Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Heartland 100 Race Report

The day finally arrived, it seemed like a long wait. I had waited for the Heartland 100 since running my first 100 in February. I had trained hard and prepared as hard and as best as I could. I had felt my training had been good and expected to run well. Through months and months of preparation and lots and lots of training miles, the day had finally arrived. It was finally time to see if all my training had paid off. In the days leading up to the Heartland 100 the weather forecast had steadily got worse and worse. I was a little concerned about the weather forecast and had hoped for a little warmer weather. The forecast was for Hi's in the 30's and lows in the upper 20's with 20-30 mph winds. The weather did not disappoint the hi for the day I don't think reached 35 with 20-30 mph winds. But I told myself to just keep my head down, stay focused, and run as effectively as I could to mile 63 where my pacer Rick Mayo would pick me up. I had set a goal of a sub 22 hr finish, thinking if everything went good and as planned I could break the 22 hr barrier. It was finally time to see what would happen.

The start to Teterville aid station mile 25:

When it was finally time to start, I was ready to get to running after two weeks of low mileage and too much time on my hands I was ready to run and run I did. The first 8 miles I ran with Jim Beiter and we kept each other company, chatting and running, the pace was a little faster than I had planned but it felt good. When we hit Battle Creek (8.2) Jim hit the Johnnie and I hit the aid station to refill my water bottle. In and out of the aid station in short order and back to running. As I crested the first hill I seen Brad Bishop in front of me a little ways. I pushed the pace up and down the hills till I caught up to Brad. When I got to Brad I decided to hang with him till Teterville (25). We ran and chatted till we caught up to another group that included Paul Schoenlaub and Scott Hill, we ran in a big group for a few minutes till a couple of them dropped back. Me, Brad, and Scott stuck together and hit Lampland (16.8) and the first crew access. My crew filled my bottles and refilled my waist pack and with a handful of food we were off. Through this section of the course to Teterville I ran mostly with Scott, and Brad was not far ahead. The 4 mile stretch when we turned north to Teterville was cold, and the wind was blowing right through me. I got a little chilled in this section and decided to change into dry shirts when I got to Teterville. When I arrived at Teterville I had a whole bunch of people there to take care of me, my crew, and 2 other crews. While some helped me change shirts others filled my bottles and my waist pack. And I was off again 25 miles down and 75 to go. And now 4 hours into the race.

Teterville to Lone Tree mile 50 the Turnaround:

After leaving Teterville we had a mile stretch and then had to head back North and buck the wind. I had caught back up to Scott in the first mile or so after the aid station. The wind was still coming at us but didn't seem as bad with a couple of dry shirts on. I kept my head down and just kept running through this section. We didn't chat much we just ran till we hit Texaco Hill (31.2). Here we seen Stacy Sheridan and I had to have a couple of her famous cookies. The next 5 miles were on top of the ridge and the wind was howling, nothing to stop it, not a tree nothing, just open air and pasture and cows. You could see forever and ever it was about as open as it could get. It seemed like we ran forever till we finally hit Ridge Line (36.5). I had thanked Scott for pulling me along to this point, as I was going to take care of business and knew he would be gone before me. From here I was all alone for the first time today, not a problem just keep you head down, stay focused and run I told myself. The next 6 miles went by and before I knew it I had hit Mattfield Green (42.5) still felling really good. After chatting with the crew and getting stocked back up, I made my only mistake of the day I skipped the aid station and didn't grab any food to take with me. I ate a couple gels and a candy bar, but I was getting a little calorie deprived and wasn't running as effectively as I was earlier. After I got to the unmanned aid station at the Tower (47.5) the first runner coming back passed me. Only 4 or so miles ahead of me. I thought to myself holy crap, I went out way to hard and it's going to be a long road back. I passed one, then a little later another, then here came Scott. He had taken off like he was shot out of a cannon when he left me at Ridge Line. He was looking really good and running strong. A few minutes later I passed Kyle Amos and he gave me a high five as I went by, and I think he was kinda shocked to see me already. The calorie deprivation was taking it's toll and the last mile and a half to the turnaround took forever considering it was mostly downhill. When I arrived at Lone Tree(50) I was in 6th place and needing some food. I snacked while they filled my bottles and nuked me a hamburger. When my hamburger was done and dressed I was off, 50 miles down in 8:24 way faster than my 10 hr out plan.

Lone Tree (50) to Ridge Line (63.4)

After my burger had some time to digest, and the cookies, and peanut m&m's ,I started to feel better and was running good again. Keep up on the calories I told myself, don't let yourself get low on fuel again. Then I ran into the next runners coming into the turn around, about a mile from the turnaround the first place woman and then Paul Schoenlaub, only about 2 miles behind me. I knew it was only a matter of time before Paul caught me, he is strong and steady and a 100 mile veteran. I ran really good the rest the way back to Mattfield Green passing a lot of familiar faces along the way including my mentor Gary Henry, and of course he had to stop and take my picture. He told me I was killing it, and to keep it up. I was only a mile or so from being back to Mattfield (57.4) and ran the whole way figuring I could rest while my crew got me ready to go again. When I got there I changed into some dry shirts, and my crew took care of me again. Thanks crew. Dad had went to the aid station and got me a sloppy joe to go, as my crew noticed I was a little low on fuel when I left the first time. Good eye crew. I now only had 6 miles till I picked up my pacer and I was determined to keep running strong till I got there. Keep you head down, focus and run and when you get back to Ridge Line (63.4) let Rick take over from there. When I finally arrived I was really glad to see Rick and John King there, I had been running alone now for 27+ miles and some company the rest the was was going to be nice. They asked how I was, and surprisingly I was doing really well and felling good for being 63 miles in.
Ridge Line (63.4) to Finish 100 miles.

