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Free State Trail Runs - RunUltra Marathon


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Lawrence, Kansas
United States
Trail Nerds
60F / 16C
Overcast
Total Time = 16h 27m 3s
Overall Rank = 34/34
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 5/5
Pre-race routine:

I signed up for this race as my "back-up plan" in case I DNF'd my 50 mile race (Rockin' K) three weeks ago which I had spent all winter training for. I knew I would need some way to redeem myself if that happened and knew the Rockin' K race traditionally has a >50% DNF rate. However, that race went fine and so I got to do my first 100k just for fun.
At Rockin' K I won a race entry to this race which I used to bribe Lisa to come with me, run the half and drive me home. Lisa's boyfriend was able to come which set my mind at ease knowing she would have someone to wait around with and we were both happy to be chauffeured around. I felt strangely calm before this race, but did have two dreams about it the night before. In one we had totally missed the race and didn't arrive a the race site 'til noon and in the second I had "forgotten" to run the third loop and didn't realize it until it was too late.
Event warmup:

We arrived early with enough time to relax and porta-potty. I stood right by the runner check-in tent and DID NOT THINK TO CHECK IN! The website said to check in, but it wasn't announced at the beginning of the race and I already had my bib from packet pick-up the night before. I realized this about 2 miles in and was convinced I was DQ'd until I checked with several other runners who said it was fine. Major stress, on the brink of running my first 100k and thinking I might not be eligible as an "official" finisher.
Run
  • 16h 27m 3s
  • 62.14 miles
  • 15m 53s  min/mile
Comments:

Loop 1 (4:11:12)
I really tried to start in the back, and that mostly worked. By mile 2 the crowd had thinned out and I was only near a couple other runners. After the "forgot to check-in" freak-out, I got into a good rhythm and talking quite a bit with another runner near my pace. I knew I would need to semi-push the first two loops in order to start my 3rd loop by the 5:15pm cut-off. Although I had attempted to study the maps, I had no clue about where I was at on the course except for the approximate mileage of the two-manned aid stations. The section of trail on huge solid slabs of rocks along the shoreline was cool, but also a little scary. I used my Garmin mostly to keep up on my nutrition (1 pack of gummies and 1 salt stick pill every 1/2 hour), as I knew the mileage couldn't really be trusted on the trail. It was a mental blow though to reach the first aid station, ask what mile it was, hear an answer of "6" and see "7.75" on the Garmin. That was a long stretch for me. I had already fallen a couple times at this point. I'm really kind of surprised I was able to keep track exactly (19 total) considering the circumstances. I continued to wipe-out periodically during the first loop even falling and skidding on the trail since I was actually keeping a decent pace. This was made worse by some type of "panic" reaction when I fell that made my nose run and gave me that about-to-cry feeling. Probably because it did hurt, pretty bad actually. The turn-around aid station captain made me clean the wound on the heal of my hand, but I was later thankful that the duct-tape covered bandage helped prevent further damage in my subsequent falls. My knees were already pretty banged up, but somehow I managed to still run well. Towards the end of this loop I cut my knee open and bled all over my shoe and sprained my hand. I was worried it would swell up and my wedding ring would have to be cut-off, but it turned out ok. 12 falls total for Loop 1. I feel that I ran this loop fairly well, maybe a little fast as I had a side-stitch-type pain in my right lung, but good thing I did or I wouldn't have made the cut-off to start Loop 3. Before starting Loop 2 I had my knee cleaned up, changed socks and body glided my feet again (my toes were starting to ache and I had several hot spots) before heading out. I talked to Lisa's boyfriend and communicated a back-up meet-up plan in case I didn't finish (which felt kind distinctly possible at the time). I think I freaked him out a little with the bruises and blood.
Loop 2 (5:50:27)
The two miles went ok, then "Wham!", you guessed it. I hit the trail hard, body slamming on my chest (which at least sticks out further than my face so I only grazed my chin). I rolled up, looked at the graceful-by-nature deer watching me, wondered if the plants I was sitting in were poison anything and tried to make a decision on whether to continue or not. I could walk back to the start and totally give in, walk the rest of Loop 2 and at least have a 40 mile finish (it was an official option to drop down mid-race) or pull it together and still try to pull off the 100k I had came for. I somehow managed to pull it together. A mile or so later I heard someone shouting to themselves behind me. I ran 20 miles with Jared, a label-shunning fruitarian who had ran the first loop in harachi sandals, but was currently in Vibrams and have to be thankful for his entertainment for the rest of the loop and part of number three although it did mean waiting for him to shove a few hundred calories of fruit in at the aid stations. We knew we had to keep the pace up to meet the cut-off and he needed me for my math abilities (this HAS to be a first) as I was not much entertainment with my battered body and my shins that started to hurt about halfway through. We finished the second loop with the race director yelling that we only had 6 minutes to get out of the start line area and on the trail to make the cut-off to start loop 3. I hurt, but I could do the math and knew I had a good chance to make the 100k cut-off.
Loop 3 (6:25:23)
I started this loop with Jared, but after the first mile I COULD NOT RUN. Well, I could, but when I tried my vision turned blurry and white from the pain. Power hiking still hurt, but at least I could see. So, Jared went on ahead although I passed him within a few miles to hear him occasionally behind me. He's not listed in the race results. After Jared went ahead, it was Rockin' K deja-vu. The course sweeper/flag picker upper was behind me. Chatting a little, but I was just as happy when he got stuck with Jared instead. I don't know how I did it, but I managed to power hike 15-17 min. miles for much of this loop. I knew I was going to be cutting it close and tried to keep the pace under 20 as much as possible. Sounds easy, but the terrain was brutal and bout 8 miles in it started to get dark and I started to get cold. Between the manned aid stations I had begun composing my DNF speech to be delivered at the manned aid station at mile 53. Why would I quit with only 9 miles left? I didn't really think of it like that. I was quickly surpassing what I had thought to be my pain threshold. I was both thankful and irritated that the only thing that really hurt were my shins. My feet even were doing fine after transitioning to power hiking and I didn't fall down at all during the 3rd loop even with it being dark. At one point I had the bright idea to try to "stretch" my shins against a tree. I ended up HUGGING the tree I was in so much pain I thought I might pass out, then ended up laughing at myself for being a "tree hugger" wondering what someone who would happen upon me might think :) Knowing I had a jacket at the turn-around was the main thing propelling me forward. When I got there, a worker (and husband of lady I knew from college classes) at the aid station was scouting for me and led the way for the mile or so into the station. When he asked how I felt I was honest that only my shins hurt, but told him I was nearing my pain limit. I don't think he thought much of my pain limit! He had just had an aortic valve replacement from a genetic heart defect and was frustrated to be only able to run 7 miles. What's a little shin pain next to that? They didn't even offer quitting as an option and I didn't have the courage bring it up. They knew way more about ultras than I did and they seemed to think I'd be just fine. They semi-forces a hot veggie burger at me which was really good and something I could never eat had I actually been "running" and my college acquaintance massaged my shins (ouchie!). I think the 2 ibuprophen also helped a bunch. Very strange that I felt much better the last 10 miles of the event than I did for any of the rest. I was still stressed out a little abut the cut-off until the last manned aid station which I kept thinking I saw in the distance, but would always end up being a boat or something else. It was three miles in from there and I had almost an hour and a half to make it and knew I would. I almost felt like I could run, but didn't want to chance a major fall in the dark or having debilitating shin pain again. I did start to run when I knew I was with 1/4 mile. Lisa and her boyfriend were there to cheer me in. I thought it was really comical when she said to "run towards the light" when you get to me. Really? I thought this whole time I was supposed to "not" run towards the light if I saw it. Cracked myself up! After being in the woods by myself for so long I couldn't stop talking at the finish. I got my pewter belt buckle and a bag of bananas. Free food is the perk of being last :)
What would you do differently?:

