Sunday, December 30, 2012

Houston (Half) Hundred, Houston TX, 12/29/12

On a whim, after dropping from Ancient Oaks at 70 miles, I registered for the Houston Hundred.  I wanted a do-over and felt I was trained for it.  I had scanned the race calendar and realized that next 100 miler I could get to would be in May and that was really far away.  I mulled over the idea a bit and pulled the trigger one night when I decided I needed to try once more.

I really should have had more self-restraint.  When I had registered for Houston, I had not been certain I would run the 50k the week before and if I did I wasn't planning to run it so hard.  However, I went to the BUS Fat Ass and ran my butt off.  I had a great race!  I was also sick for over a week, but really didn't think that I was too sick to go to Houston.  So Friday, after work, I caught my flight to Texas.

I told only a few people I was going because I really didn't have grand expectations, knew this could easily turn into a 10-12 hour training run, and didn't want anyone to set expectations for me. I just wanted to see what I could do on a flat, fast course, in a warm climate in December.  However, the weather was not warm.  A cold front came through and the temps were in the 30s with a strong wind on half the course.

I purposefully planned to try to sit at just under 11 minutes for as long as could knowing I will fade.  I hoped that maybe I could run 20-21 hours on this course and if I had a great day, break 20.  I figured I could nap in my car if I needed to after the run until I was able to drive back to my hotel nearby for a shower.  I could then get some sleep in a real bed through morning, when I would need to get ready to catch my flight home.   

I knew if I ended up going too slow or fading too fast, I could always drop down to a shorter distance to be safe.   24 hours for the 100 would have me finishing at 7:30 am.  I could still take a shower and pack up but I knew I would be extremely too tired to drive the 30 minutes to the airport safely.  There was a 30 hour cutoff but I didn't have that much time.  Because I came alone, there was big difference between me finishing in 21 hours vs 24 hours that only had to do with my concerns about how well I could function after the race and travel about safely.  When I am excessively tired very late at night, I am not coherent and I don't want to be a hazard in the world.

The week before, when I called out from work due to being sick, the 100k started sounding like a better idea.  Sid reminded me that the whole reason I was going to Texas was to try for one more shot at the 100 before I put them up on the shelf for awhile.  He was right.  I had already decided to focus on shorter runs in 2013.  So I went to Texas with the idea of trying to run a decent 100 if I could.

Part of my trouble with 100's is that somewhere along the way I have lost my ability to be patient.  I know that if I paced them slower, I would have a much better shot at completing the distance within the cut-offs.  My problem is I really truly just want to run a personal best 100.  The idea of starting too slow and not set myself up for my best time is hard for me to do.  I know and fear the fact that I will crash hard at 3 am. I have to plan for that break. I always crash.  My biorhythms call for sleep and are always too strong for me to fight.  In 24s, I tend to need to sleep for at least 60 minutes and usually much longer that that time.  I truly believe the best shot for me to get a 100 miler done is to either be done by 3 am or to be pretty darn close.  Starting at 12's  would work until I need to sit down, sleep, or  just stop moving for a while to regroup.

When saw the weather had shifted from warmer temps to cold temps (ranging from 32 feeling like high 20's through mid-50s) I was happy.  That sounded PERFECT!  My best races are in the cold.  Mid-50's is sport bra and shorts weather so it would still get warm.  This range is the fastest running temps.  30 is cold, but if you keep moving it doesn't have to feel bad.

However, it felt colder to me at the start.  We started off and made the left into the windy coldest part of the loop.  If not for that wind, the loop seemed like it could support really fast times.  It was a 2 mile flat all-purpose park path.  There were bathroom course side so you didn't need to go too far off the course for that. There was a well stocked aid station at the Start/Finish.  The race was chip timed.

The race directors were clearly passionate about putting on a well-executed race and did more than anyone could expect to make sure the runners were taken good care of.  They were amazing! This race was tiny and we spread out fast.  A super small field of maybe 20 runners.  The race can support a lot more.  The race if advertised as a 24 hour with a 100 mile/100k/50M/50k option would likely lure out more runners.  It is an idea 24 hour course, but 100 mile runners tend to look for trail.

