Rocky Raccoon Race Report by David Carder

[caption id="attachment_979" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Did you know that EMZ has a belt buckle too?"][/caption] If you are an avid (or just show up every now and again) reader of this site you know that I have been looking for race reports to post.  The reason I am looking for race reports is that the title of this blog is Cook Train Eat RACE and I tend to race 12 times per year so that would mean it would be Cook Train Eat race.  So with that being said I had the opportunity to meet David Carder at a Starbuck's to discuss ultra-marathons, trail racing and blogging.  We discussed eating and how to fuel your body for an ultra and his belief on food.  David considers himself a flexetarian in that he will eat meat on occasion but it is not just any meat.  He chooses grass-fed meat that is organic.  He has a true passion for healthy living and giving back to the earth as well as the running community. Don't know about the Rocky Raccoon 100 well it is a 100 mile run that takes place in Huntsville, Texas.  There is also a 50 mile choice and the events must be completed in a time of 30 hours (100mi) or 29 hours (50mi.) This year's Rocky Racoon 100 featured a new course record set by Ian Sharman.  His finishing time was 12:44:33 or a pace of 7:38/mile.  The race also featured big names such as Anton Krupicka, Karl Metzler and Scott Jurek. Enjoy reading David's recount of the 2011 version of the Rocky Racoon. ---------------------------------------- WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2011 Rocky Raccoon Race Report: A Tale of Records and Revelations   What an incredible weekend in the world of Ultramarathons and I got be right in the middle of the whole thing as it unfolds.  The adventure starts with a very challenging drive from Dallas, 200 miles down I-45 to Huntsville.  Icy roads were now covered with 4-6 inches of snow.  I was carpooling with Deborah Sexton, a fellow NTTR runner, and she had me drive her 4x4.  We fare better than most while making steady progress down the ice and snow covered road.  Once again, all the overconfident impatient idiots in pick-up trucks dominated the vehicles crashed into guardrails and stuck in ditches.  The trip only takes us an extra 1-1.5 hours and we hit town in good shape. On the way down my “allergies” seem to be kicking up.  Deborah points out that most allergens are not active when it is 20 degrees out.  At our pit stop at Buccee’s in Madisonville I pick-up some cold medicine just to be safe.  After checking into the hotel I take a great two-hour nap.  When I wake up I am in a little bit of a fog and have a pressing sinus headache.  I drink another 1.5 liters of water and take 1,000mg of vitamin C. From there we are off to drop supplies at the Damnation aid station run by NTTR.  What can I say about the volunteers who give up an entire weekend to help others pursue their endeavors?  Lynn Ballard heads up an all-star crew again this year.  Volunteering at these races is a gift given to all the runners on the course.  It is definitely way past due for my time to return this gift.  I will be volunteering at a race near you soon!   Next on the agenda is packet pick-up and I have still have to register.  There is a limit of 750 runners between the 100-mile and 50-mile races.  Early in the week there were still 80 spots and looming bad weather gives me confidence this would not be an issue.  As it turns out almost 200 people will fail to start.  With runners from 35 states and 8 countries many have difficulties with flights and other travel arrangements. Now it is on to dinner with my pacers and dear friends, Craig and Carla Vining.  I love these guys!  It means a great deal to me that they brave the elements just to get here as well as run with me through a very cold and dark Saturday night.  Pacing for a runner is another very special gift similar to what the volunteers offer the runner on the trail.  It comes in the form of very vocal and direct physical support during the race and even more of an impact is made by just knowing they are there for you supporting your heart and soul as you put it all on the line that day.  I have been on both sides of this equation and it is a beautiful thing and it is not dissimilar to surviving a combat situation with someone.  Many strong bonds and lasting friendships have been built between strangers over these weekends. After dinner it is off to bed and early to rise at 4am in advance of the 6am start.  One more proactive dose of cold medicine and I quickly drift off to sleep.  Upon awaking I take a hot shower to get everything warmed-up and try to clear my congested head as much as possible.  I readjust some of my strategies for layers and clothing and we head towards the course.  