Tuesday, November 17, 2015

KUS 24 Hour - 100 Mile Run

Kansas Ultra-runners' Society 24-hour/ 100 mile run​

One of my favorite things about being human is having the ability to analyze where we are at at any given time and compare it to where we want to be. In any element of our existence we have the ability to determine where we are at physically, mentally, spiritually, whatever it is, and compare it to where we want to be. The difficult part is embracing the opportunities that allow us to really discover where we are currently at. That is putting the vulnerability right up with the opportunity; if you deny vulnerability in your life; you deny opportunity. The Kansas Ultrarunners' Society 24-hour race provided me with a great opportunity to test where I am at both physically and mentally as an ultra-runner and specifically at the 100 mile distance.
Ryan Hall says it pretty good in this quote: “Running isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.” Never is this more evident than in a 24-hour 1.3 mile loop run. I ran over a "Finish" line 74 times; each time passing through did however provide me with a little bit of momentum. Hearing the mat beep, seeing my name and number of laps pop up on the screen kept reminding me that with each lap I am getting more miles. But it truly was not about the destination that day; it was truly about the journey, the adventure.

I started the run with 2 friends from Grand Island that were running the 6 and 12 hour races. 
Both were hoping to, and later accomplishing their first ultra-marathons. Early in the day, it was great to have Matt to talk with as we rolled off lap after lap.  It was perfect temperatures to maintain a good pace. I looked over at Matt around mile 10 and said "Oh crap man, I forgot to eat breakfast." Normally I load up pretty good before a race like this but some how spaced it; lucky for me the 1.3 mile loop made access the aid station and my drop bag easy and often. Before I had thought much about it we were already around mile 25. This is where he seemed to gain speed and I decided I needed to hold back if I was going to have any shot at completing 100 miles. 

I hit the 25 mile mark at 3 hours and 35 minutes. I hadn't set any goal times for any of the splits, I had 2 goals coming in: 100 miles in under 24 hours and to be moving more than 90% of the time from the start until the finish. I have a data field on my watch that keeps track of Move Percent and after a shockingly low Move Percent at the Hawk-100 I knew that this was an opportunity of mine. 

I consumed mostly water, tailwind and Mio with caffeine in it during the race. I would alternate between the 3 based on whatever sounded good. I'd say I carried my handheld bottle for around 75% of laps. Being able to drop it for a lap when I felt my hydration was on point. I had my Orange Mud single barrel pack on at the start but realized pretty early on that their was no real need to carry it in a race that had so much access to food and water. I came to mile 50 at just under 8 hours of running. I had been moving 97.5% at this point and only walking up the 2 hills. This was a great feeling; knowing that I had ran half of my goal in 1/3 of my allotted time gave me the confidence that I would make 100 in under 24.

After mile 50 my legs started to get tighter, feet were getting sore and the laps seemed longer. Around mile 55 or so I started having my first real battles with nutrition. I had been eating quite a bit at aid stations up to this point but for the last few miles my stomach was shutting down. This happened in the past to me and the only thing I could seem to get down at that point was smoothies. Something about it being cold and a liquid made me be able to hanlde it. I got back to the aid station and hopefully politely asked Brian if he could run to the gas station and get me 4 Naked Smoothies. 2 laps later there he was with the smoothies. These things completely saved my day and my race. Without these I don't know if I would have been able to refuel like I needed to and I"m not sure if I would of made 100. So thank you Brian for those and each favor I asked of you when I came around, I truly appreciate it.

I spent most of the afternoon alternating between the the Unbroken audio book and the Huskers Game on my I-Pod and just trying not to ever think about how many miles I had remaining or how many hours left. I hit mile 76 at 13:41 and decided to update facebook at that point so people knew i was doing all right. At this point I had less than a marathon left and I had almost 10 hours to do it. Every mile after 75 was hard-work and hard earned. I tried many different tactics to mentally get myself the strength to run and then back it off. My legs and feet were complaining but I wasn't stopping, I never let my move percent drop under 95% and finished the day moving 96.2% of the time. That means I was moving 19 hours and 25 minutes of the total 20 hours and 9 minutes that it took me. At the Hawk-100 the move percent was 64%.  

I called up many friends and family throughout the overnight hours and talked with them as I tried to make the miles go by. Thank you all for being there and awake and listening to me ramble through the night.

Also a big thank you to all the ultra-runners on the trail that entire day. I'm trying to thank you all personally but I"m sure I'll miss or forget about some conversations, (little sleep deprived) Everything from the simple "Good Job" and  "Nice Work" comments; to the hour long conversations made my entire journey better. At every race, I am always so grateful and inspired by the people I meet on the trails, this one did not disappoint. Also a big thank you to all the volunteers! They were absolutely amazing, always asking what they could get me and helping me out at the aid station. Even other ultra-runners crews, I didn't catch the guys name but he was there crewing another runner but made me feel like I had a crew all night long, each time I came through asking if their was anything I needed. This is truly what ultra-running is to me. 

I talked to my ultra-running side kick, Mike around 2:45 am for like the 5th time that day. I had just around 2 miles left to go. I told him I did not have the energy to get done by 3:00 am (would of made under 20 hours) and that I was going to be happy with just finishing 100 miles and taking almost 7 hours off my Personal Best for this distance. I hung up with him and ran my final 2 laps. I finished 100 miles in 20:09 minutes.

I quickly moved from the finish area after getting my buckle and saying my final farewells to the aid station volunteers. I stumbled over to my vehicle and set up my camp pad and sleeping bag. It was around 40 degrees out but I could not get my body temp to come down from the run. I slept the next 2 hours with my shirt off and the windows down thinking it was way to hot outside for November. I woke up around 7:20 to find the only evidence of their being a race at this park was a couple left over port-a-potties. The town-people were around walking their dogs and riding their bikes on this nice chilly Sunday morning as this random, half naked, shoe-less zombie like creature hobbled from his car to the port-a-pottie and back. After this, I got myself together and went and showered at the Y, ate Huevo Rancheros with french fries & a glass bottle of Coke then made my journey back to Nebraska, I got home some time that evening happy with my race and this whole adventure.

In my normal day to day life I crave adventures like this with a sense of passion that is hard to explain. My mother raised me early on storybooks and adventures and then my brother when I was older with maps and trail reports. The passion in both of them as they they describe a trail or a mountain captivated me. Both of them, instilled a sense of adventure in me that I am forever grateful for. You don't have to be a runner to find adventure, but you need to get out of your comfort zone. Adventure at its core is being uncomfortable. Their were times in my life I had no uncontrollable drive to climb a mountain or blaze a trail. My sense of adventure was not gone at this time of my life but I was unaware that I was filling it with other things. Having a night out to look forward to brought enough of the unexpected and uncomfortableness to keep my sense of adventure at bay. As I sit here now looking back to 765 days ago when I decided remove alcohol from my life without evening knowing why, I'm beyond glad I did. I'm not sure who or what aided in that, but this me; here; right now, is exactly where I want to be.

Now go out there and treat yourself to some extreme uncomfortableness

Happy Trails!

Data from KUS100. 

Here's the break down by quarter. 

0-25miles 3:35
25-50 miles 4:26
50-75 miles 5:33
75-100 miles 6:52

Move percent: 96%
Avg Hr 138
Suffer score: 1,533
Elev gain 5600ft
Calories burned: 14,097

"The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness." -Brene Brown

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