Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lessons in Perseverance

My training has been a bit off the past couple of weeks.  Either one or both vehicles have been in the shop and I've had to resort to riding my bike back and forth to work.  Now this isn't necessarily a bad thing, I end up riding to the train station from my house, take the train, ride to work.  Then I ride the entire distance home (19 miles).  So I end up riding close to 25 miles a day.  Because of the time involved adn lack of transportation, I haven't been able to get the running in that I think I need for Wasatch.  It's kind of bugging me.
So, last Sunday I had the opportunity to get a 35 mile "run" in with a couple of lovely young ladies, Missy and Emily.  Both were looking for a really long run on the Wasatch course and wanted a tour guide of sorts.  Neither had run Wasatch in a couple of years, and were a bit unsure of the route in places.  The perfect opportunity to reset my training and see where I was.
We started our adventure at the Fernwood picnic area.  This is about 3.5 miles from the start of the Wasatch course.  It's also where runners start the single biggest climb of the race.
The day started cool, but we all knew that it would be a warm one, even at 9000'.
The first 20 miles went great.  We were having fun just trotting along and chatting.  We even managed to bag a couple of peaks, Thurston, and Francis, with short side trips.
My troubles started when we began the climb towards the Bountiful B aid station location.  Our last source of water was a stream that we crossed just before that.  We all tanked up on water knowing that we wouldn't have any more for the next 17+ miles.  I've never been a fan of the climb to Bountiful, but it didn't seem too bad.  I was slowing down some, but wasn't concerned.
We made it up to bountiful, then started our trek down the dirt roads to the Sessions Liftoff aid station location.  Even though it was Sunday, we encountered all sorts of 4x4, ATV, and motorcycle traffic.  Just the hazard of running down this road.
By the time we had gone 20 miles, I wanted out.  I was bonking, not hard, but just slowing down and having an attitude shift.  Trouble is, there's no easy way to get off the mountains.  You don't realize just how remote you are until you want to leave.  Even though we could look down and see civilization close by, it would have been a 5-10 mile minimum trek to make it down to that civilization.  Then I would have had to call my wife to come pick me up, then drive to Big Mountain to pick up my car.  Since we only had 10-15 miles left and I wasn't hurt or other wise dying, I kept going.  For about the next 5-7 miles I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, complaining to Missy.  Emily had gone on ahead a ways (probably so she wouldn't have to listen to me). 
Finally, I think Missy had enough of my complaining and gave me half of a 5-hour energy and that seemed to boost me some.  I realized that 1) I was physically fine, no injuries or illness, 2) I was doing something that I loved, running and hiking in the mountains, 3) It was a gorgeous day, even if it was warm, 4) I was actually moving at a pretty good pace, just not as fast as I wanted, 5) I was doing more physically and in better shape than the vast majority of people my age (55), and 6) I had cold beer in a cooler in my car.
So, what lessons did I learn out there?  First, take more calories.  I think that's why I bonked.  I did eat about 600-700 calories that I had with me, but I should have taken more along.  I did fine with water, I rationed it and finished the last of it about 1/4 mile from Big Mountain.  Second, I was reminded that I do have a gift of being able to go these kinds of distances.  Third, I'm not fast, but I can persevere when forced to.  Fourth, I was never really bad off, I just had a bad attitude.  Having a bad attitude is way, way different than actually being in any sort of danger, and I was never in any sort of danger. 
And last, I hope that when I do run Wasatch in September, I'll remember that it's just a low point I'm at and to persevere, because I will have a low point during the race.
Sorry, no pics.  I have enough pics of the Wasatch.
Here's the link to my route:  http://www.strava.com/activities/172042726

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bryce 50 mile, talk about scenery overload

Prologue -

Last Saturday I ran my second ultra in as many weeks.  The previous week it was the Kettle Moraine 100K.  I did reasonably well at that one and was just looking to finish Bryce before dark and have some fun hanging out with fellow HUMR's, along with my wife and sister-in-law, for the weekend.  I was going to run the race last year, but a bout of surgery left me on the sidelines crewing and just hanging around.

