Monday, May 30, 2011

Sulphur Springs 100 Miler - May 28/29 2011

To quote JD " I ran all day, I ran all night and then I ran some of the next day". For 27hours50 minutes I kept moving forward and completed my first 100 Miler.

A couple of days before the race I googled " how to run 100 miles". Reading through the checklist I felt that I had done enough to complete the 100 miles in under 30 hours. Two weeks ago I did two long trail runs 2hrs40min, 3hrs40min then then Mississauga Marathon all spaced 2 days apart. The back to back to back runs all felt great and it gave me a huge confidence boost. The focus of all of these runs was to go easy and I spent endless hours practicing what I call my "30 hour trail shuffle". With the exception of the road race and my lunch time runs all of my time has been spent on the trail.

I headed to Ancaster Friday afternoon arriving at the race just before 5pm. Picked up my race kit, had a fantastic "last meal" then the RD gave a rather inspiring talk. He said that statically 1 in 4 would drop out but he also went on to say that the 30 hour cutoff was a long time and even if you were not trained for the event you could complete it. He also went on to say that quitting is not an option unless you broke a leg or had something more serious happen. After dinner and a bit of social time things quickly quieted down. It was very cool and foggy and there was strong wind blowing. The weather made for early darkness so I settled into my Durango fully stretched out in my sleeping bag, listened to music and had a Beer. About 10pm I did a couple of Gravol and then drifted off to sleepuntil my alarm went off at 5:00 am.

When the race started at 06:00 am I was a little but foggy , just like the weather so I more less shuffled along for the first little bit until I woke up.

