Monday, 02 February 2015 13:36

Rocky Raccoon 100 – 2015 Race Report

Rocky Raccoon 100 will be a race I will not forget for a very long time. It might be because everything is tired, or hurts, or is sore, or is chafed, or is achy. If it is none of those things then it is not a part of my body. I am beat up from head to toe but simultaneously I am elated. When I put together my training plan for Rocky Raccoon 100 I had an idea of what I wanted to do to prepare my body and my mind. As with any type of training plan you have to adjust along the way and I did that to my training plan as well as to my goals until the day came when I had to execute. This race report will give you an idea of the day I had while covering 100 miles and will be broken down into how the race plays out and this is with 5 loops. Each loop has an adjective to describe it and that is the layout we will use. 16 weeks prior to the event I looked at my training plan and put a goal of running sub-24 hours into my head. In order to accomplish this type of goal you have to believe it and from day 1 I was going to believe that I had the ability to break 24 hours at the 100 mile distance. Getting to this number was going to take hard work and hard work was going to be what I put into it. As weeks went by I began to believe that I could run faster than 24 hours, then it became faster than 23 hours, then 22 hours and I finally settled on 20.5 hours as my goal. After finishing Bandera 100k in fewer than 13 hours I thought I could run the 100 miles in 19:30 but told nobody except for my wife. This was the number I implanted into my head and even went into my Google Docs to calculate what those paces would be. After calculating the paces I un-did all the numbers and left the document to show 20:25. When Jeff and I lined up at 5:55am on January 31st we had no idea how the day would unfold but with each passing step we could tell that we were on our way to doing something extraordinary. I will tell you the story of Rocky Raccoon 100 2015 from my point of view but feel free to ask questions and I will be happy to answer them for you. Rocky Raccoon 100 – 2015 Race Strategy A race of 100 miles requires multiple strategies. There has to be a running strategy, an aid station strategy and a transition area strategy. In addition to those there has to be the ability to change on the fly because no race is executed flawlessly and changes are a must.

Published in Race Reports
Friday, 06 February 2015 12:13

RR100 Cast Of Characters

RR100 was a tremendously successful race for me, read the race report here, but it never unfolds the way it did without a tremendous amount of support from some key figures. This cast of characters was either on-site or very instrumental in helping me reach the finish line in 19:22 or was there during my training and pushing me to get better as each session passed. There are many people to thank so let's get this cast of characters post (poached from Old Stude) started.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - race - ultra trail

Lead Actress: Pit Crew Chief aka Karen What can I say about Karen that I have not already said? She is the rock to my insanity. PERIOD. For those of you that do not know Karen came into my life as I was getting divorced. It was a hard time in my life as everything seemed to be crashing down all around me, but as Karen is apt to do on a daily basis she puts items and life into perspective. For the past 8 years she has been able to get me to see the forest for the trees and for that I am eternally grateful. On race day Karen's job was to make sure that my crew was ready to go when their time was called but to also make sure that I had everything I needed at the transition area to make sure that I did not spend unnecessary minutes looking for things. Each time I came around to finish a loop she would yell what do you need? Hydration vest fill-up, pancake, shirts, shoes, new watch. It did not matter as she was ready and kept me moving. Karen would send text messages to my pacers on Loops 4 and 5 to find out where I was and how I was doing so she could prepare the transition area for exactly that and nothing more. Of course, after I acted like the Tasmanian Devil in the area she would have to clean it back up and get it squared away for the next loop but she never complained about it.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - race

Oh, just a little run through the woods of Huntsville State Park with Jeff[/caption] Lead Actor: Carrot aka Jeff Irvin I 'met' Jeff nearly 6 years ago and we were both getting our feet wet in endurance sports. At the time he was writing a blog as was I and we commented back and forth and from there our friendship took off. Since then I friendship has continued to grow and if it weren't for Jeff I do not think I would be running these long races. Jeff was the person who said: We should run a 100 mile race. I told him he is nuts but I would do the 50 with him. Before I knew it I was signing up for Lake Martin 100 and cursing him ever since but that never stopped me from signing up for RR100 this year or agreeing to race Bandera 100k three weeks prior or come up with ideas of running Coldwater Rumble 100 in January of 2016. We have even discussed running across the Gobi Desert together. Yeah, he ain't right. All of that being said I rely on Jeff for his analytical ability when it comes to gear, especially when it comes to the bike. I am impatient and do not want to review anything so I let him do the research and then just buy whatever he recommends. He got me running in Hokas and come early March I will be riding with power from the Garmin Vector pedals thanks to him. His friendship has been unwavering and invaluable.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - trail - ultra - race - run

A-Train and the misfit triathletes (Carrot, Baha, D-Rog) at IMTX 2013[/caption] Supporting Actress: A-Train aka Annie Annie is Jeff's Leading Actress (wife) and is my second sister. I cannot count the number of times that Annie and I have laughed at all the stupid stuff that her husband gets me into and how I never seem to say no to him at the same time. Simultaneously, Annie has asked me to look after Jeff at the races we do together since he seems to always end up in the Medical Tent or send me text messages when I am not at the race to ask me questions about Jeff. Her ability to laugh at our stupidity while supporting us is amazing and I thank her for allowing me to be a part of these adventures. If you want a glimpse into Annie's mindset about our friendship I will tell you a quick story about the first time we met. Jeff was racing IMTX in 2011 and I volunteered for the race and Jeff decided, without talking to Annie, to offer me his house to stay at in exchange for watching their pugs. When I showed up at their hotel room to get the garage code/key to the house the following conversation took place: Jeff: Hey Annie, can you give Jason the key and garage code to the house. Annie: This makes total sense. I am handing over my house to a guy my husband met on the internet. Jason: Not only that but he is from New York and is Puerto Rican. Jeff: And he has pugs so it is totally fine. To this day we laugh about that conversation and everything that has taken place since then. Supporting Actors:

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - race - run

Ninja and I before the start of the IDB Trail Run[/caption] Ninja aka Greg: If you read my race report then you know that Greg is a veteran of the RR100 race having finished it himself 3 years ago and then pacing every year since then. Ninja is one of the first people I ever ran a trail with. I met up with him at Cedar Ridge Preserve along with Sherrif as I was preparing for RR50 and LM100. When we were running you could tell he had an easy time on the trails as if he was born to run on them. Since that time until today I have found him to be one of the nicest people I have had the fortune to cross paths with. When I asked for pacers he was the first to respond that he was in and then took the impetus to ask if we all needed to sit down for dinner to discuss strategy. His confidence was very reassuring in the days leading up to the race and then when we were out on the course. The fact that he was open to a Bro Hug after the race was over was just icing on the cake.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run - race