Race -

RD Matt got us all started right on time at 6am.  The first 1-2 miles were on some dirt road.  This allowed the field to spread out before we got to the single track.
So, my stated goal for this race was to just go out and have a good time, enjoy the scenery, and finish in a reasonable time.  I was still a bit tired from the 100K a week before.  Secretly I had a time goal of somewhere around 12 hours.  I figured that if I felt good, I should be able to finish in that amount of time.
See all the runners?  Yeah, neither can I
Once we got on the single track, the scenery really started to unfold.  Around every corner was a Kodak moment waiting to be had.  The first several miles had us winding our way thru forest, twisty and turny single track, stunning views, etc.  I hung with Curtis and Steve for quite awhile, but eventually they pulled ahead and left me to run alone.  We ran across ridges, amongst hoodoos, saw amazing rock formations, and long range views across the valley below.  Eventually we descended to the base of those same cliffs and got to the first aid station (10 miles).  I was feeling pretty good, drinking plenty, eating a bit here and there.  I grabbed some coke and headed out for the next section.  Now we were going thru some forest and meadows that were equally as scenic.  I don't remember a lot of specifics about this section other than it was stunning.  As I ran down a small canyon along a creek bed, I could hear the next aid station coming up.  HUMR canopy up and some familiar faces to get me stuff.  Debbie came in just after I did and I told her that she'd better catch me.
I knew that Lane, Pam, Madi, and Gage would be there for the HUMR's and as I rolled in, there was a big cheer.  It was awesome to see the
The next section was another long stretch of nine miles.  This section had us doing some serious climbing.  A couple of short steeper sections, but nothing huge.
Happy to see my peeps
Just long gradual climbs, winding thru small canyons and drainages, eventually coming out on top of a ridge and running right along the edge of a cliff.  Very cool.  The aid station at 27 miles (Blubber Creek) was manned by the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers, so once again a bunch of familiar faces were seen.  I asked about a few runners ahead of me and got the scoop on how they were doing.  I hung out for a bit here.  I figured that since I was taking my time, why not visit, eat, drink and enjoy the scenery.  The aid station was right on the edge of the cliff.
Time wise, I was doing fine and well on my target of a 12 hour finish.  When I left Blubber Creek, I felt the competitive side of me start to kick in a bit.  I've never won a race, or even come close, but I still like to try and run my best time given the conditions.  I felt good, the legs were doing fine.  I knew that I still had teh hardest part of the course coming up, but at least I was over half way done. So I picked it up a bit, tried to do more running on the uphills.
The next section from 27-35 miles seemed like a lot of dirt road and a fair amount of climbing.  At the time I was playing tag with a few other runners.  I'd pass, then they'd pass.  Stuff like that kind of bugs me, I don't know why.  I figure if you're going to pass, stay ahead, but on the other hand, I was unable to stay ahead when I would pass.
I ran into the aid station at 35 miles (Kanab Creek) still feeling pretty good.  This aid station was also on the edge of a cliff and had stunning views to enjoy.  I didn't spend a lot of time here, just a couple of minutes.  I knew that in another five miles, I would again see the HUMR crew.


About a mile or so out of the next aid station at 40 miles (Straight Canyon) I met up with a guy (Zach) from Alabama running his first 100.  We had a nice chat and about half a mile out of the aid station we saw Hal Koerner coming up the road.  Well, the guy I was running with had to get a photo with his running idol.  We chatted with Hal for a couple of minutes.  Turns out his wife was running and he was waiting for her.  He actually knew who I was once I introducd myself.  Kind of surprising actually.  Anyway, as we ran into the aid station, I told Zach to grab a beer from the HUMR people. He had never heard of drinking a beer during a race.  I assured him that it was like drinking the nectar of the gods.  Anyway, Lane got me half a PBR, got Zach half a PBR and I grabbed some stuff to eat from the aid station table and left.  I knew the longest climb would happen over the next five miles and I wanted to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.  The first mile out of that aid station was a gradual climb on some single track along a creek.  Meadows, trees, sunshine, great trail, just all around awesomeness.  Zac Marion, was charging down the road and stopped to chat with me for a minute and give me a hug.  He looked great and was stoked to be running in first place.  A few minutes later, Leslie Howlett came running by.  She was looking strong as well.
See those white canyons in the distance?  Zion National Park
After that, it was about 3.5 miles of dirt road that just kept going up and up.  Nothing steep, but on tired legs, I couldn't run it.  I did manage to catch a few others along this stretch.  I'm not sure if they were 50 or 100 mile runners, but I still wanted to catch them.  Along this stretch I saw the first male and female runners for the 100 mile making the return journey.  One of the coolest runners I know,
A few minutes later I made it to the last aid station before the finish.  This aid station was on the highest point of the course and from 9500', I could see 30-40 miles south into Zion National Park.  As I was eating and drinking, a lady that ran with me across the Grand Canyon several years ago came in.  I hadn't seen Olga since that run almost six years earlier. 
Saw this good looking lady on the trail.  Olga King
We left the aid station together and had a nice chat for the next few miles.  Eventually I ran on ahead as I was looking to get this thing done.  The last five miles were pretty much all downhill and most of it was dirt road, but a couple of miles from the finish we were again directed on to some single track.  Zach, the guy from alabama caught up to me along here and thanked me for the beer back at 40 miles.  He said it hit the spot.  This part took us along the base of the pink cliffs, and they were indeed pink.  Along here I managed to put some distance between me and a couple of other runners that I had traded places with over the course of the day.  I also saw plenty of 100 mile runners out making the return trip, several that I knew.  I was glad I wasn't going to make that trip.  My legs were pretty well shot from two races in two weeks.  I managed to run strong the last 1/4 mile or so and crossed the finish line in 12:31.  Karen and her sister Kate were there waiting for me.  A bunch of the faster HUMR's were still hanging out as well. 
 