Calf sleeves and bike gloves are now on my ultra run packing list.
Post race
Warm down:

Thanks again for Lisa and Mike for being at the finish to see me come in! That might have made the difference between a finish and a DNF the more I think about it! (Also, I was very glad to not have to drive my stinky self home.)

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Shin pain!!!

Event comments:

I still CANNOT hardly believe I pulled this off. I was a little freaked out Sunday at my discolored shins and 10 pound weight gain, but I think I'm going to be ok in a day or two.


Profile Album


Last updated: 2011-04-01 12:00 AM
Running
16:27:03 | 62.14 miles | 15m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/5
Overall: 0/34
Performance:
Course: Three 20 mile+ loops on rocky, rooty, hilly single-track. I'm such a klutz. That is the only explanation. Other people tripped and fell, but no one came even close to my stats: 1 fall for every 3.3 miles ratio. The course was well marked and although I did pause a couple times to be sure I was where I needed to be, I was never lost.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %+8%
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Too hard
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2011-04-26 3:55 PM

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Veteran
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Subject: Free State Trail Runs


2011-04-26 4:55 PM
in reply to: #3467406

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Atlanta, Georgia
Subject: RE: Free State Trail Runs

Goodness girlfriend, you are one amazing chica! I knew as soon as I heard you made the 5:15 cut off you would finish - NO DOUBT in my mind!! Thank you again for the free entry, it was such a fun weekend and I'm so proud of you.

Hope you are healing up well, and keep running toward that light

 

2011-05-05 8:32 AM
in reply to: #3467406

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Extreme Veteran
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Olathe, KS
Subject: RE: Free State Trail Runs
Amber, WOW. That's about all I can say. You are amazing.

Great job out there! Congrats!
2011-05-05 8:52 AM
in reply to: #3467406

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Champion
5312
5000100100100
Calgary
Subject: RE: Free State Trail Runs
Simply AWESOME. You are a serious stud.

Crazy with a 10 pound weight gain, lol. Wow. lol, really great race report you capture the absurdity of the whole ultra running process very well.
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