Gorilla aka Jeff Bennett: This dude is my kind of crazy. There is not a challenge that has been presented to him that he has run away from. A Marine and a Kona qualifier how has ridden bike on the Tour De France course, run the Boston Marathon in a Gorilla suit, canoed for 61 hours straight and won the Burro race multiple times proves that statement to be true. Jeff was the first person I texted when Lake Martin 100 was over as we were heading back to Texas from Alabama. My message to him was: Consider this your first recruitment letter for RR100. Having paced our friend Raul at Leadville 100 and all of his experience in endurance sports plus his good-natured wit I knew I needed him on the team for the 1st part of Loop 5. It was going to get dark mentally at this point and having him draw stories from all his exploits would be the panacea to this mental downturns. It turned out to be true when Korean Charmin became the topic of choice after the Nature Center Aid Station. More on Korean Charmin in the Outtakes Post that is coming out next week.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail race

Sherrif, Old Stude aka John: I met John through the Wade 70%'ers group I started hanging out and training with in preparation for Ironman Arizona. Since that point, I would say that Sherrif has become one of my biggest inspirations and a person I respect immensely. His nickname Old Stude is not unwarranted as the dude is old but he does not let that stop him from getting better at these events. I look up to John as he does not allow anything to get in the way of him reaching his goals. Being tough regardless of circumstance is something I admire in people and Sherrif has that, but he is also the first person to lend a hand, slap you on the back and congratulate you. He is also not somebody who ACTS tough as evidenced by his finish at Ironman Chattanooga and the look of disbelief that came through his tears. John's ability to push himself inspires me to push myself and I cannot thank him enough for that. The Extras: There are so many other people who were involved in the training of this event that this would go on forever but here are a few: Lee who was willing to run the trails with me every chance he got and I appreciate him for joining me on those early weekend runs through the North Shore Trails of Lake Grapevine. Dog Bait - John was not around a lot but that is because he is retired and can go gallivant around but his message just before the race was beyond supportive and I replayed it over in my mind as the race went on.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - race

Drum - Michelle is a fierce of a competitor as you will find but would not know it because there is always a smile on her face.  Through Strava and text messages she sent enormous amounts of support and confidence building encouragement.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run

Goat - Jeff has never met a stranger and is always prepared with a positive word(s) to help you through anything.  His ability to tell me that I am crazy but say it in a good way gave me one good laugh after another not to mention the Peanut M&Ms as fuel before Loop 5.

rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run - race


Train Wreck - Marc travels a long ways to come and hang out with our group for training rides and races.  He is willing to help anybody out and when I finally went to run with him in his neck of the woods he returned that by buying me breakfast.  Just the kind of guy that he is.

]rr100 - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - race - run 


The RR100 Cast of Characters That Helped Me Reach 19:22

Thank You.


Published in Race
Wednesday, 14 January 2015 06:29

2015 Bandera 100k Race Report

2015 Bandera 100k Ultra Trail Race will not be an event I will forget for a very long time.  When Jeff mentioned that we should do this race as a great way to end the peak weeks of training for Rocky Raccoon 100 I thought it was a great idea.  When you are running 85-90 miles per week the more races you can involve the better as it takes away the monotony of running on your own, plus it allows you to test pacing and nutrition strategy. As race day neared I started to worry about the effects of running on such a difficult course would be on my legs.  I worried about injury and getting sick as the forecast was not a pretty one.  On race day all of these went away except for keeping true to my only two goals for Bandera 100k.

  • Goal 1: Stay vertical.  Do not take chances to avoid falling and what could lead to injury.
  • Goal 2: Finish under 16 hours and get yourself a lottery ticket to Western States 100.

How did the day go?  What are my thoughts on the race organization, the course, the volunteers and everything in between?  Let's find out.

Friday January 9th - The Day Before Bandera 100k

On Friday I drove 5 hours from my home in Dallas to the Flying J Ranch where Jeff had booked us a room.  On my way down he texted me that he upgraded our room to one that had a kitchen and a laundry room.  Little did we know how important that laundry room would be. When I got to the hotel and brought my bags in Jeff and I went to grab a bite to eat and then over to the pre-race meeting and packet pick-up.  While at packet pick-up we met two athletes that had run Bandera 100k the previous year and they were able to answer the three questions we had.

  1. Q: What time should we show up?  A: Get here prior to 6am so you get a close parking space and not dealing with lines.
  2. Q: How hard is it to pick up drop bags? A: Crossroads drop bag can be picked up as you are leaving the park.
  3. Q: Are there any sections on the trail that you can run? A: Yes, middle 20 for sure. First 5 tough as well as last 5.

After hearing that information we set out to eat dinner.  Keeping to the program of eating like a King for breakfast, a Prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner I decided to have a greek salad and fried pickles.  After having a bowl of fruit before bed I was set.

Saturday January 10th - Bandera 100k Race Day

4:30am wake-up call.  Breakfast of coffee, toast with peanut butter and sliced banana and it was off to the race site. I decided that I did not need drop bags on the course and just packed a bag for the start/finish line.  In that bag I had a pair of fresh shoes to change into along with a full change of clothes.  Jeff and I made a commitment to ourselves that we would make a full change of our upper body clothes regardless of how good/warm we felt.