Aftermath -

So, overall, I had a pretty good race.  I did better than I thought I would.  I felt good the entire day, no stomach issues, no foot or leg issues.  Just a good time.
The race?  The course was incredible, phenomenal scenery at every turn.  The aid stations were well stocked and very helpful.  They had anything I needed.
Shoes - I ran in my old Altra Lone Peaks.  I think this is going to be my go-to shoe.  No foot issues at all.  No blisters, no trashed toenails.  I wish they had a bit more cush.  I need to get me a new pair though.
Drink - I think I drank about two gallons of water.  Although the day was kind of cool (upper 60's), it was breezy, very dry, and very sunny. 
Food - I didn't take my usual baby food for this race.  I figured that since it was only 50 miles, I could get my with stuff from the aid stations.  Nutella wraps are awesome, as is pickle juice.  A fair amount of Coke was consumed, one beer, and some Trader Joe's trail mix left over from the Buffalo Run.
Time - 12:33:01, 36th out of 109 finishers.  Good enough for 4th in my age group.  So, not too bad.
Here's some more random pics form the race and in the park the next day.
If you get a chance, go run this race.  Well organized, great, well stocked aid stations, well marked course, phenomenal scenery, tough course, but not overly so.  I think I'll be running this one again next year.
The pink cliffs near the finish


In the park with Karen and her sister Kate the next day


Random scenery pic


Added bonus, short restaurant review

We ate most of our meals at the Bryce Canyon Pines restaurant.  This place had great homemade food.  Seriously, I think virtually everything on the menu was homemade.  The bread was baked in house.  All of the pies were baked on site.  For my meals, I had the hot open faced turkey sandwich twice because it was so good.  Homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, all on homemade sourdough.  The pie?  Very tasty.  I had the lemon cream pie while Karen had the blueberry cream pie.  So, if you go down to Bryce, check this place out.  I think it has way better food than Ruby's, and it's cheaper as well.

Miscellaneous info -

UA Bryce50miProfile

UA Bryce50-100Map
Here's my Garmin info before the battery ran out.

Distance 45.3mi
Elapsed Time 11:21:40
Pace 15:03/mi
Elevation Gain 8,210ft
     
Splits 
Mile Pace  Elev (ft)
1 10:54 77
2 10:43 173
3 11:20 3
4 10:19 -10
5 11:37 151
6 11:39 51
7 11:10 -161
8 11:17 -376
9 10:50 -259
10 11:38 35
11 14:32 -58
12 11:43 -26
13 13:31 101
14 12:41 65
15 13:00 -35
16 18:13 459
17 17:59 132
18 12:36 -357
19 18:45 192
20 15:31 394
21 15:23 238
22 14:08 -197
23 12:23 -484
24 18:53 340
25 20:03 310
26 17:01 187
27 19:18 170
28 28:03:00 170
29 16:43 71
30 11:10 -165
31 14:01 102
32 13:28 -166
33 16:23 101
34 15:33 8
35 14:56 -52
36 21:13 1
37 14:59 3
38 16:50 -306
39 11:36 -159
40 12:03 -137
41 19:58 -11
42 14:38 159
43 14:54 138
44 18:14 387
45 20:48 306
0.3 29:25:00 5

