Monday, September 03, 2012

Labor Pains 12 hour Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Labor Pains ultra.  A 12 hour event on a 5 mile loop through the trails of Mt. Penn.  Leading up to the race I'd done one run of 3.5 hours and one 4 hour run.  I figured I'd be able to get about 6 hours of running in without it being too painful.  I ended up with so much more than that.

My internal alarm clock went off at 3am and I rolled around for a while before getting up and going.  I arrived about an hour early of the 7:30 start time and set up shop with a couple I know from Dailymile.  The  start time was 12 minutes late in typical PCS fashion.  As with my first ultra I wanted to run the uphills while I could as I assumed I'd be walking them later.  According to my Garmin there was somewhere around 800 feet of elevation gain per loop.  My first lap ticked off at 45 minutes.  A bit faster than planned, but not too crazy.  The course was easy compared to anything else I'd ever run at Mt. Penn.  It was about 98% runnable.  The other 2 percent was very rocky or short crazy steep hills.  My second lap was identical to my first.  Except the rain started at the end of this lap.  It came down hard for about an hour an a half.  It seemed to cut the humidity, but made for a few slippery trails.  All in all the trails held up very well all day for the amount of feet that tread them.

At the end of my 3rd lap I started a trend.  Grab my phone and email Kym how it was going and take 1 Advil.  I did this every other loop for most of the rest of the day.  My pattern also became to eat twice per lap.  Once at the main Aid Station (pretzels, PB&J, candy, salted potatoes.  That which I did not eat - burgers, hot dogs, soup, pasta, bagels, and other stuff I paid no attention to), then I'd either grab a Gu I brought, or a mini cliff bar from the main AS to eat at the 2.6 mile station.  I twice filled my water bottle with electrolytes, and water the rest of the day.  I drank coke or powerade when I felt like it.  Hydration was never an issue.  Peed about 9 times throughout the run.

On my 6th lap I passed by the marathon sign at 4:15.  Halfway through this lap another runner fell in line behind me and we pushed the pace for the rest of this lap.  After the 30 mile Aid Station I got out ahead and then he caught me again and we pushed the pace for the rest of that lap.  I lost him after that, but I'd say I went a good 5-10 minutes faster in that time with us pacing each other.  At the 50K mark I was somewhere around 5:10, then when I reached 50 miles I was at 9 hours.  Well before I reached 50 miles I had decided to not stop there.  I knew I'd have 3 hours to spare, so I knew around mile 45 I wanted to go for 100K.

At mile 40 I changed into dry socks and shoes and shortly after that big blisters popped in each foot.  The pain was short lived though.  Throughout the day I hit just about no rough patches until mile 58.  Up to this point I had only been passed by 1 or 2 non-team runners.  After the mile 57 aid station 3 runners passed me.  I was discouraged by how strong they looked.  Granted, I had no idea if they were on mile 30 or 60.  But I decided to not let them go, so I picked it up and started running, passing them.  Two of them fell back and one said "let's go have some fun!" and ran with me.  I talked to him, and he was 5 miles ahead of me.  That news hurt.  And when I gave in to walk and he tore past me, and the other two also did the same, I got angry.  As a faster runner, one mentally rewarding thing about a 5 mile loop is that I passed about 400 runners throughout the day.  It does wonders for an ego to pass someone.  And not only does it feel good, but in the ultra world, everyone is always encouraging.  They said good job to me, I tell them the same.  But, as someone who doesn't get passed very often, it was a kick in the gut.  The guy was awesome and encouraging, but I couldn't hang.  About a half mile later "Be Calm" from Fun came on my ipod.  These lyrics put me in my place "I know you feel like you are breaking down, I know it gets so hard sometimes, be calm.... it just gets so hard sometimes, be calm."  So, I calmed down, and Lou Reed's "Perfect Day" came on next.  And I caught up to them.  At this point I was at 60 miles in 11 hours.  I had either 1 hour to try to get 5 more miles, or I could finish the 100K with a mile out and a mile back.  I was tempted to go for it, but knowing there is no partial credit, I wanted to be sure I got that 100K mark.  100K in 11:20.  3rd in the under-39 male age group, and probably somewhere around 7th overall.

edit 7/2013 - garmin link to show course/elevation -