Saturday, November 21, 2015

Race Report: When It's Most Definitely Not Your Turn

.... and so ends five straight months of lunacy.
and also five hundies in five months.

Despite being predominantly a trail runner, I signed up for the Kansas Ultrarunners' Society 6/12/24h run back in August because I wanted to clock 100m in a sub-24h timeframe.  I had a chance to do that at Javelina Jundred but my work schedule was getting dicey at the time so I put down an insurance second attempt for two weeks following JJ in case I couldn't get my training down.  In any case, I needed a chance to miss my mountains.  

Here's a brief stream-of-consciousness narrative of the two-ish weeks between races. 
  • -312: finish Javelina Jundred at 25:25, well past my 24h A-goal.  lament. 
  • -301: wipe post-race bitch-face off face.  restart carb loading and get rear in gear. 
  • -163: finish JJ race report and get it all out of my system.  commit to getting shit together.  
    • A-goal: push to 200k/125m in sub-24h.  equates to continuous 7:12/km pace. 
    • B-goal: 100m in sub-24h.   equates to continous 9:00/km pace.  
  • -94: realize that maybe I should read up on other runners' takes on 24h events since i had never done one.  read this.  then this.  then this.  then this.  then this.  realize that maybe a little more track time was warranted.  subsequently realize thoughts like that are useless this close to the race.
  • -93: realize A-goal may be a bit ambitious on the weekend despite not running since JJ, due to the "Septemberest November Ever" now combined with a hilly course and zero direction reversals.  make commitment to reassess dumbassery by 50m in.  
  • -70: last caffiene intake until the race to maximize impact during race.  
  • -38: arrive in Wichita
    • things I bought from Whole Foods:
      • 1.5L Electrolyte Water to start
      • "handheld/pocket" jar of Cornichons
      • big bottle of cranberry juice
      • 2x Hiball cold brewed coffee
      • Aspirin
      • Potassium capsules
      • 2x Guaya 5hr Energy Shot
      • Chia Seeds
    • things I brought from home:
      • 2x Nathan Quickshot, in different colors (purchased stateside for FX).  One would be loaded with electrolyte (Carbopro first, Heed from the aid station after) and something solid in the pouch, and the other with water and tabs to be consumed with a gel.   
      • this sexy chair from REI
      • New Balance Fresh Foam M980V1 Glow in the Dark to start.  These were the shoes I wore at Le Grizz and are my go-to pathway-beaters.
      • Salomon XR Mission for after 8 hours.  These are my regular lunch runners.
      • Hoka Mafate Speed for the last 8 hours.  These are sized a half size bigger for swelling.  
      • R8 recovery massage roller.
      • pepperoni sticks, beef jerky, Thoz Bars, Salted Caramel Gu's, Saltsticks, Clif Organic Banana Beet with Ginger
  • -20: stop at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve for a shakeout 13k.  Hang out with these crazy kids.  soak it all in.  weather for race day showing high of 66, low of 45 at night and a little southerly wind on zero cloud cover. 
  • -1: arrive on site at Chapin Park to secure accessible parking (important for post-race!), and an accessible spot for my shit (important for mid-race!).  said shit was placed after the food/drink table.  noted ambient light from McConnell AFB is bright enough for me to see the course at night without a headlamp. 
  • 0: first 1.3m/2.1k lap run in just over thirteen minutes.  6h speed trolls out in full force at full suicide pace but they received no fucks.  winds at <10mph coming from the south.  mental course notes as follows:
click for larger size
  • +1: execute fueling plan A (based on 5/6 laps per hour):
    • lap 1: electrolytes/solids
    • lap 2: run through--no fuel/metabolize
    • lap 3: stop for handful of chia seeds; chase with cranberry juice
    • lap 4: water/saltsticks or potassium capsules
    • lap 5: run through--no fuel/metabolize
    • lap 6: gel
    • repeat.  run with jar of cornichons on every second lap 2.  run with coffee on fifth and tenth lap 2. 
    • 30s to roll every second hour.
    • sock/shoe switch every 8h.  consider river dip before switch to cool legs down. 
    • pound 5h energy shot at 12h and 18h in.  
  • +2: wind settles down a little bit.  maintain speed in anticipation of being actually able to breathe.
  • +3: discovered they have stocked pickle juice in baby food pouches at the aid stations.  DAMMIT CANADA, WHY CAN'T WE HAVE NICE THINGS.
  • +5: wind picks up to 20mph.  start consciously throttling down to 13/14min laps to ride it out.  my chair can't stay upright anymore so I don't have a raised surface to put my shit down and will need to bend over during transitions a little more often. 
