Saturday, March 04, 2006

Houston Ultra (mostly Walking) Report

Though I've already posted my personal race reports, I've decided to post more of them here. If Jens Borello reads this, I'd be happy to post a report from you as well, though my Danish is a bit rusty! I have a race summary, as well as individual reports from Beth, BuffaloBear, Andy, and a link to a report from a very fast 100k runner, Greg.

Yes, this is navel staring, but hey, I need something to do now that I shouldn't be doing a 4-5 hour training walk (at least on this weekend anyway!)

Beth Katcher, Lawrence Block (BuffaloBear), Ollie Nanyes, Doug Brown, Andy Cable, Jens Borello.

The Houston Centurion Race (Houston Ultra Weekend 24 hour, walking division)

February 25-26, 2006, Bear Creek Park. 2.008-mile flat asphalt loop.

1. First Male Walker, Jens Borello (DEN, M58) 100 miles / 23:21:14 . US Centurion #62, Joe Duncan Award.

2. Ollie Nanyes (IL, M46) 76.30 miles / 24 hours. Ulli Kamm Award.

3. First Female Walker, Beth Katcher (MA, F51) 66.26 miles / 24 hours. Ulli Kamm Award.

4. Lawrence Block (NY, M67) 64.25 miles / 24 hours. Ulli Kamm Award.

5. Andy Cable (CT, M40) 62.24 miles / 24 hours. Ulli Kamm Award.

6. Doug Brown (FL, M62) 50.20 miles / 24 hours.

Judges: Bob Botto, Becky Browning, Bob Cella, Scott Demaree, Gene Eastman, Dave Gwyn (chief), Cheryl Harris, Juanita Rogillio, Lojza Vosta.
Dave Gwyn, Treasurer

Individual Race Reports: Beth Katcher, Lawrence Block (BuffaloBear), Andy Cable, Ollie Nanyes, and one from a runner (Greg Crowther (sub 7 hour 100K run!))

Beth Katcher

Ollie's short and long versions pretty well summed it up. I had a rough
night prior to the race and an assortment of ailments I won't go into,
so I almost bailed. But the point of my "ultra debut" was to see what
would be the hardest for me and I feel like I learned a lot.

First, the weather. Lots of rain and then lots of puddles. I didn't pack
a 2nd pair of shorts. If I had, I'm not sure I would have switched into
them after the rain since I thought I was feeling okay. But wearing wet
shorts for 16+ hours turned out to be a really, really bad idea. I have
hit new heights in terms of chafing. Same problem with the shoes. I did
have a spare pair, but the puddles were so frequent and deep that it
seemed silly to soak both pair. I only got 2 blisters, but they are
enormous ones. I drained and bandaged them once and after one lap of a
little pain I got used to the feeling and it was okay.

My first "marathon" was approximately a 5:40, so I figured I was at a
good pace. The second marathon was about 6:20. So lots of "fade." Too
much? Did I start too fast? I just don't know.

What I do know is that on the 2nd to last lap of my 2nd marathon one of
the volunteers pointed out to me that I was leaning to the left and was
probably dehydrated. So I took lots of water and headed off for another
lap. The lean got painfully worse but now I only had 8 miles left and
only 12:30 had passed. So I sat in the refreshment tent and let the
volunteers ply me with all sorts of food they thought I needed and then
I went off to do another lap. It was painful, so again I sat in the
refreshment tent for 15-20 minutes and ate and then did another 2 miles.
Each time I would walk about a quarter mile, stop to stretch my back and
rest, and then continue. I repeated this process twice more, finishing
my 100k in 16:24. Today I learned that the lean was probably an
electrolyte imbalance.

As I'm sitting in my favorite chair at the refreshment tent, Andy Cable
comes in to tell me that the lap counters think I have only done 30
laps. I have 31 on my watch so I'm off to talk to the lap counters. Sure
enough, they had missed my 11th lap. Fortunately back then I was doing
consistent lap times and it was pretty clear what had happened. So with
that squared away I can take my nap. Doug was in the chair so I was
lucky enough to get the cot. When he left I scored big -- a blanket.
Then Ollie took the chair for a while. I napped for an hour or so, after
which I was freezing (a condition easily fixed as I had lots of warm
clothes still in my duffel bag and still dry from having double-bagged
before coming out to the race) but much refreshed. The lean was gone.

