Thursday, June 27, 2013

Free State Trail Run - 40 miler

Free State Trail Run, 7th Annual 

100-Kilometer, 40-Mile, 26.2-mile Trail Marathon, and 1/2-Marathon

Clinton Lake State Park
Lawrence, KS
Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Free State race is run by race director Ben Holmes and the Kansas Trail Nerds running group.

This event was an impromptu race, as we decided to visit our son near Lawrence, Kansas.  So you know us runners; 2 weeks out I started to look for any nearby races.  I signed up for the 40 miler trail race.  Disclaimer here... I've never run a race on a trail course, nor have I run anything above 31 miles. Although called "40" miler, it was actually somewhere around 43.4 miles. Two loops of 21.7 mile. 

I was not worried about my training/conditioning as I had several recent long races under my belt.  I just needed to continue with a couple of long run weekends to keep the conditioning going until race week. I made sure I was well rested, and getting at least 6 hours of sleep 2-3 days before race day.

As we would arrive late in the evening Friday night, I decided to not do early packet pick up. I went to bed around 1 a.m. Woke up at 4:45 a.m., and was out the door by 5:00 a.m. Stopped by a local gas station for toll and park entry fees and breakfast. Had a banana nut muffin and a Powerade drink for breakfast.

The drive to the lake was uneventful, until I entered the park.  It was still pretty dark. There was still 2-3 miles to drive to the parking area when I noticed a lot of people walking on both sides of the roads. As I got closer to them I noticed the were dressed in Army fatigues and full gear (minus weapons).  Looks like there was some type of competition or field exercise.  I quickly turned off my headlights and drove only with my parking lights.  Later I found out that it was a competition.

Ben and crew were still setting up starting line area and the bag drop area so I went off to take a nature break and warmed up by running for about 10 minutes.  I went to pick of my bib and tech shirt, and was also handed a glass mug and a 40 miler sticker. Nice!! Stored my things in the vehicle and pinned my bib number on to my shorts,  Since it was still cool, I decided to keep my gloves and knitted cap on and place my drop bags in their respective pickup areas. I chatted with a fellow maniac for a while and then next thing you know we're lining up for start of the race.  The 100K and 40 miler both started at the same time. A little past 7:00 a.m.  With the marathon and 1/2 marathon starting an hour later.

Start of 100K and 40 Miler events.

The goal for the first loop was to complete it in about 4 hours.  Depending on how I was feeling and how long it took me for the first loop, I wanted to take it easy for the second loop.

The first loop was a blur. I ran it as fast as I could (there were lots of rocks, roots and "goat" trails). I tagged along with a speedy group of runners from Iowa (something Goats was the name of their club, I think). 

One of the speedy "goats" that I followed.

I bypassed the 1st aid station (MooseJaw, about 7 miles in). I was fueling off Honey Stinger energy chews, Powerade and water (in 2 seperate Simple Hydration Bottles) that I was carrying. Refueled at the 2nd/4th aid, and the 3rd aid station (about 12 miles in), after the lollipop loop. 

Refueling in mid run.

As the temperature was beginning to warm up, I dropped off my gloves and knitted cap into my dropped bag at the 3rd aid station. Passed this point we started to spread out.

I refueled at the 4th/2nd aid station (about 18 miles in).  Half marathon runners were merging into this part of the trail.  I tailed behind some speedy runners for about 2 miles then passed them as the trail allowed. During this point in the trail, almost every half mile we would hit a mile maker sign letting us know how far way we were from the end of the loop. I started to hear the cheering get closer as I started an incline run up to the end of the first loop.  I completed the first loop (about 21.7 miles) in 3:41:28. 8th place over all. 

Finishing the first loop.

I refueled at starting/finish line and headed out for my second and final loop.  For this last loop I wanted to enjoy it as much as I could, take pictures, hit every aid station, and try to finish around 8 hours. 

Grill cheese sandwiches and bacon!!

I fueled up the same as first loop except that I stopped at the first manned aid station (MoosJaw) and had the usual, plus grilled cheese (they also had bacon but did not consume any). At the 2nd/4th manned aid station I could not swallow the SCaps with just water; I had to use ginger ale. 

Awesome soft tacos!!

At the 3rd manned aid station I also consumed the usual, plus a soft taco. Since I knew that at this point (about 33 miles in) there would be 6 miles until the last manned aid station, I grabbed 3 servings of Honey Stinger energy chews from my drop bag (up until now, I did not have to consume anything out of my two drop bags).

Midway through this portion of the trail a few things had me wondering if I was hallucinating...

1.  I saw a very large deer cross our path about 20 feet in front of us.  It was so large that at first I thought it was a moose. I turned around to see if any runners were near by.  The few that were behind me were too far back to see it, as it crested over the hill.

2. Several times I heard cheering and a PA announcer's voice through the woods.  I knew it was too close to be the finish line.  Later, on the way out of the park, I saw marked off bike lanes in the middle of the road.  Looks like there was a cycling competition going on.  This must be a very popular location for outdoor activities.