The only thing that made this course slow for me was the wind and subsequent windchill.  It broke me down early.  I expected the early miles to be cold, but I was looking forward to stripping down to lighter clothes by noon for most of the day.  But the weather stayed too cold for me and I just could not warm up.   There was one lap in the entire race where I took my mittens off and my hands felt ok.  The rest of the race I was bundled up.  I know others were not as cold as me.  I just was not moving fast enough to get warm.

I knew by lap 3, I was not going to have a good day.  The slow pace I was running left me feeling like I was working too hard for the easy pace. I never got the adrenaline rush I get from running strong.  I ran in a funk for hours from the start of the race.

After 2 hours, I just started experimenting with different food hoping the funk would pass.  Food I never eat.  Food with gluten, which I avoid at these races. I cant eat gluten and run hard.  It upsets my system.  I can eat gluten and run/walk so I ate a donut. I hardly ever eat donuts.  I knew I was feeling crappy so what bad could a donut do.  If I didn't try something, I was surely ending sooner rather than later.

Nothing really helped me to feel better.  I think I just need to take sometime to unscrew my head, shake out all the junk related to stress and frustrations about running 100s and start over in the future.  I also think I need to make some big changes to my racing and training practices.

At about the 50k mark, I knew I was dropping down. I was not enjoying the experience. The weather was not warming up enough for me to stop thinking about the cold. I was feeling low,  down, cold, bored, and a little lonely.  All I could think about is "What the heck am I doing here?  I should be home, with Sid, and Enzo, and all the things that make me happy."  I got in my car and called Sidney.  He wasn't surprised that I was dropping down but he was surprised it happened so soon.  I wasn't happy and my heart just wasn't in this enough to want to deal with the cold night.   I knew I had a lack of pep in my legs from running a hard race the week before and that is why 11's felt like 9's.  I knew I was sick all week and that could have possibly mattered.  I knew I disliked running in wind, and it was there making me miserable lap after lap.

But honestly, it really wasn't all that bad. There are always challenges to face.  Trails, or Heat, or Hills, etc...  Here we had cold and some wind.  It wasn't impossible.  Clouds even rolled in and insulated the earth. The winds began to die down and it felt like it may have warmed a few degrees.  If I was in good spirits, I would have had no complaints.  I had a brief moment when I thought I could stay in it.  But as soon as it got a little bit colder,  that quickly passed.

At 45 miles in I decided the 100k sounded nice, but I wasn't truly motivated for that distance either.  At 48 miles, I decided I was done at 50 miles and I would go back to the hotel early.  I took about 10:36 for those 50 miles.  I was not happy with my performance but I was happy to have stopped.

I used my time out there to do a lot of thinking.

I had several important revelation. Some of these were about my life, my life with Sid, and my plans for the future.  I reaffirmed my thoughts about where I should focus my attention in my racing life.  I look forward to making some changes in the future in a way that will lead me back to the 100 mile distance stronger, fitter, and more confident in my ability.

I am not really surprised or disappointed with this run. I signed up on a whim.  I ran a fast 50k last weekend. I was feeling a little beat up at the start and I knew if I wasn't on pace for a great time, I was very likely to bail.  I wanted a 50 mile run at least and got that done so all is good.  Every race doesn't have to be a goal race.  This one never was.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Queens Fat Ass 50K, Alley Pond Park, Queens. 12/22/12

Photo credit to Frank Collela

Last Sunday, I decided to mail in my application for the Broadway Ultra Society's (BUS) Queens Fat Ass 50k/30k to take place yesterday Dec. 22.  First, I can't say enough good things about this event.  It is not a true "Fat Ass" (which in in the ultra world means "Get off your Fat Ass and come run our No Fee, No Frills, but organized Run/Race."  First, we paid a $20 fee.  TWENTY DOLLARS for an ultra is just awesome! Thank you, Richie!

The Frills included an indoor heated field house and a real bathroom. A fully stocked Aid Station.  The race was hand-scored and officially timed by a team of volunteers who did it the right way (by writing every lap split down as we ran through the start finish each time). We got wool embroidered winter hats.  We were gifted a goodie bag from Gatorade full of samples.   There was pizza, coffee, hot chocolate at the end of the race.  Trophies, about 8 deep, were awarded.  Personalized award name plates get mailed out in the future.  When you attend a $20 race that does all this for the runners, it make you wonder why pay so much more for a race.

