Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile - Run

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Huntsville, Texas
United States
Rocky Raccoon Trail Run
70F / 21C
Total Time = 12h 53m 11s
Overall Rank = DNF/
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

This was my first 100-mile outing. It's a local course, about an hour away from the house. I went up for Friday afternoon trail briefing, packet pick-up and to drop off my Dam Nation drop bag. You can live without going to the trail briefing, but I think it's part of the overall experience and I didn't want to miss anything. Plus, I did want to have a drop bag at Dam Nation.
Event warmup:

Walk from the car to the start, with a detour to the outhouse.
  • 12h 53m 11s
  • 60 miles
  • 12m 53s  min/mile

Weather on Saturday was decent…overcast and humid with temps a little on the warm side, but not too bad. My plan was to start slow and steady, and try not to slow down too much on each additional lap. I was targeting around 4-hour laps to start, and getting to 60-miles somewhere between 12:30 to 14 hours. The way this race works, you are allowed to have a “pacer” with you as a companion for any or all of the last two laps. I had planned to have my brother meet me at 60-miles and pace for lap 4. My thought was that if I could make it to 80-miles in decent shape, I’d be able to slog my way through that last lap by myself.

Lap 1 3:57:39: The first lap starts in the dark. 600 runners hit the narrow trail after about 200 yards, so things really back-up pace wise for the first three or four miles. It’s like I-45 at rush hour….you surge and stop based on the ebb and flow of the pack. By the time you get to about the 5-mile mark, you’re pretty much able to maintain your own pace and rhythm. In retrospect, I think I should have started a little closer to the front. I’ve done quite a few runs in the park over the years, and the trails were in about the best shape I’ve ever seen. No mud, but enough moisture to keep the sandy parts very runnable. You hit 5 aid-stations per loop, so I was draining my 22-oz bottle before each station and snacking with a gel and misc snacks at each station. I finished the first lap in a little under 4-hours. I was in 238th place at the end of Lap 1.

Lap 2 4:13:01 - Race Time 8:10:40: Still felt good on lap 2, but I began to get a little worried. I was sweating pretty good as the day warmed up, and I thought my fluid intake was spot on, but I did not feel like I needed to pee at all and thought my belly might be filling up. I didn’t feel any nausea or hear any sloshing though, so I stayed on pace. I did pee towards the end of this lap, but only managed to produce a small amount of urine. I was feeling a little sluggish at the 35-mile mark, but came on the last aid station on Loop 2, and they’d just cooked a pan full of bacon…….not that cheap thin kind, they had thick-cut bacon you can really sink your teeth into. I had my normal gel and hit the trail with a couple bacon strips feeling life was good! It really perked me up for the last few miles of that lap. My wife had driven back up to the park and was there at the end of lap 2. Talked to her for a few minutes and hit the trail again. I was still feeling good and finished lap 2 somewhere at a little under 8:11. I had moved up to 181st place at the end of Lap 2. Did I mention that I really, really liked the bacon!

Lap 3 4:42:31 - Race Time 12:53:11 - This Lap is where things started to change a little bit for me…..people are a lot more spread out so you’re alone on the trails quite a bit of the time. You have the race leaders staring to lap you, so they come flying by. You also begin to catch some of the guys who started too fast and are “in distress”. It also gets dark again. My pace slowed on this lap, but hydration and nutrition stayed good. I knew I’d passed the point where, even if I had to walk the rest of the race, I’d be able to finish under the cut-off time and I was starting to look forward to having my brother along for the next lap. I was able to pee a bit early on this lap…the quantity was again quite small and the color was somewhere between ice tea and red wine. It was kind of alarming! At about the 55-mile point (about 2-1/2 hours later) I peed again, but the quantity was again very small. This time it looked like I was peeing blood. My stomach still felt a little bloated but not too bad, and I had no nausea or cramps. I was concerned, but figured my GI track must still be processing things or I would have bonked several hours previously. I finished this lap at around the 13-hour point and still felt pretty good. My feet felt great and I had a little soreness in my quads......nothing bad at all. Mentally I was in a good place and confident of a strong finish. I had moved into 147th place at the end of this Lap.

I met up with my brother right before the end of Lap 3. Told him I was feeling good and would meet him at the aid station. After crossed the timing mat, I saw Joe, the Race Director, and mentioned my pee issues to him. He shuffled me directly to the race medical area. I ended up talking with Doc 1, who was a little concerned. I managed to produce about a tablespoon of urine for him to take a look at. He consulted with Doc 2. They both came over and pounded on my back (no pain), pounded on my lower back (no pain), pounded on my stomach (no pain) and ran the stethoscope all over me. After about 10 minutes of Q&A, they recommended that I withdraw from the race and head over to the hospital ER. Their concern was that I would be out by myself on the back-side of the trail and have my kidneys totally shutdown and leave me in too much pain to walk out. I was very reluctant to DNF, but it was tough to argue with two Docs both tell you it was time to call it a day. They kept saying I might finish, but that I may also collapse and end up with some permanent kidney damage or even total kidney failure.

It seems like a no-brainer decision to make when you have two Dr’s with Ultra-running experience telling you to TO TO THE ER RIGHT NOW, but, when you’re caught up in the emotion and your legs are telling you they’re good to go, it’s tough to quit. I put a lot of miles into preparation, and really wanted that belt buckle! Anyway, I did turn in my timing chip, collected my drop bag and my brother drove me to the ER at Memorial Herman in The Woodlands.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure what I should have done differently. I felt well prepared for the race and thought I was doing a good job with nutrition and hydration. I run and bike in South Texas all summer, so I feel like I have a good handle on what's required from a hydration / nutrition standpoint. I was drinking a full 22-oz handheld between each station, and supplementing that with a few additional cups of either water or heed at each station. I was also taking a hammer gel at each station plus additional solid food.....chips, bacon, potatoes, noodles, PB&J....whatever I could grab and go. I never felt like I was bonking or lacking energy. I did have some normal highs & lows like you have during extended time on the trails, but nothing bad.

I'm not sure what to attribute this DNF to? I've been very happey with my 50k and 50-mile progress.....was this just the luck of the draw....did I do something wrong during the race....was my nutrition off and I just didn't realize it?
Post race
Warm down:

The ER people were great. They did the blood and urine testing and decided to admit me as a Rhabdomyolosis case early Sunday morning. They said that the night lab people had trouble measure the CK (indicator protein) levels in my blood because it was so elevated. The testing that came in last night showed I was still at 18,000 but the levels were dropping. Normal levels are in the 100-200 range, and I’m waiting to find out what I need to drop to before I can be discharged.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I am still carrying around about 10 or 15 lbs more than I should have for "race weight". Other than that I feel like I was on-track......not sure where I zigged when I should have zagged.

Event comments:

Excellent Race! It's hard to believe this race could get any better! The organization, venue, and volunteers are better than excellent! GREAT RACE FOR A FIRST 100-MILE effort!

Last updated: 2013-09-27 12:00 AM
12:53:11 | 60 miles | 12m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Lap 1 - 3:57:39 Lap 2 - 4:13:01 Lap 3 - 4:42:31
Course: This course is five 20-mile laps winding through Huntsville State Park. Entire course is single track and jeep roads. Trails are non-technical, with small hills and undulations. No real climbs or technical sections, although there are a ton of tree roots which tend to reach up and grab you.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]