I've been told that there are a lot of reasons to stop and few reasons
to continue in an ultra. I must confess that having reached 100k and
knowing that 100 miles was not even a remote possibility meant that I
was perfectly okay listening to the voices that told me to stop. At one
point Dave Gwyn suggested I go for a lap with him, and later I did
another lap with another of the volunteers. I could now walk a full 2
miles without stopping to rest my back although there was still a slight
lean. But the fire to see how many laps I could do was gone. I settled
for 66 and am happy.

Today I'm still sore and my right knee isn't working very well. But the
worst of the pain is gone and (heaven help me) I honestly don't know
what I would do if another ultra opportunity came up and I was healthy
and the weather was good.
For all the number sluts, I have a nice little graph of my pace if you want it and a quicky breakdown of my performance:

1st marathon: 5:38 (just under 13mpm)
2nd marathon: 6:20 (14:30 mpm)
next 10 miles: 4:28 (!)
4 more miles, not timed
In other words, worth shooting for the Centurion status only under perfect conditions as there is no margin for error.

[...]... Did I share the best quote of the day? From one of the 100k racers (shirtless guy with Race Ready butt): "You just don't finish 100k with the same brain you started with."


Buffalo Bear (aka Lawrence Block)

Well, there was this tomcat, and he had an affair with a skunk. A
friend asked him how he liked it. "I really enjoyed it," he said,
"for as long as I could stand it."

Now what made me think of that?

For a week prior to the Houston race, I checked the weather forecast
daily. The only change was in the likelihood of rain, which worked
its way up from 20% to 40%.

The weather aside, I was really psyched. It would be a judged
Centurion event, and anyone logging 100 miles in 24 hours would win a
plaque and a patch and add his/her name to a 61-name list. I didn't
figure I could achieve that, but I felt I had a shot. And I'd be
meeting a batch of walkers I knew through their posts on message
boards – a virtual relationship, I guess they call it, but no less
real by virtue of its virtuality. I'd actually met Beth -- we walked
together last month when she visited NYC -- and both Andy and Ollie
had helped me with advice and their own shared experience on this board.

My race: I started out at around a 14 mpm pace, warmed up around five
miles, and hit my stride in the fourth lap or thereabouts. (I didn't
keep lap times, but I think they were somewhere around 26 or 27
minutes.) I don't remember exactly when it started to rain, but it
was fairly early on. At first it wasn't much more than a heavy mist,
but it got worse, and puddles formed in the asphalt path, some of them
enlarging to creek status.

I wanted to make 13 loops (i.e. marathon distance) in six hours, and
managed that. I figured if I did the same in the next six hours, I'd
have 48 miles to go and twelve hours to do them in. That's a 15 mpm
pace, which didn't seem unreasonable, if my legs held up and my energy
didn't flag too much.

Around 40 miles, I felt myself slowing. I had developed a severe pain
in the outside of my left knee, and every step hurt. I was
maintaining racewalking form, but my stride was somewhat shortened; I
knew this because I often count my steps, and I was taking a few more
of them each loop, and there didn't seem to be anything I could do
about that. (The wet pavement almost certainly had something to do
with that.)

I don't remember just when it was that I performed shoe surgery. The
big toe of my right foot was colliding with the front of the shoe, and
I'd brought a pair of old shoes to cut up if I felt the need. It
struck mew that the shoes I was wearing could now be called old shoes
themselves, so I made the right one an open-toe design. It was
functional, but I don't think Manolo Blahnik has anything to worry
about. The toe still hurt, but here was no additional impact, and the
pain was acceptable.

I pushed on to fifty miles, and got there at just about 8 pm, as I
recall. I'd lost two miles to the clock, and knew that I was only
going to go slower, not faster, in the time remaining to me, so the
Centurion goal was no longer attainable. This felt liberating, in
that I could take it easy, and make sure I reached 31 laps, or 62
miles (because I damn well wanted the Ulli Kamm award, given to any of
us making 100 K). And while I was at it I would make sure to go one
extra lap, to take me a mile past my previous 24-hour tally of 63.2 miles.

Laps 26 through 29 were really difficult, and I made a point of doing
them without a food or coffee break, as I feared if I stopped I'd have
trouble getting myself to start again. After lap 29 I knew I'd be
able to tag on two more, and broke for hot chocolate, then did three
more laps. Curiously, I seemed stronger in those last three laps, and
realized I'd reach an impressive total miles if I just kept going,
whatever my pace had to be. Nine more laps would bring me to 80
miles, and I'd have around 7 hours to do them in. Guys in aluminum
walkers can manage that pace, so it certainly seemed within my reach.