Loop 1 - The First 31

When we lined up I repeated my 2 goals in my head as the clock was counting down.  Having Jeff with me and running into training partner Troy at the start helped to calm me down to just run and not 'race.'  Once we started moving the nerves left and it was time to execute the plan of start slow and then go slower.  We ran with all of the 100k participants for the first 5 miles which included a section that is vertical and one athlete slipping on the ice and falling backwards into Jeff who blocked him while I grabbed the front of his shirt.  I made a mental note to make sure to be careful at that spot when I came around for Loop 2. When we reached the Nachos aid station things started to clear up in terms of athletes.  The spreading out started to take place and we could start to run.  This is also the first time on the course where the sotol is not tearing you up.  The sotol cactus hurts as it pulls your skin when you run through it.  There is no avoiding the cactus so you have to suck it up and get through it as best you can. [caption id="attachment_9797" align="alignright" width="600"]bandera 100k - race report - ultra trail run Bandera 100k Course Profile[/caption] Jeff and I stuck together through the sections from Nachos to the Cross Roads Aid station and then when reached Mile 20 he mentioned to me that I could go ahead if I wanted to secure a good time because I was able to descend really well.  I told him that if I get the itch then I would go ahead.  When we hit the last mile before getting to the Cross Roads Aid station a second time I was in heaven.  I latched onto Troy's hip and we descended that last mile at a very fast pace and I was loving it.  I had a huge smile on my face and when we hit the aid station Troy and I were laughing that we were actually able to run.  I waited around for Jeff and Troy took off.  After Jeff came into the aid station we headed out and this time after about a mile I kept running and was now on my own. I kept repeating my race strategy which was to run the flats, walk the hills and cascade gracefully down the descents.  I could feel that my legs were strong and I just kept on plugging until I reached the Last Chance aid station where I grabbed a couple of Oreos and moves on. In the last 5 miles from Last Chance to the Lodge I came upon an athlete that was walking and seemed to be walking gingerly.  When I caught up to him we were chatting and he told me that he fell at the 11km mark and probably broke a rib.  When I asked if he was going to stop at the turn around he said that he would because he was having trouble breathing and could feel the rib floating.  I was in awe that this guy went past all the aid stations between the 11km mark and what was now about the his 45k mark and still moving.  Tough. Tough. Tough. When I got to the Lodge I stuck to the plan of making a full upper body change so I swapped out my wet and sweaty tops for dry tops and it felt great.  When I took off the Hoka OneOne Mafate and put on the Hoka OneOne Stinson Trail shoe it felt even better.  My feet felt light and I was ready to run.  I opened a foil packed with a FlapJacked pancake and ate it as I set out for Loop 2. [caption id="attachment_9805" align="aligncenter" width="172"]bandera 100k - ultra trail race - runner - race report Check out the mud on my shoes at the end of Loop 1[/caption]

Loop 2 - The Second 31

As I started running I could feel how light I felt.  My hydration pack felt lighter which told me that I would need to fill up at some point because being out on those trails without liquid would not be a good idea.  My feet felt great and it seemed as if the mud was not sticking as much to the Stinson as the Mafate.  The best feeling though was the fact that I was dry. During the first part of Loop 2 I kept repeating to myself that I needed to race the daylight.  I am not a fan of wearing a headlamp and with the trail being difficult and my first time on it I wanted to get as far into the loop as I could before having to wear the headlamp. [caption id="attachment_9806" align="alignright" width="199"]Bandera 100k - ultra trail race - race report Middle of Loop 2 - Notice how clean my shoes look now[/caption] It was at this point that I made the decision that aid stations were pit stops and not an opportunity to strike up conversation.  My goal was to stop at the aid station and down two cups of coke and grab two Oreos to eat as I walked.  When I hit Nachos there were about 10-15 athletes hanging around and I went right past them following my plan.  Relentless Forward Motion was the name of the game at this point. As I came upon hills that were not steep I made the decision to run them as opposed to walking them because at this point I have nothing to conserve my energy for.  I ran the flats, the uphills and descended and I felt myself getting strong.  Reaching Chapas I followed the aid station plan and kept moving. When I hit Cross Roads the first time on Loop 2 I refilled my hydration pack as well as the two Oreos and Coke and then kept on going because I knew in this section there were some steep climbs as well as the fun descent that I wanted to hit in the daylight.  I was fortunate enough to do so and when I got to Cross Roads the second time I grabbed a cup of coffee because the sun was setting and I could feel that I was getting cold when I left aid stations due to their warmth inside the tents. As I left Cross Roads I was only focused on getting to Last Chance.  4.2 miles and nothing else mattered.  During this section I came upon Ted who was Bib# 333 and I stuck to his tail as much as I could.  Eventually Ted and I ran into two other athletes and we all ran as pack for a while.  After about 1 mile one of the athletes pulled over to use nature's restroom and we kept going.  When we reached Last Chance I could tell that we were covering quite a bit of ground at a decent pace and yet my legs still felt very strong.  When we left we ran into another athlete but it was not long before it was just Ted and I. After having run 5-6 miles together we finally decided to chat.  As I found out Ted lives in Austin and is from Zimbabwe.  What a great conversation and what a great way to kill the last 4.7 miles.  At one point I told Ted that when we hit the field he did not have to worry about out sprinting me because my only goal was sub-16 and injury free.  His response was: the podium is all yours.  We had a good laugh. Ted and I were clicking off the miles and passing a few runners when I told him that I thought we were finally done passing other athletes and this was with about 1.25 miles to go.  Sure enough within minutes a head lamp appeared from behind us and I remember hearing Ted say something along the lines of: somebody caught us. That was all I needed to hear and for whatever reason I took off like a jack rabbit.  I began descending as if it were a perfectly gorgeous 55* day out with the sun shining.  Except it was below 32*, raining and muddy beyond belief.  When I finally stopped descending and realized I had smashed my toe and knew I was within 0.25 miles of the finish line I had thought I would stop running and coast in.  My legs had a different idea and I kept running.  In fact I ran so much and so hard that I wound up being that dude that passes people as they get close to the finish line.  I apologize to the two ladies I passed but my legs were moving without my control it seemed. As I crossed the finish line I looked at the clock and saw 12:52.  Not only did I eclipse 16 hours and earn a ticket into the Western States Lottery but I also beat the 14 hour goal and was now below 13 hours as well.  WHAT?!?!?! [caption id="attachment_9795" align="alignright" width="300"]bandera 100k - ultra trail runner - race report USATF 100k National Championships[/caption] The official from USATF asked if I was in the Championships and before I knew it he was handing me a medal as well as getting a belt buckle from Joe the Race Director.  I walked into the lodge area to get my gear as I was expecting to go to the car and change and then come back to get Jeff when I realized he was standing in front of me.  When I asked how he managed to close so  fast he told me that he crushed his ankle and was driven to the finish line.  I was bummed because our number one goal to stay injury free was not accomplished by Jeff.  We walked back to the car and got changed when I saw the back of the USATF medal and it showed 3rd Place M40-49.  WHAT?!?!?!?! Two days later I am still shocked by the race I had.  It was nothing I expected but I am very happy with the outcome.  More importantly I ran this morning and my legs feel pretty good.  In addition to that Jeff says his ankle is feeling much better and he thinks he will be more than ready for Rocky Raccoon 100 on January 31st.