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kettle Moraine 100K, revisiting one of my first ultramarathons

I first ran this 100K way back in 2003.  I had come off a marathon PR and Boston qualifier just two weekes earlier and wasn't sure how I would feel.  At this point, I had run exactly one 50-miler ten years earlier, one 100-miler a year earlier, and a 50K.  I was still new to this ultrarunning stuff.  so anyway, I toed the line, took off at 6am and managed to finish in a respectable 11:45, good enough for a 6th place finish and 2nd in my age group (40-49, my first ever age group hardware!). 
I attempted to replicate the feat the next year (2004) and bonked really hard between miles 35-50.  I still managed a 12:10 finish and I think it was good enough for 9th overall.
Well, I've always wanted to go back and run Kettle again.  This year we went back to Illinois to visit our daughter and her family and I managed to time it so that we were there on race weekend.  Pretty sneaky if I do say so.  See family, have a good time, get a race in.
The Kettle Moraine is an area of south central Wisconsin.  The terrain is rolling remanents of the glacial moraines from the last ice age.  So there's lots of small rollers over the moraines and lots of dips into the "kettles".  The race takes place on sections of the Ice Age Trail and goes through the Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern Unit.  Some of the trail crosses private land.  The trail itself ranges from really wide cross country ski trail that is mowed to narrow single track winding through the thick forests, to trail that crosses several miles of northern prairie grasslands.  A little bit of everything.
At this time of year everything is lush and green (read humid).  Lots of flowers, birds, and biting insects abound.  At least the trail was dry.
I figured that since I don't live back here anymore, I wouldn't know anyone, but I did manage to meet up with fellow Wasatch Speedgoat Racing team members Larry and Beth Hall. 


Meeting up with fellow Speedgoats Larry and Beth Hall
 I've known them since I lived in Illinois, so catching up with them was fun.  They were both running the 100-mile.
So, about 75 of use started the 100K.  Those numbers are about the same as they were 10 years ago.  there were a lot more 100-mile runners than there used to be though.
The first few miles are rolling cross country ski trails.  About 30' wide and the state keeps them mowed during the summer.  The first thing I noticed is that everyone was walking the ups.  Now these ups are anywhere from 10' to 30' of gain and some were a bit steep, but I thought I'm from Utah, I run stuff like this all the time, so I did.  The first aid station is about 4.7 miles in and at the time you're running along a wide straight flat trail through a section of pine forest. 
Running through some pine forest
Pretty cool.  Once we got to the second aid station, we left the wide ski trails and began running on some nice single track.  Kind of rocky, ups and downs, traverses along hillsides, and a gradual climb to an overlook that gives a nice view of southern Wisconsin farmland. 
Southern Wisconsin farmland
This race is kind of interesting in that you can be running along and think that you're way out in the middle of the forest, and you'll hear a car going down a road just outside your view.  You realize that you're not so isolated after all, yet those in the cars probably don't realize that just a couple hundred feet away, there are crazy people running through the woods.
Meanwhile, at about mile 15, we began running through some southern Wisconsin prairie.  I never have been a fan of this section of the course.  Usually the grass is a bit taller, so harder to push through.  Also, it's a lot more exposed, and by now the sun is usually getting warm and the moisture given off by the grass can make the humidity pretty stifling.  Heat and humidity doesn't usually bother me unless I have the prevailing breeze at my back, making it feel like running through absolutely still air.  Thank goodness there was a breeze most of the time.  The prairie section is about seven miles of exposure that I tried to run all of just to get through.  I was glad to get back into the cool shade of the forest.
Prairie time
It was at about this point that I took my first fall.  Now I usually don't trip and fall at races, or during any runs, but it seems as though lately I've been tripping and falling a lot.  One fall a week earlier left me with some bruised ribs that made sneezing or coughing pretty painful.  At least I didn't land on those sore ribs.  I was also starting to go into a funk as well at about 25 miles.  I was doing ok, but not where I wanted to be time wise.  I was fueling and hydrating just fine, but just was having a down time.  So as I'm feeling sorry for myself and how badly I think I'm doing, I go down again.  This one really kind of pissed me off.  Why do I keep tripping? I rolled into the turnaround a couple of miles later feeling kind of down.  I figured that I would just keep going, but any thoughts of really pushing were out the window.  I was hoping to hit the 50k turn at between 5:00 and 5:30.  I came in right at 6 hours.  I took my time at the turnaround and left about 15 minutes later.  Since this was an out and back course, I got to see all of the runners in front of and behind me.  I always like that.  It gives you a chance to kind of see where you are in the pack and you can pick up some energy from the other runners. 