BUS can always use donations to keep things going. If you want to know more about what BUS does, here is a link to all the wonderful events they put on.

Pre-Race Stuff.  
Friday, my throat started to get scratchy and my head congested.  By Friday night I could not swallow without pain.  I made two cups of echinacea tea, packed some stuff, and went to bed.  I was up, on and all off night, because the burning was waking me up.

I had made plans with Alanna to go to Queens.  She offered to come pick me up on her way north.  I couldn't bear to call her the morning of a race that she was planning to attend with me and tell her I couldn't go.  I wasn't coughing and didn't have a fever.  I didn't want to get her sick, but I also didn't want to bail on her either. So I sucked it up and went.

As we sat in the car, I tried to set some goals. On one hand, I wanted to take advantage any opportunity I had to run well.  But on the other hand, I knew I wasn't 100% and this run was happening in what seemed like less than ideal winter weather (37 degrees on the surface but with constant gusting 20 mph winds, the "feels like" temp was actually 26-27 degrees.  It must have gotten colder because we did get flurries).

I do run well in the cold, but sometimes it is nice to just run with a friend.  To talk.  To spend a day together in motion.  The idea of hanging out with Alanna, who is probably my most favorite person to run with, sounded really nice.  The fact that the race was only $20 meant it would not break my heart to not RACE IT.... But I know myself well enough to know that not racing something is rarely an option.

The Course.
Accurately measured 10 x 5k laps.  Richie was hilarious at the pre-race meeting, starting us off by stating. "Last night I marked the entire course with orange arrows... They are not there anymore."  Phil McCarthy did go back out pre-race and re-mark over Ritchie's faded marks for us and it was perfect.

We ran a flower shaped course on park paths (asphalt, some torn up by the storm), with the stem consisting of a half mile hill to the flower petal part that loops around the park for about 2 miles just before we head back down the stem to the turn around cone.

We knew about the up hill, but once in the park we continued to go up.  We had a nice fast downhill stretch, until we hit a short but pace slowing uphill which usually had a nice head wind.  We looped back towards the path we just entered the park on allowing us to see runners ahead and behind us.  We continued to the right, meandered around the park with some more downs and uphills. There was a final steeper longish uphill section to tackle before we worked back down the long downhill section that we would then have to climb back up NINE MORE TIMES :).

The course was not "easy." But I don't think it was "hard" either.  I found it "challenging but well balanced."  Just when my legs would burn from an up, we had a down hill that I used to shake things out and make up lost time.   I ran every single step of this, so I can't say it was not runnable.

The Race.
An 8 minute pace for 31 miles sounded like it could hurt.  But the gun went off and like Pavlov's dog I just reacted.  Off I went, settling down behind the first 3 men.  Within the first mile, the guys started to pick it up and I let them pull off ahead.  I didn't think I should be dipping too deep into the 7:00 minute pace range just yet or ever during this race.

I ran the entire loop, feeling really good but I failed to look at my loop split.  I slowed at the Aid Station, grabbed a gatorade, drank half a cup, tossed it in the trash and did the loop again.  At this point I was running by myself (and pretty much ran alone the entire race with the exception of passing people I was lapping).

(Fueling:) In the morning I had coffee and ate a Cherry Almond Bonk Breaker Bar.  I  drank a small can of Mt Dew and small bottle of gatorade during the car ride over. I also ate a banana.  Before the race I took 4 Endurolytes just for insurance.  I stuck two gels in my pockets and lined up at the start when we were finally ready to go.  I only drank gatorade at the Aid Station, about 9 cups of a few oz each minus what I accidentally spilled on someone's leg (I am so sorry). That was it for the 31 miles.

After the second lap, I decided I was going to try run non-stop through lap 5, taking that gel at mile 11 and then assess how I felt.  I hit lap 2 and noticed the clock read 50 minutes.  25 minutes per lap.  I wondered how long I could run 25 minute laps.

