Tuesday, March 30, 2010

2010 umstead 100 mile endurance run: race report

wow - the umstead monkey is finally off my back! that's the very short and sweet version of my race report! it was my third attempt at the umstead 100 mile endurance run. in the 2008 edition i dropped at mile 78 because of an injured calf; and, in 2009 i missed the race entirely because of pneumonia! umstead, accordingly, had sole possession of first place on my list of unfinished business.

my primary objective was to finish the race. and, instead of the finisher's buckle, i wanted the lady's pendant to give to katie. for the past two years the race fell on her birthday weekend and she had to spend it in north carolina instead of with her friends (that was mitigated somewhat because our in-laws live in wake forest). it's a real highlight for me to see pat and katie during the race. this year katie planned to run a couple of miles with me - and i was psyched!

aside from pat and katie, the race field seemed like an extended family full of familiar ultra running faces. emmy was running it for her third time (and we'd run the last 2+ loops together). anthony was gunning for a sub 20 hour finish. tammy was looking for a sub-26 hour finish. meredith was looking for her first hundred finish since her daughter, zoe, was born last year! hugo, was there (after the nyc half last weekend). shannon was there (after a 20k last weekend). kim was there too (running with, pacing her boyfriend). cheryl, adam and fred too (a multiple umstead finisher).

too many stories to relate here. kraz came down from connecticut as a volunteer pacer (and his daughter volunteered at aid station #2). johnny, who hadn't fully recovered from his knee injury, was there to crew and support friends. rick flew in from california to pace anthony for the last 50 miles. wayne drove down from new york to pace and crew. and there were plenty of first timers attempting finish a 100 miles: eric, steve, laura, ira, susan l., susan g., and marge. apologies for anyone i missed.

i saw a good number of those people at the pre-race briefing friday afternoon (which i prepared for with a quick stop at the big boss brewing company). the weather was lousy on friday - a raw, wet day. but blake norwood, the race director, predicted beautiful conditions for race day - and we did get great weather! i skipped the pasta dinner, opting to eat at home and finalize my two drop bags. even getting up at 4 a.m., i managed a solid 5-6 hours of sleep before pat drove me back to umstead for the start.

time-wise, i had a 22 hour target in mind. based on blake's stats in the "how to train for your first 100 at the umstead 100," i wanted to run the first 50 miles in 10 hours and the second 50 in 12 hours. that was a bit more aggressive than his 1.3 ratio, but it gave me an extra 2 hour cushion to come in under 24 hours. i wanted to run the first four loops at a 2:30 pace and the final 4 loops at a 3:00 pace. i also planned on meeting up with katie mid-afternoon and running the airport spur with her.

since we had an hour of darkness at the start, i took a small flashlight with me. i ran most of that loop with emmy, and then picked up the pace at the second aid station. i didn't carry anything with me (no water belt or handheld bottle) since there was plenty of aid spread out on the loop course. i stopped long enough for water - and a hard boiled egg - at the various aid stations during the first few loops. the first half went perfectly (and i even wore my ipod for the second and third loops) and i reached 50 miles in 9:11:26 - well below my target.

i normally don't believe in banking time - preferring to target even splits whenever possible. but would i shift gears to run a few miles with katie in the fifth loop, and i knew that i'd run slower loops in the second half regardless. i was extremely psyched to see pat and katie when i got back to camp laphio at the end of loop four. i was a major mental boost - and i was especially amazed to hear that they had gone to a gun club with my brother-in-law for target shooting! that was a first! after i katie headed back down to camp laphio i spotted emmy about to finish her 4th loop.

if she sped up and i slowed down to 3 hour loops she'd catch up and we could run the last two loops together! and that's pretty much how it worked out. on my fifth loop took 3:01:24 - a solid 40 minutes slower than my average for the first 4 loops. but i felt great and was confident of hitting my 22 hour target. in loop four i ran with kim and her friends for a while and, a bit later, with meredith up to aid station #2. just before the midway point of loop six, emmy caught up to me and we ran the rest of the race together.

while i still felt good physically, it was getting past my bedtime mentally. on the airport spur of the seven loop my brain started to shut down. suddenly i found myself practically sleepwalking! at the low point i was imaging things - like dogs on the course. thankfully, emmy found a pair of runners who gave us some caffeinated gu! that gratuitous act of kindness worked like magic - it was as if someone flipped a switch and turned me back on again! but that incident, coupled with breaking out my drop bag at aid station #2 to grab emmy a pair of gloves, made it the slowest loop of the day - coming in at 3:27:46.

still, with an 87.5 mile split of 18:59:09, we could hit 22 hours with a 3 hour final loop. that was pretty aggressive - but i felt fine at that point. emmy would also break her pr (and f50 course record) from the 2009 race (22:18). so off we went, and pushing the pace, managed a 3:09:24 for the last loop! not quite 3:00, but solid enough (and my fastest one since loop 5)! i finished in 22:08:33 - which may have been faster if we didn't have to pick our way down a pitch black minefield of roots and rocks in the last half mile!

still, it was all good!! not only did i finally get the umstead monkey off my back and get katie that finisher's pendant, but i set a 100 mile pr by more than 4 hours (easily eclipsing my 26:16 at vermont last year) and a 50 mile pr by more than 30 minutes (eclipsing my 9:41 at jfk back in 2007)! plus, anthony ran under 20 hours! tammy finished in under 26 hours! eric finished his first hundred miler under 24 hours! woo hoo!

here are my lap splits:

2:05:03 4:21:18
2:18:09 6:39:28
2:31:58 9:11:26

first 50 miles: 9:11:26, an 11:02 pace.

3:01:24 12:12:51
3:18:31 15:31:22
3:27:46 18:59:09
3:09:24 22:08:33

second 50 miles: 12:57:03, a 15:33 pace.

13:17 average pace

here are some race photos.
here are some pre-race photos.


TonyP said...

Congrats Frank! Just an amazing performance. I love that your plan was to give Katie the lady's pendant, and how awesome that she got to run a bit with you during the race. See you soon!

Just_because_today said...

sounds like a great race, you felt good the whole way and your PR...that's a whole marathon time you took off your previous time!

EricG said...

Great job Frank. Was good to see you out there.

Runner Tammy said...


It was so great to see you at Umstead! I am so thrilled that you were able to get the Umstead Monkey off your back. You should be very proud of yourself.

I loved running into you along the course and how strong you looked each time I saw you. It was such a treat to briefly see you every few laps.

It is really neat that you got to run with Katie. It is obvious how proud you are of her, and with this it is obvious how proud and supportive she is of you.

I look forward to seeing you again at another 100 miler...VT100, perhaps?


Robert said...

That's a huge P.R. Very impressive. Sounds like planning for the slower second half worked out well for you.

The Pretty Runner said...

Wow!!! I'm seriously impressed!!! 100 miles! Keep it up and congrats on the PR, dude! :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Frank,

Finally getting caught up on my blog reading here. (:
It was great seeing you at Umstead. Congrats on your PR.


Jim said...

Hey that was me who gave you the gel. I had no idea who you were at the time, I was pacing my friend for his lap 6 or 7 at the time. Funny I just read about this now.