With Rick now in tow and to be in 6th place at this point was unbelievable. Still thinking I was going to run out of steam at some point and half to walk it in. I was determined to run as much as I could and with Rick there running became a little easier. I wanted to see what I could do from here to the finish, and Rick had told me he promised my wife she would be in bed by 2 a.m.
2 a.m. that's a sub 20 hour finish no way man. The next section went by fast and I seemed to get a second wind and was still running very effectively. At Texaco Hill (68.7) I had an awesome breakfast burrito and a cup of soup, thanks again Stacy. From here to Teterville (75) we didn't talk to much, I just kept my head down and ran when Rick said run, and drank when Rick said drink, and ate when Rick said eat. I couldn't believe we were going to make it back to Teterville before dark. When we arrived my crew was encouraging me to finish strong. They were a little surprised at how well I was doing as I was about 3 hours ahead of my scheduled arrival time. 25 miles to go and it's only 7:30 wow what happened. From here we would run in the dark. When we left Teterville we ran for a few miles and I started to see lights behind me. This really got my blood pumping. Rick kept asking me how I was doing and I was feeling great considering having ran 75 miles. I told Rick at this point I wanted to hang on to 6th place and I was either going to run the wheels off and stay in 6th or they were going to pass me any way. Mile after mile went by and every now and again I would see lights behind us. This kept me motivated to run as much as possible. It seemed like they were right behind us at times. When we hit Lampland (83.1) the 5th place guy was there going to drop, which moved me to 5th place. My awesome crew took care of me one last time and encouraged me to finish strong. As we were leaving, I noticed the guys behind us were coming in. Over the next section I tried to run as much as possible, but this section to Battle Creek was like a roller coaster up and down, up and down. Every now and then we would see lights behind us and I kept telling Rick they were closing in on us. Rick was not nearly as worried as I was and he kept telling me they were way back there. I was even wanting to run the hills. I thought they were that close, but we knew the last 8 miles was flat and fast so we saved it till the end. When we hit Battle Creek (91.7) we got a lively arrival to cheers from the aid station workers and Willie Lambert's GPRC wonderfull volunteers, little did they know they were cheering in someone they knew. I got a lot of encouragement here, and I think they were all surprised to see me already and in 5th place. A little over 8 miles from here. And with the Mirage aid station, another home base aid station with people we knew from the Kansas City Trail Nerds 4 miles ahead. After sucking down a cup of soup, we took off running, walked the one last hill, then ran all the way to Mirage (95+). When we got there we got a huge Trail Nerd lift from Ben, Brad and Shelly it was great to see them but we couldn't stay long the lights were still behind us. We left the Mirage pumped and ready to finish this incredible run. The miles were easy now, the end was in sight ,and everything seem to come a little easier now. The closer we got the more the adrenaline kicked in and the faster we ran (or at least it seemed fast at the time). When we rounded the corner and hit the 1/2 mile of pavement, I could hardly believe I was going to finish in 5th place, and at that point really had no idea what my time was. I knew it was going to be good. Then with the cow bells ,and my family, and a few others cheering us in I think we sprinted the last 100 yards or so. When we crossed the finish line at 100 miles, I bent over for a second to catch my breath and then got a hug from the wife and my dad, and heard my official time 18:19.50 wow totally amazing. I was glad my family was there to share it with me and I think my Dad (it was his first crew) was probably as proud of me at that moment as he ever has been. It was truly an awesome run, for someone who less than 3 years ago was 235lbs and couldn't run across the street. It was hard to really take in what I had just done, I expected to run good but this was amazing. Can't wait till next year, what an great event the Kansas Ultrarunners Society puts on. The ultrarunning community as a whole has made this the best sport in the world. I can't thank all of you enough for all the help I have gotten from all over, and you know who you are. Thank You.

Thank you to my wife who follows me around and allows me the time I need to train for these events, and the support and encouragement you give me. With out you none of this would be possible. Thanks also to my Dad and my son Jarret for crewing for me all day and being there.

Rick what can I say, you were awesome and the last 36+ miles with you were really fun, without you I would have had a good run but surely not a 18:19.50 thanks again. And thanks again to all my ultrarunning friends the Trail Nerds, the Trail Hawks, and the Trail Gaters you support and encouragement has really been appreciated.

What worked:

Drymax socks and Mizuno Wave Cabrakan's (what an awesome shoe) thanks for the tip Sophia

Having a stellar crew

A pacer (you can finish with out one but if you want the best finish you need one) thanks Rick

Soup at night

What didn't work:

Conquest (sorry that sports drink is the worst ever)

Estimated food and fluid intake: (this is what I remember taking in)

Fluids: 224oz. Gatorade G2 200 oz. of Water 60 oz of Coke

Food: (17) Gel packs (2) packs GU chomps (12) mini Snickers or Pay Days (6) PB&J's
(3) hand fulls Peanut M&M's (5) Oreo's (6) Cookies (4) cups Soup (1) Breakfast burrito (1) Hamburger (1) Sloppy Joe (1) hand full Pretzels (10+) salty Potato's (4) Rice Crispy treats