I’ve trained hard this year for sure – doing lots and lots of super early morning long runs between 20 and 36 miles with several races too (50Ks and 50 milers etc.), so I felt ready, but never too confident because you never know how each day is going to turn out. The following is my section by section report. Long and boring, I know, but it’s fun to write and fun to go back and read in a few years!
Starting Line to Lapland 6:00 am, Saturday, October 9th, 2010
I started in a t-shirt, of course, as the temperatures were in the mid 50s and it was wonderfully pleasant. I didn’t need anything at the first aid station at 8 miles so I didn’t even stop. These first 17 miles I ran mostly with Dennis Haig and some guy I met from Oklahoma named Bill, and for a while with Andy Bowman (my training partner for the past year – we meet once a week between, well, 1:30 am at the earliest and usually around 4 am at the latest to do our long runs – often on weekdays), who finished his first 50 miler. We mostly gibber-gabbered about baseball and theology. I had way too much energy! I realized that I was shouting as I talked – way too giddy – mostly just so excited to be there and to be finally on the course moving instead of thinking about it like I had all week.
Lapland to Teterville
I just traded bottles and supplies with my wife and crew Sarah (first time crewing a 100, she did awesome and she loved it!) at Lapland (17 miles) aid station and I didn’t stop there either, basically just walked through it. My plan for the day was to not waste too much time at aid stations – especially in the first half. I was basically right on target for where I had planned to arrive – if not 5 minutes behind – feeling like I was getting off to a smart, conservative start. Upon arriving at Lapland, Bill went on ahead and I never caught him (I think he later dropped – never saw his name in the results) and Dennis went into the aid station tent and I never saw him again until the tower (the section of the course that you see everyone because it’s out and back) and I was more than 5 miles ahead. From Lapland outbound until Teterville inbound I ran completely alone – other than for brief moments saying hi to the people I passed. That’s like 58 miles. But it didn’t bother me at all this time. I came into the Teterville aid station outbound, which is 25 miles, about 4 hours and 18 minutes in. Felt great, and was maintaining an excellent consistent pace. Didn’t stop, just traded out supplies with Sarah. She sent me with some solid food that I didn’t eat much of – and soon realized the reason why – the heat! It was making my stomach not interested in eating solids. For a couple hours I entertained myself with playing some Andrew Peterson music off my cell phone that I carried in my water bottle. No ear buds – just music on speaker phone. I left the 25 mile mark at Teterville at about 4:20ish.
Teterville to Ridgeline
I think that the section from Teterville to Texaco Hill outbound is probably the toughest little section on the course. I didn’t know why until I was returning on it at night and realized then I was running almost all downhill! That means outbound it is a long, grueling, rocky, hot uphill grind. I was alone, staying just behind and just ahead of a few people. Trying to maintain pace and just hanging back. I knew it was getting hot when I started to feel nauseated – but just slightly. It kind of came and went in waves, some worse than others. I knew the symptoms of dehydration: elevated pulse, shallow breaths and nausea. I had all three. But I knew it would eventually go away. I tried to drink and drink and drink. Surprisingly, between Teterville and Ridgeline I ran better and felt pretty good coming into Ridgeline. Here Sarah helped me by pouring cold water on my head and giving me my first ice bandana of the day. Those work great! I left Ridgline – about 36 miles at right out 7 total elapsed hours, so 1:00 pm.
Ridgeline to Matfield Green
I was a bit unsure about finishing in my sub 24 hour goal time due to the way my body, especially my stomach, seemed to be responding to the heat. I ate ginger chew after ginger chew after ginger chew, drank ginger ale and mentally visualized ginger when I ran out! Ginger is nasty! But I think it works…I actually ran and felt pretty strong throughout this long, hot section to Matfield. I listed to Rich Mullins on Sarah’s MP3PODthingy – really the first time I’d ever listened to music for any sustained time while running was at Heartland this year! I loved it. So relaxing and takes your mind off running and the distance. I really absorbed the music and lyrics and found it really enjoyable. Arriving at Matfield Green aid station, more Ginger, more ice over the head, more ice in the bandana and off. No real solid foods there either – just consuming Hammer Gel all day about every 30 – 40 minutes.
