Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oil Creek 100 Trail Runs - October 8th, 2011

That’s pretty cool – “I won a door prize”.  This is how my experience at the OC 100 started on Friday evening.  I picked out the Hammer mixer and then headed to the gymnasium to pick out “my spot”.  The sleep that night was restless and uncomfortable – not a good mix but you live and you learn.  Something I would do a lot of this weekend.
My overall health was getting better.  After the LP 12 hour in early September, I was still struggling with GI issues and went for a pouchoscopy followed the next week by a series of MRI’s.  All of these tests pointed to a severe case of Pouchitis and I continued my antibiotic treatment.  Two weeks before the race, things were getting much better and going into the race I remained positive about my health.
Race morning I woke up around 3:45 am and began with race morning preparation.  I ate a bagel and drank some coffee then put on my race stuff.  I was ready and looked forward to a good day on the trails.  It was nice to see familiar faces around the cafeteria on race morning. 
Loop #1
The race started at 5 am so headlamps illuminated the route for the first two hours.  The bike path led us down a hill towards the trail.  The early morning sky was beautiful, clear and the stars were amazing.  Getting to AS #1 was fairly slow, mostly walking due to the terrain and darkness.  The first few miles gave me a sense of what this course would be like – rocky, spider roots, and occasional mud with hills.  After AS #1 there was a steep assent called ‘Switchback Mountain’.  The next portion of the trail was less rocky and muddy and very runnable.  Coming into AS #2 was a steep downhill and uphill again after the aid station – this pattern was repeated for all aid stations.  The sections between AS #3 and AS #4 were rather difficult at night and a little easier during the daylight.  As a reminder, you run half the course in darkness.
Tom and I were running off and on during this loop.  At the end of the loop my Uncle Joe was there to surprise me with a visit.  He reminded me to take more food which really helped.

Loop #2
I ran the first half of this loop with a few folks from Wisconsin.  All three of us were surprised with the first section because it was so much easier to navigate during the daylight.  The second loop up to Section 4 was rather easy and pleasurable.  I was taking it slow, enjoying the company, and the day.  Night time fell and Section 4 on this loop was all dark.  Again, at night Section 4 now was much more difficult to navigate than the day time.
At this point the terrain was taking a toll on the body but I felt I was enduring it well enough.  I also started drinking Perpetuem mixer starting after AS #2.  Probably not enough and I’ll change this around for the next race.  Fueling became a problem at the end of Loop 2 and I was not focusing on getting enough calories in.  Hydration and electrolytes were probably fine but the calories were not going in.
Coming into AS #4 I was tired and my left shin had some noticeable pain but stretching seemed to help along with some Advil.
Loop #3
Heading out on Loop 3 my plan was reduced to – “15 hours to cover 38 miles”.  It seemed attainable to me at the time.  As I headed back down the bike path to the trail I was passed by a runner and a pacer who wanted to know if I’d like to follow along with them.  I did and followed along with them.  Off and on we’d talk and the pacer was really nice making sure we were doing well.  Unfortunately, I was now shuffling a little more than expected and was getting really sore and beaten up, Up to AS #2 it was tolerable but after that it was pure hell.  All thru Section #3 I wanted to bounce back but nothing was working – food, ginger, hydration, etc.  The last mile coming into AS #3 there were no positive thoughts.  My left shin and left knee were shot and the nausea that started after AS #2 continued to rage.  I was not in a good place physically or mentally.  I sat down by the fire at AS #3 thought about it for 5 minutes and decided to throw in the towel knowing I would have another chance at it someday.
DNF at AS #3 on Loop #3 (84.5 miles completed in 24 hrs and 50 minutes - 17:38 per mile)

Final Thoughts
My assessment is nausea, poor eating at night, and the left shin contributed to my demise and I also ran the last lap faster than planned though AS #3. 
Did I have a good time?  Hell, yes!  This was a fun and enjoyable event.  I missed the family but was able to check in with them on every lap.  Otherwise, I had a great time, socialized with some very nice people and the event was well organized with good sponsors and fantastic aid stations.  Tom was a great race director and I hope to participate again in the future.

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