Sunday, October 12, 2008

Orange Trail Salt Fork

Gorgeous day for a trail run. I was down in Salt Fork again. This time I had my Garmin, which tells me my orange trail loop is 7.2 miles. And I found a spot to drop water off around mile 3, which will make water restocking much easier!

See, this pic was taken while running, and I was running so fast that the trees in the background were a

Just found a cool post by Lana. I spent alot of time on this run reflecting and thinking about future runs and goals. I need goals. I need to have something to train toward and plan toward. I'm thinking a little about Rocky Raccoon again. With it being the first week of February, it would make me start to really train-not just exist and toddle along like I feel I have done for most of 2008-but really train for my next 100.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two other things from the Momentum Race..

First, the smell!!

As I ran through the evening in Virginia, I kept smelling the same smelled like food of some sort, very familiar, except I could not put my finger on it. The odor would come and go in certain areas of the trail.Finally, around 3am, I recognized it! Sliced cucumbers! Something in the woods smelled like cucumbers!

I came home and googled it..and it was not a race hallucination.

"trans-2-Nonenal was identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis as the cucumber odor in the cucumber/farinaceous subgroup of mushrooms with farinaceous odors". Of course, I then had to look up "farinaceous" which is, Farinaceous or mealy. Often compared to the odor of cucumbers, watermelon rind, or an old grain mill. Common in many mushrooms, including Polyporus squamosus, Agrocybe praecox, Mycena galericulata, Tricholoma sejunctum, Clitopilus prunulus, and Entoloma abortivum Believe it or not, the cucumber/farinaceous sub-odor has been upheld by chemical research (Wood et al., 1994) as a valid distinction, and the chemical trans-2-Nonenal has been identified as being responsible for it."

Of course, when I told my husband about the cucumber smell, he whipped his head around and said "That was a copperhead snake smell" and you know, I googled that too!

"Copperheads smell like cucumbers. You may have heard someone say you always know when a copperhead is around because it smells like cucumbers. This is both true and misleading.

Yes, copperheads and most other kinds of snakes give off an offensive odor when molested, cornered or captured. This defensive odor, produced by glands at the base of the tail, is given off at will and may also be mixed with feces. To some individuals this musk may smell somewhat like cucumbers"
Given that I had seen plenty of mushrooms around the trail, I would have to go with the cucumber mushroom smell, not big dens of copperhead snakes all over the race

No fainting! Or rather, as Mongold or Casseday would say, no vasovagal syndrome. I was prepared for it though. I changed shirts after I finished, then went to sit outside in the colder air, waiting for that familiar roaring in my ears, to know it was time to slide off the bench and put my feet up higher than my heart.

It didn't happen. WTF? Maybe this only happens after I cross the 75 mile barrier (all fainting and puking stages have been after 75 miles before). I was quite happy to sit on the bench, resign myself that I was okay, and went back inside to eat a pancake or two!

I've been very tired after this race. OR maybe three races in three weekends-a 50K, a marathon, and 24 hours- is around my limit. This was pretty much my fall racing weekend, although I've been eyeing the Presque Isle Run in two weeks. It's more the fact that many friends are doing the race than anything else. So who knows, you may see me sooner than later!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

24 Hours of Momentum Race Report

Ok, I'm finally home from work Tuesday with a race report!

I drove down to Virginia on Friday, about an 8 hour drive. I camped out at the race, which was at Camp Brady, a Boy Scout Camp. (A huge Boy Scout reservation, actually!) Since the race did not start until noon, it was very strange to wake up and just lounge in my sleeping bag before breakfast pangs sent me to find food.

After food, it was time to tape the feet and arrange the food and clothes. My tent was right on the race course, so it would be a quick and easy stop for anything that I needed. As I set up, someone walking by yelled "hey are you Kim? I loved your podcast!" Wow, someone knows me way down here in Virginia, and remembered our podcast. It turns out to be Dave, who now has his own podcast, called Running in the Center of the Universe. Dave was on a relay team, and looks like he's already got a podcast out about the race!

It seems like the 24 (and 12) Hours of Momentum Race has about doubled in size from its inaugural year. There were more relay runners than soloists out there, and I believe more 12 hour soloists than us crazy 24 hour runners.

We're off promptly at 12 noon, and I watch just about the whole race scamper away ahead of me. Whatever. I got all day. And all night.

When I first started reading up on running a 24 hour race from the running gurus, they all talked about 'strategy', like running 5 laps and walking one. Humpf. My strategy is my typical ultra running strategy-walk the uphills, run the downs and flats. Besides, I wanted to see what the trail looked like, since this was advertised as a 5 mile trail loop.

And trail it was! This was a tough course! It was alot of little ups and downs, never ending. Some flat sections, but mostly rolling up and down. Luckily it had not rained much, so the trail was packed down dirt, but if it had been wet it would have been slick. It was pretty rooty also.
Now when I say tough, it's tough because you are repeating loops on it. If you were just running it, say 5 or 10 miles, it would be a fun little workout. But repeated loops, the ups and downs (and mainly the little downs) will take its toll on your legs.