Matfield Green to Lone Tree and Back to Matfield Green
Finally arrived at the Lone Tree 50 mile turnaround at 10 hours – about 4 pm. Steve and Doyle offered all kind of food. I didn’t want any of it – just ginger ale! Last year at Lone Tree in the cold I had a buffet feast. This year it was just too hot. I spent too long at the aid station with an ice pack on my head but left after a few minutes. I took some orange slices and banana half and ate those as I left Lone Tree. About a mile out from Lone Tree, I knew it was coming…I through up the banana and oranges and all the ginger ale and water in my stomach. Six violent wretches! I had just taken an electrolyte pill before throwing up. It came up too, whole and intact. I picked it up, rinsed it off, and popped it back in and washed it down with water as I started trying to aggressively rehydrate. I walked a bit to recover and within minutes felt much better and began to smile – I’m going to be okay! About that time I noticed that the temps were beginning to fall just a bit. I ran well all the way back to Matfield Green. My splits there and back were surprisingly even. When I arrived at Matfield Green I don’t think I stayed too long, just picked up some more ginger and set off.
Matfield Green to Ridgeline
I didn’t even need a headlamp this year until after Ridgeline! I ran strong to Ridgeline as the sun was setting. This was one of the funnest sections. The lower the sun got to the horizon the better I felt! I found myself running harder and faster and more consistently and the nausea subsiding bit by bit. At this point I knew I better not ever sit down again anywhere so I didn’t sit at Ridgeline but did eat some veggie Power Pellets and loved them! If I remember right, I left the 65 mile marker at Ridgeline at 8 pm – so about 14 hours.
Ridgeline to Teterville
This section wasn’t too bad. There was this really old guy behind me who staying about 100 yards back and I didn’t let him gain on me – I was watching his light! (He actually stayed the same distance all the way to the finish line. And then he quickly ran to his car to drive to Wichita to run the Wichita marathon! Pretty cool!) When I got to the Texaco Hill downhill section I really ran strong downhill – though I’m sure it was slow running. I got to Teterville at 10:30 pm, which was my goal. There Sarah joined me which was a relief – no more running alone. We ate a little something real like potatoes I think and set off.
Teterville to the Finish
Sarah’s longest previous run was 13 miles so I thought she’d be fine with 25 and she was. We did well getting into Lapland confident and encouraged. Grabbed more potatoes and a cookie and set off – not sitting down this year! That’s 83 miles down, only about 17 to go. The next 4 are easy and then the hills! Oh man they’re so steep but I walked up and ran down every one of them. We got to Battle Creek, refilled bottles and started the climb up to the flat part. It was like a 2 mile climb! Then it’s like 6 miles left to the finish – mostly flat. I was feeling good by this point and Sarah’s foot was hurting and she was starting to fade a bit. With four miles left I took off and ran hard all the way to the finish (and thanks to Randy for going and picking Sarah-dear up about a mile back! :)). I finished in 22:22, my 5th 100 mile finish. That’s 5 hours better than last year’s Heartland finish and 4 hours better than 08 and almost 2 hours better than my other 100 mile PR. Anyway, I felt great all day really. No nausea in the night and I completely rehydrated after dark. It was so exciting to know I could run strong even that late almost pain free. I was being conservative for so long, just in case, if I had to do it over today I might be able to easily take off an hour to an hour and a half. So…that’s what I’ll plan to do at the Run for Missions 100 (which actually measures 104.2 miles) on November 1st. Perhaps my goal time there should be 21 hours or so…but as always, we’ll see…
10 Steps from the finish line!
I think in all I had somewhere around 35 S-caps/E-caps and about the same number of hammer gels throughout the whole course and two total bottles of Perpetuem. I honestly ate very, very little solid food – just a couple bananas and an orange slice (that didn’t stay down) and about 10 pringles and 2 cookies once it had cooled off (oh yeah, and some salted potatoes) all the way in the middle of the night. I drank Heed throughout the morning and once the sun went down again but during the heat of the day the only thing that settled fairly well was water.
My buddy Tim Marshall was going to be my pacer the second half of the race but decided at the last second (literally Friday afternoon) to run the new Wichita marathon “Prarie Fire.” Welp, he won! First place! Check it out here! So I guess I’ll forgive him for bailing on me to pace!!
The whole day Sarah would send me encouraging text messages reminding me to drink more, relax, not get discouraged, take more electrolytes, that the nausea will pass with the temps falling, and letting me know about my pace and by how many persons I was getting chic’d! One text after I puked said in regards to the nausea and dehydration “Every wall has a door…you’ll find the door on this wall soon.”
Randy, Tony, and Kyle and all the aid stations put on, yet again, an excellent race and I just absolutely loved it! Can’t wait for next year! Official race report and results are here.
Oh yeah...people always ask about recovery. The rest of Sunday Sarah and I both looked, walked, and felt like we had been in a car wreck! By Monday I felt much better. Tuesday I felt great and Wednesday and Thursday I ran a few miles a day to get the kinks out. Saturday morning I’m running the Kansas City Marathon. We’ll see how that goes…:)
Heartland 100 2009
Heartland 100 2008