Thank You

Thank you to Joe for putting on a wonderful race.  Thank you to all the volunteers who braved miserable conditions to support us.  Thank you to all the athletes for lining up to run and making this an experience I will never forget.  Thank you to my wife and stepson for their never-ending support of my dumb ideas.

Published in Race Reports
Thursday, 19 June 2014 12:24

3:56 versus 4:06. What Is The Difference?

[caption id="attachment_9613" align="alignright" width="225"]3:56 marathon - ironman - goal - running Finishing the marathon at IMTX 2013.[/caption] 3:56.  This is an arbitrary number but it made so much sense to me during my run in Myrtle Beach while on vacation.  I kept repeating this number over and over.  I was essentially cheering myself on to a 3:56 and all the while I was comparing it to 4:06.  The chant in my head eventually became 3:56 versus 4:06, 3:56 versus 4:06.  Every time I felt like I could not take another step in the pea soup humidity I heard those words and was able to keep moving until the run was finally over and I doubled over in a pool of sweat and exhaustion.  Deep down I knew I could do it but it took a simple and somewhat silly mantra to push me to that level. Now, what does 3:56 mean?  As I mentioned previously, this number is arbitrary but at the same time it is also a number that is below 4 hours.  A sub-4 hour marathon is my goal, and has been, for the Ironman marathon.  For some reason this is the holy grail for me.  I could take 2:20 in the water and ride for 7 hours but if I broke 4 hours in the marathon I would be smiling from ear to ear.  Why? No clue, but it is what it is. When you break down the 4:06 pace versus the 3:56 pace you get a difference of :23/mile.  That may or may not seem like much but to me it looks like they are worlds apart.  Why? The reason is that in the three Ironman races I have competed in my times have looked like this:  4:09, 4:06, 4:06.  Yes the last two are identical and both have their own stories.  The first 4:06 happened at IMAZ 2012 after a bike wreck where my hip was throbbing and making a running motion with my right arm was difficult.  The second 4:06 happened at IMTX 2013 where we were racing on the surface of the sun with lava running over the ground.  I believe the heat index that day was 110*.  Honestly, it felt like 1,010* but I managed a 4:06 and the 15th fastest marathon for M40-44. When I look back at those two races I could come up with the excuse that had this not happened or that not happened I would have run that sub-4, but ifs do not help you accomplish your goals.  Training hard and focusing will help me accomplish my goals.  Do I have a 3:56 in me?  Sure I do.  When you look at my stand-alone marathon PR time of 3:31 and add 10%-12% for it being an Ironman marathon you get times of 3:52-3:56.  Maybe I am cheating myself by looking at 3:56 and should be targeting 3:52, but that mantra does not roll of the tongue the way 3:56 versus 4:06 does. [caption id="attachment_9614" align="alignright" width="276"]3:56 marathon - ironman - goal - running The bike wreck at IMAZ most likely wrecked my chances at a sub-4 hour marathon that day.[/caption] The numbers tell me that I am capable.  The fact that I am fairly well recovered from Lake Martin 100 and have not been training for 3 Ironman races in 12 months is an indication that I should be going into IMTN as fresh as I can possibly be.  When I review my per mile paces for the 3 loops at IMTX they look like this:  9:09/mile, 9:27/mile, 9:40/mile.  The slowing down is expected but what does that translate into when the goal is 3:56 or a 9:00/mile pace. If my math is correct then the first 8.9 miles have to be run at a pace of 8:47/mi and then the degeneration to 9:07/mi for the next 8.9 miles and finally down to 9:28/mi.  These are not impossible paces but it also fails to take into account that this bike ride, weather, time of year and a million other variables are going to be different in Chattanooga in comparison to The Woodlands. These sorts of things are out of my control but what is in my control is my mental approach to breaking 4 hours.  Training hard and smart, recovering well and preparing my body for the rigors of the race will be done, but in those moments when it is me versus my mind I have to be able to continue to repeat the mantra 3:56 versus 4:06.

Will Ironman Chattanooga Be The Race I Break 4 Hours?

Published in Race

Ultra running is defined as anything longer than 26.2 miles, or the marathon distance.  I recently joined the ranks of ultra running by participating in 4 different events over the months of February and March.  The distances covered were 50k (31.1 miles), 50 Miles and 100 Miles.  In the past these distances would have been daunting.  As a matter of fact the 100 mile distance is still daunting and will probably always give me pause before hitting the register button.  The 100 mile race has the opportunity to present so many obstacles, especially on the trails and in the middle of the night, that it is the race that I think I will always question my preparedness just before the start of it. The question of ultra running being 'good' for you physically came up earlier today when Regina posted a video and tagged Jeff and I in it.  I watched the video and found myself shaking my head at every comment the athlete made.  All of it made so much sense to me except for one comment:  "I have a lot of fun doing this but I don't think it is necessarily good for you."  It was this comment that started a conversation amongst us, including Kevin.

The consensus seemed to be that running this distance, in the video the athlete is running 135 miles, is not good for you physically.  At first I agreed but then I started thinking a bit more about it.  At what point is there diminishing returns on a race of this distance?  Athletes are not necessarily going into Zone 3 and Zone 4 in their heart rate, so what is the taxing portion?  Is the question more about being sleep deprived?  What about those in the armed forces that are up for longer periods of time? More questions than this popped up but the reality, for me, is that this is not a scenario in which you are looking to improve fitness.  Your fitness is achieved in the weeks and months leading up to the event.  Your body is then restored during the recovery phase, which for me is currently at the end of Week 2 from Lake Martin 100.  Did I gain any fitness over the course of 28 hours?  I highly doubt it but I did gain something much more valuable at this point and for the future. What I gained from ultra running was a mental advantage and that is priceless and will pay dividends going forward.  When I first took on this challenge I looked at the miles that I would be running on a daily and weekly basis during the training.  Weeks that included 85 miles and 90 miles.  Back to back days of 31 miles and 20 miles were staring me in the face.  They seemed so daunting but as the training continued these became commonplace and while not 'easy' they were no longer frightening.  My mental ability to comprehend the distance, break it down into manageable parts and then achieve the goals improved from Day 1 through the start of the race.  During the race I was able to rely on the fact that I had put in 18 weeks of training that involved 1,000 miles of running and I was prepared, both physically and mentally. Today I am looking at a race schedule for the start of 2015 that includes a 100k, 100 miler and 50 miler all in the course of a month.  3 months ago I would have laughed to keep from crying.  Today I smile and say:  Yes, I can do this.  Today I think to myself about how awesome it is going to be to go through the training and accomplishing the daily goals and race goals.  This mental edge will allow me to perform day in and day out and to achieve even better physical fitness.   This to me is far more of a benefit than any detriment that may or may not come from running 100 miles in a given day. A year ago there was an article on regarding what happens to the human body during an Ironman.  This was an interesting look into the physiological process that takes place.  An Ironman is hard, but running a 100 miler is harder so this take can be changed in terms of the physical tolls.  All that being said the following line from the article is what makes me think that the mental gains far outweigh the physical toll that takes place during these endurance events, including ultra running: Fortunately, though, those years are restored to you within a few weeks. Then it’s time to start thinking about tickling the reaper again. I would sacrifice a few weeks of non-activity to recover in order to reap the benefits that the sense of accomplishment brings.