At about 35 miles I finally came out of my funk and noticed that I had plenty of energy and my mood was much better, so I picked up the pace a bit.  I knew I still wasn't going to hit my time goals, but at least I felt better.  From 35 to 50 miles I felt really good and managed to pick off some of the runners that had passed me earlier.  I had no idea if they were 100K, 100 mile, or relay runners, but it was nice to just have the energy to pass them.  Back through the prairie section I went, and it seemed to go by faster than I remembered from 10 years ago.  Back into the woods for the final 15 miles, just cruising along by myself, just how I like it.  No other runners to worry about, no conversations to have, just run through the forest.  My happy time.
When I hit the second to last aid station and got back on the ski trails, I started smelling the barn and tried to pick up the pace a bit more.  I blew through the last aid station and by now I was starting to see the lead 100 mile runners heading out again as well as the 38 mile fun run runners (yeah, they start at about 6pm and get to run through the night).  The one thing about running on the ski trails is that they are so convoluted that you can hear the cheering at the finish line and know that it's still four miles away.  The weather by now had gone overcast and windy and was threatening to rain.  It always rains on this race.  Every year, but it usually holds off until the evening.  Well, I was coming in later than I have in the past, so I did start getting rained on for about the last half mile.  I was good with that.  The air was still warm and the rain cooled things off a bit.
I finally crossed the finish line or a time of 13:55.  So way slower than ten years ago, but I think at my age I'm supposed to be slowing down a bit.  Anyway, it was good enough for 17th place overall out of 61 finishers, and, once again, 2nd in my age group.  I'm good with that.  Yeah, it was fun to go back and run this race again after so many years away.  100K is my favorite ultradistance to run.  Long enough to be epic, but usually you don't end up running through the night.  Jason and Timo have directed this race since its inception 19 years ago and it shows.  Everything runs well, the course is well marked, the aid stations are well manned and stocked.  If you're ever in southern Wisconsin the first weekend in June and looking for a great trail race, do this one.  Hopefully I can go back and run it again.

Senior Masters, just a nicer way of saying old fart

Added bonus - Beer review
While I was back east, my wife and I hit a local liqour store and went back to the beer section.  Holy cow!  We were like kids in a candy store.  All sorts of nifty beers and reasonable prices.  I could have spent a ton of money here, but leaving for home the next day meant that I couldn't.  Sigh!
One of the beers I did by was a vanilla stout called Buffalo Sweat brewed by the Tallgrass Brewery in Kansas.  Since I run with buffalo here in Utah, how could I pass that one up.
Good stuff indeed
For a stout, it was suprisingly lighter than I thought it would be.  Very malty as a stout should be with very little hop bitterness. Yet it wasn't too sweet.  My lovely wife said it had some wheat flavors but I couldn't pick them out because my nose was plugged from allergies.  It's brewed with vanilla beans and you would think that the vanilla might be overpowering, but it wasn't.  I've had some vanilla flavored beers that were overwhelmed with the vanilla flaor.  You could taste the vanilla, but it was just the right amount I thought.  5.0% ABV, so not heavy at all.  Not exactly a summer beer, but drinking one last night while sitting on my patio was very enjoyable.
And of course a picture of my completely awesome grandkids

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Timp Trail Marathon, shhh, don't tell anyone this is a great race


I suppose I shouldn’t advertise this, but if you want an awesome spring race, go run the Timp Trail Marathon.  Marc and Shaun do a great job and I have no idea why this race does not fill to capacity.  I’ve been there every year since it started and it gets better each time.  Seriously, go run it.

While my time this year was a lot slower than the last time I ran it, I ran slower on purpose and I still had a great time.

I carpooled with my friend Curtis and we managed to arrive and get checked in after the start of the race, like 5 minutes after.  Needless to say, there was no one around other than Marc’s wife Jessica to check us in.  Since we started late, Curtis and I decided to just pretty much take it easy and just enjoy the run.  He had never run this race or any of these trails before, so it was fun to give a blow-by-blow account as the miles went on.


