Saturday, March 26, 2011

One week away . . . Umstead100

"I've almost got it made!  Just got to claw my way to the top of this damn 'Cemetery Hill' one last time!  Damn, it's getting steeper every lap.  I'll bet all the other runners have been getting handfuls of dirt from the bottom and carrying them to the top.  Almost there . . . just keep my head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Just keep moving.  Is there any part of my body not hurting?  I don't think so!  There . . . take THAT Cemetery Hill!  Not far now!  Finally . . . there is the turn!  Just one last time through this rocky section.  Now just the short climb up the stairs to the finish!   There it is!  I DID IT!  I FINISHED the Umstead 100!  YESSSSSSS!!!"

That is pretty much what I keep trying to picture in my head.  Trying to see success . . . Picturing myself doing this!  Trying to develop a positive frame of mind.

In a way, I guess I've already succeeded.  I mean, I'm going to start this race . . . with full intentions of finishing.  I've survived my training.  I'm healthy.  There is a lot to be said for just getting this far.  But just starting won't be enough for me on this one.  I've got to break new ground!

Realistically the odds are stacked pretty high against me completing the full 100 miles.  I know that.  But I've got four secret weapons . . . my pacers!  Eric Pate, Scott Wingfield, James Stephenson and Cam Kelly!  I've told these guys, my job is to finish four laps getting to the 50 mile point.  From there on, it's up to you all to get me to the finish!  That's putting a lot on them I know . . . but they can take it!  If it's at all possible, these guys will make it happen for me!

I'm pretty sure that by myself I would mentally fold 'like a cheap pup tent.'  I would start thinking negative thoughts, dwell on my pain and my need for sleep.  And slowly I would decide to quit.  But these guys will do their 'dead-level best' to keep me in the game.  They are my 'ace in the hole!'  My chance for success.

But whatever happens . . . happens.

I've never gone further then 50 miles.  Once, I was just trying for 50 but the other time my goal was to run 100.  And I failed miserably!  So . . . at Umstead my minimum goal is one lap past 50.  62.5 miles.  I promise I'll be happy with any distance from 62.5 on.  Really!

My training has gone fairly well.  Way more than my first 100 mile attempt.  I'm not trying to run a time other then just beating the 'ghost of the 30 hour cut-off.'  I should have done more training probably.  Since January 1st I've run three 30-35 milers and two weekends with back to back marathons and at least a marathon every weekend except three (and one of those I ran the 20 mile miler at Uwharrie).  Experienced ultra runners tell me that the training I've done should be adequate.  I sure hope they're right!

Bottom line: I want to earn an Umstead 100 buckle.  Bad!

I'm sure there will be more goals after this.  And new challenges to try.  But I do want to be able to say 'I finished a 100 miler.'  And the Umstead 100 is my chance!

Don't count me out!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Umstead 100 Race Number Numerology

Okay . . . Umstead100 race numbers are assigned and all the analysis is complete.  So here are the race number numerology results.

Now remember, all this indicates is how much assistance or drag you will get from your race number.  Some are definitely faster than others.  But you can still do well with a bad number . . . it will just be harder for you.  Plus, a fast number doesn't mean your Umstead100 results will definitely be good.  It only means your race number is not going to hinder you.  You still have some work to do!

Okay . . . here are the results!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stupidity . . . and now conceit . . .

Here was my Facebook post after today's run . . .
Oh Marathon Gods . . . hear my prayer!

I come before you a humble and apologetic man. I admit to you my conceit. Never again will I say such things as " . . . finally tapering so all I have to run Sunday is a marathon!"

I promise from this point forward I will always try to preface the word 'marathon' with the word 'frickin' or some similar adjective. I will show respect for 26.2 miles . . . always.

Need I say more?  Probably not . . . but I will.
What have I been thinking?  I've actually been trying to convince myself that I have more than 'a snowball's chance in hell' of doing well at the Umstead 100.  My training runs have been going great!  And I've been gaining confidence!  Plus, everywhere I turn I keep hearing how a 100 mile run is mostly mental.  Think positive thoughts . . . picture success . . . I will do this!  So, I've been trying to use all these positive thoughts.
Well . . . I guess I even had convinced myself!
Yesterday at the Canal 1/2 Marathon I made the comment that I was starting my taper and all I had to run was a marathon on Sunday.  Talk about conceited . . .  "Oh yea . . . I can run a long way!"
 Well, today I had my wake-up call.  I finished my 26.2 mile run in an impressive 6:30!  That's right friends and neighbors . . . 6:30!  And I pretty much was reduced to a 'tuck-tail' walk the last 6-7 miles!  I suck.
Four bathroom stops didn't help.  But they weren't the cause of my personal meltdown.  It also got a little warm today.  But heat wasn't the cause of my meltdown either.  Quite frankly, I have no frickin' idea why I did so badly today.