I stubbed my left "long toe" several times during the second loop. It felt swollen. There was a feeling of pain. Not bad enough to stop me from running, but it did slow me down some. I did not bother looking at until the end of the race (it was bruised, bendable, but not broken).  By the time I had reached the 4th/2nd manned aid station, I knew it would be hard to complete this loop in under 4 hours, so I bumped the goal to around 5 hours. After eating an orange wedge my lips started stinging; dried lips. I applied Vaseline to them from the manned aid station (they thought of everything!!).

I ran the last 3 miles as fast as I could, passing the eventual 1st and 2nd place 60K finishers and a couple 40 mile finishers. 

I completed the last loop in 5:23:53, for an over all finish time of 9:05:22, and 13th place.

Well marked course.

The course was well marked.  It was very hard to get lost on this course.  

The red trail. The most technical portion of the course.

A rocky descent.

Natural obstacles.

Blair Witch project, anyone?

Goat path along the lake's shore line.

Some of the roots my toes were introduced to.

The hardest part of the 21 mile loop was the narrow, rocky, sometimes steep and uneven lake shoreline section.  I had taken the above picture of it, but this (and other) video presents it much better:  

At the manned fuel stations, I consumed 2 SCaps (chased down with either Hammer Heed, Coke or Ginger Ale), peanut butter and jelly tortillas, pringles, orange wedges, a piece of a banana, and topped off my bottles with water and Heed in each.  

I had several close calls on doing "face plants"; the closest one, a three-point running stance. My momentum kept me from hitting the dirt (rocks, root, etc.).  Other than stubbed toe, I came out of this race better than I have been in my marathons or 50K races.  No cramps (thanks to the SCaps) or major soreness.

The cool grass felt great on the bare feet.

For it being my first trail race, the overall experience could not have been any better.  The aid stations, manned and unmanned, had everything you could possibly need.  The support staff were very friendly and thoughtful.  

Finish line photographer Dick Ross.

I also like the fact that Ben bought all the event photos taken by Tyson Hofsommers and Dick Ross (friendly guy, enjoyed his stories).  Post race, I enjoyed the hot open air showers. This was my 3rd time using showering facilities provided by a race event.  I was dreading this one, as this was an "open air" shower and the  the air temperature was cooling down. I was imagining a quick jump into the shower, a quick cleanup, and racing to put on clothes in order to stay warm.  But the showers were hot to the point I didn't want to leave.  They were so warm that the cool air temperature was not even factor while getting dressed.  It was very nice not having to drive in 9 hours worth of trail sweat and funk.

Ben Holmes, race director.

Kudos to Ben and the Kansas Trail Nerds crew!!

Not bad for my first trail race:
1st trail race. 1st Ultra over 31 miles. 2nd Ultra in 3 months. 3rd Ultra in less than a year (2 X 50K). 4th Marathon/Ultra in 4 months. 4th Marathon/Ultra state (TX, LA, TN, KS). 3rd state in 3 months (LA, TN, KS).

Nice custom medal, shirt, sticker and mug.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bearathon Half Marathon (2011-03-19)

Bearathon Half Marathon in Waco, TX

Run (unofficial):
Mile 1 - 7:07
Mile 2 - 7:39
Mile 3 - 7:34
Mile 4 - 8:45
Mile 5 - 8:49
Mile 6 - 9:02
Mile 7 - 9:32
Mile 8 - 9:28
Mile 9 - 8:57
Mile 10 - 8:37
Mile 11 - 8:28
Mile 12 - 10:08
Mile 13 - 8:14
Time: 1:58:06
Distance: 13.88 miles
Pace: 8:30
Calories: 2027

Weather: 62 degrees, humidity 90%, winds 8.1 mph

Time: 1:57:48
Age Group: 6th out of 35
Pace: 9:00
Overall: 219th out of 972


Mile 1 - 7:06
Time: 0:07:28
Distance: 1.05 miles
Pace: 7:05
Calories: 151

Mile 1 - 14:52
Time: 0:15:29
Distance: 1.04 miles
Pace: 14:53
Calories: 108
Weather: 75 degrees, humidity 56%, winds 15 mph


KHS Track
Mile 1 - 7:52
Mile 2 - 7:50
Mile 3 - 8:08
Mile 4 - 7:51
Time: 0:32:32
Distance: 4.07 miles
Pace: 7:59
Calories: 589

Mile 1 - 22:49
Time: 0:24:06
Distance: 1.03 miles
Pace: 23:25
Calories: 106
Weather: 75 degrees, humidity 58%, winds 26.5 mph


Mile 1 - 8:14
Mile 2 - 8:29
Mile 3 - 8:47
Time: 0:31:28
Distance: 3.59 miles
Pace: 8:46
Calories: 512

Mile 1 - 23:00
Mile 2 - 21:53
Mile 3 - 18:16
Time: 1:03:33
Distance: 3.01 miles
Pace: 21:06
Calories: 308

Weather: 66.2degrees, humidity 73%, winds 12.3 mph

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


New 1/4 mile speed training!!

Mile 1 - 7:37
Mile 2 - 7:40
Mile 3 - 8:00
Time: 0:25:50
Distance: 3.30 miles

Pace: 7:50
Calories: 475
Weather: 46 degrees, humidity 71%, winds 24.2 mph