With just 2 miles to go I could see Karl Meltzer starting to catch me....

Monday, April 16, 2007

then he passed me for the second time in my 50 miles :) . He went on to win and set the new record for the 100 at McNaughton in 17:40:13

Did that title catch your eye? :)

UPDATE: I have added my official time/splits/and place

The weather was looking rough all week. Rain and snow flurries were on the radar when I checked Noaa.gov on Friday night. I don't mind cold, I don't even mind snow that much as long as it's not accumulating, but rain and cold.... that's a combo I did not want to see. I arrived around 6:45 PM on Friday to pick up my packet and mingle with folks at the pre-race dinner. I met up with my virtual training partner Howard and some of his real running buddies from the Decatur, IL area. The temp had started to drop noticeably and everyone around the start/finish was starting to layer up and put on warmer clothes. The 150 was already started and there was a good amount of buzz around this whole weekend of ultras. Karl Meltzer was just a few feet away talking with people. It's still very surreal to me how the best of the best start at the same time and run the same course as everyone else. It's not like the Boston Marathon, Chicago Triathlon or any other event where elite athletes get starting privileges over the rest of the field. I met Sherpa John and talked with him a while, discussed the course a little and then headed towards start/finish to see the 150 milers come around. The first guy finished his first 10 mile loop in 1:25!!! David Goggins and Ryan Dexter Came across roughly 10 minutes later. Those seemed like some fast times to put up this early in a 150 mile race, but these cats know what they're doing.

I headed back to the hotel to try to relax and get my baggies of Heed and Perpetum put together. I was so pumped seeing the 150 milers going that I was wishing that I could have just started at 6 PM too... well maybe not, but at least I would not have to worry about over sleeping or my alarm or.... I finally got to sleep around 12:30 and was up again in 4 hours. Time to get ready. I met Howard in the lobby at 5:15. I normally would have got to the start line a little earlier, but since it was around 30 degrees, I did not want to mill around in the cold too long. I got my bag into the drop bag area, stripped down to my shorts, laced up my shoes and got ready for the start. At 6 AM we were off. The initial decent of the race was a sloppy mess. Roughly 175 folks all headed down to the trail, slipping and sliding the whole way. This was a bit of foreshadowing of what was to come.

I took it easy the first lap, nothing special here, just following the rest of running and slopping through the mud. It was really slick and lap 2 was even worse. It had started raining. Pair that with the 50 runners in the 150 that had been up all night, add the 175 that had just put 10 miles on the trail and you've got a recipe for a mess. The down hills were a wreck. It was almost impossible to have any traction going down them. Basically you just centered your gravity and tried to manage the speed at which you slid down... maybe grabbing a sapling or two along the way to slow you down or to adjust your direction to the right or left. I was feeling good at 20. I was staying hydrated and making sure to keep my calories up. Lap 3 was a different story.

one of the many mud pits

photo by Michael Siltman

The beginning of my 3rd lap was fine. No major problems to speak of. I passed the first water crossing and met up with Julie. She was great to run with. We talked about, gear, her Inov-8 sponsorship, the ultrarunning community, blogs and just general stuff. It was excellent to run with her. I have followed her blog for about a year now so it was neat to finally meet her in person. We ran pretty close for a majority of lap 3. She said "you're approaching unknown territory" close to the end of my 3rd lap. She was right. I've never gone over a 50k, so after that every step was a new PR!! I had to keep that in mind because, around 28 miles I started to get down on myself. Instead of getting to stop at 30, I had to keep pressing on. I had hit a wall. I was at that point of thinking; "What the hell am I doing? How am I going to spend another 5 or so hours out here? I am not running Ice Age in 4 week, hell, I may not ever do one of these again!"

I got to the aid station at the Start/Finish and Howard's wife Lisa was there. She was great. Lisa asked how I was doing, was giving me some encouragement and was in a good enough mood to get me to smile for a picture even though I was down.DSCN0993

She was wondering how far behind Howard was. Not far at all!! Here he came into the drop bag area, all smiles. He was doing great. He had put in some high mileage weeks in the last few months and it was obvious that it was paying off. I was fumbling around with my powders and changing shoes and sock. She snapped a picture of the both of us and it was obvious (see below) who was in better spirits at this point. Not only was I at the wall, but this time in the aid station was not going well. Howard took off and I was still trying to get out of the aid station with all my gear.

feeling pretty rough

I caught up with Howard about 3/4 of a mile into the 4th loop. It was actually good to pick up the pace for a bit. I needed a change of pace. I finally pushed though my funk around mile 35. The course had actually started to dry out pretty well and was pack down quite a bit. The down hills were at the point where I could actually run down them instead of slide. I decided to try to get after it. I crossed the Start/Finish for the 4th time. Grabbed a baggie of Perpetum and filled up my spare water bottle and took off without much wasted time.