And I was humbled!  I had total confidence that this would be a fairly easy, confidence-building run.  After all, it was 9 miles less then last weekend and on that 35 mile run I felt good at the end.  Not today.  Today, I barely made it back to my car before I died!No confidence building here today!

Before the run I was having fun talking about the fourth running of the Rocky Mount Marathon and how I was going to set a course record today.  Well . . . I guess I did that (new course!), but there wasn't a positive feeling about anything.  No fun today.   Jimbo needs to just keep last year's trophy.

A marathon is no joke.  Some days are better then others and a marathon does seem fairly easy.  But we all have bad days and we NEVER know when one will come along.  Hey . . . it's a frickin' marathon!  In Greece a guy died running one!  (And a guy in Rocky Mount almost did today!)

Don't get cocky.  God knows I have no reason to EVER get cocky when it comes to running . . .  I'm usually DFL or darn close.  But I did get cocky and didn't respect 26.2 miles.

But today, the Marathon Gods put me in my place.

I don't even want to think about the Umstead 100 . . .


Monday, March 7, 2011

It's becoming clearer now . . .

If there was any doubt to my stupidity before . . . I believe I have laid that to rest!  So much data . . . all pointing to the same conclusion!  Me finishing a 100 miles is just plain stupid.

I chose to do my weekend's long run on Sunday.  Saturday was a nice day in eastern NC, but on Sunday we had two separate 'frog-choker' storms.  The first hit about 10 am and lasted an hour or so.  The second was much stronger, started about 1 pm and lasted maybe  1 1/2 hours . . . but much, much more rain!

Temps were nice, but my feet were wet all day long!  At one point I even convinced myself it was 'fun' splashing through the puddles  . . . but after maybe 10+ miles of splashing, it just got to be a little old.  Even for someone as mentally challenged as me!

For this run I had no route in mind at all!  It was fun for me!  Just heading out running with no preconceived notion of a route!  Just run (okay . . . run and walk!) and turn anywhere I decide.  Made for an interesting route.  I really did love that!  All I needed to do was to end up at my car when I was done!

I carried my Nathan backpack with fluids, gels, a candy bar, some hygiene items, my cell phone and my debit card!  By running in Rocky Mount instead at Gaston Lake, I was never too far from a store!  Just duck in (no pun intended!) and get what I needed!  Probably not a time efficient approach, but it worked . . . and I sure can't do that at the lake!

Arthur Bennett joined me for the first 8 miles.  Really enjoyed catching up with Arthur again.  Nice to have someone to talk with . . . a pleasure I rarely ever get!

I used this run to experiment with some possible equipment changes I'm considering:
  • Tried some new socks (Drymax Max Protection).  No blisters even with the heavy rains . . . but I rarely get blisters anyway.  I liked the socks.
  • Used SportShield rather than Bodyglide.  Hard to tell on this one.  I did get some chafing, but with all the rain, I likely would have chafed with Bodyglide or anything else.  Still . . . the jury is still out on this one.
  • Desitin is FANTASTIC!  If you don't understand the problem . . . well . . . talk to me about it sometime.  But believe me that this is the solution!!
  • I HATE the new Mizumo Wave Rider 14.  They just MUST have changed something besides the colors!  Just seems stiffer or something somehow.  Still, no blisters or foot problems so I guess I shouldn't complain much.  But I'm going to find some Wave Rider 13s and buy several pairs!
In spite of the rain, my 35.5 miles went fairly well, all things considered.  I was definitely tired at the end, but I did feel like I could have continued to 40-50 miles if needed.  My pace really slowed near the end.  Overall, I averaged a 16:00 minute per mile pace including all stops.  But the last 5 miles (except the last mile) were really slow.

When you talk about averages I remember what my first boss told me, "Once my left foot was in a bucket of ice and my right foot was in a bucket of boiling water . . . on the average I felt pretty good!"

And that's the way it was for me yesterday . . . up until about 25 miles I did okay but then started to slow and I walked pretty much from 30 to 34.5.  The last mile I did pick it up and finished relatively strong for me,

So . . . with this as my long run, I can imagine completing 5 Umstead laps (62 1/2 miles) before totally dying.  But a full 8 laps?  To hell with the 30 hour time limit, I don't see how I can keep going that far at all!  It's just plain stupid to think I have a chance to actually do this.

But I guess the real challenge at least for me is to just see how far I can get!

I loved Tom Herbst's comment on my last blog entry:

"Wrong frame of mind. Your goal is to see how many cheeseburger halves you can eat, how many times you can get passed by Serge (or Jonathan Savage, or whoever), how many times you can pee on a loop - ANYTHING but the mileage. That way lies doom......."

Tom . . . I'm listening!

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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.