I start to think about how 30 minute laps equals 4 hours with 8 to go and that would be a sub-5 hour 50k on a windy day.  But as I ended lap 3, I passed a man who advised of some very inspiring race data.  He called out. "First Female! 6 minutes behind the lead men!"  Since we were on the out and back and I would see him again in a few minutes, I asked him to please let me know how many minutes I had on the second place female.

The 5th place runner caught me at the turn around.  We ran together a bit and as the two women in 2nd and 3rd were running down the hill as we went up.  He commented "Wow! Those women are in the 50k! They are flying!"  This made me think either he was in the 30k or he thought I was.  I asked him what he was racing and he said "The 50k."  I said, "Then you are flying too!" I still don't think he realized I was running the whole thing until he saw me still running on lap 7.  I saw my scout on the way back and he reported "4-5 minutes!"  So by the start of lap 4 I had just over a half mile lead.

This made me feisty and I pulled away from the 5th place guy.  I dropped some speed on the downhill and then reeled myself back in.  I noticed that I had put over 5 minutes on the women by the time I saw them next.  They were either walking the hill or slowing down.  I settled down and just tried to stay steady. The next split I noticed was 2:04:49.  This was at the half way point.  I still felt good.  This was a PR paced split giving me a few minutes of fade.  I decided to take my second gel about mile 20 and hoped to still be on PR pace by then.

I was working one lap at a time, not walking but wondering if that hill would break me.  The next split was 2:29 and I was pleased to discover it was still 25 minutes.  I finished lap 7, with 3 to go, the clock read 2:54.  Again 25 minutes.

I believe I lapped 3rd place female and saw the second place on some part of the course that let me know I could possibly catch her too before the end of the race.  I was still feeling good, but I wanted to be sure I had enough energy to get through.

I kept repeating to myself... "Working 8,  then work 9, then finish 10!"  I finished lap 8 at 3:19. Another 25 minute lap! "Working 9, then finish 10!" At some point, I lapped second place female.

I had done the math and knew if I came through under 3:45 for lap 9 I had a shot at sub 4:10 if I stayed at 25 minutes. I would be set up nicely to definitely run faster than my last PR of 4:13:02, even if I fade.  I was feeling ok, but I had no way to really know whether I was still on 25 minute pace.  I was looking at no data on the loop.  There were no mile marks. My watch was under my shirt sleeve.  I would hit split button but not look at the time.

I came through lap 9 to see the clock read 3:44.  OMG, Another 25 minute lap!

I tried to dig and it was hilarious.  I had nothing to dig into to.  I got up the hill, but it felt so slow.  I tried to open my stride on the first down hill, but the wind kicked up heavy on the last lap.  It felt like the wind was blowing me to a stand still on the shorter uphill.  I fought hard.  I got over the crest, used the downhills, but my stride was getting shorter and tight.  I tried to move faster, but just past half of the loop,I started to feel like I was struggling a lot.

But I was so proud!  This is the time to struggle.  I knew I just needed to get through 1 mile with one last steeper hill before I could use the downhill to pick up speed.  I keep fighting to lift my legs. I was sure my pace was slowing but it would be ok.  I would likely not break 4:10, but I should still PR.  I knew I did my best and I was happy!

I hit the final down hill and tried to run as fast as my legs would go.  I did get some speed.  As I turned towards the finish, I could see the clock it was still under 4:10!  I did run another 25 minute lap! But it was too close to the end of 4:09 for me to get there before it flipped.

Phil was awesome.  He caught me as I finished, giving me a hug that really served to kept me on my feet.  I mumbled something about wanting to see my split sheet because I didn't get my laps I think I ran really even.  He later wrote them all down for me, doing some quick math and expressing that he was  impressed that all my loops were so even.  When someone like Phil McCarthy (our 48 hour American Record holder) sounds impressed by something I ran, it just makes my day!

I was also proud that I was never lapped by the lead men.  I believe the first male was only 16 minutes ahead of me.