  • +6: 6hr trolls are gone but 12hr trolls are still hanging around.  IT bands start heating up.  prematurely jump in the Arkansas River; realize M980V1's are one of the most porous shoes ever.  unscheduled pit stop to shake out rocks and sand and grass and fish.  
  • +7: finally get chicked, not that it meant anything.  wind still at 20mph.  completely memorize locations of dog shit.
  • +8: finally switch out shoes but my feet still smell fishy.  wind now brushing up to 25mph.  left vastus intermedius starts pulling tight due to leaning in on too many right turns. 
  • +9: 50m done with a 15min lap; still haven't walked any uphills yet (or at all, really) but with the relentless wind I gave up on my A-goal as I was burning myself out trying to keep up in the wind.  execute fueling plan B (based on 3/4 laps per hour):
    • lap 1: water/saltsticks or potassium capsules.  gel up on east uphill while side-step walking.
    • lap 2: stop for chia seeds/cranberry chaser.  alternate with pickle juice while running. 
    • lap 3: electrolytes/solids
    • lap 4: water/saltsticks or potassium
    • ceteris paribus.
  • +10: sunset.  counting on winds to go with the sun.  clouds rolling in provided a nice reflective surface for ambient McConnell AFB/S Hydraulic streetlights but I elected to wear a headlamp due to not wanting to trip over the dumbest shit ever.  
  • +11: winds now at 10mph and would stay there for the rest of the night. 
  • +12: 12hr speed trolls now gone.  I actually start talking to other runners having realized which of us were the true lunatics.  
  • +13: I play games in my head by imagining the scene they were showing at the Starlite drive-in theatre just south of the park.  (Both Goosebumps and Spectre were playing so this was very confusing.)
  • +14: counted in excess of 20 train horns coming from the BNSF line east of here during the hour.  felt bad for whoever lived in the nearby trailer park.  prematurely jumped in the river again but Salomons hold up against fish looking to hitch a ride. 
  • +15: 24h runners start dropping out.  realize that spitting after pounding back a Clif Banana Beet with Ginger gel makes me look like I am spitting blood.  start to wonder how the Rousey/Holm fight is going. 
  • +16: switched to Hokas but I had predominatly been running a forefoot strike the whole day.  whatever.
  • +17: I commit to going full-Gunhild by starting 20min laps, after 130km in, as there was no way I could cover 70km in 8 hours.  ETA to 100m would be somewhere around 22/23h in.  execute fueling plan C: just do whatever the fuck you want and have some fun.  starting with fresh, warm chocolate tortillas. 
  • +18: finally look at the interactive lap count monitor, and see that there is a 5km discrepancy between my watch and the lap count.  I initiated an appeal but there was no chance of winning given everyone else's count was still good.  I figured the wind from earlier had magically skewed with my distance through trignometric altitude corections.  ETA to 100m now well after 23h but that's what going full-Gunhild means.  
  • +19: Sudden urge to call my mom-boss and catch her up on work stuff but I had left my phone in my glove compartment.  Realize there is potential in developing VR headsets that can show you both what is in front of you and a Netflix stream. 
  • +20: more crew than runners on the course now, even though aid station provisions are quickly drying up to prevent spoilage.  introduced to the concept of the "pacer-tute": aid station members who want to keep you company around the course to stay warm/not bored, by asking "hey, you want some company?" or "hey YOU LOOKING TO PARTYYYYYYY?"
  • +21: I can no longer tell if runners retiring are doing so because they're pooped or hit their goals.   laps pushing towards 25mins.
  • +22: now just one other runner on the course aside from me.  realize that's not how DFL works in a race like this. 
  • +23:  finished 100.3m in a time of 23:31--or as my watch said, 165.5km.  I could have ran one more loop but there really was no point in doing so, so I finally resigned myself to start rebuilding for next year.  other runner keeps plodding along to finish at 23:56 with a 103m.  
  • +51: schedule emergency deep tissue massage when I figure out I can't put any weight on my left quad, which would be bad for all the airport traversing the following day.  worst moment of the day--having to roll off the toilet to avoid getting my ass painted with my own piss and shit.  
Stray observations:
  • The one thing I still can't get over is how I managed this with no music.  I don't normally train with it so I didn't bring any, and I'm more of an immersive runner, soaking up sights and sounds and tastes and what not; but a part of me feels guilty for not learning a new language during this race.  
