Monday, April 5, 2010

My 100 mile Run Attempt: a crash & burn story

"I search inside for that inter-strength I know is there . . . somewhere!  It's mile 85 and I'm tired and hurting badly.  But its only 15 miles to my first 100 mile finish!  I keep telling myself to just keep moving forward . . . it's almost over!  I can do this!  I CAN do this! . . . I've never failed to finish a race, and I'm not going to start today! I can do this!"

"Hold it . . . something's wrong!  Very wrong!  That's not mile 85!  What's going on?  How can this be?  That's mile 35!  Maybe someone just split the "8" in half . . . must really be mile 85!  No . . . I'm at the lap counter and it clearly says I'm at mile 35!  I must be sleeping . . . just having a nightmare!  Come on Frank . . . wake up!  Wake up!"

 But I can't wake up . . . because it wasn't a dream.

I'm such a rookie at these ultra runs.  Plus, I'm just not very bright.  I got a lot of good advice from experienced 100 mile finishers.  Lot's of great tips.  Plus, one bit of fairly consistent advice . . . start out slowly, very slowly.  Slower then you think you should.  REALLY SLOW!

At the end of 5 miles I was about 20 minutes AHEAD of my goal pace.  By mile 10, I was almost 50 minutes ahead!  I knew I was going too fast.  But I just didn't force myself to slow down.
    In my defense, I knew it was going to get hot Saturday.  So, I sort of adjusted my running plans to adapt to the conditions I was being dealt.  I decided that once the temperatures climbed to the mid 70s I would start only walking . . . no running at all.  And I would keep that up until the sun began to dip and the temperatures moderated some.  Then, I would start back my run / walk intervals. (Note to self:  this plan didn't work out so good!)

    I passed the marathon point at about 5:45.  Slow, but not slow enough.  But at this point I felt great!  It was about this time I shifted to walking only as the temperatures started getting up there!  Actually, I felt good up until about 33 miles.  By mile 35 I knew I was in trouble . . . serious trouble!  Not health-wise . . . but I knew 100 miles was likely not going to happen.   My walking was no longer a strategy, it was a necessity.  At mile 40 I crashed!  Bad!  I decided to stop and take a 30 minute nap!  I wasn't really sleepy, but I was hoping for some sort of miracle.  Sleep through some of the heat and recover some.

    Actually that may have been my best move of the day.  When I woke up and got moving again, I had recovered to some degree!  The sun angle was much lower, and the temperatures had just started to moderate some.  I returned to a run / walk interval (but way more walking then running!) and even toyed with the thought that maybe I could continue on through the night.  But by the end of another 5 mile lap I knew my day would be done at 50.  And so it was.  The night before talking with Connie, I had acknowledged the next day didn't look good.  But anything less then 50 miles would be a failure.  So . . . while I don't look at this as a total failure, it was a DNF . . . the first DNF I've ever had.

     But this really isn't the story that needs to be told.  The real story are the members of the Rocky Mount Endurance Club that that were out there all day long pacing me!  In the morning it was great having these great people to run with!  I felt great and totally enjoyed the company.  This was going to be their normal Saturday long run.  But I expected that once the morning passed I would pretty much be going it alone.  After all, this was Easter weekend and everyone had family matters going on, company coming, etc.

    But folks were there all day long!  I soo appreciated all their support and concern!

    I'm afraid I may miss someone when I try to mention everyone's name.  So sorry if I do!!
    Early in the morning I saw Larry McKeel, Ron Fleming, Ralph Willey, Arthur Bennett, Russ Hensley.  Then, Charlotte Burnett and Jeff.  And then Patti Miller came.  Several times saw Eric Pate and Steve Cooper.

    Then, Patti's husband Jeff and daughter Kayla and son Brandon came.  Kayla had made a sign of support for me!!!!  That really touched me!

    Kevin Boudreau came out for quite a while, then Ron Fleming and his dog Max returned for amother lap.

    Then, Elaine Weisner joined me for my "crash and burn!"  (Sorry Elaine, I know you were ready to go a lot further!)  After my 30-minute nap, Steve and Tampa Cooper and their son Gabe came by and Steve joined me as did my buddy and Elaine's husband, Brad Weisner.  Soon Ron Fleming returned yet again.  Then, Amber Poole and Jon Shingleton joined the parade as did Eric Pate plus Jeff returned! (Jeff is just starting his running, but believe you me, he is going to be a really good runner soon!).  Scott Wingfield also came by with his truck full of kids!  Plus, several others drove by during the day, just to check up on progress.

    All these folks were totally there for me and I appreciate it so much.  Also, Brian Lankford!  Brian was resting, getting ready to join me from midnight until 6 am!  Sorry I let you down Brian!

    For the last 10 miles, this fun group of folks looked like a gang of teenagers out at night, walking the streets  We're luck the police didn't stop us!!  It was really like a moving party!  Quite funny . . . though I didn't feel like laughing at all!  Everything hurt!

    Last but certainly not least . . . thank you Connie!  For everything you did.

    So . . . with there be another 100 attempt?  Certainly not anytime soon and maybe not ever.  This one beat me down pretty hard.  Last night I told Connie this was both my first and last 100 attempt.  And maybe it was. But . . . . maybe . . . . possibly . . .

    Here are some more pictures.


    1. Just to reiterate our conversations.....

      We are all SO proud of you! It was a terribly hot day and took a LOT of guts and persistence to get through 50 miles. You have every right to be proud, and nothing to be ashamed of.

    2. If you never fail then you aren't pushing yourself hard enough. Great job testing your limits!

      And when I met you at the marathon you made it sound like it was just other people doing the 100. You were holding out on me. ;)

    3. You can call it a DNF if you like, but, 50 miles is 50 miles - and you finished every single one of them. So be proud of those miles.

      367 days ago, I finished my first ever 50 miler (first time over 26.2 in fact) - and you know how my mid-life crisis has gone since then! I suspect you will make it to a 100 one day. This past weekend just wasn't "it".

      Rest well, re-fuel and re-hydrate well (beer works wonders), and you will be back out there again.



    Blog Archive

    About Me

    My photo
    Littleton, North Carolina
    World's Slowest Runner . . . well, at least in contention for the honor. Just your average "below average" runner.