Picture taken by Mrs. Strider

I was determined not to go out too fast and was doing my "30 Hour Shuffle". After a few Ks went by there was almost no one behind me. I was beginning to question my strategy but I was going to stick with the plan, besides it felt I could run forever. My objective was to run 3 hour loops for the first 100K . The first 20K loop was done in 2hrs37min , a little fast but not too bad. Loop 2 went by more or less the same as the first completing it in 2hrs42min. Banking a little time but slowing slightly made me feel like I could reach my first objective of 5 loops done by dark. After 40K I was really feeling good and I was moving along at the same pace that I started. I was a bit dehydrated so I started to take in more fluids and started taking Eload Zone Caps. The only discomfort was a bit of my on going groin pain, it was subtle but there and I really wondered what would happen as the day progressed. In the second half of loop 3 with 50km behind me and 110km remaining I was starting to feel a bit fatigued but I was still moving along OK. This is also the time where I had my first negative thoughts and some doubt about being able to make it to the end. This was the start of a trend that would go on for the reminder of the race. I thought about the cold beer on ice and my comfortable bed only meters from the finish line. Completing loop three in 2hrs48min was a huge boost. Although I was starting to feel discomfort I was still moving along well. Heading out on loop 4 it felt really good knowing that I would soon reach the half way point. The 4th loop went very well , only a few negative thoughts towards the end otherwise it was all about getting the 5th loop before dark. Finished loop 4 in 2hrs59min completing 50 miles in 11hours8mins which was a PB at that distance. With 80K behind me and 80K to go I was really happy with my lap times and headed out at 5:1o pm without a light confident that I would be done the loop before dark. The 5th loop is where my biggest nemesis of the race would creep up , foot pain!!! I had no been running in wet dirty shoes for 12 hours and it was starting to take its toll on my feet. Their was also a lot less folks on the course and seeing others was becoming less frequent. I was looking forward to putting on my night gear and being joined by my pacer Anne in loop 6. Finished the 5th loop in 3hrs13min with very sore feet and my quads had also joined into the pain party, I was beginning to fall apart. With 100K done and 60K to go I knew that I could walk to the finsh before the 30 hours cutoff . It was aroundo 8:20pm when we headed out and I had just short of 16 hours to get it done. I felt confident that I could complete the race but the thought of walking 60km was a little overwhelming. I did allot of chatting with Anne on this loop and it really helped to take my mind off the pain. Every step was an excruciating reminder of what was going on inside my shoes. I ran some of the downhills but that was becoming difficult due to the pain in my quads. We more or less walked from the start all the way to the top of the "lolly pop" but I was determined to run down the very gentle 2-3K downhill and I did! Finished loop 6 in 4hrs25min, this is where I took my longest break of the day taking time to change my shoes and socks. The dry and clean felt better but there wasn't much relief from the growing pain. Heading back out for the 7th loop was really hard , one moment I would be telling myself after "I only have to do this one more time" then I would thinks about doing the "death march" from the start to finish of the Marathon because that was what was remaining! Heading past the Gatehouse a couple of Ks into the loop I found that running wasn't as painful as walking. I was able to move along on the flat even and dry tail that was the majority of the gate house loop. Doing a bit of running here and there really helped but it also borough on allot of Nausea. I didn't throw up but there were a few close calls. The first 4 laps it was all about boiled potatoes and salt , a couple of gels /loop water and gator aide and a yogurt at the finish. After the 4th loop I was gelling 3-5 times a loop and taking water , coke and ginger ale every 45 minutes or so. The 7th loop it was all about finishing before the sun came up. I was still feeling confident that I would be able to finish but doubt would creep into my mind Finished the 7th loop in 4hrs42min just a little after twilight. I was happy to be able to take my headlight off after logging 40K in the dark. I did the last loop by myself. Heading out around 5:30 am I had 6hrs30 min to finish. Once again I felt confident that I would get it done but doubt was still an issue. Time seemed to stand still on the last loop. I was amazed that I was still able to shuffle along here and there but the majority of the time was spent walking. I kept thinking to my self what if I blacked out and didn't realize I had lost time. Finishing the Gatehouse loop I asked what time it was and how much distance remained . I remember they said 12k remaining and it was something like 7:20 am. I replied " I am going to complete this aren't I" . Again mathematically I knew I had it but as I went on doubt crept up again. Past the Gatehouse seemed to take forever getting to the entrance to the "Lollypop" loop. At the aide station I asked about time , heard what I need to then went on...still have it in the bag. This loop has one of the biggest climbs on the course. Nearing the top my heart was pounding and I wanted to rest . I knew I had ample time but I was afraid that if I sat down I would pass out and miss the cutoff so I kept going. Finishing the Lolly pop its only 1K to the finsh , a steep climb up a gravel road. Heading up the hill I heard a group of runners coming up behind me, I never looked back but I knew they were gaining on me. I dug deep and finshed the climb without giving up an postions. Completed the last loop in 4hrs20min a whopping 22 minutes faster the the 7th and 5min faster then the 6th loop. As I crossed the finsh line thr RD congratualted me and handed me a Shiny Gold Belt Buckle... I finished with a little over 2 hours to spare!



1) 2:37:57

2) 2:42:40 - 5:20:37

3) 2:48:20 - 8:08:57

4) 2:59:01 - 11:07:57

5) 3:13:32 - 14:21:29

6) 4:25:30 - 18:46:58

7) 4:42:39 - 23:29:36

8) 4:20:29 - 27:50:05

I finished 33rd out of the 66 people who started the race in 27hrs50min5sec.


Vava said...

Amazing race - Congratulations!

chris mcpeake said...

Great job ron,

Darek said...

Great job - huge Congratulations !!

Dale said...

Great job Ron I've been waiting to read this one!!

JD said...

Excellent Ron. Congrats.

Robin said...

You ran 100 miles...that's incredible...congrats....

Anonymous said...

Congrats on finishing your first 100 miler!! You've built a solid base over the years and were ready to tackle this distance for some time now. Well done! Good news is... your second one will be faster. ;-)
Hope you the foot soreness and the tingling in the feet is gone. Enjoy the rest of the season!