Curtis and I going for a stroll          Photo: Lori Burlison
As usual for this race, the weather was iffy for most of the time.  Cloudy, cool, a bit of light rain here and there.  Not the downpour of last year, but still, if you want some questionable weather to run in, this race seems to always have it.

This race has a bit of everything.  Nice easy cruising, a couple of nice climbs, including 700’ in 0.5 miles and one of over 2000', gorgeous scenery (especially going up Grove Creek Canyon), some super technical downhill, shoe sucking ankle deep mud if the conditions are right, and some screaming downhill single track at the end.

So, nothing eventful happened.  I didn’t take any pictures but you can find plenty online.  I ran my second slowest time here, just under six hours, but I really didn’t care too much.  I had put in a lot of miles during the week and a fast (for me) time was not in the cards anyway.
 
Great homemade chili at the finish line, the finisher medals are pretty unique, and the shirts were great.  Non-tech shirts.  I have enough tech shirts, so having one I can just wear around is nice.

About time I finished                 Photo: Lori Burlison

Both the men’s and women’s course records were pretty much blown away.  Britta Trepp, my awesome Buffalo Run volunteer coordinator managed to crush her existing course record by something like 10 minutes.  Yeah, she's that fast.
 


 


Shoes - I wore my La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0's. Yeah, I think I'm going to switch. I wore those same shoes for the Zion 100 and my feet were trashed after. I figured that for 26 miles, I would be ok. Nope, once again my feet hurt at the finish. I think I'm going with my Altra Lone Peak's for my next race.

Nutrition - Not much, it was only 26 miles. Ate a wonderful chocolate chip cookie at the 12 mile aid station, ate some Trader Joe's trail mix, drank about 40 oz. of water and couple of cups of coke.


Added bonus, restaurant review time.
So I thought I'd throw out a restaurant review since I haven't done that in quite awhile.  Saturday evening after the race, Karen and I went to Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar at Farmington Crossing.  We had never been there before, but had heard good things about it.  It didn't disappoint.
They have a selection of 36 different martinis, plus a great selection of other adult beverages.  Their food menu is filled with lots of interesting dishes.
since it was a martini bar, Karen and I decided to start out with a martini.  With 36 different ones on the menu, picking one out was kind of hard to do.  I started out with a black stiletto and Karen had an ultimate lemon drop.   

Both were excellent.  We had the butternut squash flatbread as an appetizer.   While the flabread was very good, the accompanying sauce overwhelmed the subtle flavor of the squash.  Definitely just put a very light drizzle, if any, of the sauce on. 

For the main course, I ordered the crab mac and cheese, and Karen ordered the pepper salmon. 

Now normally I'm not a big fan of shellfish and usually won't order shellfish anything.  This, however, was good.  Definitely would order this again.  Karen loved her salmon.  I didn't get a picture of that.
After dinner, we ordered another round of martini's.  This time I had a classic martini while Karen ordered a blood orange.  Once again, both were excellent.
Price wise, it can be a bit expensive ordering a couple of drinks, dinner, dessert, etc., however, since we don't go all out very often, we decided it was worth it. 
So, we ultimately judge a restaurant by whether we would go back again or not.  For Twigs, we'd definitely go back.  It's a great place if you want to get some great food, hang out with friends, etc.
 
Isn't she a picture of  beauty and sophistication?
 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Salt Flats 100, I came, I ran, I bailed


I need to remember the words in this picture.

Prologue - 
I had these big plans again this year to do both the Zion 100 and the Salt Flats 100.  Thank goodness they were three weeks apart this year, and not one week apart.
I had been checking the weather the week before the race, like I always do.  I don't like weather surprises in a race.  It was calling for cool (50's and 60's during the day, low 40's at night).  I can handle those temps.  It was also calling for a 50% chance of rain Friday, going up to 90% Friday night.  If you have wondered what exactly a 50% chance means, according to the weather service, a 50% chance means that 50% of the forecast area will experience rain at some point during the forecast period, the other 50% of the forecast area will not experience rain.  That meant for Friday night, 90% of the race area would see rain.  I don't like running in the rain.  You get wet, you get cold, it's miserable. 
Anyway, in anticipation, I packed every drop bag with some sort of dry, warm clothes, beanies, gloves, long sleeve t's, stretchy pants, etc.
I went out Thursday evening, checked into my room late and managed to get a somewhat reasonable amount of sleep before getting up early.
I made it out to the race start with about an hour to spare, so i just sat in the car to keep warm and waited.  Unlike past years, it was overcast, so there would be no spectacular sunrise.  At least the temperature wasn't too bad, maybe in the upper 50's with a slight breeze.  All this would change later in the day.