Time: 4:10:07
1st Female
4th place OA

Here are my splits:

Lap 1   24:37
Lap 2   50:22 (25:45)
Lap 3  1:15:35 (25:13)
Lap 4  1:40:16 (24:41)
Lap 5  2:04:49 (24:33)
Lap 6  2:29:30 (24:41)
Lap 7  2:54:30 (25:00)
Lap 8  3:19:29 (24:59)
Lap 9  3:44:40 (25:11)
Lap 10 4:10:07 (25:27)

Only a 68 second difference btw fastest lap 1 and slowest lap 2

I thought I had run that cold out of my system, but it looks like today is rest day as I feel sicker than I did yesterday or the day before.  Not bad, but not perfect.  Regardless, a runner's high is enough to make me feel good even when I feel badly!

Thank you for reading!

Race Photos:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

USATF-NJ Grand Finale 10 Mile Championship. Mercer County Park, NJ. 12/9/12

At Mile 8.  (photo by Mark Nyhan)
I was so close to just skipping this race.  After the effort I made last week, I have felt sluggish and slow.  My body is actually ok.  My ego is more in need of recovery than anything else about me.

But today is the very last race in the series and it is a team race.  I really like being a part of a team and to me that means that I need to show up for team races even when I don't feel like it.

This was a 10 miler. Based upon my 8k race on Thanksgiving, I should be able to run about a 1:07.  However, my knee is a little sore and I feel like I need a bit more time to be back at 100%, so I really did not expect to run 6:45 for 10 miles.

I really wanted to avoid straining my knee any more than it is.  Since the NCR Marathon two days after the 8k, it has felt like someone kicked me in the knee cap.  It is not bad. Each day it feels better.  After 70 miles at Ancient Oaks last Saturday it was back to being more sore.  Over the past week it has felt better.  I slapped some KT tape on it, planned to assess as I ran, and if it got to the point that I felt it was grinding or getting more painful, I would stop.

The weather report this morning was a complete and utter lie.  I left my parent house and it was 49 degrees and clear.  As I drove across the state,  it was raining hard and getting colder.  I hoped that by the 10 am start, it would be nice and warm and dry. I held out hope until 9:50, when John and I finally decided to get out of the car.

I started with my favorite long sleeve Brooks tech shirt and some gloves, shorts, and my Senna hat, since after all it was raining :).  I already knew I am going to be too warm.  It must have been in the 40's but the cold rain just makes things sucky.  Again, since this is a 3 loop course (with one extra out and back on loop 1), I knew I could drop anything I wanted on the side and get it later.

Gun Goes Off!

It is a decline start, then an incline towards Mile 1.  I feel good and take advantage of the gravity assist. M1 - 6:37.  I catch up to a pack of 3 guys and one chick and settle in to my rhythm. I don't anticipate running faster the 6:45. I know by the end I will likely be slower, but hope to keep it all under 7:00 min per mile.  M2 - 6:41

The third mile seems to have some long gradual inclines and I just don't like this part. I am sticking right with my pack and it feels like a nice pace. I stop looking at my splits and just run. M3 - 6:54.

What makes this race less than ideal is that 3 laps seems to be too much for me for a 10 miler.  We pass a spot that has the 2, 5, and 8 mile marks all in close proximity.  Then a few minutes later, the 3,6, and 9 show up in a set.  For some reason hitting the 3 mile mark on the incline, feeling tired from the uphill and then facing the marks that let me know I must to run all of it two more times, make me extra tired.  It is not a steep uphill.  It is just more work than the other sections of the race so in comparision it is the worst part.

I am getting hot. I decide to ditch my shirt and gloves right at the finish line. Someone says,  "Be careful! Now you are gonna start sprinting!" I secretly think, "I sure hope so!" :).  I am now in my sports bra and shorts and feel much better.  I try to hold my pace and recover at little on the long down hill at the end of the loop.  M4 - 6:54

Between 4 and 5, the woman in our pack makes her move and passes me on the uphill.  She gets about a step or two on me, but as soon as hit the next decline I am able to move back ahead of her.  I feel good on the down and put a little gap between us.  I don't feel like I am moving any faster than before, just not slowing down.  M5 - 6:52.  

