-pod controls quit working! Now that sucks! As I passed my car, I dropped off my I-pod and picked up my headlight. I was dying! I really thought about quitting right there! 10 more miles to go and I was walking sooooo much and running sooooo little! I hurt everywhere.

In spite of my pain, I enjoyed the out and back loop for the last time! Listening to the whippoorwills, owls, crickets and frogs while watching the stars. Very cool! I found I really hated the headlights most folks were using as they spoiled the dark peacefulness. I only turned mine on when a car came by, so they could see me. I enjoyed the section but I was the walking dead. I even thought a little about cheating and not going all the way to the turnaround. No one would ever have known . . . except me! No way I would do that, but that tells you what my mental and physical condition was!

Passing race headquarters for the last time I REALLY wanted to quit! But I've never DNFed before and I knew had no serious problems . . . I was just simply totally spent! TOTALLY! So I forced myself on.

I kept trying to at least run the downhills and I sort of managed at least some of the downhills. But I was walking . . . a lot and not walking fast!! Lot's of people passing me and everyone is always so encouraging. Marathoners and ultra marathoners as a special breed. They all have had bad days and know what they feel like. The guy that ended up in second place for the 50 miler actually slowed down and walked with me for about 100 feet . . . trying to encourage me! How cool is that!

In typical Boogie fashion, the finish is a final 1/2 mile or so uphill to the finish line. Never, ever have I been so glad to get to the finish! 6 hours and 50 minutes. Well over a hour longer than my race last weekend! Oh well . . . I DID FINISH! Temperature at finish was 77*.

This time, I hung around the finish line, ate a hot dog (The Bethel Hill Church ladies fix hamburgers and hot dogs for runners and volunteers!) and waited for the winner of the 50 mil race to finish. And when he did he seemed fresh as a daisy! Damn him! (By the way he was a really nice guy. I talked with him both before the start and after he finished.)

So, the 2009 Boogie marathon is over and I'm damn glad it is. I guess the good thing is I didn't quit . . . in spite of how bad I wanted to. Lot's of excuses have gone through my head as I try to figure out what happened and why I bonked sooo bad (see my previous post to see a few!) Everyone needs to try this race. A definite "must do" if you like to challenge yourself. If you don't - stay home. For me, I'll be there next year to "take my beatin' like a man!"

Pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/triple_f/sets/72157619655697137/

Friday, June 12, 2009

How stupid am I?

This is really stupid.

Last Saturday I finished one of the harder marathons I've done . . . God's Country Marathon in Coudersport, PA. A fun race but very hard course.

When I got home Sunday I got a call from my friend Doug "Boogieman" Dawkins, race director for the Boogie Races. I did the marathon last year and really had a blast. Very different, fun race! One of my favorite all-time!

I planned to sign up this year but through my forgetfulness I didn't register until after the deadline . . . and everything was full! Doug's call was to tell me he had a cancellation and I could come if I wanted to. HOW COULD I SAY NO???

Everything was fine until Thursday when I got some intestinal thing. Continued all night Thursday night and all day today . . . maybe a little better. My abdomen is really sore. And my GI tract a mess!

Then, to top it all off, it's supposed to be 91* tomorrow at start of the race!

Guess I'll drive there tomorrow afternoon and see how I feel at the race start. I can decide at the literal "last minute" or, heck, I could run the first 6 mile loop and see if I want to continue. But I've NEVER quite a race I started . . . EVER!

Stay tuned!

Saturday Morning Update:
  • feeling MUCH better!
  • looks like a chance of thunderstorms tonight at Ellerbe! That is good news!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

God's Country Marathon - Done!

This one was a real bugger! Probably not the hardest race I've ever run, but it was sure up there.

Basically the race starts in Galeton, PA, circles the town and then heads up a mountain . . . about 12 miles of constant, steady uphill. Then, it gets really steep uphill for about another 3 miles (here is a picture of part of that stretch.)

You crest the Denton Mountain just after mile 18 and then it is pretty much downhill for the last 8 miles to the finish in downtown Coudersport.

Ron Fleming and I met in Roanoke Rapids at 6:30 Friday morning and headed up to Pennsylvania. Would have been more fun if it hadn't rained the whole way! But we were still excited. Got to Coudersport at around 4:30, checked in at our motel and went directly to the fire hall for packet pickup and the pasta dinner!

And there I had my first big surprise . . . they didn't have my registration! Luckily there was still space in the race, but could you imagine driving over 500 miles and then NOT being able to race! I learned a valuable lesson . . . verify before you travel!

Up at 5:00 am and to the finish area to catch the shuttle bus at 5:45 am. Got to the Galeton High School and encountered my second surprise . . . they had NO porta'poties. The high school had one bathroom open with two stalls! Even this would not have been that much of a problem if the race had been "chip timed" . . . but it wasn't! So the line was REALLY long and I just made it out to hear the start of the race!

My third surprise was a good one! I managed to properly pace myself and handled the hill really well! I shortened my intervals to 2 minutes running and 1 minute walking. I did this until mile 15 when the hill got really steep. Then, I tried running some, but I pretty much walked the next three miles.

As I neared the top I actually saw a bear! And even got a picture with it!

Once over the top, I ran in high gear (for me!!) for the next 3 miles. Then, back to intervals to the finish.

A few Highs and Lows from this race
  • High - This race had aid stations each mile! What a great idea! Seemed to make the miles go faster!
  • High - A challenging course that many would avoid because it's hard. And it was a beautiful run!
  • High - A nice cotton t-shirt. I still prefer marathon t-shirts to be cotton. I can buy tech shirts to run in.
  • High - A fun trip with a good guy!
  • Low - Super cheap, cheesy medal. Come on folks, you can do MUCH better then this!
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Littleton, North Carolina
World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.