Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

103 miles at Hinson Lake. Difficult.

OK, yeah, how could 103 miles NOT be difficult? I guess it's always going to be hard, but this just seemed... more difficult than anticipated. I was a little foggy most of the race, just out of it mentally. Hard for me to remember many details or chronology. Had one MAJOR problem that let to other issues I think- dehydration. I lost TWELVE POUNDS during the race. That's not good. Not good at all. Keep reading.

Quick Facts:
* Marathon: 4:09
* 50K: 4:57
* 50 Miles: 8:49
* 100K: 11:22
* 100 Miles: 21:39
* 103.36 Miles: 22:55 (Yeah, I was done an hour early. Done.)
* 5th place male. 2 women beat me. 277 people registered.

PRs in 50 Miles, 100K, 100 Miles & 24 Hours!

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Run & Mt. Mitchell Challenge are my two favorite races. I didn't get into the MMC lottery. I've been thinking about Hinson Lake since the last Hinson Lake! Really looked forward to it. Called out a pretty lofty goal- 112 miles. Got 92 last year, 102 at Black Mountain. I figured the next step was 112 to go up by 10 again. My running keeps improving, used to heat now, as opposed to early June for Black Mt. and Hinson Lake is an easy course. Thought about this race most days this summer. Imagined myself going around & around & around the 1.52 mile loop.

I came in with severe achilles pain, but different from anything I've ever experienced. More like nerve damage or something. Running didn't seem to effect it. Felt like a hard pinch every 30 seconds. Didn't hurt at all at Hinson Lake. Legs have been pretty dead since running about 50 miles at part of a 4 person Blue Ridge Relay team 2 weeks ago. They were dead at Hinson Lake but never really got worse until the end.

First 30 were fine & uneventful. Felt confident & strong. Controlled. Drizzly start. Humid. Yuck. Not muddy like I thought due to sandier surface. Hit a pretty quick marathon in 4:09 & 50K under 5 hours. Started feeling queasy about that time. Because of that, I got behind on calories and maybe fluid intake. As discussed here before, I sweat a lot & my body can't absorb enough fluid to replace what I sweat. So, what happens is I end up dehydrated & not sweating but also with a sloshy, bloated stomach.

I always feel like my running is pretty strong during 24 hour races, I just take to many breaks. I wanted to work on that this time, and I did to an extent, but the more I felt sick, the less I could eat and drink... the less I consumed, the worse I felt. Couldn't find a balance. At 33 miles, I took my first 10 minute, get horizontal on a picnic table break. They got more frequent as the night went on.

In loop courses, I pick spots I'll allow myself to walk and never stray from that. At Hinson Lake, I walk the little hill and aid station a little. It helps break it up into short sections I can run no matter what. ...and like I said, the running was strong. 8:15/pace for first 8 hours maybe, then 8:45, then 9:00 maybe. And of course that + bathroom/walking/eating/drinking/gear breaks. I stuck to the plan until very late but was disappointed I had to stop when I did. Felt like motion sickness. Dizzy. Restless. Tired. Skin really hot. Face & shoulders broken out. Not mentally coherent. Got worse & worse. As I looked down in the night, I didn't recognize my arms & legs. When I went to the bathroom & looked in the mirror, face, neck, chest looked different. Veins sticking out that don't normally. Knew I was dehydrated & had lost a lot of weight. Didn't know until I got home it was 12 pounds. Dangerous. I gained most of it back by now just by drinking a lot in the past 36 hours. 

To stay in it mentally is so so so hard for me and I imagine a lot of other people. People ask me how I keep going. I honestly don't know. For the last 18 hours or so, I think about quitting about every 20 minutes... "44 is a lot of miles. That's respectable. You can quit now & it's not a failure. Dude, 44 miles! That's not bad at all." An hour later, "OK, 50 miles. Now that's an even number. Quit now. Nah, better not. 55 sounds better..." "Nah, 100K. 80. 100." I think about quitting all the time.

One of my Blue Ridge Relay teammates, Thomas came to run some laps in the evening with a buddy of his and ran 4 with me. After one of them, I felt like I was going to fall on my face. First, but not the last time I really felt awful. I was down for about 5-10 minutes & then felt a little better. My energy & nausea really came in waves. 10 minutes of good, 10 minutes of bad all night.

I got to the point at 96 miles that I just couldn't run. I tried. Believe me. Step, step, OWWW! Legs just wouldn't go anymore. Mind was gone. Dizzy. Sick feeling. Had to think hard about where I was and what I was doing a couple of times. I ended up walking the last 7 miles until the last .75 or so, which, of course, I could run just fine (???). I got to the end of the loop at 103.36 miles with 65 more minutes. I could've easily walked 3 more miles, shuffled 4 or run 5-6. I decided to do none of those and call it quits. That put me at a 1 mile PR for 24 hours & secured me in 5th place. I was good with that. At the time, I didn't feel like there was a choice. Done. I was pleased.

 My training has been really good the past few months but NOT for 24 hour running. I haven't been doing any long runs. Nope. I did it on more like 1/2 marathon training. I let good general running fitness, experience & confidence get me to 103 miles, but I haven't done a run over 2 hours in 2 months. That could've played into the wheels falling off at Hinson Lake, but I don't think it was nearly as significant as the dehydration. Made me wonder about 24 hour/100 mile races. Was REALLY tough. I seem to do a lot better to 12 hours and then fall apart. I have been in so few ultras other than 24 hour races in the past 2 years, I just realized. Strange. I'm going to push it in some marathons & Frosty 50K. Don't have anything over that on my schedule for awhile. I'm positive I'll be back to 24 Hour races & Hinson Lake. Love what race director Tom Gabell, his crew & the friendly runners at the event!


Brett said...

Hey man! Way to go. I'll say you did look fit and smooth, even late into the day.

I think my body is similar to you - on hot days no matter how much I drink, my body cannot digest it as fast as it sweats it out. Not fun.

One of these days we're going to get a 55F low and 75F instead of this 90F crap and then we'll be able to roll better.

Great job!

Denise Davis said...

103 is not 112, but it is still sweet! Congrats on your 100 mile split and just think about what you can do once you have time to get some long runs in!

Lynne said...

Can't believe you went that far with the dizzy/fluid/food intake problems! You make me feel like a wimp. I only ran 21 laps (31.92) and headed home to a nice meal and comfy bed. I'm sure you lapped me a bazillion times. Congrats on getting it done!