Do You Think Ultra Running, Or Endurance Events, Are Good For You?

  For reference here is an article from The New York Time that is also interesting reading. New York Times Blog: What Ultra Marathons Do To Our Body.

Published in Train
Analysis of races is one way I look to improve my performances.  Making sure to analyze the pacing of the race, my nutrition and finally I make sure to do an analysis about where I was mentally.  Since this was my first 100 mile race there has been a lot to review and think about.  This is not the typical run in terms of pacing, nutrition and mental ability and thus the analysis will not be typical.  I am not even sure I can take what I learned out on the course of Lake Martin 100 and apply it to anything else.  I am looking at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in February as my next foray into the 100 mile world and hopefully some of the analysis of Lake Martin can be applied.

Analysis Of Pacing

I have been go back and forth on this idea of pacing for quite some time.  The original pacing strategy had loops starting at 12:00/mi and adding 1:00 to that until the final loop at 15:00/mi.  Following that pacing strategy the finish time would have been 22:30.  Rocky Raccoon is going to be a race consisting of 5 mile loops and going sub-24 is certainly well within reason but only if I am capable of putting a pacing strategy together that learns from the Lake Martin 100 pace. The first 25 mile loop was completed in 5:39 with the second loop being completed in 6:20.  Finishing the first 50 in 12 hours meant that it took me nearly 16 hours to complete the last 50.  Clearly this is an indication of improper pacing on the first half.  For as difficult as this course was and how it got worse as the day went on having a 4 hour difference between the first 50 miles and the last 50 miles is quite a bit. I remember running with Anastasia and Crystal at one point during the 50-68 mile stretch and watching them run was a thing of beauty.  They knew where they could run and where they had to back off.  They knew how to circumvent the mud and yet keep a decent pace.  They did not stroll during the walking sections.  I stuck myself to them and then after a bit I took off and maybe going out a little hot in this section inevitably caught up to me during miles 69 through 100.

Analysis Of Nutrition

[caption id="attachment_9550" align="alignright" width="300"]analysis - nutrition - ultra running Maybe I would have eaten this if it looked this good but at that point in the race nothing would have been stomached.
Source:[/caption] As most of you know I am a liquid calories athlete and this fits me perfectly.  One of my assets is that I can drink the same flavor throughout and entire race, even one that takes 28 hours, without any issues.  My hydration vest was filled with Herbalife24 Prolong, Herbalife24 Prepare and EFS Drink orange flavor.  I also carried around with me a flask of EFS Liquid Shot in either vanilla or kona coffee flavor.  At the aid stations I would snack on the following:
  • M&Ms
  • Orange slices
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly or Peanut Butter and Nutella 1/2 Sandwiches
  • Egg Sandwich - 1/2 that I almost threw up about 5 steps into the run after swallowing.
Overall I think that this nutrition was spot on but there is one change I would make depending on the loops of the course.  For the first two loops I carried nearly 1400 calories in the bladder of the vest.  On the last two laps I carried 670 calories in the vest.  For reference, the night before the race I prepared 4 water bottles with 670 calories each and the bladder with the nearly 1400 calories.  When I came in from the first 25 I poured 2 bottles into the bladder and then 1 bottle and water on each of the following laps. During the first two loops I felt somewhat bloated and I think it is because of all the calories I was consuming.  On the second two laps the bloating was far less and I felt better while out on the course.  For any future races in which you come to your drop bag area twice I am going to change it up so that I am not consuming so many calories at one time.

Analysis Of Mental Strength/Ability

This particular course took more mental strength that I ever imagined it would.  Maybe I should have paid more attention to the elevation profile posted to the site and realized that 14,000 feet of climbing is a lot for a bike ride never mind a run.  The excitement to be racing a 100 miler took over and clouded what would otherwise have been a far more detailed read of the course map.  I couldn't wait to get out on the course and it just didn't matter what the elevation profile looked like in that regard. Once on the course and realizing that we were going to be crossing water so many times and running in the ankle-deep mud forced me to become more mentally focused.  The opportunity for injury was high and being able to have tunnel vision while also taking an inventory of your faculties both mentally and physically was important.  I ran the first 68 miles and felt very strong and that helped with the mental aspect of continuing on.  Once those 68 miles ended though and the hardest part of the course came up my focus shifted to an ugly place.  Trying to get to Mile 75  became more difficult than I thought it would. Going in I figured that the third loop (Miles 51-75) would be the hardest and they eventually proved that.  The first 50 were not going to phase me because I had already run a 50 miler.  The last 25 would be the victory lap where you knew you would finish but the third loop posed a huge question mark before the race.  I now know that this is all possible and when the next 100 shows up on my race calendar I will be able to tackle it from a mental standpoint.  Experience is the best teacher.

Do You Do An Analysis Of Your Performance?  How Soon After The Race?

