Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Mountain Masochist 50+ Mile - November 4, 2006

Mountain Masochist “50 Mile” Trail Run (“MMTR”)
November 4, 2006

Since starting my ultrarunning “career” in June of this year, I heard from countless others that this was a must do race at some point. MMTR was to be my third ultra race. In July, I ran a small 50K near my home in Charlotte and I completed the GEER 100K in September. I was a little concerned about being a “newbie” and running this so close to GEER, but several of my running friends were doing MMTR (including one who was going for, and got his 15th finish) so I decided to tag along and see what “Horton miles” were really about. I had no illusions about trying to go for a fast time as I literally wanted to make the cutoffs, which as it turns out, is no small feat. My buddies and I drove up to Lynchburg and went to the pre race dinner and briefing. In the morning, we boarded the bus in frigid temps and made the trip up to the race start. Brrrrr, it was cold and I was anxious to start just to warm-up. Soon enough, we were off on the road portion, which took us the first 6 miles or so and then we hit the first trail section. My plan was to run a smart race. Meaning, I wanted to really take it easy on the first half so that I would have something left in the tank for the climbs on the second half. I focused on maintaining a steady pace, hydration and my caloric intake. I moved along uneventfully and walked most of the hills but ran the flats and downhills and soon was at the midway point.

David Snipes, whom I met at GEER warned me about hanging at the aid stations too long. So far, I was in and out of each station in about 1 minute and was about 40 minutes ahead of the cutoff. I grabbed a couple of items from my drop bag, filled up and was off for the climb up Buck Mountain. This climb went well as my friend, John Teed and I made good time. Eventually we began to hear the famous Rocky music that I had read about in previous race reports. A few miles later came “the Loop”, a nice single track section of the course. Along the way, it was suggested that you run the first 2 miles or so on the green moss as I would have plenty of time to walk later. I followed this strategy and made good time around the loop. Upon exiting, I was greeted with a warm cup of chicken soup and a 45 minute cushion.

The next section was fairly uneventful and I made my way to Salt Log Gap. I ate some food (the brownies were awesome) and drank some Coke and headed off. I had lost a little cushion but was still comfortable. This is when things got fun. About 5 minutes after leaving Salt Log Gap, I suddenly projectile vomited three times in succession. Having never dealt with this before, I just kept moving. That seemed to be the theme for the day – just keep moving. I continued to drink water but had no appetite for anything. Soon enough I was at Forest Valley and had lost even more time. My watch read 3:05 and I simply filled my bottles and pressed on. The next couple of climbs were pretty tough for me as the vomiting continued. I took a gel to try and keep something down and that worked somewhat. All told, I vomited about 9 times. It was very odd as I was drinking, taking S! caps, eating and urinating regularly. I continued to drink water and just kept moving. I knew it was going to be close because I could feel my energy dropping and my stomach was pretty much empty.

I came upon a woman named Mical from MD and we began to leapfrog one another as we made our way to the final aid station. Once there, I saw that I had enough time to make the cutoff as long as I kept moving. This section was nice as it was extremely runable and I began to feel better, leapfrogging with Mical. We eventually came upon the group carrying the injured woman on the stretcher. They indicated they had enough help so we pressed on. Finally, we got to the “1 Mile to Go” sign. Apparently, this is the only measured mile on the course. I decided to go as hard as I could and hammered (at least what felt like hammering) the pace to the finish. I crossed the finish line to a handshake from David Horton in 11:48. I covered the last mile in 7:30, fast for me. I was pumped as I reunited with my friends who finished about 15 to 20 minutes ahead of me. I was glad that I finished but also happy that I ran a smart race. I had no problems during the race, save for the brief vomiting episode that I will chalk up to experience.

David Horton and all the volunteers did an excellent job and I look forward to the 25th edition in 2007.

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