Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lunar Trek 2011

I have always loved this race and still do. I participated in the first ever Lunar Trek in 2008 and finished the 40 miler. See Lunar Trek 2008 Report. I finished the 100K in 2009, the first time they offered that distance, on a year when a slight cool front rolled in around day break, providing a mid morning temperature of no more than low 80s and clouds. See Lunar Trek 2009 Report. I had to miss it in 2010 due to the date conflict. I was back in 2011, excited to finish the 100K again, a good long training run before next weekend’s Canadian Death Race in Northern Alberta, Canada and other fall races coming up.

Two of Sarah’s siblings were in town this week from New York, helping work on our house. Kind of at the last minute they all three decided to go with me up to Scandia, KS. We hit a bad thunderstorm near Concordia on the way. The clouds and storms were looking ominous before the start. When they got there they sat up a tent and, after I started running, they slept in the tent all night long, waking up just a few minutes before I finished the 40 miles.

Due to the thunderstorm and especially the lightning, the start was delayed about an hour and 20 minutes. When we first took off there was still plenty of awesome and scary lightning but it didn’t seem to be striking the ground anywhere close, mostly off to the east. I only heard one more rumble of thunder and felt a couple rain drops. Once the storm passed and winds died down, the stifling heat and humidity returned and the night was basically what was to be expected, with the exception of the mud. Yuck! About 6 of the 20 mile course was covered in mud, some of it with standing water and pretty gross.

My knees were really achy miles 5 – 15 and I didn’t like that but was running with a pack of people I know and was enjoying the talking and sharing stories. The legs felt better miles 25 – 35 than they did the first 25 which is weird but true. Mosquitoes were horrible in a couple places with no wind and standing water. I took the gravel and covered my legs with it to try to subside the itching. Didn’t really work. But some more rain that came in and running through the muddy standing water seemed to do the trick. We were running a solid 12 minute mile pace through 30. Around mile 30 I started feeling really nauseous. Couple times I thought I was going to through up. I think it was the mixture of the gels I was taking (approx 1 every 30-35 min) and the heat and who knows what else. I was running for the longest time with Laurie from Lawrence, who I’ve known through ultrarunning for several years now, and she had to stop for a couple minutes so I took the chance to walk one whole mile and down another gel and more water and electrolytes and within a few minutes I was feeling better. A mile or so down the road it was Laurie’s turn to feel awful and it took a while for that to go away. Eventually, we were both feeling fine or normal for the mileage but our pace had slowed a bit though was not terrible.

I decided not to carry a headlamp or a light of any kind because the other two years I carried one and never needed it/turned it on. Opps, that was dumb! I needed it a lot in the areas of mud, so I stuck close to people who had one, which was fine, but meant I needed to go their pace to be able to see. I’ll probably carry one again next year – and not use it.

Due to the delay of the start of the race by an hour and half, we got back to the school, with the end of 40 miles a little after 7:00 am which meant if I would have gone back out for the final 22 it would have taken 5+ hours and I would’ve finished afternoon or worse, in the heat. It was actually a pretty easy decision to stop at 40. Only 3 of the 15 starters finished the 100K. One of them is my friend Terry Rider and he finished around 3:00 pm and it was 106 degrees. (Terry is actually the only person in Lunar Trek history to finish all 3 100Ks!) I felt better and better about not going back out as I was riding back to Wichita, getting home before noon to take a nap!

I was pleased with the 40 miles and was only minimally sore the next day. I had fun running with my Lawrence Trailhawk friends and am excited for the upcoming fall races.

Lunar Trek race directors are incredibly friendly and hospitable and the whole thing is just one of my many favorites. I can’t wait to go back next year on Friday night, July, 27th and conquer the 100K once again. I might need someone to go with me and drive home… :)