Published in Train

Lake Martin 100 was the endurance race I signed up for thanks to the urging of Jeff and Dave.  Running a 100 mile race was never even a consideration.  I admired Emily from afar but in reality I thought she was missing a screw.  When Jeff and Dave finally broke my will and I registered for the event it was all systems go.  The training, eating properly, recovering and especially the mindset was all going to be done 100% with no short-cuts. On Wednesday evening I drove to Jeff's house so that we can get up early (4am) and pickup Caroline (our pacer) and Dave and head for Alabama around 5am.  When we arrived at our house for the week we were in awe.  This house was awesome.  Spirits were extremely high.  We were going to run 100 miles and each one of us was prepared.  Except we were not prepared for what would happen Friday into Saturday.  Rain and lots of it came down on Friday (all day) and Saturday (into the late part of the morning.)  I never once thought about how much this rain would change the course. Saturday morning we got up at 4:30am and had breakfast.  I ate two banana and peanut butter sandwiches with coffee.  Driving to the race I was a bit nervous about what was going to unfold.  Luckily for me these guys are a barrel of laughs and that helped take away the edge quite a bit.  We unloaded the car and setup our drop bag section in The Stables.  This race was conducted on a horse farm and The Stables would become the sight for sore eyes over the course of the next 28 hours. We lined up at the starting line and promptly at 6:30am the race was under way.  The first part of the race is straight uphill and right then and there we should have known that the ass kicking we were going to get all day was about to unfold.  You just keep running straight up the driveway and make a left onto as steep of a downhill as the uphill.  Within 5 minutes your quads and your hamstrings have been worked more than one can imagine.  We hit the trail and MUD.  I do not mean a little bit of mud.   I am talking ankle-deep mud.  The kind of mud you are afraid that you will pick your foot up and your shoe will be still in the mud.  This race officially entered crazy world with that. After about a mile into the race we befriended Martin.  A nice Irishman from St. Louis who chatted with us about racing 100 milers.  After a few minutes with him we came across the first of what seemed like 12 stream crossings.  The problem is that the stream was now a river from all the rain.  There was no tip-toeing over the water or looking for rocks.  You had no choice but to go right through it and so we did.  The water came up to our calf and was freezing cold.  Now soaked, cold and facing the idea of 98 more miles of this turned this race into the mental fight of a lifetime. We eventually left Martin and came up on a handful of other racers.  We chatted with them and took GoPro video with them.  It was all so much fun but that may have been the last of the fun as the course continued its soul crushing.  You were either going up the steepest inclines you can imagine, going down the steepest inclines or crossing water.  Very rarely were you able to actually run.  This was not just a physical endurance test but mental.  Nothing about the Lake Martin 100 was going to be easy. Just when you think you have done enough climbing you come to an area labeled Heaven Hill.  It is appropriately named because every step takes you closer to heaven.  You think to yourself:  this has to end soon.  The problem is it doesn't.  It keeps going up.  Of course when you finish you come across the valley and it is gorgeous.  You are above the tree line and can see for miles on end.  This is where the first aid station is.  There is so much food that you could easily spend 30 minutes there just eating. You leave Heaven Hill and run a 5 mile loop.  I say run because there are actual opportunities to let your legs loose.  It is in this section where you are capable of averaging 13:00/mi paces.  You read that right.  If you manage 13:00/mi here you are doing awesome.  At the end of the 5 mile loop you come back to Heaven Hill to check in and grab more food.  The next 5 mile loop is another area where you can run and we made friends here again.  Spoke to people and had the opportunity to laugh about the fact that the first 8 miles almost made us quit. At the end of this 18 mile loop you come back to The Stables.  Here you have access to your drop bag where you can change, eat, sit, etc.  After a few moments here it is back out for the final 7 miles of the first of 4 25 mile loops that creates the Lake Martin 100.  The 7 mile loop is just as crushing as the first 8 miles.  We were told that the 7 mile loop would be fairly easy.  The problem is that this information came from a billy-goat or somebody who likes to take pleasure in other's suffering.  Out of The Stables you walk for nearly 0.5 miles UPHILL.  You get onto the trail and it is a whip.  Again, more up and down with more mud.  More suffering and less laughing.  This race was going to test you every step of the way. When we finished the entire 25 mile loop in 5:39 I was surprised.  I could not believe that we managed to finish the 25 miles let alone in a time that I considered respectable.  I had plans of racing the first 25 miles at a 12:00/mi pace and we finished in 13:36.  The 22 hour and 30 minute goal was out the window.  There was no chance that was happening.  Time to head out for Loop 2.

Lake Martin 100 Loop 2 Highlights:

As we started running I noticed that Dave was not looking good.  We were chatting and he said to me that he was getting a bit light-headed.  This was not a good sign this early into the race.  I became worried and wanted to make sure that nothing happened to him along with keeping us moving forward. Near the same time I noticed that Jeff was going through the course very gingerly.  His legs just did not want to move it seemed. I kept my mouth shut because I did not want to add any stress to these guys considering how stressful this race already was. Probably 3 miles into the 2nd loop I left both Jeff and Dave.  My legs were feeling great and I was ready to keep moving.  I had told Dave that the last thing I wanted to do was spend all night out there.  The idea of racing and seeing the sun go down and then come back up was terrifying to me so I took off. When I reached the Heaven Hill aid station I ran into Gordon and it was a sight for sore eyes.  The moment I saw him my smile got huge and I gave him a big hug.  A familiar face was needed after getting my ass kicked for the previous 8 miles.  I hung with Gordon for about 10 minutes waiting for Jeff and Dave before taking off again.  It was at that moment that I knew they were not going to finish this race and I would be taking this on by myself.  As I came into The Stables I saw Caroline and we chatted.  She told me that the guys had texted her and were concerned about making the cut-off.  I left and set-out for the next 7 mile loop knowing I would see them when I got back.  I took my phone out and texted my wife to tell her that I loved her and that she was a main inspiration for me.  It was tough knowing that the guys were not going to be coming out with me.  My mind had to turn to steel and not allow me to give up. As I came into The Stables to end the 50 miles I looked at the time and I had been on the course for 12 hours.  For some comparison, Jeff and I did Rocky Raccoon 50 in under 9 hours.  This race was that hard.  To have a difference of 3 hours tells you how difficult the course was.  The crazy thing is I am in better shape today than in early February and could barely manage a 14:30/mi pace.  When I saw the guys in The Stables we chatted and they told me they were not going back out.  I felt defeated but knew that I had to finish this race for them.  I grabbed my headlamp and maglite because I knew it would turn dark while out on the course.

Lake Martin 100 Loop 3 Highlights:

About an hour into Loop 3 it got dark.  I stopped running and got my headlamp out along with the light.  I still felt really good and was able to run.  The biggest issue was the mental aspect of now being in the dark.  This got to me quite a bit.  I had to start thinking of things that would allow me to keep moving forward.

  • Susan Lacke and her MTFU mantra.
  • Emily and her SIUB mantra.
  • Knowing that at the end of the 68 miles I would pick up Caroline and have a partner to run with for 25 miles.