I picked up the pace considerably for the last loop or at least the effort that I was putting forth. I can't say that my pace increased too much, but I had legs under me so I went with it. I made up 4 or so places over the last loop. I actually felt better now then I had most of the day. I just stayed in a straight line an followed the trail. Because of how sloppy it was, there were several places where I could have gone around the mess, but decided that since the end was near, I was just going to power though the sludge. Karl Meltzer was going to pass me for a second time. I tried to hang on to a good pace but it was futile, even at sub 9's he was going to get me, and for sure pass as soon as we hit a hill.. and he did. It was amazing seeing how he maneuvered up a hill. Almost effortlessly, he bounded up and then disappeared. The end of the event was getting near. I crossed the last water crossing, headed up the last few big hill and there was the Finish.

I crossed at in 11 hours,24 minutes. My wife was at a wedding so my parents were there for support at the end (and to drive me home in case of leg failure). It was great to have them come to one of these events so they could see what it was all about. We waited around for Howard to finish and he came across the line a little more than 15 minutes after me with arms in the air and totally pumped. He put together a great day and has a lot to be proud of. He never let the weather or trail conditions get him down.

I was 18th Overall in the 50. (registered field of 122, 100 showed up, and 77 finished). Not bad for my first 50. I was about 8 seconds a mile slower then my 30 mile pace at McNaughton last year. 20 more miles with lots of mud and only 8 seconds slower, no blisters and a "50 mile Finisher" buckle...I'll take it! All in all, I had a good day.

Oh yea.. and just to let you know, I'm running Ice Age.

post race feet check

Lap 1- 2:16:34.5

Lap 2 - 2:14:09.0

Lap 3 - 2:18:36.1

Lap 4 - 2:19:45.5

Lap 5 - 2:15:36.1

Total 11:24:41.3 pace 13:42/M

Posted by Travis at 3:56 PM  

14 comments:

Yeahoo! I'm glad I was able to run with you out there for a while, it was awesome fun. 11:24! That is so incredible..tough conditions and your first 50. Wow, outstanding! Yeah, you are looking a bit like one who has hit a wall in the one picture but the others are all smiles. There is usually a bad patch to get through when running these long ones but they do go away..it almost always gets better! Enjoy your recovery and I'll see you at Ice Age!

Julie B said...
7:02 PM  

"What the hell am I doing? How am I going to spend another 5 or so hours out here? I am not running Ice Age in 4 week, hell, I may not ever do one of these again!"

Been there done that. I only get to run 1 or 2 long events per year as there just isn't a lot of them here in New Zealand. The first two or three I ran, I had exactly, word for word (minus the ice age bit) the same thoughts you did. They're gone now. I think mentally I'm better prepared and I enjoy it all a whole lot more.

Great work, keep having a good time.
Cheers

Matt B said...
7:52 PM  

Way to go on your 50 miler, that kicks ass!!!!! Rock Out!!!! Thank you for your thoughts, it means a lot!!!!

Caleb said...
10:06 PM  

Great job out there. I saw your post from Julie b.'s blog..

It was my 1st 50 miler/mcnaughton race for me. Crazy conditions. The mud was crazy..

Maybe I'll run into you at ICE Age. Good luck

RunBubbaRun said...
6:38 AM  

That's the way to go at it! Congratulations! Nice job overcoming the small bumps and keeping yourself moving thru the miles! Good to hear you ran into Sherpa John, hey you should consider joining us @ Team Sherpa we could always use some more team spirit!

What's the next step?

Ryan said...
7:18 AM  

Congratulations!! I am SOOO proud of you!! Mom kept asking me, "how long was he out there??" then "HOW far did he run??" What an amazing accomplishment under the not so best of circumstances!!

BTW - I'm assuming no major problems with the ITB??

Jenn said...
8:16 AM  

Congrats, amazing run in those conditions.

anil said...
9:07 AM  

Travis, you are as close to the bionic man as I'm ever going to get. Nice work, man.

Before long, you'll just run to Springfield to visit me. I'll still drive to see you.

Later,

John

John said...
2:25 PM  

Congrats on first 50M buckle!!! You are now on the road to a 100M one:) And same pace for 20 more miles? Very cool!!!

olga said...
2:50 PM  

Hey T-
Awesome job! I will run the 150 mile next year.
I guess the rain I had on Saturday was not so bad after all.
Felt happy to be out in the wilderness alone training for the PCT.
You should be very proud of yourself.
So what 100 will you run as your first one ;)
Catra

Catra said...
5:53 PM  

DUDE! Awesome job! Great to have run into you and with you for a short while while I was still sane.

Consider joining our team man.. you're exactly who we are looking for. And consider coming to run in VERMONT!

Awesome job trav!

Sherpa John said...
6:45 PM  

Great job, Travis!

Gregg Lynn said...
10:52 AM  

Travis,
You did very well in you 50-miler! Hopefully, Psycho Wyco had a part in preparing you mentally for the challenge.

Ben, aka BadBen said...
12:06 PM  

Big Time Congrats on your 50-miler. UltraTravis now, huh? Sounds great!

I'll be manning the 40-mile aid station and bringing my special chicken soup to give you a boost! I'm also bringing my camera, so be sure to save me a smile!!

ps Anything you want me to have for you when you reach 40????

Lora said...
6:40 AM  

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