Between mile 5 and 6, (also 2-3, and 8-9) is that uphill stretch.  I focus to stay on pace and it is work.  I know I'm not going to be able to hold that pace again on the next lap.  My legs feel weak and tired. My knee feels good.  I am passed by two women who are moving much stronger then me.  It is too soon for me to make any drastic pace changes and still be able to hang on.  I keep falling back on my heels, catching myself slowing and then remind myself to get back up to speed.  M6 - 6:54

I start to think about a boat and how much work it is to get it up onto a plane, but once it is planing it cruises easier at a faster speed than it does when moving slower.  I want to stay up on my plane, but it is  not coming naturally.  M7 - 7:01

I am feeling this pace and just try to hold things together.  I want to get to mile 8 feeling strong because I know mile 9 is going to be the worst of the race. M8 - 7:04.

We hit hit that last inclined section and my chest feels tight. I already used my inhaler so taking another puff would likely do nothing.  I try to get close to the guy just ahead of me. I make some whooping noises. He makes some encouraging comments, waives me up to pass him, but I can't do it on the incline.  I am just waiting for the crest, so I can shift gears and take full advantage of the downhill finish. M9 - 7:04

I glance at my watch to see the time for the first time all race.  I have no idea what pace I have been running since I was not looking at my splits. I was happy to see that I was hitting 9 at 1:02.  I am pleased that I will be faster than 1:10.

Finally! After completing the last inclined section, the last half of the final mile is a long decline to the finish.  I pass the guy who waived me up.  I tell him to come with me, to take advantage of the down.  He tells me to go ahead and says "You earned it!"  I open up my stride, so grateful that I am getting a gravity assist all the way in.   M10 - 6:42.

It was too cold and wet to stand around waiting for results.  I did not see how I placed overall, but I do know I was 3rd place in my 0-39 year old Age Group.

1:08:45 (6:52 per mile)
49th Overall / 253
6th Female / 100
3rd 0-39 Age Group - (Open Women)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ancient Oaks 100. Titusville, FL. 12/1/12

photo by Joseph Regner
This will not be very short nor very sweet for me to write.  So what happened? Same as always.  Run Strong. Throw up.  Go Home.

A few months ago, I felt my training was good enough to get me through a 100.  I emailed a request for an Invite to AO and got one.  I was excited to do this.  I knew I could finish ... if I could just not throw up.

I have been throwing up at races that go longer than 12 hours since I started running them.  My first 100 was AO and that is where the puking began.  The last 20 miles of that race was characterized by me walking and throwing up for hours.

18 days later I ran Freedom Park 24 hours reaching 110 miles and this was the only race effort of over 12 hours that I did without vomiting.  It was the best race of my life.  I was in great shape then,  running my fastest every that year.  PRing in the 8k, the marathon, the 10k, etc... all leading up to the 100 mile effort and then the 110.

After that 110, I got sick and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder.  Hives, fatigue, and breathing issues stalled my training. Medications made me gain weight. I was heavy and sluggish for about a year.  When I did try to run far, it would be too far, and I would tear up my plantar fascias or other tendons and then need to recover from that. Then I got healthy and started running well, saw a doctor who wanted to try a different medication, which cause liver failure.  Then another few months of recovery through 2011.

Now at the end of 2012, I training well.  I am lean.  I am setting new PRs across the board, just like before!  I am happy, fit, and healthy.  

However, I stayed away from long races except for Hampton 24 and Hinson 24.  Both those races were in warmer than I prefer conditions, but not terribly hot.  Both races ended for me when the vomiting begins.  I can do about 15 miles walking once the puking starts but the violent spasms hurt and the abdominal pain is too much for me when I have been puking for hours.

I cant figure out what to do about this because I can't replicate this problem in training.  I can run comfortably for 12 hours without one inkling of stomach distress or even feeling like I am working.  Then at some point after 12,13,14 hours, like a switch, I suddenly get sick. It doesn't matter if I go faster or slower in those 12, 13, 14 hours.  I get sick and can't stop it.

My stomach gets irritated.  I have puked up the black coffee grinds of curdled blood.  A sip of water gets rejected and I puke.  I can't take in anything solid of an enough quantity to help restore energy.  I can't take in fluids in enough quantity so I cant get rehydrated.  I can't replenish anything that has been depleted or lost.  Without the chance of restoring anything, nothing ever gets better, even if I take a nap.   The only thing that makes it stop is for me to stop.

It takes about 12 hours after the throwing up for me to tolerate food again and usually a few days for me to gain back the weight lost from dehydration.   If I take an hour or two or three nap at races and get up to start walking again, the puking will start all over again.