My body felt decent considering the lack of sleep and the physical toll I was taking.  It was during this section that I ran into Anastasia and Crystal.  They were awesome to chat with in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night.  They asked me if it were my first 100 and how I felt.  I told them I felt great and that I was going to finish this race.  They gave me the most positive encouragement and I held onto that for the rest of the race. During the night you have next to no visibility and the climbs that you knew you were coming upon during the light were no longer that obvious.  You were able to run when out of the woods but while inside the trees you could not really figure it out and had to walk when you felt your Achilles and hamstring get tight.  That was the clue to the idea that you were going uphill. As I took another step I kept telling myself that I just needed to finish the 18 miles to get to Caroline.  Just keep focusing on the goal for this loop was my mantra.  As I managed my way around the course hoping to not get hurt and just finishing.  At this point time to finish became irrelevant.  Finishing became the only goal. Upon entering The Stables I saw Caroline and then moved to the bag drop section where Jeff and Dave were.  These guys were so supportive.  They gave me so much encouragement and made me feel that I could easily do this.  Caroline and I left for the next 7 miles of the third loop.  Because of how hard this section is there was not a lot of running but having company was awesome. When we finished Loop 3 I took the time to change socks and put the Hoka One One Mafate back on my feet.  I used all three pair of Hoka I brought with me.  I started with the Mafate then switched to the Stinson and then the Bondi for the first three loops.  Every one of them was covered in mud and weighed far more than they should have because of all the water that they absorbed.

Lake Martin 100 Loop 4 Highlights:

The final loop of the Lake Martin 100 was not going to be a pretty sight.  I was exhausted beyond belief.  My body was sore and my mind was questioning my own sanity.  I had not gone into delirium but I was not all there.  This final loop became nothing but survival. Caroline kept pushing me and encouraging me to keep moving.  We came across Anastasia and Crystal throughout much of this loop.  We were moving between places 3 and 6 as there was another runner out there with us.  I kept thinking that finishing in the Top 3 in my first 100 mile would be a hell of an accomplishment. We reached a section that is road and as I was walking I could feel my eyes closing.  I would take 3-4 steps while sleeping on my feet.  Once I opened my eyes to catch where I was I would close them again.  The sleep walking was helping me as I moved through the easier part of the course. When Caroline and I reached The Stables it was fully light out.  Since the last 7 miles was going to be nothing but walking there was not a need for Caroline to join me.  I went out without a Garmin and just planned on walking.  My legs were stiff and sore.  My feet were a shredded mess and every step hurt.  This was not going to be pretty. I had a short conversation with Karen in my head about getting through this and focusing on getting in before the 28 hour mark.  As each step went by and I got closer to the finish line I was overcome with joy.  This 100 mile run was not as much physical as it was mental.  The first 8 and the last 7 miles were the toughest miles I have ever covered.  When you add up the distance that is 60 miles of soul crushing activity.  Regardless of sport or time in a race these 60 miles were bordering on the impossible. As I came down the final hill and saw the The Stables in the distance I pumped my fist and started to cry a bit at the enormity of the accomplishment.  I had goals before the gun went off.  Throughout the race the goals were a moving target.  I managed to hit each of those targets and after nearly 28 hours I can say: Lake Martin 100  ….. I Finished! [flagallery gid=27]

** If you want the R rated version just contact me.

Published in Race Reports
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:01

Mindset Adjusts But Goals Remain The Same?

[caption id="attachment_9540" align="alignright" width="206"]mindset - ultra trail race - run Source: JeeJee Safir[/caption] Mindset can be your best asset, yet simultaneously can be your worst enemy.  When I first tied up a pair of running shoes my mindset was:  How Far Can I Go?  That day I lasted 400 meters around a track before feeling as if kerosene were poured down my throat and a match lit inside my lungs.  It burned and it hurt bad.  Instead of going home I walked 400 meters.  I then went for a second run of 400 meters and that same burning feeling came on.  400 more meters of walking and I headed home.  A total of 1 mile but my mindset was established.  I was going to tackle this whole running thing.  I was not going to give up on myself or my goal which at the time was to run 1 mile straight.  In less than a week I ran that mile and the next goal was set.  2 miles running.  Then 5 miles running.  Then 10 miles running.  You get the picture. I got to the start line of that first half-marathon in the heat and humidity and gave it my all.  Around Mile 10 I had to walk because the fuel to go on was gone.  What happened that day has been happening ever since.  For the past 7 years I have trained for a race.  I have gone to the start line and raced my hardest.  Some days were terrific and other days just sucked.  Either way I was going back to the training grind to get better.  To help develop a new skill for making me a better athlete. Along the way I have realized that the one asset I have is a strong-willed mindset.  I am a determined person and I pursue my goals and dreams with an almost reckless abandon.  This weekend I will be at the starting line of a 100 mile race.  I have zero clue as to what will unfold.  I haven't the foggiest idea if I can make it because it is all unknown, just like that first half-marathon.  What I do know is that my mindset is to go and race the course.  My mindset has been established to allow myself to be smart about the race and pace it from the start.  I have established a feeding routine as well as a drinking routine so that my mind will be as clear as it can be and capable of pushing my body for 20+ hours of running.  Being a stubborn mule, in this scenario, is going to provide me the strength to carry-on and also to motivate Dave and Jeff along the way. This morning as Karen was leaving for work she expressed some fear about us doing this race.  Karen will not be there so I can understand her thought process, but I gave her every bit of confidence that this was going to be fine.  She asked me to not go beyond my capabilities and I promised her I wouldn't.  I told her that I would not allow myself to crumble to the ironwill of the finish line.  Being smart about this race is what is going to allow me to finish this race.  And once the race is complete the focus and mindset will shift to the next training cycle, but while on the course I will be living in the moment. [caption id="attachment_9538" align="alignright" width="225"]mindset - ultra trail race - run Source: Career Rocketeer[/caption] During a text message exchange with our crew leader Caroline I told her that she will have to use her instinct to gauge how we are looking as we enter the aid stations at Mile 50, 68, and 75.  If we are looking ragged then she needed to be forceful and tell us to sit back and not head out for a moment until we rehydrated and ate something.  Our mindset is that of competitors.  Get it done regardless of what may unfold.  Push yourself until the brink.  Run and if you end up in the med tent so be it.  That is where our mindset can be our liability.  This is not a sprint or a marathon.  This is a 100 mile endurance event.  We will be racing this course with as much mental strength as physical ability.  This is what excites me, but also scares the living crap out of me. There have been days over the course of the past 18 weeks of training where I thought to myself:  I got this.  No problem. It will hurt but there will be no stopping us once we get going.  In the past two weeks I have begun to question the physical ability to go from dark to light to dark again. To go from cold to warm to cold again.  To lasting 24 hours without a meal but instead consuming liquid calories and Oreos.  It seems overwhelming and daunting but then I am brought back to my imagination of the elation of crossing the finish line and high-fiving Jeff, Dave and Caroline and saying: We Did It.  That mindset is what will carry me through.