The check-in and and starting line are abuzz with energy despite the frigid temperature of 20 degrees.  There is definitely extra energy in the air this year with a world-class field in the men’s race.  Anton Krupicka, Scott Jurek, Zach Gingerich, Hal Koerner, Karl Metzler, and some dude named Ian. My plan for the day is simple.  Run 4-hour loops in a very steady fashion all day long and into the night.  That is a 12:00/mile pace.  This is very conservative on this flat course, but will allow me to pursue a strong 20-hour finish.  The first few miles tick by easily and the body welcomes the latent heat now being generated.  I am careful to moderate my effort to stay on pace and not to sweat too much in the early morning freezing temps.  I hit my marks on the button all the way around the course during the first loop and come into the start/finish at 3:58. My fuel and hydration strategy for the day is quite simple.  With my improved metabolic efficiency I am going to consume around 150 calories an hour and hydrate heavily with Nuun from my hydration pack.  The first loop I fall behind a bit on hydration due the tube to the mouth piece freezing solid.  Food for the day is organic, vegan Bonk Buster bar.  I also supplement with Endurolytes to make sure my electrolytes stay topped off.  I will not fall victim to GI distress today. I start the second loop just as I did the first.  Steady and even.  All systems are go through the first aid station.  On the way to Dam Road I notice my sweat rate is picking up quite a bit.  I feel flashes of warmth not in a good way in the still cool morning.  Now that the hydration tube has thawed I redouble efforts to stay on top of my fluid intake.  I am hoping I can flush whatever is ailing me with liquids and a healthy sweat.  The leaders on the course are smoking it.  At one point I come around a corner and there is an apparition otherwise known as Anton floating effortlessly over the trail towards me.  Hal is right behind him with a big smile and a friendly hello. A few minutes later and here comes Scott Jurek.  I pinch myself to see if I am dreaming.  Maybe a dream within a dream?  I just watched Inception for the first time so I reach for my talisman to insure myself this is real.  On the way back to Dam road I actually get to run WITH Scott Jurek for a few minutes.  He has a minor injury that was bothering him so he had already decided to stop after his 3rd loop.  He is chatting with everyone.  It is very cool to be treading through the single track on a beautiful morning in the forest right behind Scott.  When he gets back to Damnation he stays for over 10 minutes and visits with everyone, takes pictures, etc.  He is the real deal and a total class act.  I leave the aid station to move on and it is not long before he co bmesy me again.  He is really moving this time.  He offers a friendly “looking good” and continues gliding forward. How can it be that I am in trail running heaven and dealing with this stupid cold?  The second half of this loop I find myself falling off this very easy pace I have been running even after the inspiration of all the great runners I am getting to share the trail with this morning.  With almost 4,000 miles of training last year, the fatigue I am starting to feel is not due to lack of preparation.  By the time I reach the start/finish I have given an hour back to the course and finish the second loop in 5 hours. Craig and Carla are there again to help me transition to the next loop.  I talk about some of my struggles and my strategy.  Even though this is their first time to crew, they seemed to instinctively know to keep pressing me forward and talk about nothing other than working the plan.    At this point I am nine hours into the effort.  My body feels like it is 19.  Body aches in my upper torso and places that usually do not ache from a 40-mile effort.  At this point my legs and my heart tell me to just keep moving forward and to not think about the time.  Despite the motivation of my spirit, my head starts doing calculations on pace and time.  I am 9 hours in with 3 loops to go.  It will probably take me 5.5 hours to do loop 3 unless I am able to rally significantly.  Loops 4 and 5 will be in total darkness and in falling temperatures below freezing.  6 hours each for these loops.  That makes 9 hours plus another 17.5 hours to go at these paces.  26.5 hours to complete the 100 miles.  This sounds doable under fairly “normal” ultra conditions.  Not a great time, but any finish is a victory in itself regardless of the time. On many courses on any given day this is what it can boil down to.  Do you have the mental toughness and determination to endure..... the rest of David's Race Report [HERE]  
Jason Bahamundi

About the Author:

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

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