So What Happened?  

Sid got us a Mooney for the trip and was my pilot for the weekend.  This meant I could pack anything I wanted.  This was awesome and I could be better prepared.

I packed a small cooler bag of things I thought would help me.  I have cut out almost everything from my race fueling plan and kept things simple.  I packed some gluten free snacks (some sweet, some salty) and fluids I can tolerate.  I packed my head lamp, extra batteries, a handheld lamp, my handheld bottles,  the KT tape for my feet, my inhaler, tums, lube, my electrolytes.  I was so proud to get all that needed in some small bag!  Then I left the bag next to the front door.  I thought Sid put it in the car.  He had no idea that I thought he packed it.

After about a 10 minute meltdown, I was over it and we went to Walmart.  I figure this was just a way for the universe to tell me I don't need anything in that bag to run. I had my sneakers so I was ok.  I also found some extra things (a small handheld bottle, an extra inhaler, etc) in my suitcase.   We bought most of what I packed at Walmart.  I was fine with that.

At the Race.
I just start out having fun.  I am using my Garmin but it is not really helpful. It is beeping off miles, but I was not watching my laps.  However, I didn't care. I felt completely comfortable. I wanted to get as much done in the day light as possible, while not running too hard.

In the past, I have come through the 50 mile split under 9 hours.  My 110 had me with a lower 8 hour 50 mile time.  I decided to not go that fast, even though I knew I could.   I made a point to start out strong and then settle down.  When I finally started watching my lap splits I realized I could go slower and slowed down.

I ate chips and drank Powerade more regularly than in any race.  I was drinking a lot of water and Mt. Dew.  I felt fantastic through 50, like it was not even work.  I was running, walking, and just feeling great.  I was getting tired, but not too tired.  Nothing hurt that much.  I have not felt so good in the first half of a race ever.

I hit 50 in 9:45-ish.  That is not an incredibly fast 50 mile split.  I felt very good.

After 50, I started to get tired.  To be expected.  There was not at lot of foods at the aid station that I could eat (because I avoid gluten upon learning that the flour does not digest well for me).  I had been eating Pringles the whole day and I tried a gluten free energy bar I found the night before and it was not working.  It turned to paste in my mouth.  I planed to grab another Poweraid, but I forgot it because my mind was tired, I was getting repulsed by the idea of putting stuff in my body, and I just left for another lap. I grabbed some water but had trouble drinking it.

By mile 60, my vision was getting blurry and I was having trouble thinking clearly.  I had an odd taste in my mouth... the taste that tells me that I will be throwing up soon if I don't figure out what to do.

I came through 100k and sat down to get in calories.  I tried to eat anything that would go down, but already nothing seemed tolerable.  I tried some vegetable broth.  I ate a few pretzel, not caring if they made me rush to a potty.  I tried some papaya supplements.  I took some tums.

I went out for another loop with my headlamp.  It sucked.

Sid appeared at the end of the lap, ready pace me.  We did a lap.  I threw up out there.  Not much but that is how it starts. He left to get me mashed potatoes, after I told him that I was just so hungry and I want something real.  He would leave them for me and then he was going to sleep.

I did another lap.  I couldn't see straight.  I was walking like I was drunk.  I was tripping over everything.  The stomach spasms were starting and I couldn't walk slow enough to make them stop.  I finished the lap.

I saw Jon K when I finished.  I told him I was done.  He was a great help to me when I was running well.  Great Crew. He was giving me good data and it was motivating.  He saw me suffer at Hinson. He didn't try to force me back. For some reason, I feel he really understands since he walked my last 5 laps of Hinson with me.

I saw the potatoes. I couldn't even stomach the idea of them.  I drank a sip of water.  It was hard to swallow.  I sat down and the nausea stopped.  I stood up to move and it was back.

I called Sid, knowing that if I called him at 10 pm, he could come back for me.  I could have pushed out another lap or maybe two, but I had already stopped having any semblance of fun.  The impending violent vomiting was coming and I knew it.

The only way to stop it is to stop moving.

I was leading the women's race.

I left.

I just cant throw up like that any more.

I can't do that to myself again.