June 6th, 2020
Seasons Change - Umstead 100 Mile Race Report
Saturday March 28th, 2015
The joys of life are also what makes life hard. It wouldn't be so precious if it were guaranteed and never-ending. Those we love and the experiences we seek are things that are fleeting and finite, and precious...
Some dreams are in the night time
And some seem like yesterday
But leaves turn brown and fade
Ships sail away
You long to say a thousand words
But seasons change
From "Seasons Change" Lewis Martinee
Being able to make the trip to Umstead 100 this year was much more exciting because I was unable to get there last year. A road trip with Val and good friends was a bonus. Though driving takes longer and it is less safe than flying (unless you get the wrong co-pilot), it also allows the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, to follow your own agenda, and to count off the miles in race distances. On the way home we stopped at the "Not Yo Mamma" ultra course in Ohio and ran on the Sugar Loaf Mountain trails. It was a cool, crisp, sunny day as Anastasia and Crystal recalled their experiences, Crystal having won the Not Yo Mamma 100. Spring is here and there is a conflict between the dead brown leaves crowding the trail and the bright spring sunshine - but that will change...
We got to Raleigh too late for the memorial so we picked up our packets and went back to the hotel to get to sleep early after many hours of driving. It was the first time in 6 years at Umstead that I didn't attend the race meeting. It was the first time in 6 years that Blake would not be here... Fred (Doom) would also be missing as he was in Afghanistan. Anastasia would be running her first Umstead and was going for her best 100 mile time, hoping to drop under 21 hours. Her 35th birthday was the day of the race. She had put in the hard work. Her only possible mistake was pacing someone for the whole 50 miles at LBTL 2 weeks before. Helen would be here after running the same 50 mile. I had run with Helen at Mississippi 50M three weeks before and advised her not to run another 50M so close to Umstead if it was a goal race. I was going to behave and not run any races for 3 weeks before Umstead so that I could hit that ever-elusive sub 24 hour. For all my sound advice to others, I jumped in on the Lakefront 50K just one week before Umstead and said, "It's just a 50K." That is becoming somewhat of a joke in our house. "What do you need all that gear for? -- it's just a 50K." "It will be good training one week before Umstead -- it's just a 50K." Ha! Some things never change, like my flawed logic, or is it just my running addiction? :)
The weekend promised to be unseasonably cold for Raleigh, 40s during the day with some wind, and dropping below freezing at night. It looked like we would not get rained on and that was a good thing...
I love the races. I love seeing people who I only see at the races but who light me up when I see them, like Fred Murolo, Susan Dummar (Mrs. Doom), Joe Luigiano at the start/finish, Myra working the kitchen, Melanie (though she couldn't make it this year, no guarantees), Jackie who never ceases to amaze me with her conservative start and then her ability to keep it up and sail past me after 50 miles with her eternal smile, Steve Tursi who ran an incredible race this year and looked the part, Jill Hudson, Anita Fromm, Sally and Will showing us how it is done in the 6th and 7th decade, and a surprise in seeing my spur of the moment pacer from the inaugural Fort Clinch 100, Andy Wood, who was there to pace someone else. I missed meeting Karen G again but she ran a great race. There were three pink ladies, Tammy Massie, Anastasia, and Cherie Yanek. Ray K was in his dress shirt, taking pictures. Someone said, "I guess Ray isn't running." I said, "He might be :)" He's been known to run in dress shoes and a suit, after all. He also runs in 2 different shoes, whatever works... And then there is Rhonda, the 2nd year RD, but out on the bike without Blake by her side. There is no Blake this year, at least he can't be seen, but there are all the others who work hard every year to put on an exceptional race at Umstead. No matter how things change, I picture Umstead going on and on, with the feeling of Blake always there... I meet a few new runners. I meet Samantha in the parking lot of the hotel. She runs a consistent race and passes me by several miles into the run. She writes me a nice email after the race that makes me smile...
There is nothing they don't think of at Umstead to make 100 miles seem like no big deal, like the well-marked course, the encouraging signs, the mile markers, the great volunteers and aid stations with anything you could ask for. Karl Flener, son-in-law of a close friend and nursing colleague, is here running his first 100 mile race. I like to think that I have influenced his wife, Maureen, and him to follow my lead :) They are both good athletes. Maureen has finished her 2nd 50K the week before and will pace Karl. Karl is a 3:05 marathoner and a veteran Ironman, so I don't think this is going to be a huge stretch. He is careful and stays with me the first loop to make sure he runs slow. We run the 12.5 mile loop in 2:14 and it seems easy as the first loop always does :) Anastasia is flying. "You're going too fast!" I shout as she shoots out of the start/finish in her pink and green tutu.
I run with Mike Smith for a while, another runner who knows how to pace and leaves me in the dust later and sometimes sooner :) We run together for a while -- Mike is easy to talk to. I leave him behind at the start/finish knowing I will see him later. Sure enough, he whizzes by later and I don't see him again. Mike is an incredible runner with about 100 or so 100 mile races completed, mostly under 24 hours. I ask him how long he typically holds back in 100. He says he is conservative until about mile 60. I file it and think I have to try that sometime. I think I am doing a pretty good job today and reach 50 miles in 10:02. I have about 14 hours to get close to the 24 hour mark. Easy, right?
It should be doable, and I can't use age as an excuse. Though it was cold at night, the biggest ding was probably a 5:11 50K the week before. I had fun running the Lakefront and no regrets, but if I want the sub 24 at Umstead, I will do all the right things to prepare myself -- next year :)
The volunteers, the timers, all of those who put on this great run called Umstead 100, deserve their own race report. There is nothing they won't do for you... When Anastasia came through Aid Station 2 at night, shivering with her pacer Crystal, the volunteer said, "Let's pick an outfit out for you." She got both girls (they are like our daughters so it makes me happy they were taken care of!) warm clothes and insisted when they tried to decline. They both said that saved them as they were getting really cold. I got a company sweatshirt which made me look even more like a homeless waif but it sure stopped the shivering.
Val deserves his own race report, always there when I need him, even when the weather changes, when the seasons change, when I'm a brat, when I don't listen like when he told me not to run the Lakefront if I wanted sub 24 at Umstead. Seasons change and so does Val, but it seems he will always be there...
Anastasia didn't run sub 21 but nailed a 100 mile PR with 21:26, Jackie got another PR at Umstead, going under 23 hours, Steve Tursi was awesome with a sub 24 -- go Steve!!!, and many others ran well. Karl ran his first 100 in sub 23 -- the IM background sure does help with both mental training and strength. I finished in 25:01, not sub 24 but I am proud that I had no loops over 4 hours, never slept on the trail (at least not lying down) and kept moving the entire race with only short stops at the aid stations and once in the chair to change shoes and clothes. It was a PR at Umstead by 2 minutes :) Andy Wood moved past me with his runner in the wee hours and said, "Do I have to force feed you electrolytes!" I answered that he didn't have to ... I had paid attention to nutrition like never before -- I had no pacer to badger me to eat and I did it all on my own, taking in probably more calories than ever in 100 miles. I typically eat about 50 an hour if I'm lucky. I tallied up all the food I ate and I think I hit about 175 calories per hour this race. I'm learning...
It was a very good year, though different. And again, the race date will fall on Barkley weekend for 2016, in case anyone is wondering... When is that going to change???
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