But when I got to the food tent after lap 32, I took too long a rest.
I should have gone out again after five minutes, maybe ten. Instead
I waited fifteen or twenty, and when I stood up I was tight and sore
and everything ached, including the bottoms of my feet. I had won my
plaque and made my PR, by however slender a margin, so what was I
waiting for? I got in my car and drove back to my motel.

I got back in the morning in time to learn that Jens had just
qualified as the 62nd person to attain Centurion status on American
soil, and that Beth (who'd gone to the sleep tent after her 31st lap)
had tagged on two more laps during the night. I watched Ollie finish
his 38th lap, for 76 miles; he'd have liked to go around one more time
for a triple marathon, but the clock was against him; he'd have had to
do something like nine-minute miles, which somehow seemed unlikely.

I went back to the hotel and stayed in bed, essentially sleeping until
it was time to pack for the Monday morning flight home. My feet were
a mess. No blisters at all, except for a tiny blood blister that was
absorbed within twenty-four hours. (I've learned to tape my feet, and
it really works for me. And the toe socks save me from blisters
between the toes.)

But I'll be losing the nails from both big toes. Monday night, back
in NYC, I used a hot needle to puncture the nails at their bases and
let out an unfathomable amount of blood and fluid. And both feet were
profoundly swollen, and remain so Tuesday afternoon, although they're
improving. This never happened before, and I'm not sure what to
blame. The fact that they were soaking wet for all those hours may
have been a factor.

I have very mixed feelings about my performance. I'd had the
intention of keeping going for a full 24 hours, and I elected not to
do that. That's disappointing. I'd also had the intention from the
beginning to go 75 miles, and I could have, and didn't. That's
disappointing, too.

OTOH, another twelve or twenty miles, and another seven hours on my
feet, could have made my physical condition palpably worse. In that
sense, I'm probably lucky I wimped out.

Did I have a good time? Well, skunk-and-tomcat analogies aside, yes,
dammit, I had a wonderful time. The memory of pain goes away almost
as quickly as the pain itself – and a good thing, or there'd be
nothing but only children in this world. And what's left is
everything that was wonderful about the experience. There's a bond
among entrants in ultras that puts competition entirely in the shade:
we're all in this together, and our mutual opponent is the course
itself. This feeling is heightened among ultrawalkers, it seems to
me, because there are so damn few of us.

Would I do it again? Hey, when I stopped, one thing that struck me
was that it'd be relatively easy for me to get another PR next year.
A mere 33 laps will do it. And with a little better training, plus
whatever I learn in the clinic I'm taking in April, and clear skies,
well, who's to say that 100 miles is absolutely positively forever out
of reach?

Would I do it again? Do you really have to ask?
Great report, Andy, and it was a real pleasure to meet you in Houston.
I don't know that either of us will ever reach Centurion status, but
we'll have a hell of a time trying.


Andy Cable

2/25/2006, Bear Creek Park, Houston Texas

Got to the race location at 6:30PM Friday. Found out that BuffaloBear had registered earlier, but he had gone. Talked to some of the 48 hour runners at the aid tent, telling them "you have less than 2 days to go".

The next morning, I got to the course in time to see the 12-hour and 100k participants start at 7AM. I reintroduced myself to Peter Bennett and Yen Nguyen. They are from Houston, but they put on a small 50k in Connecticut in November, 2004. I was one of 8 people at that 50k, and the only Connecticut resident in the race.

Before the start, I put my stuff under Beth Katcher's ironing board, which was right next to the course at a point 50 yards before the aid tent. Beth was the only female in the walking division, and she joked that she would start off with her "victory lap", and then call it a day. There are 6 walkers and 1 runner in the 24 hour race. The walkers pose for a group picture before the start of the race. The picture is on Ollie's blog. The walkers are Beth Katcher, Larry Block, Ollie Nanyes, Doug Brown, Andy Cable, and Jens Borello.

Started in last place. Jens, Beth, and the runner start out pretty quickly. I talked with BuffaloBear for the first mile. Then caught up to Ollie.

Caught up to a few 48 hour runners. One of them was wearing a Sri Chinmoy shirt, so I asked him if he had ever done any of the long races. It turns out he is Abichal Watkins, who has completed the 3100 mile Self Transcendence race the past few years. The other runner is Dave Luljak, another multi-day specialist, who finished 3rd in the recent 72 hour Across the Years. I introduce myself, and Abichal says he has heard of me. That pretty much makes my day.