Race time -
I caught up with a few friends as we waited for the start and Vince got us started right on time, 7am.  We all began our 16 mile trek across probably the flatest ground on the face of the earth, yeah, there was no elevation gain or loss here.
I found myself running alone for the vast majority of this race.  This is something I really like about running ultras and smaller races.  I don't mind chatting with other runners, but for the most part, I like to be alone and run my own race rather than someone else's.  Just me, the course and time.
The first few aid stations were pretty uneventful.  In and out in just a few minutes or less at each one.  My times were mostly according to my plan, maybe a bit slower, but I'm always optomistic with my race plans.
We didn't do any climbing at all until we left the aid station at 22.6 miles.  At that point, we make a climb of about 1000' in about 3 miles or so.  I usually walk most of this, but I tried to at least trot some of the less steep parts this climb.  Downhill to the hastings Cutoff aid (31 miles), short stop, then out to the most remote part of the course.  9 miles north, then 10 miles back, six of it on the mud flats.  The mud flats is probably the most monotonous part of the course.  Walking this was not an option, so i just put my head down and ran.  During this time I could see showers starting to form across the valley against Pilot Peak. At least they stayed on that side of the valley....for the time being.
I got back to the Hastings Cutoff aid (50 miles) in pretty good time, 10.5 hours, so I was still on track to go close to 24 hours.  As I was sitting there, all of the sudden the wind picked up and it started raining.  This did not bode well I thought.  I took off from there into a vicious headwind and pelting rain.  I got about a quarter mile out and seriously thought about turning around, but I kept going.  After a bit the rain did stop, and the wind actually died down quite a bit and it was a pleasant run to the 61 mile aid station.  by then the sun was setting and peeking out from under the clouds.  I was hoping beyond hope that maybe there would be good weather overnight.  As I ran to the 67 mile aid station, I could see some stars.  I made pretty good time going back over Silver Island Pass and to the aid station at 74 miles, but just before I got there, the rain started coming down again.  It was different this time, gentler, steadier, and without nearly as much wind.  By the time I got to the 74 mile aid station, I was getting damp.  When I left there I remembered that I had put a garbage bag in my pack just for this.  I dug it out, put it on and kept going.  It helped for awhile, but this section was uphill and just steep enough that I couldn't run and generate any body heat to keep me warm.  I started getting colder and colder.  Not only that, but the rain was picking up and it was getting a bit windier, and the temperature was dropping.  Now I was cold, wet, and miserable.  I knew I had more dry clothes at the Nevada aid station (80 miles), but I also knew that I had a 1500' climb ahead of me and that it would just get colder and windier.  I finally got to the Nevada aid station at about 2am and shortly after decided to pull the plug.  The thought of another 20 miles of being cold, wet, and miserable was a bit much.
After deciding to pull the plug, I still had to wait over two hours until someone could pick us up and take us back to the start.  I had changed into my dry clothes, but I still never got really warmed up.
 
Aftermath -
So that's it.  Another 100 mile DNF.  As usual, when I DNF I learn something.  This time is no different.  I've been trying to figure out what I could have done differently that would have allowed me to finish.  Warmer, dryer clothes?  That would have helped.  I don't have any rain gear to speak of, and I certainly didn't bring it along other than a rain shell and stretchy pants.  Don't think that would have kept me dry for long, certainly not another 20 miles.  So yeah, rain gear would have helped.
I think what it really boils down to or me this time (and maybe other times as well), is a lack of patience. 
I was on a pretty good roll time wise.  Had good weather prevailed, I maybe could have gone sub-24, who knows.  Other than being cold, wet, and tired, I felt good, no body issues to speak of, no injuries.  If I had the patience to wait for an hour or two to try and warm up a bit more before venturing out, that may have made the difference.  My trouble is, I couldn't see beyond the misery I was in at the moment, I just wanted it to end now.  I mentally checked out.  Would having a pacer have helped?  Who knows there as well.  If I had a pacer and told that person to not let me drop for any reason other than injury, would that have kept me going?
So, I think the key lesson here is patience and seeing beyond the miserable present.
So yeah, I am kind of disappointed at not finishing.  Course conditions were epic to say the least, but others finished, and I really had no reason to not finish other than a lack of patience and will.  I just didn't want to be out in that crap. 