I ran with 2 ladies running the 12 hour solo, and they were not real pleased with the trail, seeing as they were from Virginia Beach and it was flat there. I tried to give them encouragement, since I'm Ms. Happy Positive Trail Goddess out there on the trails. They were also worried about the night running with all the roots. I told them it would be good practice for them. I hope they ended up with a good experience out there, I think the trail was a bit more than they had expected!

I think it was in the first loop that we came upon a female runner, who had stopped. She said there was a snake in the trail, a "big black snake". I said, man, I forgot my camera, and we 4 females went forward. Yep, there was the snake, about 3 feet long, pretty small as black snakes go. Since he didn't want to move, I just detoured about 3 feet into the weeds around him. The other females followed, as I remarked "Mrs Snake" should be around here somewhere. Sometimes I can't help it...

Starting at noon, we hit the heat of the day head on, but it wasn't too bad, the trail was mainly shaded, and I knew it would cool off soon. I was pretty much just enjoying my run, noticing new things on each lap. I had landmarks to look for as soon as the 2nd lap, something to look forward to. The first mark was the "Pirate Ship" a boat constructed at the edge of a pond. Boy Scouts were there for the first 5 hours of the race, fishing and having fun as we ran by. The second mark was the long switchback. The third mark was the unmanned water stop (with Portopotty nearby) around the 3.5 mile mark. Next was "the snake area" to look forward to. Next mark was the lake. When we hit the lake, there was probably less than one mile to go. Actually, this area was the most treacherous, with roots ready to trip you up here.

I maintained a good pace and stops for me. I would decide ahead of time what I wanted out of my own stuff to eat. The first 3 laps I did use just Hammergel, then I added a Payday bar. Around 630pm or so, I ate a small amount of spaghetti and garlic bread at Race HQ. I had learned my gluttony lesson at this year's YUT-C 50K about over eating so I made sure I kept it to a small portion.

Darkness finally fell, and I reluctantly donned my headlamp. I really like my Myo Exp headlamp, but wearing it for so long does drive me crazy. I also picked up my tunes on the first night loop.

On my drive south, I discovered I had broken my Zune somehow. There was nothing on it but 3 songs and whatever podcasts I had synched the night before. Luckily, I had brought the fully charged backup iPod, so I started listening to that.

I have gotten better at night running,and staying awake during night runs, and this race was a good learning experience for me, since I was alone and had no pacer. Music helps me alot! I need the stimulation to keep me going. I've also learned to start caffeinating early-I started drinking coffee around 10pm. I was also eating small amounts steadily.

Of course, you slow down much more at night and this was no exception. It did help that I had been on the course numerous times now, so it was much more familiar. I just kept the tunes, food, and caffeine going.

I always came into the race HQ smiling, and Mark, the RD, commented on it finally. I didn't tell him I was the Trail Goddess, since he didn't know me that well, but I did say I'm always happy to be out on the trail. And when you come into a nice warm place, where folks are smiling and cheering you, well, of course you should radiate that back!

My iPod finally gave up the charge and I switched to my Zune. I was so happy to see I had a few "upbeat" podcasts to listen to, like "Munchcast" and an episode of Running with the Pack, where they mentioned Ashland Dave, who I had just met earlier that day! Small world!

It's alway darkest before the dawn

I was doing pretty well at night. But as the night wore on, I was sick of drinking water, sick of eating, tired of being tired. I got back to race HQ about 5am, and knew I still had almost 2 hours to go before daylight. Boy I was crabby at myself. I bitched and moaned to myself as I walked down the slippery hill out of the race HQ. Funny, stopping was never an option, but I was just crabby. I had picked up one of my horrible junk food options-a chocolate pie and a cup of coffee. I told myself I would go on, no stopping, and I could walk the whole damn loop if that's what it took. So I took my time, eating my pie and drinking coffee, pretty much walking most of the loop.

And then the sun came up..

And miraculously, all was well again in the universe. I loved myself again. I loved the trail and running. I had energy. All was great.

But, at this time, the legs weren't going too well. I was at the point of starting to turn sideways for the downhills. As I ran in the sunlight, I saw my shadow. Then I walked, and looked at my shadow. I believe I was walking faster than my shuffle along.

I stopped after this lap, 12 laps in around 21 hours. But, to my surprise, I actually ran 13 laps, for a total of 65 miles. (20:56) I can't believe I messed up counting, but the ultra brain pretty much dies after 30 miles or so. I was also 4th of 8 solo runners! Ha ha! I'm liking this 24 hour running thing. I may be slow, but I'm determined. I can place higher in a race due to my stubborness and focus on relentless forward motion, no matter how slow!