Walked another 3 laps with Ollie. Then he had to deal with a hot spot, so I picked up the pace. At this point, it starts raining, and it rains for about 6 hours, sometimes a light drizzle and sometimes heavy rain. I got to 10 miles in 2:11:20, and my plan was 2:15, so I am a few minutes ahead of schedule. At this time, I feel pretty good, so I attempt to lap Ollie, figuring it will take a few hours to do it. Ollie is wearing a yellow shirt, so it is easy to spot him on the other side of the loop. Later in the morning there is a soccer game on one of the fields, and one of the teams is wearing yellow shirts, which makes it impossible to pick out Ollie on the other side of the loop.

I get to 20 miles in 4:14. The second 10 miles averaged 12:16, which is a bit too fast, but I still feel fine. Then I saw Ollie about 2 minutes ahead of me. (really 25 minutes behind me since I am lapping him). I start to catch up in the first half of the lap. Then I realize that if he stops at all at the aid tent, I will be ahead of him. So I stay about 1 minute behind Ollie for the next mile. After he gets through the aid station I catch up to him.

Both my knees are bothering me a little. I anticipated this might be a problem, so I had taken a Motrin just before the start of the race and another at 4 hours into the race. Ollie and I walk at pretty much the same pace. I have a bit more raw speed in the shorter distances, but he does quite a bit more distance training. (at this point in the race I am over 20 miles for the 23rd time in my life.) Most of Ollies 50ks are faster than my second fastest 50k, 6:48. Most of his marathons are faster than my second fastest marathon, 5:35. And we're both math people, so we have lots of common ground for conversation.

Somewhere around here my right knee locks up. I had stopped for about 15 seconds in the bushes, and when I started to walk again I felt a sharp pain in my knee. The pain is too much and I can't go on. Ollie walks off, oblivious to my plight. I feel like the main character in Stephen King's "The Long Walk". I lay on the wet ground and elevate and stretch my bad leg in every direction I can think of, hoping I can salvage my race. After about 3 minutes of stretching I attempt to walk again, and can proceed slowly with less pain. Eventually the pain is replaced with the appropriate dull ache, and I am back in business.

My plan calls for me to get to 40 miles in 9 hours. Technically I am on target as I get to 40.16 miles in 8:58. Eventually I get to 50 miles in 11:20, which is both right on target and a 50 mile PR for me, having only done one other 50 mile race in 12:06, Lake Waramaug in 2003.

I get to 52 miles in under 12 hours, and then take a long break in the rest tent. I lay on a plastic bag on the ground with both legs elevated. This lasts for about 20 minutes. When I get moving again, it takes me 20 minutes to do the first half mile, and 15 minutes to do the next half mile. I eventually get up to 20 minutes per mile, but now I am stopping for hot chocolate after every lap. My goal is to get to 100k, which I do in about 16 hours and 20 minutes. This is technically a PR for me, but it should be easy to improve on this.

The character of the race changed for me once I was defeated. I started enjoying the company of the other runners. I talked with Henri Girault from France, who was doing yet another 100k. I did my final lap with Deb Richmeir from Colorado. Deb ended up with the most mileage in the 48 hour race, with something like 146 miles. Then I went back to the hotel and got a few hours of sleep before the award ceremony at about 8AM. After that I did a few bonus laps, one with Dave Luljak, and 2 with Abichal Watkins.

I'll probably do another 24 hour race. At my current fitness level it would require perfect conditions to walk 100 miles in 24 hours. Next time I might just do a casual 80-90 mile walk. If that goes well, I might consider some multiday events...

-Andy Cable

Ollie Nanyes

Dave Gwyn, who really helps keep racewalking alive in the Houston area worked with the race director of the Houston Ultra weekend to get a Centurion walk for the 2006 race. 7 walkers signed up. Unfortunately, Marshall King (the newest US Centurion) couldn't make it due to a family emergency. So there were 6 walkers filling out the Centurion field, including first timer Beth Katcher (she has had success in he shorter walks, Lawrence Block (aka Buffalobear), yours truly, Doug Brown (from Florida), Andy Cable (finished the hilly Vermont 100 miler in 29 hours) and Jens Borello (who walked a 22:15 100 mile at the Dutch Centurion race in 2004).

The course was a 2.008 mile asphalt loop in Bear Creek park. The loop could be a fast one as there were relatively few turns; it was bordered by woods on one side (where deer, raccoons and armadillos would pay us visits), a street on one side, and soccer/softball fields on the inner part and on the other two sides.

But, within a hour or so of the start, it started to rain and it stayed rainy and windy for about 7 hours. The rain and the wind weren't that bad, but the pavement quickly became slippery which caused one to slip just a bit when using the "heel-toe" action. That was to have an effect.

