Saturday, February 20, 2016

Black Canyon 100k..chasing The Golden Ticket!

When in Arizona p/c me!
The starting line is always filled with friends!
Photo credit Keely Henninger
HURT 100 was in the books and I came away feeling pretty good.
It was entertaining to watch the expression on the faces of people who would congratulate me on my HURT100 win and ask, "what's next?".  My sheepish response being, "Black Canyon 100k", 4 weeks later oh and reason being, chasing a "Golden Ticket"...."If you never try, you will never know", reads the sign in the front entry of my home.
What did my training look like during the next 4 week period? I waited a week before going for a 6 mi treadmill run. Almost immediately I felt pain around the outside of my ankle but because I could tolerate it, I did.  Yeah, I know.... Monday morning I consulted one of the sports trauma docs at work and received a "peroneal tendonitis" diagnosis.  Imagine that, an overuse injury!!  Prescription, rest.  And so with that I took two days off, and on the third day trialed a 4 mi treadmill run.  Nope, apparently I needed more time off.  The next three days I rested and tried again on the fourth day (maybe a little stubborn).  All was well.  I ran 13 miles at Smith Rock, no discomfort, and my legs felt nice and strong. Although, I was a bit sad the following day that my quads were more sore than I thought they should/ would be.  With Black Canyon 4 weeks out from HURT, 2 weeks of which were already gone, my plan was to be as recovered and as ready as I could be.  My only focus for the remaining week of training would be leg turnover.  I had the strength and endurance from HURT but was lacking the turnover.  So, I hit the track a couple of times and at Smith I concentrated on running steady and strong.
Just like that it was time to taper for Black Canyon 100k.  Why a 100k, 4 weeks after HURT?  I mentioned the "Golden Ticket"... 2015 I was not fortunate to place top 10 at Western States 100 and I did not get in through the lottery.  That left racing in with one of the Golden Ticket races of which Black Canyon was. As a Golden Ticket race, the top 2, male and female finisher would earn a Western States entry.
Photo credit Scotty Mills
This pic is for you Ken!
As it would turn out, and for my very first time at this distance, I would be traveling solo for this race.  No crew, no pacers.  Now, maybe this is something many other runners are used to....but not this chica.  Of all my Ultrasignup races at the 100k or 100mi distance I have always had crew/ pacer support.  I call my team my little pit crew.  Yes, Ken calls me a diva :)  I call it, being loved! Because I generally have this support, I was looking forward to taking this one solo.  I currently have on my 2016 race calendar, 100 Miles of Istria, in Croatia and Run Rabbit Run 100, both of which I will not have a pacer and potentially no crew.  Good time to familiarize myself with how to do it solo.
As it turned out, I connected with friend and fellow Bend runner Amy Sproston the night prior to the race.  Sharing some great pre race hang time until we toed the line.  Gotta love racing with good friends!
Prepping for my race,  I planned 2 drop bags, 1 at mile 24 and 1 at mi 51.  In the 1st bag I placed GU calories, a can of coconut water, and frittos. The 2nd drop bag was more GU calories, coconut water, frittos, s-caps, a waist pack, a handheld and for worst case scenario a waist lamp.  My goal time was 10-11 hours which would have me finishing in the daylight. never know.
With a 7am start on a completely exposed course and expected high of 85 degrees I started the race with what I would end up finishing the race wearing.  Patagonia race kit, trucker cap, Julbo shades, cooling buff at my neck, and a 1liter hydration pack.
Photo credit Howie Stern; no trees to be seen mi 19!
At the end of the day I would say that I had a great race.  I started out nice and strong, and felt great for the most of the race.  The first 20-30 miles I settled in, holding pace with a group of guys who were great company and helped the miles fly by.  While our group spread out a bit in the middle part of the race, I continued to trade spots with a couple of them.  Amy took the lead from the start and other than on a 1mi long out and back at the 50k mark, I would not see her for the rest of the race.  Early on I passed a couple of gals, and then was passed by Amanda Basham, who ended up behind me on the out and back (I heard she went off course).  While I was concerned about her behind me, she ended up dropping from the race.
Photo credit Howie Stern; mi 38
My main mistake on my solo quest, was with my drop bag at mi 21.  I guzzled the coconut water but then forgot to take my extra GU/ Honeystinger calories from the bag.  While the aid stations had fruit, chips, PB&J, and sweets, they did not have GU or other gel calories.  I paid for this after about mi 40 when I ran out of the calories that I started with.  While GU can be at times hard to eat, it is crazy effective in bang for your buck than the actual food at the aid stations.  With the heat, and the amount of salt I was consuming to keep my leg cramps at bay my gut had no tolerance for solid food.  This would be my low point for the race, mi 42ish to 51 where my next drop bag was.  Here I did get more gel calories, only 2 packs. Not sure what I was thinking....I was able to take one but after that my gut was finished.  Thank you to the nice ATV folks who stopped to check on me as I was loosing my guts on the side of the road.  It's at about this time 92 miles left) that I was so very thankful that I was only running 62 miles and not 100 :)
Last few miles to the finish line, I felt confident there would be no one to challenge my second place finish.  My body was tired, and my feet (still recovering from HURT) were toast.  I was ever so happy and greatful to cross the finish line with my body intact and with a Golden Ticket!!
Happy to cross the line....with a Golden Ticket!
Thank you to Aravaipa for putting on this great event.  The race was incredibly well organized and the aid stations and course markings were top notch!!
There is a reason I am an ambassador for the gear I run in/ race in.  Patagonia, Julbo, Ultraspire, Picky Bars...The gear I wear day in and day out.  Seriously, take a look at my pics, it is the products I love to use and recommend to friends and family.  If my mom were with me here today annnnd if she had the vision of running a trail race, this is the gear I would set her up with!
As always love, hugs and cheers!