  • Yes, that's two A-goals in a row that were not completed on back-to-back races, but I'm still thankful for a few things:
  • I got my name on one of these things!
    • Five hundred-milers in five months, dating back to Sinister 7.  I have now realized how stupid this is given I felt worse after this race vs. how I felt after Fat Dog.  (Call it post-exertional malaise.)
    • A sub-24h 100m finish.  Yes, it came on a 24h run, but this was not the best course for attempting a balls-to-the-wall 24h effort, so it gives me confidence to go faster on more technical ultras.
    • Pacers and crew: I've run two 100m's in a row with no 'support' and while I've crossed the finish line on both of them, I can see how they make the journey easier.  
    • My hilarious trail running group back home.  Ever since Lost Soul, I've switched to road running to prepare for this race, but I've come to miss them during my sojourn on pavement.  I'm glad to be done the flat stuff [for now] and be back with running in good company.  
    • Mountains.  While I am thankful for the opportunity to have run a 24h event, I am also thankful for knowing that is not my thing at the moment.  This race gave me an idea of where I physically need to be if I want to excel at this, but unfortunately it has also given me a stronger notion to jump out of the comfort zone of a dog park. 
    • The magic of a small grassrootsy race.  One of the races I decided to do last year was "One extra late-season small-scope >50k'er in the middle of bumfk nowhere" because I enjoy doing races with minimal sponsors and an authentic agenda.  You could argue Wichita isn't exactly "middle of bumfk nowhere" but this race was exactly that.  When you've entered something that says, "If you want to bring some cookies or anything special to share, please feel free to do so!", you know the aid station staff and the RD will be geniuinely down-to-earth good people.   And they were!  Even though the night shift aid station crew was three people, they were a big help through the darkest hours.  They kept asking me what I wanted each lap, even though my response was always, "it's ok, I can manage, please help the person behind me instead."  Sure, the belt buckles were the same if you completed 100mi in 24h, 50mi in 12h or 50k in 6h, but I could care less because races like these encourage the purest form of racing--one where no expense is spared in making sure you will have everything you need to finish.  Thanks for being awesome guys! 
      • (Sugar cookies and 2lbs of Jelly Bellies, if you were wondering, was my contribution.)
by the numbers:
  • placement: T3/13
  • ATF-certified distance: 100.3588mi
  • %belt buckles (i.e. 100mi+): 46%
  • time of "nopeeeeeeeeee": 23:31:55
tips for prospective 24h runners:
  • integrate walk breaks after the crowd breaks up.  25/5 if you're stronger but a 8/2 ratio should work.  
  • watch for trolls if there's a shorter distance involved.
  • break your day out into three 8-hr segments or four 6-hr segments.  each one will be just as hard as the previous.  
  • try to stay the fk away from the aid station.  it's very tempting with all that fuel but you bleed a lot of time hanging out there, which happened to me.  schedule stops in intervals.  do not stop unless you need to (pee/potty breaks, etc.).
  • be a douchebag and ride the tangents.   
  • The Morton stretch.  I was wondering if people were weird with this one pole on the west edge of the course but it turns out they were not. 
  • sleep well the week of the race.  ain't nobody got time for that shit during the race.  
  • there is no wall at the 100mi mark; plow right through to 24:00.  you paid for 24h so you will get 24h of time.  (I didn't do this because I couldn't see the value of burning one more lap but a part of me regrets not really going full-Gunhild.) 
  • music for the later hours when it quiets down will help you keep going.  (for example, every time I hear a train horn now, I get flashbacks to this thing.)
  • it is absolutely important to have a goal since you cross the finish line eleventy bajillion times. this is not the best place for a training run. 
  • do not panic.  you have plenty of time to sort shit out.  
Up next:
  • Tentatively done with 100milers until Angeles Crest to let my body catch up and to regain some weight.  All pre-run requirements are now completed so I'm looking forward to putting forth what I learned this year in August 2016.
  • Next race: Vertical K MSIG Lantau 5K race in Hong Kong.  Shortest race of the year for me.  50K to follow the following day. 

Why am I so tired?
I am tired
Not because I work very hard
Not because I sleep too little
But because I think too much.
--Sri Chinmoy

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