Still, we were off and I quickly watched Jens and Beth get out of sight. For much of the first few hours I chatted with Andy Cable. Andy went through lots of funny mental gymnastics; he talked about a "hypothetical" 15 minute a mile walker and how many times we'd have to lap him in order to keep a centurion pace and things like that. I found that to be a pleasant diversion from the rain and wind. I had to make a couple of early pit stops and he then got away from me, only to lap me by around mile 20.

For the first 10 laps (20 miles/32 km) I was doing 27-28:30 per lap but expending too much energy; part of the trouble is that I let my walking technique get sloppy, and part of it was that this pace was too fast for me, given the rain and slippery surface. My calves started to tighten.

During this stretch, I noticed how several of the 100 km runners looked as if they were running a 10K. I didn't catch this guy's name, but this one tall guy finished the 100km run in under 7 hours! To put this into perspective, his average 50K splits would have won several of the Chicago 50K runs (which were also on a paved bike trail).

My socks were soaked and I noticed a hot spot on my left heel. I was 4:36:42 at 20.05 miles.
I started to slow a bit (to care for the blister and to eat, and due to the weather) and hit 30.1 miles in 6:58:15; still I was encouraged that I had a couple of low 27 minute laps (with Andy, who was 1 lap ahead). But then I took a 30 minute lap and decided to check on my blister.

It was now large and needed to be tended to. I thought hard and decided to go into the tent to tend to my feet; I retaped and put tape on my heel as well; I also changed into dry socks and shoes. That ended the blister problem for the day but set me back 33 minutes. I got back on the course at 8:03 and got back into my pace again.

The course was still wet but the rain had stopped (for the most part). The next 4 laps were ok; 27's to 28's and I hit 40.15 miles in 9:54:33. Becoming a Centurion was unlikely, but still remotely possible if I could hold my current pace for another 40 miles or so. But reality started to set in.

My next 4 laps saw me slide into a realistic 31-32 minute range and my stomach started to bother me; I couldn't hold down much in the way of food. I was at 12:28:03 at 50.2 miles and fading fast. But Ivo Majetic (whose 100 mile walk PR is 17:00) walked a lap with me and that helped; he gave me tons of good training advice and told me about his past Paris-Colmar walking races (stage walking race of 330 miles; you need a sub 24 hour 200 km (walking) to qualify to enter!). I had slowed to 35-36 a lap by then. Then followed a 39 minute lap where I felt sick and I had to rest. I slept for 30 minutes; Ivo wouldn't let me sleep longer. By then, I just wanted 100 km so I could get the Ulli Kamm Award; Dave Gwyn had showed us the plaque prior to the start of the race.

The walk had become a race of attrition by then; Doug Brown had taken a massive break, Andy Cable was limping due to a sore knee, Beth Katcher was struggling with a recent cold and had slowed dramatically, Lawrence Block had taken a long break and only Jens Borello was still going strong, though he too had a 30 minute nap to deal with jet lag.

I got up and finished a lap, but the next two laps (to get to 62 miles) were a death march. I had slowed to 57 and 51 minutes! I also threw up 5 times during those two laps. When I saw the judges, I acutally asked them to DQ me! Once when I asked, Ivo said "you can only get DQ'ed for running, and in the shape you are in, running is impossible."

My 100 km split was an absolutely horrible 17:29:13. By then Becky Browning (a houston racewalker) walked with me a bit; she also gave me a nice neck and back rub at a stop; that really helped to loosen me up.

So I went down for another nap (about 2 hours). In the tent Beth was napping on the cot so I used the chair; we were a pathetic sight! . But I was actually hungry when I woke up which was a good sign.

I got back out there and knocked off laps of 35:50, 34:45, 33:39, 32:34. Not fast, but much, much better than I was doing earlier. I actually was moving forward. I hit mile 70.3 in 21:59:13. Cheryl Harris, who was also there to judge, walked a lap with me and that took 31:05! That really helped; she was worried about slowing me down but she really helped me focus.

At 23:02:53, I had time for another full lap, but since there were no partial laps I could take my sweet time, which I did (34:12). So my result was 76.3 miles in 23:37:06. A good thing is that I got to see Jens (in the distance) finish 100 miles in 23:2X. Afterward, Dave held a nice ceremony and Loja Vosta (another Houston ultrawalker who was preparing for a bike race) carried my bags to the car.