Solo quest learning... as I look to 100 Miles of Istria on April 15th...Take advantage of your drop bags, no harm no foul to have one every opportunity the race supports.  Could be a game changer!

In the words of Spro, "finish lines are better with friends"!
In the words of Chris Askew, "we did Willy Wonka proud"!! #goldenticketX2!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

HURT 2016...Redemption

Thanksgiving run!
Thanksgiving day brings a snowy 12 mi run with my spouse, running repeats on Grizzly Mnt. We return home and while I go for a second run to log more miles, Ken cooks dinner.
It's a friends going away party; Mary M thru hiking the triple crown  this calendar year, never done by a female!   As soon as the hugs are exchanged I leave to squeeze in another 10 miles.
Christmas Day and as we make the trek from Bend to Eugene to spend time with family, I'm dropped off 17 miles short of our get my run in.
Selfie, Merry Christmas!
It's 4:30 and I'm off for my 10 mi, 90 minute slog through the snow, followed by a 10+ hour work day with a repeat of the same 10 miles back home.  Ken has cooked me dinner, of which I eat and fall into bed exhausted (typical M-F).
If you are training for a January 100 mile race, these stories I am certain, sound familiar.  These are not complaints but rather what you do to get the miles in.
HURT 2015 was my first 100 mile DNF.  That year I was physically ready to race, but I was not mentally ready.  I took a fall early on and mentally I embraced that fall and used it as a handicap for not finishing rather than as a crutch to finish.
Time and energy was spent, sacrifices were made and...I did not finish.
After 2015's DNF, I knew before I left Hawaii that I would be back.  Added to this was being contacted by the RD, asking if a photo of me from 2015's race could be used on their Ultrasignup web page....
I was determined from the get go that HURT 2016 would be different.
My 6am send off crew! photo c/o Cory Smith!