This guy camped out Thursday night.  It was dry then.

6" of water out on the salt flats
 
Other stuff -
My mile splits were remarkably consistent for the 80 miles I did run.  Check out the table.  I slowed down on the uphills obviously, but the flat miles were the same.

Salt Flats splits
Mile Pace  Elev (ft)
1 12:23 -3
2 9:46 0
3 10:14 3
4 10:08 0
5 10:07 0
6 10:35 0
7 10:38 0
8 10:41 0
9 10:53 0
10 13:04 0 Aid station
11 13:11 0
12 10:31 0
13 10:25 0
14 11:04 0
15 10:20 7
16 14:36 7 Aid station
17 11:25 -10
18 10:30 6
19 10:29 28
20 12:27 14
21 11:19 -19
22 11:34 71
23 16:36 202 Aid station
24 16:01 396
25 15:50 356
26 16:08 -19 Aid station
27 11:07 -411
28 10:34 -361
29 10:28 -205
30 12:17 27
31 12:22 53
32 20:58 36 Aid station
33 13:10 -70
34 11:33 -37
35 12:01 10
36 14:14 102
37 17:53 271
38 15:47 101
39 11:36 -279
40 18:32 64 Aid station
41 12:43 -303
42 11:54 5
43 11:21 1
44 12:19 -3
45 13:25 -3
46 11:15 0
47 11:32 2
48 13:42 39
49 13:48 84
50 14:15 11
51 32:15:00 6 Aid station
52 13:44 -32
53 11:43 -83
54 13:24 -13 Aid station
55 13:10 1
56 13:00 3
57 12:38 7
58 16:46 7
59 13:34 -1
60 17:06 0
61 11:15 -6
62 19:49 7 Aid station
63 15:14 117
64 14:44 63
65 15:57 -114
66 11:54 -73
67 13:04 -15
68 28:28:00 123 Aid station
69 18:42 291
70 17:56 178
71 14:47 -238
72 18:38 5
73 16:04 20
74 27:08:00 22 Aid station
75 17:50 56
76 17:18 103
77 18:24 25
78 20:31 -35
79 19:06 -116
80 19:04 -84
0.8 1:28:03 -73 Aid station
 
 
Mile
Split
Elevation change
1
9:57
-3
2
9:46
0
3
10:14
3
4
10:08
0
5
10:07
0
6
10:35
0
7
10:38
0
8
10:41
0
9
10:53
0
10
11:27
0
11
12:39
0
12
10:31
0
13
10:25
0
14
11:04
0
15
10:20
7
16
11:08
7
17
11:25
-10
18
10:30
6
19
10:29
28
20
12:27
14
21
11:19
-19
22
11:34
71
23
15:21
202
24
16:01
396
25
15:50
356
26
13:28
-19
27
11:07
-411
28
10:34
-361
29
10:28
-205
30
12:13
27
31
12:22
53
32
12:44
36
33
12:48
-70
34
11:01
-37
35
12:01
10
36
14:14
102
37
17:02
271
38
15:40
101
39
11:18
-279
40
14:59
64
41
12:38
-303
42
11:54
5
43
11:21
1
44
11:58
-3
45
13:25
-3
46
11:15
0
47
11:32
2
48
12:59
39
49
13:48
84
50
13:26
11
51
12:49
6
52
12:34
-32
53
11:43
-83
54
13:24
-13
55
13:10
1
56
12:50
3
57
12:38
7
58
14:32
7
59
13:30
-1
60
14:22
0
61
11:15
-6
62
12:53
7
63
15:14
117
64
14:44
63
65
12:04
-114
66
11:54
-73
67
13:04
-15
68
16:06
123
69
17:48
291
70
17:43
178
71
13:49
-238
72
14:22
5
73
15:56
20
74
15:04
22
75
16:32
56
76
16:55
103
77
17:30
25
78
18:36
-35
79
18:55
-116
80
17:45
-84
0.8
13:13
-73