The race itself was fun (for the most part) as I got to meet several people. I didn't come close to my goal, but the fact is I am not a good enough walker to make 100 miles (in 24 hours) under these conditions (the slippery course). So, had my goal been simply to amass as much mileage as possible, I would have started off with 30-31 minute laps. But I went for it and burned out early.

I don't have official results, but if my memory serves me, Jens got his 100 with 40 minutes to spare, Beth got 66, Lawrence (Buffalobear) got 64, Andy got 62 (100 km) and Doug got 50.

Two mile splits: Houston Ultra weekend.

2 27:04
4 26:58 (54:03)
6 28:23 (1:22:26) bathroom
8 28:13 (1:50:39) belt
10 26:50 (2:17:30)
12 26:54 (2:44:24)
14 27:46 (3:12:10) raining hard now
16 27:49 (3:40:00)
18 28:04 (4:08:05)
20 28:37 (4:36:42) blister
22 30:25 (5:07:07) food
24 28:26 (5:35:33) with Andy
26 27:34 (6:03:08)
28 27:15 (6:30:23)
30 27:49 (6:58:15)
32 30:07 (7:28:21) blister, food
34 93:01 (8:31:22) 33 minute stop, no more rain
36 26:58 (8:58:21) Andy again
38 27:18 (9:25:40)
40 28:53 (9:54:33) food
42 27:52 (10:22:25)
44 29:35 (10:52:00) pack
46 31:52 (11:23:53) eat
48 31:45 (11:55:38) starting to suffer
50 32:24 (12:28:03)
52 35:50 (13:03:53) pack, stop
54 35:05 (13:38:59) Ivo
56 39:33 (14:18:33) nauseated
58 1:21:55 (15:40:28) 30 minute nap
60 57:23 (16:37:52) stop, threw up twice, becky
62 51:20 (17:29:13) threw up three times
64 2:45:43 (20:14:56) roughly 40 minutes, 2 hour nap
66 35:50 (20:50:47) feeling better
68 34:45 (21:25:33)
70 33:39 (21:59:13)
72 32:34 (22:31:47)
74 31:05 (23:02:53) Cheryl
76 34:12 (23:37:06) done (no part laps)

I've had some time to think it over and if anyone
finds "post race" analysis boring or useless, go ahead
and delete this message.

I don't feel bad about the race, but I think that I
can learn from it and do better next time.

Here are my thoughts on my race:

1) my walking technique, which was never stellar, has
gotten a bit worse. It has been a long time since
I've had other participants offer unsolicited negative
comments on my technique (and I am not talking about
the discussions I had with Andy or Beth). No one
called me illegal, but my efficiency is not good. So,
prior to my next attempt at a 24 hour walk, I'll
devote sessions to improving my walking technique.

2) I need to tape the heels of my feet, as well as the
arches. The injinji socks worked well. My choice of
shoes is good.

3) About effort levels: I realize that I made my PR
(101 miles) on a perfect day. So, my margin of error
is thin. So what I am about to say doesn't mean that
I have given up on becoming an official Centurion, but
it does mean that I'll change my mental approach.

During the 2004 Ultracentric race, I burned myself out
in the windy condiditons by trying to stick to a pace
that was too fast. I should have held back a minute
or two per mile and then, if possible, cranked it up
when the wind died down.

During the Houston race, I blew it at around 20 miles.
It had gotten windy and rainy and the course was
"slick"; I slipped just a bit with each "push off".
After the course had gotten slick, I did a 29 minute 2
mile lap (with the proper effort) and got irritated
that the lap was too slow. So, instead of accepting
that I'd have to stay slow until the course dried off
(my best strategy) I sped up to 26-27 minutes per lap
which eventually lead to my demise.

The correct thing to have done was to relax and stay
at 29-30-31 minute laps until the course dried out and
THEN attempted to speed up. I would have had a better
chance that way, though the chance on that given day
was remote.

I need to be able to mentally adjust to changing

4) At my next long race (McNaughton, in 7 weeks!) I am
planning on starting out MUCH slower. Last year, I
took the first 10 mile loop in 2:20, which doomed me
later on. 2:40-2:50 would be much better.

I am thinking of getting to mile 50 in 14:00 or so,
which would give me 22 hours to finish (last year, it
took me just under 21 for the second half). I *think*
I have a shot of doing the second half in 18-19 hours
or so, provided I don't kill myself during the first

I just bought some new trail shoes (Brooks Cascadias)
which I need to break in. :-)


The Houston Ultra races: One (fast) runner's experience
Greg Crowther at the Houston Ultra Event 100K (2-25-06)


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