What Has Been Your Mindset Heading Into A Race? How Has It Changed During The Race?

Published in Race
Monday, 03 March 2014 07:44

A-OK 50K Ultra Trail Run Race Report

A-OK was not on my radar, not even the periphery, prior to about two weeks ago.  I was introduced to this race by friends of Karen who are on a Facebook page called Dallas Dirt Runners.  The first time I saw A-OK I thought that it would be a great 50k supported training run for me as I build toward Lake Martin 100.  What I didn't expect was to have the time of my life out there.  A-OK is such a classic old-school race that it only allows 75 athletes to enter and you have to mail (Yes, the USPS) in your registration with a CHECK.  This part of the process freaked me out to the point that I emailed the race director to ask if I could either register on race day or PayPal her the money.  Why?  I have not the foggiest of clues as to where the post office is in my town and writing a check seems so foreign.  Mary Ann (RD) replied to my request with a 'do not have paypal' and fortunately Karen was kind enough to mail the check and reg form from her office. A-OK was going to happen.

Published in Race Reports
Friday, 21 February 2014 09:26

Lake Martin 100 Race Strategy Is Formulating

Lake Martin 100 is 6 Saturday's away but the race strategy is beginning to be formulated.  Jeff and I have exchanging text messages and calls about what we think we need to look for and do as we traverse through the woods of Alabama.  There were conversations during our run at Rocky Raccoon 50 about how the 100 would unfold.  What we would do differently at the start, during the race and at the drop bag locations.  There is so much unknown about racing 100 miles that if we chose to ignore putting together a plan of attack then the race itself would be that much harder.  All of this being said we also recognize that the plan we formulate and finalize for the Lake Martin 100 may not be the one that actually gets executed on race day.  Why? First off neither of us has been passed 50 miles in terms of running.  That first step out of the drop bag area to start Loop 3 will begin the start of something completely unknown.  Secondly, the race is going to be uncomfortable and dealing with that will take our minds in direction we probably didn't see coming.  We were very clear-minded when we ran Rocky Raccoon but that was 9 hours and this will be much longer than that.  Lastly, we will be starting in the dark and racing throughout the entire day and finishing after the calendar turns to a new day.  How do you even begin to cope with that?  I am not sure we know and even if we did it wouldn't be the same because each race presents a different set of challenges. Right now I have a strategy for nutrition, pacing and drop bag area but if you are veteran of 100 mile races let me hear your thoughts.

Lake Martin 100 Nutrition Strategy

lake martin 100 - strategy - nutritionKnowing that I need to take in approximately 250 calories per hour for this race I am going with a tried and true method of liquid calories but also adding in a little bit of my learnings from Rocky Raccoon.  I will be wearing a running vest holding 1000 calories of Herbalife24 Prolong as well as Powerade Perform mixed with Emergen-C Super Orange.  I will have 4 water bottles filled with 500 calories of the same mixture in my drop bags to fill up my vest bladder at the end/beginning of each loop. In addition to the liquid I will also be carrying 2 flasks totaling 800 calories of EFS Liquid Shot (Kona and Vanilla flavor.)  I will also have refills at the drop bag to make sure that I always have at least 800 calories per loop at the ready.  In addition to the liquids I am going to have two boiled sweet potatoes (cut in bite size chunks) and a hard-boiled egg with olive oil, salt and pepper wrapped in foil.  There will be 4 packets of this concoction and will take 1 packet on each loop. Lastly, and probably most important is going to be grabbing whatever looks good at the aid stations.  It is definitely going to involve Oreos and M&Ms but who knows what else. Based on my calculations that will total:
  • 3000 calories of liquid nutrition
  • 1600 calories of EFS Liquid Shot
  • 200 calories of sweet potatoes
  • 280 calories of hard-boiled eggs
  • 5,080 total calories without the snacks at each aid station......

Lake Martin 100 Pacing Strategy

This is fairly simple to calculate but it is going to be very difficult to execute and not necessarily the last loop but most importantly the first loop.  At Rocky Raccoon Jeff and I ran the first loop in 2h40m which equated to a 9:35/mi pace.  As evidenced by the 2nd and 3rd loop paces of 2h52m and 3h21m.  Knowing that this is going to be twice as long the paces have to be adjusted so that we are not walking more than running toward the end. 24 hours seems to be a number (read my thoughts about endurance numbers here) that people point to when it comes to running 100 miles.  I think we can do it faster based on the training that we are putting in and the knowledge gained from the 50.  If we run the 4 loops at 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00 per mile paces we will finish in 22:30.  Again, the hardest part will not be keeping a 15:00/mi pace on the last loop but rather pacing ourselves and being disciplined enough to not go gang-busters out of the gate.  The 12:00/mi pace is going to be the number we have to focus on to ensure that our strategy is executed properly.

Lake Martin 100 Drop Bag Strategy

I have heard and read tons of stories about what people do at these drop bag stations.  From sitting down in what I refer to as 'crying chairs' thanks to my IMAZ partner Troy to taking naps.  Going in blind my thoughts are as follows:
  • 1 bag to contain the additional water bottles, EFS refills, sweet potato and egg packets only.
  • 1 bag to contain a second pair of Hoka running shoes, a couple of shirts to change into, extra pair of compression socks and a fresh hat only.
The more I am able to limit these bags to the necessities the quicker I will be in and out of the drop zone.  I do not want to spend too much time in there because it will then become a comfortable place to stay and I want to keep moving.  Not having to sort through stuff, pick stuff out, swap stuff will make the 'transition' areas much faster and get us going to stay on our pacing strategy. These are the preliminary thoughts regarding the Lake Martin 100 strategies but I am more than happy to hear your input.  What have you done during your 100 mile races?  
Published in Race
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