HURT 2016 once completed would be my 13th 100 miler.   With a DNF as motivation, Ken, family and friends as crew and pacers, how could I fail.  And so I took that attitude and my physical and mental toughness on a 30 + hour trek in the jungles of Hawaii and I came away with the win.  Hell ya!!  But seriously, unless  I had a bone protruding from my body,  I knew I would be finishing this race.  It was a serious added bonus winning it!!
So you know how I finished but how did my race go...
At the pre race briefing we were handed two cards and asked to write down two motivational/ inspirational notes.  I did not write mine down because they were at the forefront of my mind.
My amazing older brother(and yes, 5 sisters)
who has lived with ALS for the past 19 years
1.) Run for those who can't 2.) Redemption run.  Not even for a moment was there a thought of not finishing.  I also committed to myself and my crew that there would be a smile on my face entering and exiting all the aid stations.
I knew about the heat/ humidity, and like last year, started the race with only a UltrAspire Isomeric Race handheld and Quantum 2.0 waist pack stuffed with my calories. I swapped to the Spry hydration pack after about 25 miles.  I stuck with GU and Honeystinger while running and had my crew supplied with coconut water, fritos, fruit cups, applesauce and turkey sandwiches at the aid stations.  This proved to be a great combination for me.  I never had a low point with my calories and for the first time found myself holding down the GU calories all the way through to the end of the race.
Picnic time mi 95 in front of the Bien Bench (which was in the sun :)),
If you can take 1 GU why not take 2!
Photo c/o Ronda Sundermeier.
 Final calorie stop mi 95 in front of the Bien bench, here my pacer Ronda told me, "1 GU was easy enough you might as well take 2", and so I did.  Did I mention the coconut water....for the last 3 years I have taken to drinking coconut water at aid stations with crew access.  I may have gone overboard at HURT.  My crew had to stop and buy more as I drank 9 cans.
More coconut water? :)
This was in additional to the 4 fresh coconuts I had from Michael Arnstein (2015 HURT winner).  He was at a junction on the course serving up fresh coconut's all night long!
Photo c/o Ronda S. Thank you for the coconut Michael!
This is a crazy technical course with slick roots, rocks, mud and so I started the race wearing the Nike Wildhorse. I also brought the HokaOne Speedgoat.  I decided to start with the firmer Nike and move to the softer Hoka later in the race.  While this did prove to be a good plan, shoe change at mi 60, a better plan would have been to race the entire race in the Hoka's.  The softer, tackier tread of the Hoka was a better shoe for the terrain.  The Wildhorse's tread is made of a hard material making it slip on the rocks and roots.
I mentioned the humidity, and for the first time EVER I did get a little backside chaffing, perhaps this is proof that I do have a backside :)
As always, the aid stations at HURT go above and beyond with a wide variety of food to entice runners and amazing volunteers who clearly love doing what they do.  I was super spoiled with my crew of 4-6 off and on.  If there is a course in which crew is not needed, this would be the one.  As was pointed out by my crew, I lost time having them at every aid station and while it was great having them there it was not necessary.
Bend goes M1 and F1! 
HURT family photo c/o Angus To; crew Carrie, Roy and B-Fine  Pacer/Crew Ken, Bill, and Ronda, you all were amazing!!
HURT is a looped course with out and backs taking the guess work out of where you stand in the race.  I enjoyed for the first time in a 100 mile event taking the lead from the start and maintaining and growing that lead through the course of the race.  I got to see fellow Bend runner
Jeff Browning move up into the lead for the men and take the win. As well as Yassine return from last years DNF with a 3rd place finish. What a great day, what a great race!
Thank you to Stan and Cheryl for the Kukui nuts donated for my cause.  Huge shout out to John, Jeff, Stan and PJ for putting on such an incredibly organized and yes, even fun event.
To my crew / pacers, you guys were awesome!
Patagonia, UltrAspire, Julbo, Picky just keeps getting better, thank you for your never ending support and love!
No better time than the present....Next up February 13th Black Canyon 100k...Chasing the Golden Ticket.
Stay tuned!

The kiss! Photo c/0 Angus To
And the finishers ring c/o Angus To

Benefit of racing in Hawaii,,,you got it, beach time! 2017 who's in??